Tag Archives: progress

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.

MEPSA Donation Horse Update

I’m happy to report that I’ve got one of my MEPSA donations done and the other one is in the home stretch. Just in time too- the Year-end Champ Show is just around the corner. I sent in my qualifiers last week. Next year I’m hoping to seriously improve my photos and get serious with the monthly shows.

The appaloosa is all done:

MEPSA appy 6-11-13.jpg

I like how his appy markings turned out. I did them in a combination of acrylic, pastel, and pencil.

Not too long ago I was thinking I’d need to re-start the Morgan. He was looking really orange and not behaving. But I’m really glad I stuck it out, because this is what he looks like now!

MEPSA morgan 6-11-13

His pastel body color is more or less done. I did the mane and tail last night and will be continuing his other details this week. I’m rather chuffed with his transformation. He definitely gets the ribbon for “Most Improved.”

Big thanks again to everyone who voted for their colors!

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

I don’t do Wordless Wednesdays as religiously as Braymere does. In fact, this might be my first. But I’m tired and done with staring at a screen, so here goes.

The MEPSA ponies are coming along. This is what they looked like on Monday. The Morgan in particular needs some serious work. I mean, orange much?

mepsa appy 5-27 mepsa morgan 5-27

And here is a silly, short video of Cochise. I took it from his back while we were cooling out last Wednesday.

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American Saddle-blarg

So, early in my model horse renaissance I did a custom of a fancy ASB mare in palomino. Her creation was inspired by the word Chryselephantine, which means  “made of gold and ivory.” I heard it in my classical art history class and thought it was the coolest word ever.

Chryselephantine

“Chrys” was a new challenge at the time, as I redid her long mane and tail, did my first facial re-sculpting (that mold has some serious asymmetry), and attempted a palomino. She has her merits, but I quickly progressed in skill and she’s looking a bit shabby next to my newer horses. Since I imagined her as a fancy show mare, I’ve been a little disappointed that she’s nice enough to live show. And since I really like the Pebbles ASB mold, I decided to make another mare. She’ll have the same name, potentially spelled with a k. That part is undecided yet.

I acquired my Pebbles ASB body last fall and she’s been waiting for some attention ever since. Of course, being me, I can’t just paint her- I want to slighty turn her head, fix her uneven cannons, trim her hooves to a more natural length, and give her a natural, non-cut tail. But I still want her to be a bit of a flirty show off.

First step, after a lot of sharpie-drawing, was to dremel. And dremel, and dremel. My first session was to chop her 2 uneven legs and her head. I re-attached those, and then went back to dremel off the mane and tail. I had quite an impressive pile of plastic shavings by the time I was done.

saddlebred dremelling

I hadn’t thought of this as a drastic custom, but it sure is adding up to be a decent amount of work. I have a lot to resculpt where her mane and tail was, not to mention for the fixing of her throatlatch and legs. And I have a feeling I’m going to end up giving her new ears, as her OF ones are rather… unshapely.

After the dremeling, I went to work with foil, baking soda, and super glue to fill in the holes in her next and haunches.

WIP saddlebred 5-16-13

One nice cheat on this project is that because she’s standing square, I can use her other, non-mangled side to guide me as a resculpt her shoulder, neck, and haunches.

WIP saddlebred 5-16-13 2

a quick horizontal flip and I’ll have a lovely reference

The next day I got a chance to start adding epoxy. I’m used to making too much epoxy at once, since I’m often doing wee things like a Stablemate’s cheek. But for this Pebbles scale gal and all her holes, I did not have that problem.

WIP saddlebred 5-17-13

She’s got a long way to go, but I’m excited.

MEPSA Donation Colors

Thanks to everyone who voted in my MEPSA donation color polls. I’m pleased to say that the models are finally prepped and primered, and ready to get some color!

mepsa horses in primer

The Morgan Stallion will be a silver dapple and the Appaloosa gelding with be a sooty buckskin semi leopard. I’m excited to be working with color again! Once the pastels are out I’ll also be starting work on my Hale resin, who has been chillaxing in the cabinet as a half finished blue roan while I was traveling.

In the sculpting arena I’ve got my WIP Racehorse Ornament coming along. I dremeled off his mane and tail yesterday in anticipation of adding my own. He’s also got ears, although they need some serious work where they connect to the head. And yes, his muzzle is still small while his cheek and jaw have added epoxy. I promise to even out his poor face (and get rid of the scary sharpie).

WIP Racehorse Ornament 5-16-13

And, because I am a little crazy, I’ve also started another semi-drastic custom. More on her next time!

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 :)

Destruction of a Racehorse Ornament

A while ago I got my hands on the Breyer Citation ornament, and I’ve been excitedly working to turn him into a floaty-trot horse. It’s been quite the process- and I’ve been quite remiss in blogging about it.

racehorse 01

The victim

The most immediate issue was that pesky jockey. The Breyer ornaments are made of a hard, somewhat brittle plastic, but the dremel did relatively quick work.

racehorse 03

The other big issue, which became very apparent when I took a decent look at this horse, is that his head- or at least, his eyes- are terrifyingly anatomically incorrect. It’s like they’ve been rotated 45 degrees to face forward… in a really creepy way. That combined with the molded on bridle meant off with his head!

Poor guy...

Poor guy…

So then I had a headless horse with a big hole in his back. I filled the hole with styrofoam, wire, foil, super glue & baking soda, and finally, a layer of epoxy. You can see above where I also crammed some scrap paper to fill in his neck. Whatever works, right?

racehorse 05

Building up his new back

I’m not confident enough yet to sculpt a new head from scratch, so I acquired one from a Peter Stone Chips Thoroughbred that might do the trick.

racehorse 06

With his new back roughed in

What you may notice from the above picture is that alas, even the Chips head is a bit small. It seems the Breyer ornaments aren’t quite Stablemate scale. But have no fear… I have a plan to recapitate this long-suffering model!