Sunday, January 9, 2011

Gathering Storm

Never fails: I go away for a few days because of work commitments, and actual news breaks out. (A mild sinus infection didn’t help matters, either.)

"Collector’s Choice" models becoming online exclusives? I didn’t see that coming. Since the voting for these models has been an online-only affair, it only makes sense that the sales of the models selected would go that way, too. It’s the model that the online model horse community selected, not the entire model horse buying public.

I’m not quite sure what to make of it, yet. Some of the issues inherent in the sales method - rapid sellouts, limited availability, crazy price points - aren’t going to be that big a deal. It’s going to be available for six months, which should minimize the information gap. If you’re a member of the model horse community, and don’t find out about it in time to order (or find someone to order for you) in six month’s time, you might want to rethink the way you interact with the Internet.

I am somewhat more optimistic than most hobbyists about Reeves dealing with Shopatron's international sales problem, especially if they are going to commit to "onlining" their direct-to-collector sales. Until that problem is corrected, it’ll probably generate a small industry of "pickup" services, a la BreyerFest. (I’ve had a lot of experience shipping items overseas, so I’d do it if I had the time. But I don’t.)

I am a little concerned about the availability of the model to offline hobbyists, though. How will they explain the disappearance of the Collector’s Choice from the catalogs? Will they even advertise it at all? Will there be other direct-purchase options available to those folks (Phone, Fax, or Fun Days?)

As for the model itself - a Gloss Charcoal Tobiano Pinto Big Ben, named Gathering Storm - I think he’s quite lovely. I liked all three of the voting choices they offered us back then, though the Chocolate Ethereal was my favorite. I’m assuming that this means the flaxen chestnut Bouncer is going to be the Fall Collector’s Choice model, since the test piece for the Ethereal was offered as the Raffle Model for the JAH subscription/resub drawing at BreyerFest last year.

I might pick the Big Ben in the Spring, for my birthday, depending on the finances. I have a lot of other things I have to commit to before then - new glasses, car repairs, possibly some minor (but necessary) elective surgery - so it’s a big if.

How would I get around my prohibition against buying any new models for myself this year? Easy: I’d rationalize him as a purchase of a new and (momentarily) unique production paint job. (Oh, there are a probably a few tests floating around, but tests don't really "count," y'know.)

Some of Breyer’s early Black Pintos paint jobs came with white manes and tails - the #113 Western Prancing Horse comes immediately to mind - but the color and quality of the black paint used on Black Pintos was quite different from that used on contemporaneous Charcoals.

Early Gloss Charcoals tended to have had a brown undertones and some body shading, while the early Black Pintos were usually an inky black, and minimally shaded. Some did have pangare-like shading on the undersides of their barrels, but I don’t think it was a conscious effort to add a touch of realism, or even something that was a part of the painting specs. It was just the way they (or perhaps, a certain member of the painting staff) painted them for a while.

No comments: