Friday, May 13, 2016

Not Basic Black

You could say my first visit to the flea market this season was successful. Lots of odds and ends, but I suppose it’s the horses y’all are most interested in. One of my regular dealers had a large and plentiful box of 1990s Traditionals that I had my pick from, and these three tickled my fancy the most:

Since I’m still on budget lockdown, I’ll be limiting myself to just keeping one of them, and it’s most likely going to be the Friesian. I only have one other Friesian in my collection currently – the Celebration Model of Fire Magic – and I’ve been meaning to add another example of this Jeanne Mellin Herrick mold to the herd for a while now.

Especially one of the “Dark Gray/Charcoal” variations. And this fellow is, happily for me!

The late 1980s and early 1990s are considered one of the lower points of Breyer’s quality control; it took a few years for Reeves to get the hang of actually manufacturing something, rather than just distributing it. It also took them a few years to cultivate a stable of new sculptors and moldmakers to fill the very big void left by Chris Hess’s departure.

One of the things they managed to get right in this time period, or at least made more interesting, was the color Black.

I’m not sure why it was decided that, of all things, they needed to focus on their Black paint jobs. Perhaps because the beloved body-shaded Black of the 1960s, seen on the likes of the Stretched Morgan and the Grazing Mare and Foal, wasn’t coming back, either? Like Hess, the painters who had mastered that technique were gone by then, too.

Out of this experimentation we got the “Black-pointed Charcoal” of the early Friesians, the purplish “Plum Black” of the 1991 Show Special Saddlebred Weanling Raven, and the near-black “Mahogany” of the Adios Mesa and the #822 Morgan release of the Justin Morgan mold.

Among others: even good old-fashioned Gloss Charcoal came back after a nearly 20 year hiatus, on 1992’s Midnight Sun release Memphis Storm.

Just more reasons why I’m not as quick as others to dismiss a Black paint job. Or two, three or four of them. They could be all the same. But they could be all different, too! It is practically a cliche by now, but you really cannot judge a model by its promo picture.

Speaking of... I had previously been somewhat indifferent to the Carrick mold, but I saw some Cortes C models in person last week, and by golly he looks amazing in Black. I was not expecting that!

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