Pro Bull Rider Collector’s Set!
by Rudy Panucci
A while back in Action Figure Zone, right here at Mastercollector.com, I wrote about a Bull Rider figure that I saw on Target’s website. It featured a figure of unspecified size, and my curiosity was piqued, so I ordered one. I was a bit surprised when it arrived.
Turns out it’s a Breyer’s Collectible. Breyer is the famous collectible horse company. If you’ve been scooting around the toy hobby for a while, you know what that means: Great sculpting, painting, and detail on the animal; Hardly any effort put into the human figure; Accessories are an afterthought; and the price is ridiculously high.
This is the Breyer Pro Bull And Rider set, and it sells for a little over $31 dollars at Target online. I have not seen this in any other stores, but then, I don’t really linger over the Breyer stuff. If they’d make the occasional 1/6 scale horse, sure I’d be a fan, but they don’t. Most of their products are 1/9 scale, or smaller. This set is 1/12 scale, so it’s even smaller.
First, let’s get the animal out of the way. The Bull in this set is the real star. He’s got all the detail, the sculpting, the clever pose (he balances on his nose and front legs to show off his bucking motion). He’s also one solid hunk of plastic with no articulation. It’s a great little statue of a rampaging bull, but that’s about all you can do with him. Maybe if you slapped a cape on him, he could be some kind of flying “Superbull”, but that’s a bit of a stretch. If you’re looking for a 1/12 scale, unarticulated, bucking bull, this is just about the best you could hope to find.
But that’s not why I ordered the set. I wanted the Rider. I was curious to see how well made this guy would be, what his articulation was, and so on. After careful examination, I am left with an overwhelming sense of “eh”. He’s got fifteen points of articulation. His joints are a bit loose. He does not come with the head sculpt that Target showed online (it’s also on the box). That figure had a moustache. This guy is clean-shaven. Both head sculpts look awfully familiar, like they just scaled down a head from a recent GI Joe Knockoff. I think I may have 12” versions of both of these guys. Breyer is not known for putting much effort into their human figures, and it shows. The actual figure is not horrible, but it’s not remarkable, either. The proportions are too far off to use as a child figure from another scale, so you’re sort of stuck with him on his own. I guess he could date Dawn dolls. I’m guessing that Breyer just contracted with a Chinese factory and didn’t care much for what they got, as long as he could fit on the Bull in the package.
His outfit is decent, but not up to the detail standards that Breyer uses for their animals. There are Velcro closures, which really don’t work on this small a scale, but the tailoring and stitching are pretty good. His hat is flimsy flocked vacu-formed plastic. His boots are nice, and differentiated between left and right, with some nice Western detail. He comes with a belt that has a confusing latch. The pants and shirt sport realistic colors, but those, and the chaps, are marred by the giant, out-of-scale, Velcro. He also comes with a sling, in anticipation of a rough dismount.
In addition to the Bull and Rider, this set includes a vac-metalized trophy and belt buckle. The quality on these two “extras” is abysmal. The look like the type of trinkets you get in packages of twenty at the dollar store. It’s embarrassing that they stink up a halfway decent set with stuff that cheapens everything.
And if you want to open this set, be sure to keep the little clear rubber bands. That’s the only way you’ll be able to keep the rider on the bull, once they’re out of the box. I had to rubber band the poor guy’s neck to the bull’s tail, which I’m fairly certain is a violation of Pro Bull Riding protocol.
So overall, this is an overpriced set of middling quality. On closer examination, the animal is top-notch, the figure is okay, and the clothing and accessories, iffy. If you want to start collecting Breyer, I suggest you begin with one of their sets that doesn’t include humans. I haven’t examined their 1/9 scale human figures closely yet, but they appear to be of a similar quality. Stick with their horses. Nobody does horses like Breyer. If you want humans, there are dozens of better places to start.