Tuesday, March 9, 2021

That Dapple Gray Shire

Lafayette is here, but I won’t be able to open him until Friday or Saturday, depending on how my schedule works out.  (It’s been a “Where am I? What day is it? Who bought this cheese?” kind of week.)

I just ordered a new computer yesterday, so there may be a little wonkiness with my posting schedule for the next week as I get everything switched over and reconfigured. 

To be honest, I had been needing a new computer since last year, but I put it off as long as possible because it’s always such a hassle to get everything just the way I want it. But with the ongoing video project and a couple of small but tidy sums coming in the mail that would amply cover the cost, it was time. 

We also got some new lighting installed in the basement that’s a huge improvement over the previous lighting. Here’s a plain, unretouched test shot of the Dapple Gray Shire from the “Dirty Pony Lot” that’s been slowly deyellowing in the window:

Because Winter Sun is weaker than Summer Sun, she’s still got a long way to go, but she is getting better. As you can see, she has some amazing dappling and shading; what is a little less obvious are some condition issues, first and foremost these two factory flaws:

The smudge in her dappling is underneath the clear topcoat, and was obviously something that happened during the actual dappling process. 

The weird bubbly mark on the middle of her barrel is a contact mark: either she was touching another model on the painting rack while she was drying, or she fell over or got knocked over before she was dry and her barrel made contact with another surface – table, wall or floor. 

Both of these flaws passed QC because (a) standards were a little bit looser then, and (b) they both kind of blend in with the paint job. Yellowing has definitely made the contact mark more visible, and will become less so as she whitens up again.

When I hear some collectors complain that “paint jobs were so much better THEN” (i.e. in Chicago) I have to take a deep breath before I respond to any of it. 

If you look at older pieces like this Shire objectively, it’s… simply not true. Either one of these marks on a newer model, and some hobbyists would be ready to fly to New Jersey just for the satisfaction of yelling at someone in person for this. 

But what many hobbyists are actually saying when they make comments like that is expressing a justifiable admiration of the skill and dexterity of the painters of the Chicago era, who were able to do so much with so little. 

Colored by nostalgia: the Breyers of your youth, alas, are not immune to the powers of the Suck Fairy.

I still haven’t decided whether she’s a keeper or not. I’ll stick her back in the window and see what she looks like, come late April or May. 


Boulder Sheep said...

Andrea, did you see there is a Black Man O'War up for auction in the Rare Model Horse group on FaceBook? Different than the eBay one that just sold. Bids are up to $850.

Suzanne said...

The Suck Fairy! That certainly explains The Never-ending Story.

Something I'd love to learn more about is how to distinguish factory acetone touch-ups from those by a hobbyist. I have a palomino Rearing Stallion who has a tidy blaze and socks, by acetone touch-up. I thought it must be factory, since he must have been almost completely oversprayed originally. On the other hand, he had a nasty brush-on gloss finish, which made me think "hobbyist". I've seen a couple super oversprayed palomino Rearing Stallions on Ebay since, so that's not an unusual variation.

Anonymous said...

I might just be weird, but I think flaws like these are an interesting insight on a model's personal history. Kind of like the occasional antique store Breyer that has a previous owner's name written on the belly.

But I do draw the line at hair and fingerprints in the gloss of an expensive purchase, though...

Qatgirl said...

I'm curious, do you turn the yellowed model so that both sides get the benefits of sunlight? I guess if it's a slow and subtle process, you don't have to be exact.

ANDREA said...

Just a reminder, folks: I am not on Facebook and have no intentions of ever doing so. I don't see 99 percent of Model Horse Facebookery, and most of the 1 percent comes second hand.

(My life is complicated enough, etc.)

Denise said...

Interesting about the shire's flaw on the barrel as I have a dapple gray shire with the exact same flaw but I think a bit bigger. Maybe they were painted in the same batch and both got knocked over together...