Saturday, January 10, 2015

Seeing Things

Here is Glacier, with his older and more conventionally handsome cousin:

There’s no VIN, and the detail put into the painting finishwork makes it pretty obvious that the Glaciers were U.S. made. I especially like the subtlety of the eyes: dark brown with a large iris and black eyeliner. They give him a dark and mysterious look, like he’s seen things.

I had been toying with the idea of using him as trade bait, but I think he’s staying. He’s got stories to tell me, man.

Some hobbyists were a little overly concerned about the sample in the promotional picture having what looked like a bent leg. I knew that wasn’t going to be the case with the actual production pieces because experience has been telling us, over and over, that you really can’t go by the photographs Reeves sends out to the world.

You wouldn’t think it would bear repeating at this point, but it does. I’ve noticed that even Reeves is starting to put "actual production may vary from prototype shown" in the fine print of some of their offers now. It’s something that should have been in the fine print since forever, but I’m accepting the improvement as an improvement, and moving on.

Though I think it would be awesome if they did do raffles/drawings for some of the actual prototypes, in addition to the semi-regular raffles/drawings for everything else. Aside from being really cool models to have, in general, they already come with a ready-made and easily acquired provenance you can use to trump the local live show competition. (The model in your documentation? That’s mine.)

It would reduce my chances of acquiring more prototypes in the future, but as I slowly go through another slight herd reduction, I have to accept the reality of not being able to have them all, anyway.

As for the echoing refrains of "Why can’t all Breyer models be of this quality level?" It’s not primarily a matter of old techniques vs. new, or U.S. manufacturing vs. China: it’s a scalability issue. Quality is much easier to control when you’re dealing with 40- or 50-piece runs, and not runs in the hundreds or thousands.

I think that’s the number one issue with the Premier Club. A Connoisseur-quality club with an unlimited membership cap sounds good at first, until you realize Reeves had a hard enough time with quality control with the original 350-piece runs on the Connoisseurs.

Quality control on the Vintage Club has been somewhat better, but the piece count is lower - 500 vs. 750+ for the Premier Club - and the paint jobs are less complex, and therefore harder to mess up. There are still some Vintage Club issues, particularly the lack of fidelity to the original paint jobs, caused partly (and ironically) by better quality control: the "imitation" overspray on Running Mare and Foal Salt and Pepper being the most amusing example of that.

There’s no way to completely eliminate flaws and errors in anything that’s mass-produced, even in relatively small runs. Things can get better - they can always get better - but perfection? Rarer than a Wedgewood Blue Antelope.


Cork said...

Sadly, my Croi Damsha arrived with two huge gouges down to the white plastic on the off side of her neck. The seam removal at the top of her mane was also extremely rough. She's still photo-showable, but still, grrr.

Anonymous said...

I think Breyer made some poor choices on the Vintage Club paint jobs with these models...
Running Mare & Foal ~ the pinto pattern is awful it would have looked better as a solid.
Harlequin ~ the spots look too controlled and;
Shetland Pony decorators ~ would have looked better w/o the pinto markings.