Friday, June 19, 2015

Footnotes: That Inner Glow - Experiments in Plastic

For all we know, Breyer may experiment with different plastic types on a regular basis, always on the look-out for the more cost effective solution, but these experiments have only been obvious at a few points in Breyer History - first in the 1970s during the oil crisis and more recently during the late 1990s. One of these, the not so mellow yellowing plastic, we discussed last year, the others we've mentioned in passing at

The translucent models seem to come in two types, dull white to almost grey and a very bright white. Whatever the colour of the plastic, they all have a touch of a glow about them and have an interesting effect when held up to light.

Models of this type appeared to flourish during 1997, but I have a couple of outriders from 2002, 2004, and 2005. In my experience, the translucent models don't seem to have a problem with yellowing; does anyone have a yellowed translucent?

While the translucents are less opaque than the regular plastic models, the chalky whites are more opaque than usual. These models have a very bright white plastic with a powdery finish which looks as if it should be very brittle - I have not checked to see if this is actually true for obvious reasons.

Top Row (LtoR): Standard & Fast-yellowing
Bottom Row (LtoR): Chalky white, translucent, and bright white

Rapid-yellowing models like that lemon tobiano G1 Native Dancer remained a problem through 2001 and possibly later. The chalky whites seemed to be a 1997 phenomenon and gave way to a less matte, bright white plastic. These do not seem to have the yellowing issue and retain a lovely snow white colour and have a slight sheen compared to the powdery finish of the chalkies.

Close up of a bright white and a translucent from the same run. Notice how this particular translucent looks almost grey in comparison and has softer edges to its markings.

The models from the JCPenney #710897 12-pc. Parade of Breeds in 1997 can be found in the full range of the experimental plastics. Here we have two versions of the alabaster Swaps from the set - translucent and chalky plastic.

Notice how even just the bit of light coming from the side gives the translucent model a bit of a glow while the chalky plastic model has an almost powdery finish to his ultra-matte coat; bright white models have a touch of a satin sheen.

Here is a little mixed-plastic gallery:

Many thanks to Deana Sprague and Sharon Walbridgefor providing pictures for our post!

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