Friday, February 27, 2015

Damaged Goods Part 1: Discolouration and Fading

Ah, the First World problems of a Collector.  Those of us who collect vintage (and modern) toys tend to get a little obsessive about flaws, problems, and wear.  What can we live with, what won't we allow across the threshold of the Pony Room?

The unfortunate truth about vintage Ponies is that very few of these 30+ year old toys has made it this far without sustaining some kind of damage.  The even more unfortunate truth is that we're only going to see more damage coming out on these beloved friends as time passes.  In the next few weeks, I'm going to explore some of the more common problems that we see in vintage ponies, with an eye toward educating new collectors and warning FIM fans about what they might expect from their Ponies in the coming years.

This week's episode is on Discolouration and Fading.  These are probably the most common problems collectors encounter.

Discolouration

 MLPs are subject to numerous types of discolouration, and many of the problems discussed in later posts will cover these.  This week, I want to talk in more general terms.

Hasbro has, unfortunately, long used different types of plastic in manufacture of the head and body of individual MLPs.  Although the toys often look fine right out of the package, time will often show the difference as the dye used to colour the pony leeches faster out of one part of the pony.
Twilight and Feathermay will, unfortunately, someday resemble Wingsong
Head/body mismatch is one of the least popular flaws among collectors.  Unfortunately, it's something we've had to learn to live with.  G2 and G4 ponies are particularly prone to mismatch and I suspect this has something to do with the fact that their plastic is a bit more firm than G1 and G3.  However, you will see the same flaws in G1 and G3 ponies, but it's easier to avoid.  The unfortunate truth is, that certain ponies (Twilight Sparkle, Wingsong, Feathermay) are more prone to this flaw and it's quite difficult to find one without.
The two Peachys on the right are the same release, but the middle one is sun damaged.  The Peachy on the left is the Italian varient.
It's also possible for a pony to become discoloured rather than faded through  prolonged sun exposure.  Some ponies become darker rather than lighter with the sun, and are prone to "sun burn" and often discolour evenly across their bodies.  Some collectors may mistake these subtle changes in colour for a variant version of a pony, but really it only shows that a pony enjoyed outdoor playtime with a child.

Fading

It doesn't take much exposure to light to cause the bright colours of MLP to begin to fade.  Certain colours can begin to lose their vibrancy with only a few minutes of sun exposure.  Camera flashes and indirect light can also hurry fading along.

The most notorious colour for fading on MLP is a hair colour that collectors refer to as "fading pink."  Fading pink begins life as a bright, vibrant, almost florescent shade but if exposed to sunlight it quickly fades away and can turn completely white in a very short time.  In fact, it fades so quickly that often collectors discover that a pony whom they've always thought was made with white hair was actually rooted with fading pink.  UK Mountain Boy Tornado and Argentina Baby Ribbs are two such ponies, who are often so often seen with completely faded hair that they are thought to originally have had white hair.
Believe it or not, all of these ponies started life with the same bright pink hair that you see on the left
Although fading pink is (obviously) known for it's lack of colour-fastness, any colour can fade or yellow over time.  Red hues (including pinks, and purples) are known to leach out faster than other pigments.  This can cause pink or red paint to become white or disappear completely and purples to become blue.  These changes in colour can also be mistaken for variants.

Elf

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Baking Party

Just for fun, a pony display inspired by my own baking party that's taking place this weekend:

Some Pony Friends decided one day to have a baking party.  They met in the kitchen on a sunny morning and got right down to business.  They were making pies, cakes, and cookies.
Cherry Sweet kept an eye on the pie in the oven so that it wouldn't burn.  It was her favourite flavour: cherry, of course!
Vanilla Treat and Cupcake were deciding what to make next.  They looked over the ingredients and considered what kind of cookies would taste the best.
Meanwhile, Bon Bon stole a taste of the batter already in the bowl.  Mmm...those cookies would be yummy whatever other flavours they added!
Looks like the friends are going to have even more help shortly.  Li'l Sweetcake and Li'l Cupcake are wondering if any of the baking is ready to taste yet.

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Current Customs Progress:
Commissions: 0
Personal: 7
Swaps: 1
Planning Stage: 1
Gifts: 2

Sales Ponies to Clean: done!  MLP Fair here we come!

Collection photos added to album (recently): over 200 moved to new Flickr account

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Nigh 2

I've been busy with pen and ink as well as the paintbrush lately.  Part one of Roomy's serialized novel, Nigh, is now available for purchase on e-readers, and Roomy has revealed the cover for the second part.  Here is the art I've done for that cover.
Once again, you can see the finished cover on Roomy's blog here.  And if you're looking for a good fantasy-horror read, consider buying part one.

Elf

Friday, February 6, 2015

Guest Artist: Roomy's Mom!

Trying to blog weekly about your art projects when most of the art projects you're working on need to stay secret for the time being does make things difficult.  Time to ride the coat tails of another artist!
 Roomy's Mom retired a few years ago and got bored.  She decided that she would try to find a hobby, took some art classes, and absolutely astounded all of us with her hidden talent.
She has been painting with water colours for a few years now, and we've been lucky enough to claim several paintings that are displayed around our home.  This past Christmas we were hopeful that we'd be receiving another painting as a gift, but even better, we got 4.  Personally, I think mine are the best of the bunch. ;)  I love the backgrounds, the subtle switch between colours in Greek Sunbeam's tail, and Snuzzle's expression.


