Tag Archives: progress

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.


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.


“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!

The Start of a Roan

I had planned on painting my roan draft stallion using acrylic paint to do hair-by-hair roaning. But after a couple sessions, I really wasn’t satisfied with how it was looking. At the same time, I ran across part one of a nice roaning tutorial by Amanda Brock (Rogue Horse Studio) and Caryn showed me her first roan (done with a similar pastel technique) who was turning out quite nicely.

Caryn's horse (in progress). Can you believe that's her first roan?

Caryn’s horse (in progress). Can you believe that’s her first roan?

Inspired, I washed the acrylic roaning off my resin and started to work on him with pastels and pencil. He already had a sealed blue-grey-brown base coat, and I started in on some white pastel using Amanda’s stippling technique. I also added some hairing detail with colored pencils. I was all ready to start doing some serious hairing with white charcoal when I dropped him on the floor. Sigh.

I was actually pretty lucky- all he lost was an ear. But it took me another few hours of work to get him whole again.

Building a new ear using Sarah Rose's super glue and baking soda technique

Building a new ear using Sarah Rose’s super glue and baking soda technique

After shaping his new ear, it took a few coats of acrylic to get it somewhat matching again. Then finally, using my white charcoal pencil, I started adding individual white hairs.

hale - hair roaning started

It’s crucially important when doing hair-by-hair roaning to a.) keep your pencil very sharp and b.) keep references handy. I’m using multiple hair growth charts (download them here) as well as close up pictures of flanks, armpits, and other tricky areas.

Keeping the pencil sharp enough to draw hairs on a stablemate scale resin requires a lot of sharpening. I used a regular sharpener plus sandpaper. You have to do it almost constantly, and that means you go through a lot of pencil.

When I started roaning, I had two full sized pencils.

When I started roaning, I had two full sized pencils.

Happily, there’s an art store within walking distance so I was able to pop out one afternoon and buy six more pencils to use.

hale - charcoal pencils 2

I’ve got a whole collection of nubbins now, but I’m done with the first layer of hair detailing.

Even with all the sharpening, it’s basically impossible to get all the little hairs quite right. To keep things from being too stark, I go over each section with a medium-stiffness brush, keeping with the direction of the hair growth. It smudges the drawn hairs slightly and takes off any excess dust, which softens the detailing in a nice, more realistic way. I seal each layer with Dull Cote before moving on to the next. As with pastels, the sealer “pushes back” the color a bit which also helps prevent any stark lines.

On his neck and shoulder, the hairs have been brush-softened and sealed with Dull Cote. The starker hairs on his barrel have just been drawn in with the pencil.

On his neck and shoulder, the hairs have been brush-softened and sealed with Dull Cote. The starker hairs on his barrel have just been drawn in with the pencil.

I’ve been finding time to do a bit of work every night, and by today the first layer of hair-by-hair roaning is done. I need to do a bit more blending in some areas, but I’m going to give him a break for a bit so I can come back with a fresh eye. I also might work a bit on his acrylic details so I can better picture how his coat color will look on the finished horse.

I’m still working on a name for him- I’d like to find something from French Brittany, since the Breton breed is from there. It’s an area highly influenced by Welsh and Gaelic language, which is always fun.