Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Lady

One more slightly revised Sampler rerun, while on the road.

Rich Rudish’s original concept art for the Lady Roxana, shown in the 1986 Dealer Catalog, was really quite lovely. She’s all sweeping lines and swooping curves - similar in style to the Sham, naturally, but it almost as if she was meant to be an Art Nouveau-themed interpretation of a horse. Was Rudish attempting to take the “Art” part of the “Artist’s Series,” to which the Lady Roxana mold belongs, even more literally? Alas, he is no longer around for us to ask.

The reality is, of course, quite different from the concept: the actual Roxana mold is lumpy, bumpy and kind of chunky. The rumors have it that Mr. Rudish had only a couple of days to sculpt her - less time, probably, than it took for him to do the concept sketch.

The hastiness of her execution is borne out by a Test Color of the Lady Roxana that I acquired from the estate of a former Breyer employee: since the mold wasn’t available for testing, a Sham was substituted, instead. At first glance, “she” doesn’t look too different from a conventional Fleabitten Gray Sham, though the differences are quite obvious in person. (Hand-airbrushed mane and tail, no pinking, no fleabites.)

In spite of her obvious inadequacies, the actual Lady Roxana mold does have her charms. She was one of the first molds to shown doing a correct trot - and a rather lively one at that, thanks to her tail. That tail that also helps make her an extremely “stable” stander for an action-oriented mold, which no doubt adds to her play value among younger hobbyists.

It’s fairly clear that many of her releases have been tailored to the younger set. How else would you explain Cinnamon, the Limited Edition Bay Appaloosa with the “pinking shears” blanket. (She sold pretty well, from what I’ve heard.) There were the Playful Mare and Foal sets in the early 1990s, too. Her most recent release was as the lovely light gray “Sahara,” from the youth-oriented “My Favorite Horses” series.

My second test color Lady Roxana - yes, I have two! - is of the Sahara. Actually, she’s probably more accurately described as a Sample or Preproduction piece, as she’s almost indistinguishable from a regular run Sahara, except with some handwritten notations on her belly.

Because of course only someone like me would actually own two (well, two and a half) Lady Roxana Tests. That’s okay, I really don’t mind!


Anonymous said...

Wow, that's a shame she couldn't have turned out a bit more like her sketch.

The sketch is so graceful and reminds me of the lovely alabaster Hagen Renaker horses.

Anonymous said...

I definitely still have a soft spot for this girl, even in the modern age of Weather Girl and Ashquar. I hope Breyer brings her out of mothballs soon. <3

Thanks for the great article!

Anonymous said...

I'm still bitter that Breyer did a deco called Art Nouveau that wasn't on this mold (as well as being not remotely art nouveau-looking, but that's another matter). I have a feeling Roxana would look AMAZING as a deco.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for posting this! We talked at Breyerfest, and you mentioned this test model. That alabaster Sham is beautiful! I love the Lady Roxana mold for her sculptural look. She is not realistic, but is very flowing and graceful. I too hope they release her again.

Aloha said...

The "pinking shears" Lady Roxana has an explanation. The color was designed by Kathleen Moody for the "Dapples" Kid's Line of horses. They were the hard plastic ponies with brushable manes and tails. Kathleen sculpted the Dapples line. She also designed many of the early Dapples paint jobs, and hand painted a color sample and sent it to Breyer. For some reason, they produced the color - but on a regular line Traditional horse? Kathleen reported to me that she was mortified, as it was never intended for a realistic mold! So that's the story behind "Cinnamon" the Dapples horse who went on Lady Roxana's mold by mistake.