Tag Archives: tutorial

How to Make Scale Jump Cups

Since I’m showing a different horse in performance at the next show, I need a different jump set up. Previously I had made jump cups and glued them to my standards- but that only allows one height of jump. I like my props to be as flexible as possible so they can be used in lots of different combinations. So I set about to make a new set of jump cups that could be reused and repositioned. And I took pictures so I could share the process.

Do note that this tutorial is only for the jump cups, not the standards. I’m using my lovely standards from Mountain Home Models. You can make your own with hobby wood, glue, and patience.

This tutorial is for stablemate scale jump cups, but could be adapted for other scales. If you’re making a traditional scale jump, I recommend that you check out this post on home made jump cups from Jennifer Buxton of Braymere Custom Saddlery and this jump cup tutorial from CK Tiny Tack.

I made the standard jump cup style, but there are numerous other styles out there that would all be accurate in for model horse performance. This is the basic style I’m going for:

Screen Shot 2013-09-29 at 9.45.35 PM

Standard jump cup from Dover

Materials for this project:

  • thin cardboard (think cereal boxes)
  • super glue
  • paint
  • wire (about 20 guage)
  • thin string like embroidery or cross stitch thread

You’ll also need a pair of small pliers and a wire cutter.

The first step is to cut your cardboard. For lack of better terminology I’m going to refer to the part that grips the standard as the wrapper. You the wrapper to cover three sides of the standard, or very close, just like in the picture of the real jump cup above.

jump cups - cardboard base

You’ll also need to cut a thinner piece to form the actual cups. This piece should be roughly the width of one side of the wrapper. Gently bend the strip around something round (for best results, use your jump poles) so that it forms the cup shape.

Use super glue to attach the bent cup to the wrapper. Bend or trim the cup as needed so that the edges are within the width of the wrapper.

jump cups - basic shape

Set the assembled cups aside to dry thoroughly.

jump cups - assembling cup

Next you can paint your cups. Jumps cups are commonly black, white, or silver, but they can come in pretty much any color you can think of. I went for the classic metal look, which I achieved with a mix of dark grey and silver. Leave the inside of the wrapper unpainted- this will make it easier to use later. But don’t forget the edges of the cardboard that will still be visible.

jump cups - painting

Next we start making the pins. In this scale, the pins don’t actually go through the standard to hold the cup on- they just look like they do.

First, bend you wire to make a tiny hook. Loop your string through the hook and hold it there as you bend the hook shut to form a loop.

jump cups - making pin

click to enlarge the image

Next, bend the wire coming off the loop so that it is straighter, like below. Glue the string to itself to attach it, and make sure it falls at a 45 degree angle to the pin. You can then trim the excess wire- the pin only needs to be a few millimeters long.

jump cups - finished pin

Then, attach the pin to the cup. This is tricky with such tiny pieces and the super glue, but don’t get discouraged if it takes a few tries. You make need to adjust the pin as it dries so it comes out of the cup straight- in the picture below it is slanting down too much.

jump cups - glued on pin

Wait for that glue to dry thoroughly before the next step. Carefully, without putting stress on the pin, bend the string around and glue it to the inside of the cup. Avoid making it lumpy as that will make the wrapper not fit your jump standard.

jump cups - glued string

To show the pin coming out of the other side of the cup, glue a tiny scrap of wire to the other side of the cup. Again, you want to make sure it is perpendicular to the wrapper.

jump cups - glued pin end

Let that dry and voila, jump cups!

jump cups - done

I recommend that you make extras, just in case a pin pops off right before your jumper class.

To affix your jump cups, just use sticky wax (the same kind you use for bits and such) on the inside of the wrappers and mold them onto the standard. Since they come on and off, you can adjust the height of your jump and make different pole combinations.

jump cups - on standard

Here’s my jump all set up with a low obstacle and my new jump flags (toothpicks, cardstock and paint). I left this set-up on the shelf overnight and neither the sticky wax or the jump cups failed.

jump cups - finished jump

Jumps are super fun to make because the combinations are endless and you can get very creative. I hope this tutorial was helpful for some folks out there making mini jumps. Got questions? Just ask!

Alpo’s Trailer: how to make a custom travel case

One of the extra little projects I managed to finish before Rose City Live was making a custom travel case for Alpo, my breakage-prone pony. He arrived at last year’s RCL with a broken tail and has been repaired and repainted three times since I made him in 2012. I’d like this time to be the last!

One of the things that makes Alpo prone to breaking is his tail, which is turned and swished. That makes the tail extra fragile. Horses with thin pieces that stick out like swished tails, long ears, or flying manes are all good candidates for custom carry cases.

