Most of my Man o’ Wars are either early variations or oddballs; this is good, in a way, because it means the holes I now get to fill in my Man o’ War chronology/timeline are the more common and less expensive pieces. (The only real “rarity” I need is the Presentation Series one. Since the last one I saw for sale ended up in the $700 range, that can wait!)
But tell me if you’ve heard (or experienced) this story before. You get super-excited to get something you want real cheap… until it arrives in a box that’s clearly too small, and reeks of your Grandmother’s ashtray.
Fortunately – and as you can see from the photos – he survived the journey to my doorstep without a scratch. The box and packaging made a quick exit to the recycling bin in the garage, though, and “Manny” has been going through a couple of showers with me since then.
(We all do that, right? Rinse dirty and/or stinky new horses in the shower with us? Please tell me I’m not the only one!)
Stinky models are not an uncommon occurrence for either me or thee. Traditional Breyers are made from a semi-synthetic material that is heat and moisture sensitive: kept in a stinky environment, they’re eventually going to start stinking like it. Only cleaning, fresh air, sunshine and time can remedy that problem.
I grew up in a family of smokers, so I got good at mitigating cigarette smells. The stinkiness of the packaging was the lesser of the two evils here. That could be fixed.
The size of the box, on the other hand, made me nervous as heck. It takes more than soap and water to fix rubs, scratches and breaks.
While I can understand that some people can become inured to the smell of cigarette smoke, the fact that the model is a little too big for the box you’ve chosen should be obvious. My local post office (as I assume most of them in the U.S.) has little handouts and charts to instruct you on sensible packaging procedures.
Some of it is a lack of experience: we ship a lot of stuff to each other on a daily basis, so hobbyists tend to be unusually high-skilled in the art. But I don’t know how many times I’ve been at the local Post Office during the year-end holidays, stuck behind someone holding a box, a gift item, and wearing a confused and desperate look on their face.
The other, of course, is cost: to either save money or to avoid a trip to the store to buy packing supplies, they’ll scrimp and make do with what they have in the house. And these models are virtually unbreakable, right? A plastic bag or a couple pieces of wadded up newspaper should be more than enough!
I got lucky this time, but there are times that I have not. Why it always seems to be the really rare or unusual items that end up losing the shipping lottery, I’ll never figure out.