Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Curse of the Chalky El Pastor

As a collector of rare and oddball Breyers, I am a huge fan of chalky models. Most of them were produced in the mid-1970s during the oil crisis when clean white plastic wasn't easily or cheaply available to Breyer. Instead, many Breyers were molded in more readily available colored plastic, such as green, purple, grey, brown, etc, and then were base-coated in thick white paint to hide the oddly colored plastic before their normal paint job was applied. Chalkies are prized by collectors not only because they are more rare than their non-chalky counterparts, but also because the white base-coat tends to give otherwise mundane paint jobs a bit more contrast and eye appeal.

I have a variety of chalkies in my collection, but one in particular has eluded me for a number of years. El Pastor is probably the easiest and most common chalky to find, and yet he has frustratingly slipped through my fingers more times than I care to count. I bought one about ten years ago, but the Post Office lost him en route to me. I followed several of them on eBay and managed to get outbid on them all. Finally, just last month, I found a lot of horses that intrigued me on eBay because of a Lady Phase that had four socks instead of the usual three. The El Pastor in amongst the other horses in the lot looked chalky as well, so I snagged the group for an excellent price. When they arrived, I was horrified by the packing job---the box had been cut down and ended up half-crushed, and worse still, it had no peanuts, no newspaper, no anything to keep the horses from banging into each other except for one thin sheet of bubble wrap around each model. The El Pastor was at the bottom of the jumble of horses, and he was a chalky alright. And he was the only horse in the box that broke. Of course.

Having repaired more than a few resins that have arrived in my studio broken, I've taken to fixing the odd Breyer as well. And having a chalky El Pastor in hand finally, such as he was, I decided there was nothing for it but to fix this poor horse. As with repairing any broken piece other than ears, I like to pin the pieces for added durability. I started by drilling a hole in each piece with a small Dremel bit I use for carvings out ears, nostrils, and hooves.

I used a small piece of wire about the thickness of a coat hanger to pin the pieces and secured it in the body piece with a bit of Gapoxio pushed into the hole.

I put a little bit of Gapoxio in the hole in the foot and then glued the edges of the break together with Locktite super glue. Between the pin, the Gapoxio, and the glue, the leg should be stronger than ever now. The break was pretty clean, but all the same, I sanded down the edges to make them smooth and filled two small gaps with Gapoxio.

With black pastels, I covered up the paint damage from the sanding.

And then I airbrushed some black paint over that to even out the look of the repair.

And voila! Not quite good as new, but back in one piece. The break is very nearly invisible, and I finally have a chalky El Pastor. I may upgrade him someday, but I'm quite pleased I was able to fix him.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A wintery Wintersong CM

This handsome Shire is a repainted Breyer Wintersong inspired by all the snow we've had this winter. As you can see, he's been out for a stroll in it and has gotten his feathers a little dirty. This gentle giant is available on ebay this week along with his stablemate, a lovely wild dunskin sabino Wintersong.

You can see them here:

Thanks for looking! Stay warm! :-)