ScottMC, if you're willing to budge a bit about that cap detail, Carmina's balmoral boot is the finest affordable model I know of:
...and these are sometimes cheaper on sales, too.
The U-cap model seems to have become more widespread during the last ten years. When I first saw it, I thought that it was interesting and novel...but like all great things, details, models, cuts come and go.
Here's a U-model from the all-American Stetson from 1939:
Very few things are new.
On another note, which tannery offers very smooth kangaroo leather? I received some samples from Germany but the grain is a bit too large for my intended use on nice, dressy balmoral boots. I've read great things about the leather type, so I'd really like to give them a go but would really prefer as smooth a 'roo as possible.
Nutcracker, is this interesting vintage patent leather corrected with a thin layer of plastic like most modern versions? Back before plastics I trust most patent hides were really wax calf polished to a mirror-like state by some poor servant.