Monday, June 11, 2012

Nobody Expects the Family Arabians

Ah, so it is the Mustang after all: "Over 25 years for one color".

That’d be Buckskin, from 1961-1986. The Running Mare came in Bay from 1962-1987, but there’s some controversy over her start date, ranging from 1961 to 1963. I’m pretty sure it’s actually 1962, but that’s not something that’s become "common knowledge" yet, the way the start date on the Mustang is.

The FAS also came in Palomino for 25 years - from ca. 1961/2-1987, but that included a switch from Gloss to Matte, so I’m not sure if that counts. (Note: The Family Arabians were released in Charcoal and Palomino some time after the Bay, Alabaster, Gray Appaloosas and Woodgrains - possibly as late as 1962.)

I’d have no problem at all with an Appaloosa Performance Horse-style Mustang. None at all!

In other news, the flea market continues to be very good to me. Every year I think I’m not going to be able to find enough stuff to sell for BreyerFest, but somehow I always manage to. I’m even contemplating leaving a few things behind. Either that, or manage to find those missing hours in my day and actually get some stuff posted on MH$P.

Now the matter of the model that got me thinking:

An Alabaster Family Arabian Foal? Yeah, really.

First, he’s a true Semi-Gloss: he’s neither Gloss nor Matte. You can’t even describe it as the "High Satin" seen on some of the earliest Matte Finishes, most famously on the Bay Running Mare. You see this little baby in person, and you’d be hard pressed to call it anything other than Semi-Gloss.

It’s true that Breyer was very inconsistent with its Gloss Finish on their early Alabaster Family Arabians. Sometimes they were bright, thick and shiny, and other times they weren’t. There was a reason for this: they seem to have been designated as the " low budget" item of the 1960s. You’re not going to watch the quality control quite as closely with the lower budget items than with the higher ones.

The pricelists, up through 1968, always listed them at a significantly lower price than all of the other available colors. From a ca. 1966/7 pricelist:

The sticker, and all of the models that the Foal came with, dates him to the 1966-1967 era. Around this same time, the Family Arabians transitioned from Gloss to Matte - exactly when is a mystery, though. A price list dated November 1968 makes note of the "attractive matte finish new for these items", but that doesn’t necessarily help us that much, other than give us a latest possible start date.

You’ll also note the Foal’s heavily grayed muzzle. What’s unusual about it - aside from the amount of gray - is that it’s gray at all.

You see, most Gloss Alabaster Foals (and Mares, for that matter) came with pinked muzzles and gray nostrils. (Family Arabian Stallions are no help in the matter, most of them came with gray muzzles from the start.) It’s the Matte Alabasters that tend to have the gray muzzles. (Just a little splotch of it between the nostrils, usually.)

I spent years trying - in vain - to find Matte Finish Alabaster Family Arabians with pink muzzles, on the assumption that the switch to Matte Finish occurred before the switch to grayed muzzles.

Looks like I was looking at the problem all backwards!

Unless she’s something else altogether.

As stated above, the Foal was found in a group of models that date to ca. 1966-1967. Aside from some dust, dirt, and a little wear and tear on some of their stickers, they were in excellent to immaculate condition. The lot also came from a Chicago suburb, which as any astute hobbyist knows, is usually a big flashing red light: WARNING, FORMER BREYER EMPLOYEE COLLECTION AHEAD.

Throw in a piece in the lot that’s just a little more peculiar than average, and then you’ll know why I think that might be the case here, as well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Definitely hope it's the mustang! And APH would be superb!