You mentioned a japanese version of the Blacksmith that came unstructured, do you have the model number or pictures of that one?
Just took delivery of the new 8119's and they are stunners.
•The leather is absolutely stunning -- a rich burgundy oxblood. It's soft but thick and beefy. I'm hoping this leather gets more use in other new models.
•Changing out the cork outsole for the Vibram mini-lug sole is interesting. I'm sure RW was responding to customer feedback since many people complain about the slippage during winter w/ the cork. I think I prefer the aesthetics of the cork (dat flecked look doe) but the utility of the mini-lug, or at least the idea thereof since these haven't seen any real world tests yet.
•I like the antique brass hardware against the Oxblood but I kinda wish the brass would be new so we can antique it ourselves.
•The usual top notch construction from RW. I also can't fault QC, I've had great luck with RW's and have never sent a pair back.
•These are fresh off the line. The tag says they were made 6/15 -- just last month.
Here are some pics: