Monday, August 26, 2013

Another Hunch Horse

This garage sale is making me fantasize about bonfires. (Apparently me taking charge of the operation = DO ALL THE WORK.)

So FYI: I may be somewhat scarce this week.

As much as I love my Samples, they are problematic for me as a historian. This next model - a Sample for the 2012 BreyerFest Special Run Tunbridge Wells - illustrates these problems perfectly:

I’m not sure why I decided to buy this guy; I wasn’t all that impressed with the release last year, but when I spotted him in the boxes, he was another one of those "hunch" horses: I got a feeling. Having a feeling = having to buy him.

The thing is, I’m still not sure if my hunch has paid off, or not.

He’s definitely a Sample - no VIN number, no BreyerFest stamp. But beyond that, I really don’t know what to think. I haven’t spent that much time acquainting myself with standard, Production Run Tunbridge Wellses to know if I have something beyond that.

I do know that I like the release better, now, but I don’t know if it’s because the Sample in my possession might have a few extra details otherwise missing from the Production pieces, or if it’s a result of me getting to know him better.

But back to the main issue. While it is interesting to examine Sample pieces to understand the design and production process, ultimately that information is tertiary to the average hobbyist’s informational needs.

The first is, of course, what it is: name, number, quantity, type of run (Regular, or Special, and if a Special, for what?) Second is: is it special or valuable in some way? In other words, how does it differ from the norm?

Answering the first kind of question is rarely any trouble at all, and doesn't even require ownership. The second question, on the other hand, often does - or at least more than a passing acquaintance with it. I cannot answer questions of the second type if all I know of a model comes directly - or indirectly - from something that is by definition Not Normal.

That’s one of my pet peeves with Price and Information Guides, model horse or otherwise. The person or persons compiling the guide often/usually have access to items that the general buying public does not, and sometimes these pieces get utilized in these guides as representative examples.

Even if the guide makers take pains to point out the example’s different-ness, a combination of a lack of reading comprehension and wishful thinking often end up defeating the best efforts of the guide makers. Or even anyone posting anything vaguely authoritative online. Look at what happens every single time Reeves posts a Test Color or Auction Piece on Facebook.

This particular model also came with some condition issues: you probably can’t see them in the photo, but he’s in somewhat rough shape, even for a Sample. One hoof has a large rub, one eartip has been bumped/deformed, and he has a few light scratches. Unless he gets a little work done (not likely, on my schedule) he'll be staying off the show circuit.

I generally consider condition issues to be a good thing with regard to questionable models: what that tells me is that it might have been an actual "working/work in progress" Sample  - something earlier in the design process, rather than later or near-finalized. Something that got passed around and critiqued, and suffered a few indignities along the way.

I have no idea if that's actually the case. I don't know all that much about him at all.

It might just be the mystery of him that's making him so intriguing to me. What this all means is that I now probably have to buy or trade for a Production Run Tunbridge Wells. For research!

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