The Spring Has Sprung "Phone Call Raffle" was actually a worse experience for me than the Alpine Speed Dial Nightmare: at least with Alpine, I felt I had some control over my fate. Maybe if I made enough calls, or timed them just right, the law of averages would kick in and I’d get a call through. With the Saddlebred, I was reduced to waiting for a phone call that may or may not come.
It didn’t. There was no phone call - and no Web Special for me, again. Sure, there’s a slight chance of being called from the wait list, but as that’s never happened to me on any of the Connoisseur drawings, I’m not holding my breath.
You’d think I’d be used to this kind of rejection by now. Nope, still stings. (Which reminds me - time to fill out the BreyerFest Volunteer Application. Ha! And, sigh.)
In a momentary flash of pettiness, I thought about collating a list of people who managed to get both Alpine and Spring Has Sprung, and secretly send them some negative mental energy. Then my (lapsed) Catholic guilt kicked in, and I decided that that energy was better spent solving a vexing problem of quilt engineering that’s been harassing me for a few years now.
(Yes, I did. Funny thing is, it’s something I’ll probably never get around to actually doing. It’s not overly complicated, just time consuming.)
Here’s the lovely little thing that arrived in the mail the other day:
It's the 2002 QVC Man o’ War Special Run. Yeah, he’s no WEG Man o’ War, but he might just become almost as scarce as one, in the long run. Most collectors assumed he wasn’t all that different from the regular run #47 Man o’ War, and ordered accordingly - as in, not that much at all.
Most of the ones that did get ordered, presumably, went to nonhobbyists, racing fans, or more casual collectors who aren’t real active on the hobbyist scene. The mold itself has never been popular in the hobbyist community - or, I should say, the live showing component of the hobbyist community - and that was also a contributing factor in his relatively cool reception.
At first glance he doesn’t appear to be too different from the standard regular run Man o’ Wars that populate the aftermarket, but there are some subtle differences. His finish is a little more matte, and a little more orangey than most, though not out of the range of variation seen on the regular run pieces. The shading on his muzzle is also more extensive, and more dramatic than most #47s, but again, not necessarily out of the standard range of variation.
Two things that do set him apart from most #47s: his eartips, and his (ahem) nether regions. Most standard Man o’ Wars that I’ve seen - and owned - have come with dark gray to black shaded eartips. The QVC version does not. Conversely, regular run Man o’ Wars don’t typically have much in the way of shading on his unmentionables, but the QVC version has it almost to excess.
(You’ll have to take my word for it, okay? I’m trying to keep it work-safe, here.)
It wasn’t any of these features that caught my eye while cruising eBay last week. My cue to look just a little bit closer at that listing was, ironically, his blue paper "Congratulations" tag - something so common and generic that most hobbyists disregard them altogether. It’s something you’d see with some frequency on Breyer releases of the early 2000s, but not on a regular run Man o’ War, discontinued in 1995.
Especially since the tag features a picture of Traveller, the chalky pale gray/alabaster release of the Man o’ War mold - who didn’t make his debut until 1998: