Taking it easy today; the travails of January are over, and a certain financial issue I’ve been grappling with all this month is about to be resolved. I celebrated by buying myself a (very cheap!) horse, but he’s part of an ongoing research project so you probably won’t be seeing or hearing about him for a while.
(Nothing particularly rare, just nerdish. You ought to know me by now.)
So let us discuss the Raffle Model Cinza, on the Valegro mold:
I was expecting a Valegro release for this year’s BreyerFest, but I thought it’d be something a little more conservative – solid-colored, and possibly Glossy. But a Grulla Blanket Appaloosa? Nice!
Although it is labeled a “grullo blanket Appaloosa”, I tend to think of this color (and all its recent permutations) as the updated version of Breyer’s vintage “Gray Appaloosa” paintjob. Another of which is coming soon on the Stablemates Club release Primrose:
There has been a great deal of speculation about the origins of the Breyer color Charcoal; my working theory is that it was likely based on photo references of a Silver Dapple or Sooty Palomino horse that was captioned as a “Charcoal Palomino”.
But what about the “Gray Appaloosa” concept? Where did it come from?
The first Gray Appaloosas appeared in 1959 – on the Old Mold Stallion, Mare and Foal – and variations of the paint job later appeared on the Fighting Stallion and Mustang. It appeared at least a year, or maybe two, before Charcoal was introduced.
My guess would be that, not unlike the Charcoal, it was based on a photo of either a Blue Roan or Grulla Blanket Appaloosa that was labeled “Gray Appaloosa”. Because then, as now, most people tend to focus on phenotype (what something looks like) than genotype (what something is genetically).
It was probably via Western Horseman magazine: Breyer seemed to get a lot of its ideas from Western Horseman back then, and even used it as one of their primary promotional outlets in the years before the introduction of Just About Horses.
Although it has never had the same allure as the Charcoal, it continued to pop up over the years, most notably on the Stock Horse Family in the 1980s (Special Runs on the Stallion, Mare and Action Foal; and as a Regular Run on the Standing Foal) and most recently in a few Vintage Club releases. My personal favorite, though, continues to be the 1984 Appaloosa Performance Horse SR from JC Penney: