Saturday, March 20, 2010

On Radar

Overtime this week, again. The money is greatly appreciated, but I’d rather be here, writing. (Or even better, have a job that involves writing. I think the folks conducting SETI are getting more of a response to their search than I am to mine. Anyone want a copy of my resume? Relocating is not a problem!)

So Radar is Roy. Hmm, didn’t see that coming. I thought they’d go with a lower price point like they’ve done with the past couple of "tent specials," but maybe the relatively simple paint job is the cost-cutting move here.

We haven’t seen Roy in a while - over a decade, in fact, with the 740 Percheron Cross in Black, and the 1999 Sears Holiday SR in Alabaster. He’s pleasant enough a mold - not a favorite, but I don’t dislike him, either. Part of the problem is that most of the colors he’s been released in have been uninspiring; I think it says something that my favorite color on him is the Black. The 1992 Liver Chestnut’s not bad, either, but I’d like that color on almost any mold.

I know Francis Eustis has a lot of fans in the model horse community, but I’m not one of them. It has nothing to do with whether or not Roy is a faithful translation of Eustis’s work, or the rumored friction between him and Breyer. It’s entirely subjective: most of his work - though well-done from a technical standpoint - simply does not move or inspire to me. End of story.

Now, if I happened to find a Eustis Original somewhere in my travels, for a reasonable price, I’d certainly not hesitate to rescue it. (I did find one once, locally; the price was … amusing.) I would probably turn around and sell it to someone else who’d appreciate it more. I might hesitate a bit if it were one of his Drafts; I like his Drafts more than the rest of his work. His reverence for the heavy horses really shines through them.

I have an interesting article about Eustis in my archives; there was a long and well-illustrated article about him in the August 1970 issue of Western Horseman, "Animal Sculptor and Painter: F.W. Eustis." Here’s a photo from the article of him working in his studio:

Another interesting note: on the third page of the article, there’s also an announcement of the winners of Breyer’s "Name the Yearling" Contest. The contest was not a Western Horseman exclusive, but Breyer did promote it heavily there - another topic for another time, of course. A number of the names included on the list of winners were variations of Roy, inspired by the fact that the contest’s prize was a yearling sired by Roy Deck.

And 19 years later, Breyer releases a Eustis-sculpted model, named Roy. Just a coincidence, I’m sure, but a spooky-cool one!

So anyway, as you might have guessed, I’m not quite as enthused about the Radar as the chattering class on Blab are. I’ll have to see a better photograph before I make my decision; if the paint job is anything like that of the UK SR "Strikey," it might sway me. They seem to have done a nice job detailing out his face, so I will try to be optimistic.


GWR said...

"Part of the problem is that most of the colors he’s been released in have been uninspiring;"

That's pretty much my problem with the model, though none of the colors he's been released in have interested me. I like the promo pic of "Radar", though. As an OF performance shower I've been hoping for a nice color on Roy so I can show him in harness, this guy may be the Roy I would actually like to own.

Christine said...

I always like the Eustis drafters. We used to see a lot of them at the shows around here. Roy is not one of his best in my opinion and I am sorry to say that as I want to like him. My favorite is the roan one. I do like the color on Radar though.

Grammy said...


I have 2 F.W. Eustis signed horse models. One is a running Apaloosa and one is a Quarter Horse. I am wondering what they might be worth and am thinking of putting them on ebay. Are you collecting these models?

Becky Evans