Saturday, June 6, 2015

Idiosyncrasies and Astru

I haven’t gotten a chance to know my Astru that well yet, since my daily schedule recently has been eat-sleep-work-BreyerFest prep. Every third day, blog post; every seventh day go to the flea market, if it’s not raining - and sleep in, when it does. He’s not shiny, metallic, luminescent, chalky or whatnot, but he seems quite pleasant, visually.

I was originally on the fence about keeping him - space issues and all that - but the more I look at him, the more likely it’ll be that I’ll keep him. If I do, I’ll probably stick to a "heavy metal" theme for his name. (Lithium?)

I’m not seeing any major issues with mine; he does have a bit of the dappled "square" that some people are having some problems with, but I don’t see that as a flaw as much as an idiosyncrasy of his particular paint job.

It’s like the "belly band" blankets on the mid-1960s Gray Appaloosas (most notably on the Family Arabians), the dappling and roaning that extended into the manes and tail on releases in the early 1970s, and the crazy lizard bi-eyes that appeared in early 1997. They may be "flaws" in an aesthetic sense, but not in a technical one. The mistake was more in the design, than the execution.

I always find it interesting of the way these things are perceived in-the-hobby versus out-of-the-hobby. The nonhobby public, in general, tends to interpret visual peculiarities as something inherent to the piece itself. And if something does look a little more off than average, it is still seen as either intentional, or an inevitable consequence of the object’s aging process. That’s why we see yellowing not described as a flaw in eBay listings, for instance, but as the color "cream"!

The hobby public perceives any model that doesn’t look either (a) exactly like the portrait model or breed in question, or (b) exactly like the catalog prototype model as defective. Or worse than defective - almost a betrayal!

The fact that each group judges to different standards accounts a lot for those differing perceptions. People who see Breyers as just another class of vintage collectible objects aren’t looking for the same flaws that people who see Breyers as potential show horses are.

The rest could be ascribed, on one hand, to the general public’s lack of knowledge about horse and model stuff, and on the other to the hobby’s obsession with perfectibility - that since we have the means to create "perfect" representations, that anything less than perfect has little worth.

I guess I fall somewhere in the middle; while I’d like my models to be as close to perfect and accurate as possible, I haven’t done that much live showing in recent years. Most of my interaction with my models has been as collectible objects.

I worked in an injection molding plant for several years, too - administratively and technically - so my awareness of the limitations inherent in the process probably affects my perceptions, as well.

When you've seen the entire process - from concept to execution - and all the points at which things could go oh-so-wrong, close enough becomes good enough.


Corky said...

Your Astru looks really nice--he's got great shading!

Yvonne said...

If you ever want to trade him for an Orion please let me know!