There have apparently been some mentions on collecting forums that a small number of models shipped from Copperfox have arrived with paint damage. We opened most of the models that came through Triple Mountain, and although we didn't give them a full inspection, we didn't see any issues with ours that would cause us concern. That tells me that Copperfox's quality checks work well. There were lots of beautiful variations in shading (on both) and dappling (on Toby), and there will be some tiny flaws, as there are with any hand-painted item. These tiny differences make each model unique. I'm reminded of the Native American Navajo tribe, whose amazing artists deliberately include a mistake into each item they create because "only God is perfect." These guys looked so good, though, that I was glad I'd pre-ordered one of each Rupert for my own collection, and really wish I'd pre-ordered Tobys, too!
Below is a note that Becky from Copperfox asked us to share with all of you, which we're happy to do. We love that she is open with collectors about the process for creating Copperfox models, as well as the challenges. With such a leader at the helm of the company, we see great things in their future! Anyway, here's Becky with reflections on production this year:
I wanted to drop you a note to give you a personal update on what’s happening in the world of Copperfox Model Horses and to share some background information on our most recent production run to try to dispel some myths, rumours and conspiracy theories that are galloping around the hobby about us. Information is always best when it comes straight from the horse's mouth and as you know, we are always happy to share what is going on behind the scenes and to explain why things have happened the way they have.
Our production run this year has been our most challenging to date and in all honesty is not the way we planned this year at all. To give you some background information, we have been working with new painting team at our factory this year and now have a dedicated team of 16 people working on our models full time. After our 2016 production runs, our original painting team was disbanded as we were unable to order anymore models at the time, which has resulted in a slight variation in painting techniques for this run. When we put a model into production we need to meet a minimum order requirement, which is why there has been a delay in-between releases and also why only two moulds feature in our 2017 range. Funding is everything when it comes to creating model horses and our trip to Kentucky in July enabled us to finalise funding for our complete 2017 production. Our newly created painting team also underwent several months of training before they could paint Rupert and Toby which added to the delay in this years releases.
I visited our factory earlier this year to oversee the production of both Rupert and Toby. Whilst I was there I personally inspected, checked and passed most of the finished Rupert and Toby models. They had a limited number of models left to complete when I returned to the UK and I was confident all was under control, especially as they had created beautiful models for us before and knew our specific requirements. When we received the delivery of models last month, we had an unexpected surprise in that a high proportion of Ruperts were severely damaged, we suspect during packing, in addition to also being short shipped Tobys in both matte and gloss finishes. You can imagine my disappointment and anger at this discovery, especially after my visit to check the models, and the situation it has put us in. As much as it might be logical to claim for a resupply of models, this sadly is impossible when we cannot prove how the models have been damaged, especially when I’ve checked and passed them at the factory. As we’ve learnt the hard way, dealing with a Chinese factory is nothing like I’ve ever experienced in business before.
In dispatching all our pre-orders, I once again inspected and personally checked all the models we had received before they were packed. Each model was checked to ensure that it was within our range of acceptable tolerances and if it didn’t fit, it was failed and banished to our warehouse. Small blemishes and seam lines are a natural part of hand made production and when quality checking and passing our models, we have to look at the model as a whole rather than focus on individual minor blemishes. With this in mind, it now means we have a warehouse with several boxes of failed Rupert models that we don’t know what to do with and have also had to cancel off orders for Copperfox Toby as we simply did not have them to sell.
Another aspect we have to juggle when checking models is that we produce hundreds of models rather than thousands like other model horse manufactures and small flaws or varying finishes will happen naturally during the production, which have to be accepted as part of the consequence of producing such a highly detailed model, for the retail price. Models of a comparable quality and production price are being sold by other model horse manufacturers for double or triple the price of our Copperfox Models. There are also “perfect” “LSQ" models being sold by model horse manufacturers for hundreds, even thousands of dollars, which will be (and should be) completely flawless. When we now create a run of 150 models, we create 150 models not 300 models and then pick the best 150. That 150 is the total number of models produced. Unfortunately we cannot afford to overrun models like we did on our 2016 production runs, with the models not being chosen to receive certificates becoming Copperfox Seconds or Blank Canvases. We have to pay the same production cost for every model produced regardless of quality, be it a certificated model or failed one. Copperfox Rupert and Toby are fabulous models, with Copperfox Toby being our most complex model to date with many airbrushing, hand painting and dappling stages. To create this model takes double the time as any other Copperfox model and in hindsight it is a model too complicated for it’s retail price.
There are no extra Copperfox Toby or Ruperts left available to purchase which means we are unable to offer exchanges on either model, but we can offer a full refund if you are unhappy with it for whatever reason. If this is something you would like to do, please let me know and then I can let you know the procedure for getting the model back to us.
As you can hopefully see, it’s not been the year that we were aiming for. It’s almost been like starting again, with a few shortcuts built in. In true Copperfox style we are pushing forward and taking steps to ensure that we remove possible setbacks. We have four new colour ways due to join the herd in November- Cadbury, Jasper, Prince Cavalier and Gibson, as well as two models who are as shiny as Copper pennies. To counter and ensure no unexpected surprises on these models, I will be travelling to the factory to inspect, check and personally pack every single model so we know that each model is as perfect as near enough can be- that and I’ll be having a few strong words with the factory! Every owner of a Copperfox Rupert or Toby will be able to order these new models at a special and exclusive price, so please keep an eye out for a future email trotting into your inbox with details of these models and an unique discount code.
To continue the good news, we hope also to close 2017 with the unveiling of our new Copperfox Shire mould, so there is plenty to look forward to. He is an absolute stunner!
I hope this information helps to clear any ”fake news” that you might have heard and to also update you on what is happening here at Copperfox Model Horses. As usual, if you have any questions or queries please do not hesitate to get in touch. We have an exciting few weeks to look forward to!!
Copperfox Model Horses