Wednesday, August 19, 2020

The Chicago Radius

Here’s one of the things I’ve bought during my recent shopping binge:

It’s a really, really nice Cull of the Appaloosa Gelding!

So nice, in fact, I kind of wonder what made him a “Cull” in the first place? The very slightly splotchy left eye? The tiny bit of flashing on his barrel? The rougher than average seams?

If you were a child of the 1970s or 1980s, receiving New in Box Breyers with these kinds of flaws was not unusual, and I often received some that looked far worse.

I am presuming here that this was simply a nicer than average Employee “Take Home”. “Take Homes” were models that Breyer employees took home, as a perk of the job, usually as gifts to children or other family members.

(Things were definitely more lax back then!)

Most of the time these Take-Homes were some flavor of Cull – either deliberately set aside, or pulled from the Cull bin – though occasionally you’ll see a Regular Run model that’s a little bit “off”: the markings might not be quite right, black points might have been added to an otherwise Chestnut model, or not added at all to something that was supposed to be Bay.

Or maybe it didn’t pass some sort of arbitrary quality check – something that was also more lax back then! I could easily imagine that this guy passed through the production process, only to get pulled just before packing and shipping because someone finally noticed that his halter was unpainted.

And sometimes that didn’t happen, either.

So what I am saying is that all this speculation could be so much poppycock, and he could have been bought off the shelf this way, and where he came from could have been a complete coincidence.

Generally I’ve found that most Culls and other Chicago Era Oddballs haven’t wandered too far from Chicago. And I’ve had enough experience finding these sort of oddballs to think there’s a better than average chance that he’s a Cull or Take-Home.

What I am saying is: any odd-looking, pre-1985 Breyer horse found for sale within a three-hour driving radius of Chicago – I sometimes refer to it as “The Chicago Radius” – has a pretty good chance of being one.

(For your information, I live a couple hours beyond The Chicago Radius. However, I do live in an area was blessed with a surfeit of independent toy and hobby stores.)


Heather said...

...and don’t forget this was an era of the Sales Rep where it is was possible for a Sales Rep to ask the factory
to paint “some” of those gray Appaloosas on the Shetland Pony so he could leave some samples with his
high-dollar/favorite accounts! Door to Door salesmanship, something quite unheard of nowadays!

Anonymous said...

It definately can espcape the factory as regualar inventory. I have a Molly gloss appaloosa Balking Mule MIB with her halter left unpainted!

Denise said...

I agree models definitely escape the factory with mistakes such as these. I bought an Ichilay Indian Pony at the store that escaped with one side of her mane unpainted!

Suzanne said...

I have a gloss bay FAM with the weirdest paint job! I have to believe she was some sort of practice model. Her mane is thin and ran in places, and her body color reminds me of cheap lacquered furniture. I bought her off ebay because I felt sorry for her- two broken hind legs, and marks on her hips from being held in a vice for repair. And there was an attempt to reduce those marks by sanding them...