Monday, April 12, 2010

"Old Man" Mesteno

In the on-again, off-again discussion about Shadowfax on Blab, more fuss is being made about Alborozo, again. The insinuation at the heart of the griping is that Reeves "destroyed" the mold because it was either (a) deliberately ticking everybody off for some unknowable reason, or (b) too stupid to realize what an awesome thing they had.

I don’t know the precise circumstances as to why the Alborozo was done the way it was done, but I’m pretty sure wasn’t some vast conspiracy to deprive us of something awesome. It was more like a combination of marketing gimmick, contract negotiations with an artist who had been burned before, and some technological experimentation. That the model itself turned out as nice as it did was just an added benefit.

And you know what? Chances are, if the mold had been allowed to continue production, we’d have picked it to pieces by now, and be so over it anyway. His rarity is a part of the reason many love him so.

We might see a few more glossies, a few tests, and whatever leftovers there may still be in the warehouse, but that’s it. Get over it, folks. He’s done and gone. It’s Spring - go work out your frustration on your garden or your closet, or something. (And if you don’t have a garden or closet to work on, you’re more than welcome to work on mine.)

There are quite a few molds that have had extremely limited - or even singular - releases, though their rarity or singularity has more to due with being too dated, too specialized or just too darn weird to justify new releases. None of these molds, as far as I know, have been "destroyed," so there’s still a slim possibility that more of their kind may grace our shelves in the near or distant future. A short and very incomplete list includes:

Standing Black Angus Bull
Standing Polled Hereford Bull
Modernistic Buck
Modernistic Doe
Mesteno: Reflections

Some of these models are hot commodities: good luck trying to find the Red Angus Bull - the Black Angus’s single SR release - or one of the Woodgrain Polled Hereford Bulls made for the Ranchcraft Lamp Line. The Modernistic Buck and Doe was manufactured in quite a few odd colors and finishes by its original manufacturer, Nosco, prior to Breyer acquiring the mold ca. 1959-60, but not a lot of collectors are familiar with - or even associate - those earlier releases with the Breyer ones. Benji and Tiffany? There hasn’t been much of a call for Traditional Series Dogs since the 1960s, period. (There might have been some licensing issues, too.)

The Mesteno: Reflections is a bit of an eyebrow raiser. Although not wildly popular in their original release, most of the Mesteno series has seen new life in the Wal-Mart Mustang line. I’m not a huge fan of them myself, but some of the colors they’ve been released in have been quite attractive.

But the "Old Man" Mesteno, as I like to call him, hasn’t been among them. He had only one release - his original one - and hasn’t been seen since. He was the last mold in the series, too, and consequently had the shortest run of all the original Mestenos: just 1996. My "old man" came in a box lot from the infamous "newtoymens" guy on eBay, so he might be a test piece, station sample, or saleman’s sample:

Like most of the Mesteno series, he didn’t "translate" well into plastic, but he’s not completely unappealing. He’s not quite as dashing as the original ("Young Elvis?") Mesteno, but he has a nice silhouette and photographs well. He works better as an "art" horse, rather than a "show" horse: if Reeves does get around to releasing him again, a more decorative finish - Ageless Bronze, Marble or even Woodgrain - would really do him justice, I think.

Might be a good, low-investment way of breaking into the home décor market they’ve been eyeing for a few years now, too. (Just sayin.’)


BluelineGoddess said...

I have such a soft spot for the Mesteno series... it's a shame so many people can't take a step back from hyper-realism and enjoy the artistic aspect once in a while.

I also love how Breyer painted the manes/tails so softly, really kept the "watercolor" aspect to them.

As for Alborozo... he's cool, but he's not the greatest thing ever like some people make him out to be. As you said, if the mold hadn't been destroyed we'd probably have 7+ colors of him out and people would be bored to death of him.

Re: Shadowfax - he's a gray andalusian. Aloborozo is gray. The Moody andy has been released in gray TWICE (including a BF release). Legionario has been in gray a couple times, and Esprit is gray. Really Breyer, we don't need ANOTHER gray andalusian! That's what bothers me so much about the Shadowfax thing.

Little Black Car said...

I seem to remember that Alborozo was advertised as "one time only" (in JAH, I assume, since I don't read many other model publications or websites) well before BreyerFest, so they would have pretty much been obligated to destroy the mold. I thought it was a silly waste of a mold, but if they advertised it as a one-shot model, they shouldn't go back on their word later.

I'd love to see the Modernistic Buck and Doe come back. Midcentury stuff is so "in" right now that I would think that, marketed well, it could be a good move.

I confess I don't understand the popularity of the entire Mesteño series: They are neither realistic nor nicely-sculpted. The short-lived Thelwell series was totally unrealistic, but smoothly-sculpted. Most Hagen-Renaker minis are not realistic, but the sculpting is detailed and consistent. Even the aforementioned Modernistic deer were well-done. I don't mind unrealistic models, but that series is all misshapen legs and zero detail. Even stylized models ought to be well-executed.

Anonymous said...

I think the ones who are whining and screaming the most about Alborozo are the ones who whined and screamed as kids and Mommy and Daddy just gave them what they wanted to shut them up. Now they're finding out the Real World (e.g. Breyer) doesn't pander to their demands, and that chafes their spoiled little hineys. :D

I like that Al is such a limited, collectible model. This is a collectibles hobby, after all!

Carrie said...

Oh, I've been waiting for another 'reflections' for ages! My mob of Mestenos includes a lovely, soft variation w/ high grey stockings & no dun factors as well as a 'normal' example. I really like the not-so-realistic nature of this series & he really is a nearly unique mold - other than Old Timer, how many other 'old horses' does Breyer have?

ANDREA said...

Dang schedule wrecking havoc with my posting schedule again!

I had not noticed the soft coloring on the original Mestenos as an attempt to duplicate the watercolors of the original sketches. Excellent observation!

Also, I want to point out that this post was written before the "Elvis Presley Collection" announcement on Facebook; that I happened to reference Elvis in this post is just another freaky coincidence.

Just me trying to be clever, not trying to be prophetic.