Friday, November 08, 2013

Look-Alikes: G1 Arabian Mares

Welcome to our first Look-Alikes post. Here we will cover models that either look similar or sound similar on paper. If you're not overly familiar with the Stablemate releases or are working from a description without pictures, it can be easy to get stuck with the wrong model.

RR #5017 "Arabian Mare" 1975-88 vs. RR #5130 "Arabian Mare" 1989-94

While these two models are, on paper, essentially the same, #5130 simply being a re-release of #5017, in reality they have one rather large difference - their plastic. As you can tell from their dates, #5017 was only released in old plastic while #5030 was released in both old and new. #5030, the mare on the left appears harder, more starkly coloured in contrast to #3050 which has a softer, slightly opaque look.

After staring at many examples of both types of plastic, it does become possible to make a pretty fair guess at which is what, just based on pictures. This is handy for eBay auctions, but is not infallible.

Visually, the white markings on a new plastic model tend to look slightly brighter and more 'solid', while on an old plastic model they generally have a sort of milky almost translucent cast. This is not 100% fool-proof, but I have frequently made some good purchases based on this theory.

The most sure-fire way to tell is to perform a clunk test. Take your model and gently clatter their hooves on a counter or desktop, or tap them against your teeth (again, gently). Old plastic makes a thicker, lower pitched tap, while new plastic makes a tinny clatter-y sound.

You might need to turn the volume up a bit, but you should be able to hear the difference between the two. Also, do you notice how the first model lands more firmly and solidly while the second seems to want to bounce more? Old plastic is just slightly heavier than the new. It took several takes to get one where the second mare didn't bounce right out of my grip.

Regular Run #5011 "Stablemate Assortment - Arabian Mare" 1975-76 vs.
Regular Run #5650 "Saddle Club Collection" 1994-95

Next we have the two G1 Arabian Mares which were released in a dapple grey colour. Seeing them together it's quite easy to tell them apart. #5011 has that nice 'vintage' soft grey colour while #5650 has a bit of a blue tint to her grey.#5011 also features the old-style grease-resist dapples and was only released in old plastic. #5650 was painted using the bubble dapple or water-resist method and only comes in new plastic.

SR Sears #495092 "Stablemate Assortment IV" 1992
and JCP #711094 "Twelve-Piece Stablemates Set" 1994
vs. RR #5650 "Saddle Club Collection II" 1996-97

These three grey ladies can be a bit trickier. The mare on the top is the Sears/JCP 92/94 special run. The mare on the bottom left is from the 1996 RR Saddle Club Collection II. On the whole, the RR mare has a lighter body colour, darker points, and light coloured hooves, while the SR is a mostly uniform grey with stockings of varying height, and dark hooves.

But what about that third mare, the one on the bottom right? Well, I don't know if my set was unique or if this was a common occurrence, but that is the mare I received with my #5650 set. I wish I had taken pictures of the set in the box, but I was fourteen and hadn't yet discovered the hobby or knew anything about special runs or models before those shown in the box catalogues from the 90s.

When I went to BreyerFest later that year and picked up a few models from the 1994 JCP set, I realized that my #5650 was identical (barring typical colour variations) to the SR. The only way I could tell them apart was that my SR had an odd ear which came to a point like a little devil horn, had higher whites, and was slightly darker.

There have been models found in incorrect packaging before, including a SR Swaps in a RR Swaps bubble pack, so it's not impossible for my grey mare to be a wandering JCP SR.

Götz Doll Boutique Special Run "Butterscotch" 1996
vs. JCPenney Special Run #710695 "Set of 12 Miniatures" 1995

The mare on the right should look familiar as she was just featured in the previous week's Monday Profile post.  Both are leopard/varnish appaloosas, both have brown spots and vague bald faces, but they are still simple to tell apart, you just have to remember the correct date. The 1995 SR has a grey mane, tail, and head, and grey legs. Her spots are lighter, more chestnut than brown, and are on the "splattery" side, and her hooves are dark. The 1996 SR has a dark chestnut mane, tail, and head, and her legs are left white. Her spots tend to be dark brown and very "polka-doty", and her hooves are shell-coloured.

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