 Elf

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Current Customs Progress:
Commissions: 0
Personal: 7
Swaps: 1
Planning Stage: 1

Sales Ponies to Clean: still far too many

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Curating Your Collection - When to Update Your Wishlist

A few days ago a friend of Roomy's contacted her saying he had some G1 ponies for sale and asking if I was interested.  Naturally, I took a look, and then asked for prices and better pictures of a few.  Roomy, looking over my shoulder, says, "so...seaponies, eh?"

Roomy doesn't usually question my buying habits (unless it's "why aren't you buying this?"), but in this case she had a point.  I have gone on record several times that I did not want sea ponies in my herd.  So why am I looking at sea ponies now?  What make a collector change her mind?
I learned long ago that building a collection is an ever-changing project.  You start out thinking "I really don't like the look of 3-D symbols" and you go along for years avoiding ponies with them.  But then, one day, you see one in person and there's something about that particular pony that makes you change your mind.  Maybe it's the way her hair is styled, maybe it's the way the eye paint was applied that makes it look like she's looking over her shoulder, maybe it's something that another collector says about her.  Whatever it is, it makes you look at that pony, and maybe that set, differently.
I've done this several times.  3-D symbols, see-through ponies, "Shady pose," perfume puffs, all were banned from my herd at one time, and all have since found their way in through that one pony with something to recommend them (although I'm still not totally convinced on the perfume puffs).
That's not to say there aren't still things I don't like and don't want (Princess ponies, eyelash princess ponies, ballerina ponies).  I still have no intention of becoming a completest collector.  I'm still curating my collection.  It only means my collecting tastes, like other tastes, have changed over the years.  And that means, it might be time to update my wishlist.

Elf

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Current Customs Progress:
Commissions: 0
Personal: 7
Swaps: 1
Planning Stage: 1

Sales Ponies to Clean: far too many

Collection photos added to album (recently): 51

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Army Ponies

Collectors don't generally refer to their collections as armies (although they can number into the hundreds).  But many collectors amass different examples of a certain character, and these sub-collections are generally referred to as armies.

My first army is my Peachy/Snuzzle army (currently rather heavy on the Peachys).  I chose Snuzzle as my army pony because she was the favourite childhood pony that I never had.  I remember being fascinated by pictures of her in pamphlets. I loved her name.  I loved her colours.  I never saw her in the store, and I never ordered her through the mail order program.  I did have a Peachy, who I was very fond of, and I imagined them twins.  Later, as I discovered Nirvana ponies, I was excited by the number of varients there were, and how many of them looked extremely different from the North American versions.
North American Snuzzle, North American Peachy, Greek Peachy, Italian Peachy, Dollymix Snuzzle, and Prototype Peachy
This Snuzzle was a gift from Roomy and my other very close friends one birthday, so she has that added  specialness about her.  My childhood Peachy was a gift from my grandparents, so there are also good memories attached to this character, although I no longer have my childhood version.

My second army began by accident.  I don't normally collect different versions of the same character, preferring to choose one example to keep.  However, I've found choosing between versions of Princess Twilight Sparkle to be rather difficult.  I blame the rainbow-themes of the last few waves of ponies for this, since it allows for quite a bit of interesting variation in the re-releases of the mane six ponies.
I'm going to need more crowns
This second army is a bit odd.  I wasn't a huge fan of Twilight becoming a princess in the cartoon (I've never been a huge fan of princess ponies, even as a kid in the 80s).  I acquired my first Princess Twilight only because there was enough difference between her and original Twilight for me to consider them as separate characters.  Then I got a castle, who came with a Princess who flapped her wings (not pictured above).  Then I got another castle, with another Princess.  Then I got a double pack in order to get the Breezie pony.  Then I had 4 Princesses and I couldn't decide between them.  And then, Roomy suggested that I could consider keeping all of them, a whole new world opened up, and I began looking for versions I'd missed.  I must be sure not to do this with the other mane six ponies, or shelf space is really going to become a serious problem.

Elf

Friday, January 16, 2015

MGR Original Six

I've been dying to share these customs, but had to wait until after the holidays, since one of them was a gift.  Although I've done several customs based on Hasbro ponies, I often make some kind of change or alteration to my customs so that I don't lose interest in the project.  I've been a great fan of MGR ponies for years, and also of the earliest G1 ponies, so I suppose it was only a matter of time before I did a mash up of the two.
 All six of these are Happy Meal ponies.  The manes, elements of the tails, and their MGR blankets are all sculpted with Apoxie Sculpt.
They have all had jewels added as well, that match either their colour scheme or their original ribbon colours.  The blanket designs are based on the later Hasbro MGR pony designs, utilizing the original six symbols.
All have been fully hand-painted and sealed, and had blush added.
Snuzzle is staying with me as part of my army, and Minty was a Solstice gift.  The others will be going to the Fair in June to hopefully find new homes.

Enjoy!
Cotton Candy:
Blossom:
Blue Belle:
Butterscotch:
Minty:
Snuzzle:
Elf