Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Cream and Colors Like It

My first reaction to the newest-latest-greatest Web Special "Orion" (on the Desatado mold) was "Ooh, daring!" I have no idea what color it’s supposed to be (Champagne- or Pearl-something? Or just straight up Perlino Dun?) and I kind of like how Reeves didn’t specify, either, leaving it up to our imaginations and mad research skills.

Although Palominos and Buckskins were an early staple of the Breyer line, double dilutes and other more exotically modified colors are a much more recent addition to the color palette. I believe the first official one was on the #906 American Cream Draft "Goliath" in 1995, a model I may or may not have had a hand in creating. (Long story, because of course it is.)

Breyer "Creams" existed before then, but they all started out as Whites or Alabasters and turned that way due to yellowing. (Often, not unrealistically so!) Every time I see a listing on eBay for a "Cream Colored Breyer Horse", it’s almost always an Alabaster who has seen brighter days.

There are a couple of reasons why it took so long for Creams and Colors Like It to show up intentionally.

First and foremost is the technical issue: the visual cues that make these colors distinct were - until recently - difficult to achieve in a production environment with any consistency. Even many actual and aspiring customizers have difficulty capturing the subtle qualities that make a Perlino Dun, an Amber Ivory Champagne, or a Bay Pearl.

Second, there were (and continue to be) prohibitions and biases against certain colors within some breed registries, which in turn influenced what both real- and model-horse people considered acceptable and/or beautiful. While some of these restrictions made sense (some colors simply don’t exist within certain gene pools) others were completely arbitrary. Horses in these "off colors" were not as desirable as horses in more conservative colors. 

Even though we’ve largely overcome those biases in the model horse world (thanks to the many genetics-nerds among us) you can still see some traces of in the general lack of acceptance for pintaloosas, and in discussions about show judging philosophies (i.e. how closely we should hew to those real-world norms and biases).  

Generally, though, we don’t raise as much of a fuss when we’re presented with something different. If we like it, we buy it - and find the necessary documentation later.

Alas, there are still too many horses in the house, and a couple of financial obligations I need to meet first: if my single entry into the drawing for Orion somehow makes it through, I might not be able to follow through.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When I first saw Orian...my first impression was either a Cremello or Perlino. I'm actually a big fan of those colors.