I took pictures of my process to share with you. My carry case was heavily inspired by Emily Rodger’s tutorial, published on the Braymere Custom Saddlery blog. My version is adapted a bit for stablemates and a smaller budget.

First, I gathered my materials:

  • plastic container slightly larger than model
  • tacky glue
  • scissors
  • white charcoal pencil
  • model
  • foam
  • styrofoam and knife (optional)

alpos trailer - materials

Because my container was deeper than needed and I didn’t want to waste precious foam, I first filled the container up part of the way with styrofoam. I cut the styrofoam carefully to take up the space needed and glued it in place.

alpos trailer - styrofoam base

You may or may not need to do the step with the styrofoam, depending on your container and your supply of foam :D To build the rest of the case:

Cut out and glue down a layer of the cushy foam (you could certainly add multiple layers, especially for larger models).

alpos trailer - foam base

Cut a second square of foam and carefully traced around the model with the charcoal pencil. You want to leave a little bit of breathing room but still provide the secure custom fit.

alpos trailer - tracing

After tracing, cut out the shape.

alpos trailer - cut out 1

And check the fit.

alpos trailer - cut out 2

Now take another square of foam, and trace the shape of the first cut out on it. With your model lying in the first cut out, identify which part(s) of the model stick out- that’s where you’ll need to cut for the second piece. This step will depend a lot on your model and the thickness of your foam.

After tracing the first shape onto the foam and comparing, I could see that Alpo’s raised hind leg and head were both lower than the edge of the foam. The second piece of foam would completely cover those parts, so I did not cut space for them.

alpos trailer - cut out 3

For Alpo, I needed three cut outs. Other models may take more. My continue tracing, comparing, and cutting until the whole model is covered below the edge of the foam.

alpos trailer - cut out 4

Then cover it with one last piece of uncut foam.

alpos trailer - final foam

Add foam or other filler until you reach the height of the lid. You want the foam to be secure but not squished down.

Put the top on, label it, and voila: your own custom carry case.

I opted to glue the first cut out into the container. Be very careful not to get any glue where the model will touch! The other foam pieces are packed over the model and secured by the top piece and the container’s lid.

alpos trailer - all cutouts

Alpo did not win any ribbons at Rose City Live. But he did travel safe and sound there and back!

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.

Crafty Christmas Progress

This last weekend was my last free one before the holidays, so I took the opportunity to sit down and make some serious progress on the remaining hand made Christmas gifts.

This is what my tabletop studio looked like for most of Saturday:

table 12-8-12

On the left you can see the mid point of a little project I did for my grandmother. I used this cool tutorial from miniatures.about.com to make a miniature Christmas Cactus for her. It’s about 2 inches tall. I loved the fact that I had all the materials already on hand from my other craft projects. I learned some good techniques that will be applicable to the model horse hobby, too.

2012-12-10 11.58.36

One of the ones that’s been haunting me is my 1:48 scale Dr. Who figure. He and his TARDIS have been scary epoxy blobs for a while now, but no longer! They have taken shape, and with some paint they are looking downright delightful.

On Saturday, the doctor looked like this:

dr who 12-8-12

And by Sunday, things were looking positively Who-tastic.

dr who 12-9-12

It’s always fun to paint something other than horses once in a while, since I get to play with all my colorful acrylics. By Sunday my table looked like this:

Wheeee!

Wheeee!

As you can see, I still need to do some miniscule writing on the TARDIS, but Sunday was coming to a close and I wanted to get some fixative on there before I do any more painting. I don’t know when that will happen, or if my eyes will fall out of my head, but I feel a lot better about having this done by Christmas!

Did I mention he’s tiny?

dr who scale

Easy-Peasy Make Your Own Scale Poles

As far as prop making goes, making ground/jump poles is just about as simple as it gets. It’s a great started project because it’s easy and because a set of poles gives you a lot of options for performance events. I’m making these for use in trail and gaming classes, but they have a myriad of uses in set ups.

Here’s how I went about making my new set of poles.

First, materials. Poles are really just dowels that have been cut and painted. You’ll want to make sure you buy the right size dowel for your scale. For 1/32 scale (Chips/Stablemate) I’m using 3/16 inch diameter dowels from a hobby store. Before you go, you’ll want to calculate how many pieces you need. They’re generally sold in 36″ lengths. I wanted my poles to be equivalent to 12′, which in 1/32 scale is 4.5 inches. I increased that to 5” just to be safe, multiplied that by 8 (the number of poles I wanted) and got 40 inches. So I bought two 36″ pieces. To do my scale conversions I used this handy scale calculator.

