Tag Archives: customizing

Too Many Legs

Remember that episode of Coupling where Jeff cries “I’ve got the keys to Paradise, but I’ve got too many legs!” ? Yeah, that was hilarious. My problem is mostly unrelated. Anyway…

I resculpted by Pebbles Saddlebred’s legs not once, not twice, but three times- with progressively more work but better results. There wasn’t much detail in them originally, which bugged me. And at this scale, it’s even more obvious when detail is missing.

Chrys 2.0 7-23-13

This third–and last–resculpt was partly inspired by Sarah Rose’s thread on Blab which follows her sculpting process for her new mini Marwari resin (my apologies to those of you without a Blab membership who won’t be able to view that thread). Her model had such gorgeous delineated detail on the legs, and I decided I would never be happy if I didn’t give it one more try on the Saddlebred.

Horse anatomy by Herman Dittrich – front legs

Horse’s lower legs are complicated and confusing. There are no muscles below the knee, but there are a bunch of tendons and ligaments going too and fro and creating all kinds of interesting lines under the skin. I found it extremely necessary to both photo references and consult my Herman Dittrich horse anatomy pictures. They’re posted on my Reference Photos page and also published in W. Ellenberger’s great Animal Anatomy.

My other invaluable resource was Kimberly Smith’s wonderful, big reference pictures. Every week Kimberly posts a bunch of big, high-res pictures on her site for model horse people to use. It’s great to have someone take photos with customizing in mind, because you get super useful stuff like this:

lower leg ref

Thank you Kimberly for letting me repost this picture

I’m really glad I took the time to redo the cannon bones, and do the research necessary, for two reasons. For one, of course, my Saddlebred looks much better and is much more correct for her refined, thin skinned breed. Also, it was great to practice and learn sculpting lower legs at this (relatively) large size. Because I’ve got a number of horses in line who need help in that department!

My poor Akhal Teke has no leg detailing, Alpo has a club foot, and my trotting TB has been sorely neglected...

My poor Akhal Teke has no leg detailing, Alpo has a club foot, and my trotting TB has been sorely neglected…

Yowza! I’ve got my work cut out for me on those guys. But I do feel a little more confident about legs now, so that’s something. Now back to sanding…

A Short Tale of a Long Tail

With the MEPSA donation horses done and shipped, I’ve turned my attention to preparations for a live show in early September. Of course, by “preparations” I mean all the new stuff I want to have done, not actually preparing for the show…

One of my main goals is to have my Saddlebred mare done. When I last posted about her she was getting close to done but still lacked a tail. Since then I’ve done hours of sanding and refining, resculpted her lower legs for the 3rd time (sigh) and added a tail.

The first thing I did was cover the rest of her in plastic. I have a bad habit of getting epoxy all over my fingers and then all over the otherwise-smooth model, which means more sanding later. I’m trying to avoid that here, using plenty of blue tape and a cut up plastic bag.

Chrys 2.0 tail 01

Next I built up the wire tail with tin foil, secured and stiffened with super glue & baking soda. Once I had the basic shape built, I started to block in the shape with chunks of epoxy.

Chrys 2.0 tail 02

The tail took quite a bit of epoxy. I could maybe have done more with the foil to avoid this, but oh well. It’s funny working in this larger scale- normally I wouldn’t go through that much epoxy in an entire drastic custom!

Chrys 2.0 tail 03

Once the tail was blocked in with the epoxy, and it had dried a bit, I started to add the hair detail. I’m not great at this, but with a lot of shaping and brushing and shaping I got something I was sort of happy with. I use denatured alcohol to smooth all my epoxy including manes and tails. I think I learned that from Jen Buxton who learned it from Tiffany Purdy.

Chrys 2.0 tail 04

After more sanding, primer, and little changes, Chryselephantine 2.0 has a tail!

Chrys 2.0 7-23-13

I’m still working on smoothing and sanding, but she’s getting so close! I’m excited to start adding color.

Oscar Update

Oscar continues to be his delightful adorable self.

