|Chalky mahogany Proud Arab Mare|
When collectors talk about chalkies, they are usually referring to basecoat chalkies. Simply put, basecoat chalkies are models that were painted with a layer of white paint before being painted with their usual color. (The reason for this will be explained below.) Because of this layer of white paint, the models often look like vintage chalkware (painted plaster figurines), hence the name. Chalkies with white markings are the easiest to identify because the markings are very clearly painted white and are not bare white plastic. Solid colored models with no white markings can be harder to identify, but there are a few tricks to keep in mind.
|Non-chalky Western Pony (left) and chalky Yellow Mount (right)|
|Chalky (left) and non-chalky (right) hoof bottoms|
|Chalky Man O' War with speckly paint|
|This chalky donkey has green plastic lurking |
beneath a rubbed ear tip
|Another donkey with green plastic underneath. |
This one shows the characteristic waffling pattern.
The earliest chalky models date to the 1950s. These models are both chalky and glossy, a combination that gives them the illusion of being made of fine china. At the time, Breyer was just getting started with their animal line, and a number of their early molds were copied from ceramic pieces by companies like Hagen-Renaker, Boehm, and Rosenthal. Many bore gold "tenite" stickers to assure buyers that while the models looked like fragile porcelain, they were in fact made of durable plastic. Chalkies from the 1950s and 1960s tend to be very scarce.
|Very rare Old Mold Chalky Bay Proud Arab Mare |
(mold based on a Hagen-Renaker design)
|Chalky Walking Hereford (copied from a Boehm piece)|
|A gold foil "tenite" sticker (as seen on a woodgrain)|
|A stripped chalky, formerly a bay Thoroughbred Mare|
|Traditional scale chalky Yellow Mount|
|Chalky Classic Arabian Mare|
|Tiny chalky Stablemate G1 American Saddlebred|
|Chalky Texas Longhorn|
|This purple plastic Midnight Sun did not have a white basecoat. |
He was just painted straight black over the colorful plastic.
|This formerly Battleship Grey Donkey had no white basecoat |
between the blue plastic and grey paint.
Another variety of pseudo-chalkies are models made of chalky plastic. They are not basecoated in white paint, but instead they are made of dense, highly opaque white plastic that mimics the look of a white basecoat. They are often very difficult to tell apart from basecoat chalkies in photos, but in hand, the difference is usually clear. Most chalky plastic models seem to date to the 1970s like their basecoated counterparts. Interestingly, they seem to be less common than basecoated chalkies.
|Chalky plastic Classic Swaps|
(Photo by squirrelchild on OMH. Used with permission.)
But since then, Breyer has issued a variety of chalkies or chalky-like models as regular runs. Pluto the Lipizzaner and Alborozo were both intentionally painted white over bare plastic and then shaded with grey. Kiowa, the Jumping Horse issued for the Vintage Club in 2014, was created specially for collectors as a chalky.
Occasionally, Breyer has created chalkies by painting over already finished models, usually models that are known to have been poor sellers. Giltedge, a florentine Hackney made in 1996, was plagued with problems when released and many were returned to Breyer. They were painted over and given a black paintjob with white markings and then resold at BreyerFest 1997 as Excalibur. If you click the link, you'll see the Excalibur model has a rub on the rump revealing the gold paint underneath.
The most notorious of these painted over duds are the repainted decorators from the 1960s. Collectors cringe to think of it now when decorators are highly sought after and command four-figure prices, but when they originally sold in the 1960s, the decorators were dubbed "duds" by Breyer owner Sam Stone (father of Peter Stone) because of poor sales. In recent years, collectors have discovered decorators hidden under basecoat chalky paintjobs by holding them up to the light to reveal dappling or by spying gold or blue paint in places where the models have been rubbed.
|A chalky bay Fighting Stallion that is a repainted Copenhagen. |
(Owned and photographed by Sara Roche.)
|A chalky buckskin Mustang that is a repainted woodgrain.|
(Owned and photographed by Sara Roche.)
|Partially chalky Black Beauty Fury Prancer|
|TV's Fury with his original paper saddle|
Chalkies can be hard to identify from photos until you know what you're looking for, but I hope my pictures and info will be helpful. Certainly, once you have a confirmed chalky in hand, it becomes very easy to spot others. For collectors who have not seen chalkies before who are unsure about a model even after comparing it to others in their collection, my usual rule of thumb is "if you're not sure, it probably isn't." Chalkies really do stand out when compared to non-chalky models which, combined with their rarity, makes them highly desirable to collectors.
For a list of chalky models that have been found as well as a gallery of chalky model photos, please visit Sara Roche's excellent Virtual Chalky Museum website.