Friday, January 03, 2014

Gift Set: Special Run Stablemate Assortments - Many Minis from JCPenney

Collectors held their collective breaths when the 1995 JCPenney Christmas catalogue came out; would there be another Stablemates Assortment this year? Why, yes, yes there was! There, nestled in amongst the other Breyer holiday offerings was the Set of 12 Miniatures, and weren't they lovely?

1995 Set of 12 Miniatures

Some of the colours this year were a little...odd. Those with the colours easiest to define were the blue roan Silky Sullivan, the bay Native Dancer, the flaxen chestnut Morgan Mare, the Quarter Horse Stallion in chestnut, another Silky Sullivan, this one in white grey, and a deep, dark mahogany bay Thoroughbred Mare.

The two appaloosas were kind of in-between colours. The blanket appaloosa Citation was a sort of mousy, brownish-grey with black spots and the Arabian Mare had grey points and head with a semi-leopard pattern of chestnut spots.

The second Citation had nicely dappled shoulders and hind quarters over a buckskin-going-grey type base colour. The Morgan Stallion looked lovely in black, but the white stripes in the mane and tail were a bit odd, maybe he was supposed to be a minimal tobiano?

Swaps was a strange kind of brown roan; I often see him called 'grulla'. Finally, there was the buckskin/sandy bay Arabian Stallion with softly shaded white legs which you could call stockings, but looks more like panagre.

Expectations were high for 1996 since JCPenney was apparently going to pick up where Sears had left off.

1996 12-Piece Stablemates Set

The colours in the 1996 set were a bit more mainstream than the year before. The main draw for this year was the first appearance of the Saddlebred since 1989. The mold looked spiffy in a modern dapple grey and sported painted ribbons for the first time. The Draft Horse was also breaking new ground by appearing in it's first spotted paint job - black splash.

The colour palette was a bit heavy on the brown tones again: bay Seabiscuit, dark bay Swaps, bay blanket appaloosa Citation, buckskin Quarter Horse Stallion, and rose grey Arabian Stallion. Also on the dark end of the spectrum was an absolutely beautiful blue roan Arabian Mare.

Representing the lighter colours were a Native Dancer in a pale chestnut/red dun, a Morgan Mare in an even lighter chestnut, a black leopard appaloosa Silky Sullivan, and a Morgan Stallion in alabaster with an interestingly striped mane and tail.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I was a bit disappointed when I received my set - some of the horses were different!

1996 JCPenney Holiday Catalogue

The catalogue picture for this set was a bit misleading. The colour on the Quarter Horse Stallion was supposed to be on the Citation, and Citation's bay blanket appaloosa colour was on a second Swaps. I really wanted that Swaps, but an appy Citation did turn out pretty cute, too.

1997 12-pc. Parade of Breeds

1997 marked the first time the Parade of Breeds label was used for this type of gift set. This year would also be the last year of an exclusively G1 collection; when the gift sets returned around half of the molds would be G2s. Some of the colours were a bit strange, but the oddest thing about this year was the type of plastic used and the range of finishes the models exhibited; from glossy to chalky.

The plastic used for some of the models in this set was different than usual, being rather milky and translucent. Also, as a change of pace, some of the models were given white base-coats, making them chalky, and one model had a decidedly high-gloss finish.. Just to make things interesting, finish and plastic composition could vary from set to set.

The only model which appeared somewhat normal was the Morgan Mare, who looked quite trim in a dark seal bay. At first glance Silky Sullivan seemed pretty standard, but then I noticed he had gone in the opposite direction from the translucents; his plastic is unusually bright white and very opaque.

In the chalky department was a shocking, highlighter yellow buckskin Swaps, and a liver chestnut/bay Saddlebred, again with painted ribbons.

The remainder of my models were of the translucent plastic. The Draft Horse was a chestnut roan/red dun with a spattering of tiny resist dapples on his belly, the Morgan Stallion was a soft, dark chestnut, and Citation glowed as a palomino with a bald face. One of the two Arabian Stallions could be said to have either a snowflake appaloosa pattern or a greying liver chestnut with Tetrarch spots.

Three of the models seemed to be the most likely to show variation. The finish on the chestnut Seabiscuit could range from semi to high gloss; mine is a high gloss. The Quarter Horse Stallion's blue roan blanket appaloosa colour could be lightly or heavily roaned. Most distinct of all the variations were those shown by the second Arabian Stallion. Some collectors received a chestnut dun, others, like me received an oddly coloured model which looked like a bay dun going grey. They could also come in normal or translucent plastic.

It would be seven years before the Stablemate Gift Sets would be seen again in the JCPenney catalogue, but they would return.

Next: Special Run Stablemate Assortments - Sears' Last Hurrah

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