Oscar 1 - 7-3-13

The urge to photograph him is pretty irresistible, considering his epic cuteness. But it’s also hard, because he’s so friendly! As soon as you come into his paddock, he heads right over to say hi. So I get a lot of pictures like this:

Oscar 2 - 7-3-13

This one through the fence came out pretty darn cute-

Oscar 3 - 7-3-13

He’s got his baby teeth in now and is very interested in using them, although he generally drops his finds after a bit of chewing. He’s already messing around with mom’s grain even!

I rode early in the morning this week to beat the heat. Remembering the issues some of the horses at Inavale had with umbrellas, I set up this excellent obstacle for Cochise:

2013-07-03 10.50.27 copy

He only refused it once, which honestly is fair, considering. But then we went over it many many times without issue, so I was very proud. He was really more afraid of the noise the tape made when I attached the pool noodles to the standard.

I’ve actually been working on my model horse projects quite a bit, although I’ve been very bad about posting, clearly :P Among other things, my Saddlebred is really coming along- I would say she’s nearly ready to get a tail, but I just decided she needs her cannon bones redone again so back to the lab. But still… I’m very pleased with how far she’s come.

chrys 2.0 7-7-13

In addition to the obvious- new mane, removed tail, turned head, and shortened hooves- she has new muscles on her right shoulder and hind quarters, new hocks, new cannon bones, refined fetlocks, new ears, added face and jaw detail, and correct mare parts. She’ll also be getting veining and wrinkles :) With any luck, she’ll be in clothes in time for a live show in September.

Rewind: Lengthening Legs

I knew I’d taken some photos while working on my Pebbles Saddlebred’s legs, but I didn’t find them til now. So this is a bit of a rewind to before this post.

The photo I did fail to take were the ones showing the original issue. This borrowed picture of another OF shows the issue a little- notice how the fetlocks on the near side end lower down then those on the off side? The cannons and hooves are significantly longer too.

pebbles asb of feet

To adjust the legs, I more or less followed the same steps I would to fix a broken leg. Although I did have to “break” the leg first- or , to be more precise, I sawed it off with my dremel.

saddlebred legs 1

After paring down the amputated legs a bit to match the others (as well as the hooves on both sides), I reattached them using a metal pin and super glue.

saddlebred legs 2

The next step was filling in and resculpting with epoxy. And a whole bunch of filing and filling to get the hooves even and flat. But now I’ve got a much more balanced and correct horse.

2013-06-09 11.44.29

A Splitting Headache

Har har har! I’m so punny.

In the last post I left my poor Citation ornament both headless and hopeless. It seemed like the Chips Thoroughbred head I’d gotten for him would be too small.

racehorse 06

I revisited the project and realized that the head isn’t entirely too small- it’s mostly that it’s too narrow.

racehorse 07

What he really needed was a slightly wider head, and maybe some slight enlarging on the cheeks and muzzle. As I mentioned before, I don’t feel ready to sculpt a head from scratch, but I am confident that I can add to an existing head. It helps to have the guidelines that provides, even if you are adding a lot on top.

First step was to cut the head in half lengthwise. This is easier said than done, especially at Stablemate scale! (You can also split a head to narrow it down, as mentioned by Jennifer Buxton).

splitting the tb head

It took a lot of patience with the cutting blade, but finally I got there.

split head

It was even harder (and more patience-requiring) to get the head pieces onto the horse. I tried connecting them with wire and then attaching them to the neck, but the face was too wide and it was all wonky. So I broke them back apart and went one at a time.

racehorse face

With half his face on

This method made it easier for me to get the sides of the head properly on the neck, and to better gauge the additional face space that was needed. Finally, after a lot of work, a lot of super glue, and some choice cursing, his head was attached!

racehorse face 4-3-13

I’ve been putting off any heavy work on the face until I get his hooves figured out- if you look at some of the earlier photos you can see how pointy and weird they are. Plus he has no pasterns and intermittent fetlocks. So I’ve been working hard on those. I moved a few of his legs slightly as well. He’ll likely lose the mane and tail, but for now I’m leaving them so I can see how he balances aesthetically.

Here’s my guy as of today, with his legs and head still very much in progress. But what a huge improvement!

racehorse 4-3-13

It’s really exciting to see the change in him. He’s super fun to work on. Plus he looks just like the kind of horse I like to ride. I’ll likely paint him a deep bay with minimal whites- something like his original color, only better :)