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HOLLOW PLASTIC HERTER's DECOYS

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HOLLOW PLASTIC HERTER's DECOYS
 Good morning, All~


As a "sideline hobby" that even I do not fully understand, I collected a couple of early Herter's hollow plastic decoys this Fall. I am not a true "collector" of decoys - mostly because I cannot afford those antique stool that really catch my eye. Instead, I have gathered up a bunch of decoys that have a special meaning to me - a sort of nostalgia-driven collection.



I have posted earlier about my activity over the past couple of years - especially in 2017 - with Herter's smaller foam-bodied decoys - the Model 63s: hollow Tenite heads on Durlon foam bodies. [ https://stevenjaysanford.com/...ters-smaller-decoys/ ] I did not grow up with such birds. My Dad had the balsa-bodied Model Canadas and later the classic Model 72s - especially the Broadbill which were the Gold Standard for many decades; both were over-sized decoys. We did not own any hollow-bodied plastic decoys but I was aware of them - probably from the Herter's catalog.







I first acquired one in 2017 whilst on my quest for a pair of Model 63 Pintails. They were (and are) hard to find. Along the way, I bought a worn-out Model 50 Pintail that I rehabbed and re-painted.









Any waterfowler who has grown up with the Herter's catalog as "study material" cannot forget the photo of George L. Herter demonstrating the strength of Tenite - the plastic used for the heads on some decoys and the entire decoy on others. His vivid demonstration involved a fence post.....







(In practice, most of us learned that Tenite shatters - conchoidal fracture - when struck by shotgun pellets.)



One hollow Tenite bird, though, that had always caught my eye in the old catalogs was one that had a really sweet head and chest - one that truly looked like a Broadbill to me. I had never seen one in-hand but was always drawn to it. In some catalogs it was presented as a Model 50 Redhead - with the Model 50 Bluebill a completely different decoy.







In the earlier catalog, though, it appears as the Model 59 - both Redhead and Bluebill. The upright head, full(ish) crown and especially the sweet transition from neck to chest looked just right.







Also, the body on the Model 50 (and foam Model 63) does not (in my opinion) have the correct proportions for a Broadbill/Bluebill. The sides are too long and the tail section is too short. My theory is that the body was designed for a Canvasback and not a Broadbill. The pochards - the Aythya species including Can, Redhead, the Scaups and Ring-neck - have many features in common but their body proportions vary markedly.



So, I added the Model 59 Bluebill - and probably a Model 50 Bluebill, too - on my "need it" list when searching the interwebs. Knowing I can get Model 50s from a friend on Long Island for about $10 each, I did not need much "ammunition" (i.e., cash) for this electronic hunt. Also, I did not want anything in "mint condition, original paint". Whereas a real collector would prize such specimens, I planned to repaint anything I found with my own gunner scheme. So, anything worn or repainted was much more desirable to me.





The first hollow Herter's I got was this Model 50 Bluebill. It's price was about the same as a box of shells.







This Model 59 was much harder to find - but did not cost much more - maybe 2 boxes of shells with the shipping. I think she's mostly original paint - but the powder-blue bill and the white mustache and speculum were no doubt added to the factory paint.








In its day, the Model 59 was billed as a less expensive alternative to the Model 50. Both lines were essentially life-size. (Most Great South Bay gunners embraced over-size decoys a long time ago.) I do not know how they performed - but they appear in only the earlier catalogs. The Model 50s were offered well into the 1960s but the Model 59s were, I think, discontinued after just a few years.



Here is the Model 50 "after". I painted in the "dirty" side feathers because the squashed shape of this body exaggerates the sides and narrows the back. And, I suspect Minnesota gunners encounter October-November Bluebills that still have some summer plumage - whereas we on Long Island shoot December-January birds in full nuptial dress.









I took the liberty of fairing the neck-to-chest transition - to match the catalog. Vigorous sanding removed the obvious seams and a wash with acetone made her ready for paint.







As perfect as are the proportions in profile, the plan view of the Model 59 shows a rather narrow body - her beam is a bit shy of 5.5 inches.







I have floated neither - open water being scarce hereabouts with the mercury at 5 degrees right now - but I suspect she would roll quite a bit in a chop. The Model 50 is both wider and flatter and probably lays more nicely in a heavy sea or wind.



(photo in next post - can only show 10 per post)




I think I have achieved my Herter's goals - maybe one more Model 59 to paint as a drake ? In any event, these early hollow plastics will simply ride the shelf; my rehabbed Model 72 Broadbill will go to work.



My next quest involves old Wildfowler Mallards and Blacks - and I think I have rounded up just enough for yet another rig - for next season.



All the best,



SJS
Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


Subject Author Views Date
Thread HOLLOW PLASTIC HERTER's DECOYS Steve Sanford 2532 Jan 14, 2019, 5:12 AM
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Steve Sanford 2480 Jan 14, 2019, 5:30 AM
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benp 2459 Jan 14, 2019, 6:16 AM
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Jon Yenulonis 2445 Jan 14, 2019, 6:48 AM
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Charles Olson 2256 Jan 15, 2019, 1:53 PM
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Steve Sanford 2249 Jan 15, 2019, 2:09 PM
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Vince Pagliaroli 2387 Jan 14, 2019, 3:59 PM
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Josh Schwenger 2384 Jan 14, 2019, 4:03 PM
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Steve Sanford 2340 Jan 15, 2019, 3:26 AM
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Josh Schwenger 2294 Jan 15, 2019, 8:21 AM
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Eric Patterson 2285 Jan 15, 2019, 9:26 AM
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len hawkins 2205 Jan 15, 2019, 5:55 PM
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Steve Sanford 2182 Jan 16, 2019, 2:05 AM
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Chris H 2160 Jan 16, 2019, 4:24 AM
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Steve Sanford 2100 Jan 17, 2019, 2:02 AM
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Chris H 2067 Jan 17, 2019, 9:52 AM
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Steve Sanford 2055 Jan 17, 2019, 11:23 AM
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Steve Sanford 1764 Mar 12, 2019, 10:22 AM
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len hawkins 2113 Jan 16, 2019, 6:06 PM
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Ed L. 1701 Mar 13, 2019, 10:17 AM
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Steve Sanford 1697 Mar 13, 2019, 11:03 AM
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Paul Strombeck 1661 Mar 13, 2019, 6:12 PM
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Steve Sanford 1334 Apr 15, 2019, 10:58 AM