Friday, September 6, 2013

This Year’s Disappointing Spotlight On Snoopy: The 2013 Bird-Watcher Snoopy Underwhelms.

The Good: Good sculpt, Often can be found dirt cheap!
The Bad: Balance issue, Seems small for the price, Sloppy paint job
The Basics: The 2013 Bird-Watcher Snoopy ornament is a Spotlight On Snoopy ornament that helps make the argument that the ornament franchise has jumped the shark and Hallmark is just milking Peanuts fans for their money.

When it comes to collectibles, it is somewhat obvious that manufacturers are out to make money. They have a business and a profit motive, so complaints from fans about how money-hungry collectibles manufacturers can be is almost pointless. But, with every new franchise or license a collectibles manufacturer acquires, there almost inevitably comes a point when the shift occurs between creating a desirable, high-quality collectible designed to entice collectors into spending their money and the manufacturer churning out crap with the obvious intent of getting dollars from fans. There are, sadly, very few collectibles manufacturers I can think of that have not undergone that shift with at least one of their licenses. With Hallmark, that time may well have come with the Peanuts license in their Hallmark Keepsake ornament line. With this year’s Spotlight On Snoopy ornament, I am compelled to admit that I cannot recall the last truly worthwhile Peanuts ornament produced or released. This year’s first Peanuts ornament dud is the Bird-Watcher Snoopy ornament.

The 2013 Bird-Watcher Snoopy ornament might be a fair sculpt of Snoopy (and Woodstock) for Peanuts fans, but it is poorly painted (at least all of the ones I have found), unbalanced and not worth shelling out $12.95 for given its problems.


The Bird-Watcher Snoopy ornament features Snoopy from Peanuts wearing a camera around his neck, holding binoculars up to his eyes. Woodstock sits perched atop the binoculars, looking down into the right lens. The sculpt is all right and the concept is fine, it is the execution of it that is comparatively less remarkable than many of the other ornaments, even the Peanuts ones.

The Hallmark Bird-Watcher Snoopy ornament is made of a durable plastic and has the characters cast in very bright plastic. The sculpting is very simple; binoculars, camera, and hat are simple and stylized as opposed to being detail rich, which is not that much of a problem considering the source material. The shirt and camera are very simple in their detailing and the ornament is notable in it lacks any single superlative sculpted or coloring detail.

What really lowers the Bird-Watcher Snoopy ornament is the lack of sophistication to the coloring of the ornament and how sloppily the paint is applied. For sure, Peanuts fans have to expect monotones – no real depth or shading or attempt at realism to the coloring. But the Bird-Watcher Snoopy ornament looks ridiculously simple and the lenses on the ornament are all poorly painted. I did not find one without chips or erratically-applied silver for the lenses and, combined with bleed from the shirt and hat onto Snoopy’s fur, this is one of the poorest executions of a Peanuts ornament seen in years.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, Bird-Watcher Snoopy could have a sound or light function, but it does not. This is a very basic ornament intended to be one of the more affordable options without flair. In that regard, it is fine; it does not need a light or sound function.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake Bird-Watcher Snoopy ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Peanuts Christmas Tree, the Bird-Watcher Snoopy ornament is mediocre at best on its own and poor when balance is added as a factor. Hallmark has the standard steel hook at the logical point, the top of Snoopy's head. However, from there, the binoculars upon which Woostock is perched weighs the ornament down, causing the ornament to pitch awkwardly. In fact, the 30 degree forward pitch makes this a sloppy and poorly-constructed Peanuts ornament.


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition original U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (reviewed here!). Since then, they have made ornament replicas of virtually everything that has ever had collectibles associated with it (and some that Hallmark has pioneered). The Bird-Watcher Snoopy ornament seems like it would appeal well to Peanuts fans, but it did not connect with collectors. Given that it is the 16th in the Spotlight On Snoopy series, fans might feel compelled to collect it, but those with discriminating tastes will be happy to pass it by.


The Bird-Watcher Snoopy ornament is a disappointing Hallmark ornament that will not thrill Peanuts fans or birdwatchers and those who might feel inclined to buy it should wait until after the holiday season; it is hard to imagine this one would not be available on clearance then!

For other Peanuts holiday ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2012 In The Spirit
2012 Onstage Antics
2012 Fisherman Snoopy
2011 Snoopy Claus
2011 Ho! Ho! Ho! Tasty Snow!
2010 "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!"
2009 Just The Right Tree


For other ornament reviews, please visit my index page!

© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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