Saturday, June 18, 2016

Tipsy

This guy arrived in a recent body box lot, and is worth a further examination. Notice anything odd about this #415 Buckshot?


He seems to be a standard issue Buckshot in very good condition with a decent paint job and no significant flaws, other than…


That Hind Hoof. What the heck happened there?

The Buckshot mold is notoriously tippy: he has rather narrow footing, and an elongated pose that ends in an almost solidly-molded tail. It’s like he was designed to tip over.

Part of the problem probably lies with the fact that his sculptor, Bob Scriver, was more accustomed to working in bronze, not in injection-molded plastic. As you might imagine, the weighting and balancing issues are completely different!

Some of that could have been corrected during the actual moldmaking process, but sometimes there is only so much you can do before interfering with the integrity of the original sculpt. And with the sculptor being Bob Scriver, Breyer probably wanted to avoid that.

I have – and have had – a number of Buckshots that stood up just fine. But it doesn’t take much in the way of a variance – fraction of an inch here, a tiny bit of extra plastic there – to make him tip over like me in a pair of platform shoes.

It’s never been a huge issue in the show ring, because he’s never been popular piece to show. I have a couple of Buckshots – an early, extra dark one, and a finished cull/quasi-test – that I did live show, but I “solved” the tipping problem by laying them down on neatly trimmed pieces of fabric.

It was Buckshot: judges understood.

Anyway, Breyer obviously made an attempt to “right” this particular piece by grinding down one of his hooves. It was a technique they used quite frequently on their less stable molds; I have several Pacers, for instance, with all manner of factory hoof deformities.

You would assume that they ground it down to the point where it stood on its own, right? You would think they had to have tested the piece before it finished going through the production process.

The thing was, this technique rarely worked: most vintage models I find with trimmed hooves still don’t stand properly – or at all. As is also the case with this Buckshot.

Either the workbench or carts where the prep work took place were also not level in some way, or they just decided at some point to shrug and say “good enough”.

I’m not sure if any work has been done on the mold recently to correct its tipping issue. The newest of my Buckshots is Monty Robert’s Shy Boy, from 2002-3, and I can’t recall if he was prone to being prone. All of my Buckshots are in storage, because I can’t have anything out right now that cannot tolerate a stampeding terrier.

I’m going to hope and assume that, being prize models and all, that the Diorama Contest Pele models will be upstanding citizens.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't think this hoof-shortening was always because Breyer wanted to make a tippy model stand better. I have a POA (Rocky) with the same cut-off or ground-off hoof that probably would have stood just fine before they did anything to the hoof.

Carrie

Jay Alexander said...

I have two Shy Boys and both are very tippy.

Beth from Chestnut Heartbeats said...

The latest regular run on this mould - 2009 'My Favorite Horse - Rascal' in palomino is also very tippy, or at the very least mine is 😅 So the balance issues don't seem to have been fixed, or at least not in 2009.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes...I have that palomino, too. On my shelf for less than 72 hours and knocked my Zenyatta right off the shelf and left her with a good size "scar". He now lives in solitary confinement :)

Anonymous said...

I got rather good over the years at fixing tippy horses with a hair dryer or a cup of really hot water. Or more recently a heat gun. I will stand the horse on a flat surface, get myself down to "hoof level" and study what needs to be tweaked in order for him to stand.

There is always the possibility of breakage though if you try to force things, I did break one early on, and come to think of it, I think it was a Buckshot! But after that I have been much more careful to heat the leg properly and not force it. A heat gun is wonderful but you can get things too hot too quick if you aren't careful and end up with bubbling. Luckily most of the things I take a heat gun to are bodies anyway.

On a similar subject, has anyone had a problem getting their Jesse (Wyatt or Baby Flo) to fit in the base properly? After tweaking legs and sanding the metal prongs with little success I finally found an easy solution. I take my heat gun to the slots in the BASE and get them warm, then set it on a flat surface and put the horse in there and wiggle him around a bit and take him in and out a bunch of times. I now have both of my Jesse's fitting in their bases. Yay!!! I really hated the base situation until I was able to fix it. Neither of my Jesses fit in their bases without a lot of effort and worry that I would break their legs.

draelynkhar said...

in 1988 buckshot, sham, and touch of class were my first 3 models ever (much coveted horsey birthday). My buckshots hoof is almost exactly like this one (he also stinks and is kind of all over wonkey as I recall) He was almost always the instigator of the great shelf collapses that toppled the whole conga line. I ended up eventually kind of shoving him to the back and bracing him between a semi rearing mustang and grazing mare for the good of all.