And the flea market was unusually unproductive again, this week.
Instead of focusing on the aggravation, let us instead focus on a recent upgrade I made to my Stablemates collection:
A Dapple Gray Arabian Mare was actually one of the first Stablemates I ever bought for myself, way back when. Not long after she came home from Kmart with me, my brother got into an angry snit over something dumb, and in the process broke off one of her legs. (Grandma moved in, and my brother and I had to share a bedroom for a while. Things got heated, occasionally.)
In the ensuing years I spent a great deal of time trying to upgrade her, usually without luck. Dapple Gray paint jobs, especially those from the later 1970s, were definitely not built to last, and finding an unrubbed/undamaged example was not easy.
My previous example was pretty good – just a few high point rubs, mostly on her legs – but when I pulled this one out of that pretty terrific box lot I purchased earlier this year, there was no question who was staying and who was going.
Both earlier and later Dapple Grays were far more durable. Earlier Dapple Grays either came with a Gloss or Matte topcoat that did a good job of sealing the gray paint job from excessive damage, and later examples had improved surface prep to ensure better paint adhesion.
If I recall correctly, the use of the Matte topcoat extended into the Stablemates era, but wasn’t used on the handful of Stablemates that came in Dapple Gray.
I don’t think it was a technical issue, because the topcoat was used on the Alabaster releases. Maybe they didn’t think it worth the expense, especially since the Dapple Grays were challenging enough as it was?
Whatever the reason, the lack of a “sealer” coat created condition issues down the road that has ended up making these already-scarce releases even scarcer.