I'm really glad I could help you, Toolwarrior I firmly believe forums like this are a place to share experiences and a love of certain devices so will alwys do what I can to give my opinions based on real world usage. For the most part, if I have never used a device, I will not offer an in-depth opinion on it.
I would bet you a GI Joe to a damned if I know that it was a dummy model you picked up in BB. I've seen a dummy model exactly like you describe with the static picture on it and compared it against my phone at a Vodafone store when I went in to enquire about cases and yes the build quality of the dummy version was nowhere near like the real thing in my other hand.
It sounds like you are doing the right thing though and finding a store with real phones to check instead.