Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Black Stallion's Resin Prototype

I just noticed this while doing a little research for something else:

This is a picture from the 1981 JC Penney Christmas Catalog, with the pre-catalog release of the Black Stallion Race Set being offered. The Black Stallion was officially released in 1982, but was available by the Fall of 1981, mostly via mail-order. (Sorry about the poor quality of the pics today - these are scans of an old color copy.)

This wasn’t an unusual thing back then: if a mold was ready for production, they put it in production, no dithering about release dates. My Aunt Arlene got me the Classic Andalusian Family for Christmas in 1978 - she bought it straight from Bentley Sales. (I stapled the sales list and order form to my wish list!)

Maybe it’s because the Black Stallion mold has never really made much of an impression on me, and that’s why I didn’t see that it’s not an actual Black Stallion in the catalog photo, or even a Sample or Test piece: it’s the painted resin prototype, still on its sculpting base. The copy even says "Base shown not included." 


Prototypes in Christmas Catalogs are not unusual. While it is often not obvious when we see the catalog photo, it becomes obvious when we receive the ordered item. Either the mold ends up being different (like the Stud Spider scan I featured recently, for the Stud Spider Gift Set) or the paint job is off in a significant way.

In the case of the Black Stallion here, it wasn’t immediately obvious even after we had the models in hand because the model was the model, and it was painted black - there are not too many ways to change up a black paint job. The base could have been rationalized away as a prop for tippy model at an indoor photo shoot.

The reason why so many prototypes and oddballs end up as stand-ins in Christmas Catalog photo shoots is because the photos for these catalogs are shot in the Spring. If they were planning on doing a pre-release of a model being released the following year, there was a good chance that the mold and/or design would not have been finished or finalized at that point.

While I know the location of some resin prototypes, I don’t know where the Black Stallion’s would be. Even though he’s not high on my list of favorites, I wouldn’t turn him down if he did show up: I have lots of Samples, Tests, Culls and Oddities, but I still have no Resin Prototypes to my name.

1 comment:

Ardith said...

Got a chuckle from the title!