Sunday, November 18, 2012

Making Up Stories in My Head Again

Here I thought I was doing extra awesome on the novel today - nearly 2000 words, only a couple hundred short of where I "need" to be - and then I realized I forgot something.

The blog, again. Silly me.

So, here’s a picture of another recent indulgence:

A pretty nice Palomino Western Prancing Horse, with sticker. I’d been on the lookout for years for just the "right" one to add to the herd. I was pretty sure he wasn’t it, either, but the price was, and there was something to him, I dunno, that told me it was necessary to buy him anyway.

Once I opened the box, it only took a few minutes to figure out why: he had the USA mold mark.

With the small Blue Ribbon Sticker, too.

According to my research, this shouldn’t happen: small stickers should only appear on models manufactured from ca. 1966 to ca. 1968, and the larger stickers - the ones with the names - should only appear on models manufactured from ca. 1969 through ca. 1970.

The USA mark was added to many (though not all) Breyer molds sometime around 1970, so any model with a USA mark would have a large Blue Ribbon Sticker, if at all.

For the most part, the chronology appears to be holding up. In the occasions when I it has not, it was either a matter of transposition - a sticker had been transplanted from another model - or it was one of those models or finishes where there’s still a lot of fuzziness about the dates. The Family Arabian Foals, for instance, were apparently re-released in Gloss in the later 1960s.

(Why exactly, we’re not sure. ‘Nother story, anyway.)

Looking at the lists I’ve compiled, I did notice some oddities. Some stickers that should, theoretically, be showing up weren’t.

Take the Bucking Bronco: has anyone actually seen a Bucking Bronco with a large version of the Blue Ribbon Sticker? Both the Black and the Bay were manufactured during the necessary time period. The Rearing Stallion, who is more or less the same scale as the Bucking Bronco, came with both versions of the sticker.

And so too, the Western Prancing Horse. Five of the six early Western Prancing Horses (all but the Black Pinto) were manufactured throughout the entire "Blue Ribbon" era, ca. 1966-ca.1970. But I have yet to see any Western Prancing Horses with the large version of the Blue Ribbon Stickers.

It’s possible it’s a sampling error; stickers are fragile, and I certainly haven’t seen every Breyer model in the world, though it feels like it sometimes. But I've been compiling this data for years now. I may now have to concede that the sticker timeline might be slightly more complicated than I thought it was. Some models that could have made the transition to larger stickers may not have.

Why that was we’ll never know for sure, but there are a couple of plausible theories. Some of these molds might have been lower or slower sellers, for whom another sticker order might have been a waste of time and money. With the Western Prancer, it might have been a space issue: it would have been something of a challenge to fit the words "Western Prancing Horse" legibly on a sticker less than an inch in diameter.

It’s possible that this guy is just another case of transposition, and my brain is just concocting fabulous scenarios to make him more interesting to me. But it still hasn’t changed the fact that I haven’t seen a Western Prancing Horse with a large Blue Ribbon Sticker. Anyone out there who can prove me wrong?

(And if you can, is he for sale?)

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