Monday, May 27, 2013

Ornament Review: Brick Church - Candlelight Services #4 - 2001 Hallmark Ornament

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Adding a wing gives this one a nice variation
Cons: The colors in the windows aren't the best
The Bottom Line
Light up ornament
That looks better not lit up
I do like the sculpt

Once Again, It's the Windows that Hurt the Brick Church

I'm feeling like a bit of a Grinch as once again I am picking on an ornament from the Candlelight Services series.  I do like the series, and the ornaments seem to turn a corner at this point.  I start liking the next in the series pretty well.  But the Brick Church, the fourth in the Hallmark series, still has some problems.

The basic sculpt and idea is quite good.  As the title suggests, we've got a basic brick church here.  The plastic the ornament is made from has the outlines of every little brick in it.  And the tiles on the roof are grey slate again.  There's a nice steeple near the middle with a tiny bell in it.  The windows and ledges are covered with snow.  There's even a little snow on the trees around the church.  The brick walkway to the front door has been cleared.  And you can read the sign out front, which says 2001, the year this ornament originally came out.

What sets this church off so far in the series is the shape.  The first three were pretty much straight buildings.  This one actually incorporates a bend.  If you were small enough to actually enter the church, it looks like you'd go in the front door and turn right to get to the actual sanctuary.

Of course, that added shape also makes this ornament that much larger than the previous ones in the series.  The base looks like a quarter circle with a two inch radius.  All the flat space gives you a nice flat stand, so if you decide to display the ornament on a mantle or shelf, it would sit perfectly flat.  The underside of the base has the standard trademarks as well as the 4 in a Christmas tree, representing it as the fourth in a series.  And artist Ed Seale has one again hidden his initials in the snow behind the church.

If you decide to hang it by itself on the tree, you'll discover that the brass ring is located on the inside of the main part of the roof, not at the very top like I expected.  However, because of the added wing of the church, this does help the ornament hang perfectly level.

The reason to get these ornaments is the light up feature.  There's an opening in the back that allows you to plug in a regular string of Christmas tree lights.  The windows are made out of a clear plastic, which means they glow when the lights are turned on.

And here is where I have my problem with the ornament.  Due to the shape of the ornament, not all the windows really light up.  The windows over the doors, for example, hardly show up at all.  Frankly, I expected that, and I was too disappointed.  The problem comes with the colors.  We get a deep blue, a bright pink, and a shocking yellow/green.  The three does really go together and once again make the windows way too garish.  I do like the fact that a couple of the windows try to include some designs like flowers and circles.  However, the color scheme just doesn't work for me.

This is the one ornament in the series I actually prefer without the lights turned on.  And since the Candlelight Services series is designed to light up, that's not a good thing.  Collectors will want to get the Brick Church, but make it the last in the series you get.

Be sure to check out the other ornaments in the Candlelight Services series.

Original Price: $18.95

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