Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Brief History of Dapple Grays, Part 1

So, did you hear about the 2010 Mid-States Horse? Yeah, I know, the 2009 was just out a few months ago - apparently someone’s boss on Blab took a pic of the 2010 model at the Mid-States Hardware show; here’s a link to the discussion if you missed it:

If you don’t want to click for whatever reason - it’s in an open access section of the forum, BTW - it’s a Gray Appaloosa Foundation Stallion named Thunderbolt.

He isn’t like the Gray Appaloosa Foundation Stallion I wrote about a few weeks ago. (Just another creepy coincidence; if I were shilling for Reeves, I think I'd have seen a check, or boxes of horses by now. And I haven't.) This guy is gussied up with splash spots, extra shading, Indian markings and resist underdappling.

"Underdappling" is a term I use to describe dappling that’s underneath another layer of paint. "Resist" is the term generally used hobby-wide to describe the earlier, pre-airbrush style of dappling, where a type of grease was splashed on the model before painting. The dapples were created when the grease was washed off.

Thunderbolt is very appealing, but whether or not I’m actually getting him will depend on how my space situation finally plays out. And it doesn’t look like that extra space I had hoped for will be materializing. The remodel is about 75% done, and most of my stuff is back to where it should be. Except where it doesn’t fit. And what doesn’t fit includes about 50 models.

Major culling will be necessary. I am not looking forward to it.

Did you know that the full-body resist Dapple Gray paint job (aka "Wild Dapple Gray") was a relative latecomer in the Breyer world? It wasn’t until 1964 that we see the appearance of the true Dapple Gray paint job. That’s right, the dappled Decorator colors of Florentine (gold) and Copenhagen (blue) actually premiered before the more "realistic" Dapple Gray. While the Decorator experiment might not have been a success, initially, it did apparently lead to something that was.

Yes, I know, Running Mare and Foal came out in a color called "Dark Dapple Gray" ca. 1962. But it appears that Breyer considered that particular colorway separate and distinct from the "Dapple Gray" of the Belgian and his descendants. Except for the occasional color variation, and some pieces from very late in their run, the Mare and Foal retained their dappling pattern - and their unique color appellation - until they were discontinued in 1973. (I don’t quite know how to classify the Nebraska SRs in all this; they’re definitely "Wild" Dapple Grays, but I don’t know the precise color description they were sold under.)

The Dapple Gray Belgian was discontinued rather quickly - by the end of 1966 - but his color was carried forward on Old Timer, who also debuted in 1966. The color was scarce until the early 1970s, when yet another variation of the Dapple Gray paint job debuted.

That discussion I will leave for my next post. But here’s a sneak preview of the model at the center of that discussion: Marney Walerius’s "In-A-Tiff."


Little Black Car said...

[Jaw on the floor.]

I love that dapple FAS.

Kate said...

Hello Andrea,

I was wondering if you could help me with a small mystery. I have a Breyer Western Horse that I cannot identify.
The horse is made a a creamy-lighter than mustard yellow plastic. The tack is painted gold,and the detachable, hard plastic saddle is black. At first I thought that someone had merely stripped the paint off of him, but he has gray shading on his hooves, eyes, legs, nostrils and ears. There is glue residue on the bottom of all four hooves.

Any light you can shed on his identity would be so appreciated!
Thanks and God bless,

ANDREA said...

Kate, it's very common for early Breyer Whites & Alabasters to be an even shade of yellow or amber; that's the "natural" color of Tenite, without additives, colorants or bleaching agents.

Some turn yellow faster or darker than others because of the mix of the plastic (more regrind = faster yellowing) and other environmental factors, like heat and humidity.

Sunlight will help lighten him, but as long as his color is even and not unattractive, I'd just leave him the way he is.