In addition to poles, you’ll need sand paper, a saw or dremel, masking tape, and acrylic paint. I also used sealer (Krylon) and play-doh (an idea adapted from Friesian Fury Studio’s post on using play-doh for masking).

Next, you’ll want to measure out the poles on the length of dowel.

I left a bit of space between each poles length so the dremel would have room to cut. You wouldn’t need to leave so much if you use a hacksaw (and/or aren’t such a klutz like me).

You end up with poles a little over the intended length (in my case, 4.5 inches). If your poles are close to that, you can probably just move right on to sandpaper. Since mine each had several millimeters to lose and I had the dremel handy, I used that. You have a lot more control with the dremel when you can cut straight down, instead of at an angle as you have to do when cutting a long piece. That allows you to get a lot more precise and get the pole just a hair over the goal length.

Then a bit of sandpaper on the ends will take off any roughness and get them to a uniform length. You might want to sandpaper the whole piece, depending on how rough your dowels are. Keep the ruler handy so you don’t overdo it and end up with a pole that’s too short (I just plan ahead for failure and start with extra poles. I need seven, so I’m making nine).

Once your poles are all cut and sanded, it’s painting time. Poles come in just about any color or combination that you can imagine, but mine are going to be a relatively staid blue and white stripe.

I start with doing a layer of white. I do half a pole at a time, and stick the unpainted end in a lump of playdoh to dry.

Once those are dry, simply paint the other half. To make the stripes, I taped off the areas I wanted to remain white and then painted blue over the exposed white. There are a lot different striping styles out there, but you will want to measure out the taping if you want the poles to match.

This is blue tape with blue paint, but hopefully you get the idea. The ends and middle of each poles are taped up to keep them white.

You may need to do a couple layers of color. Try not to put it on too thick or it’ll look funny later. Once you pull the tape off, you may need to redo some of the white where it bled through or the taping was off. And then you’re done!

For longevity and durability, you may want to seal the poles with a matte fixative. I did mine using the same playdoh base technique, one half at a time. For some scenes, you might want old weathered poles. Handily, they’re pretty easy to make so you can create a whole arsenal in different colors and conditions, a pole for every possibility!

Splint Boot Adventure

Crazily enough, I ended up with a little bit of extra time on my hands before the show. None of my performance entries need splint boots, but a few of them would be improved with the added detail. Plus went I want to do jumping or cross-country in the future, I’ve got some leg wear in the tack box.

I made my splint boots using Anna Kirby’s tutorial, located here. Putting wire in the boots to help hold them on the leg is just a stroke of brilliance. It also makes the on/off a lot easier.

The first thing I did was make a basic pattern. Then I skivved some blue leather using my awesome new super skivver.

I followed Anna’s tutorial and did mock velcro straps, just like the kind I use in real life. After this picture was taken I decided to add more of the blue leather to get rid of the little gap between sides. Adding more leather also helped the boots stay on, since I was putting mostly sticky wax on the bigger blue leather instead of the itty bitty black straps. (I’d love to try the re-usable glue that Anna recommends, but I haven’t gotten to a craft store and already have plenty of sticky wax on hand).

 

Somehow I managed to lose the photos I took of his paid of finished boots, and now the horses and tack are all packed away for the show. But Nightfox will be sporting his new boots in English Natural Trail and English Games.

My tubs are all packed and ready for the show. Hurry up and get here, Saturday!

Fixing a Broken Leg 201: joints

Last month I did a quick little tutorial on how to do a basic fix on a broken leg using wire. This month I find myself fixing another leg, this time more complicated because it’s broken right below a joint.

This fix uses a similar technique, but with a bit of a tweak to make it more stable.

Required reading: How to Fix a Broken Leg

The sad (and blurry, sorry) victim:

This break was half on purpose and half not- I was intentionally repositioning the leg, but failed to heat it enough before bending and it snapped. Oops.

Because the break is right below the bent hock, I need to use a wire join that is also bent to follow the shape of the leg so that it actually stabilizes the break.

weak join

strong join

The first step in the fix is simply to embed a piece of wire into the straighter side of the break, in this case the cannon bone (just like in steps 1-2 of the first tutorial). Once the wire is fully fixed in that side and the glue is dry, gently bend the wire to match the shape of the full leg (see below).

Since my wire joiner has a bend, the hole its going to fit into, in the upper part of the break, needs to match that bent shape. I used my carbide scraper to dig out a trench in the front of the bent hock. You could certainly use a dremel, but it’s not necessary.

Here I’ve dug my trench into the hock and fixed the wire, now bent, into the model’s cannon bone.

I keep scraping until the wire nestles fully into the trench and the leg lines up properly.

The wire nestled in its new home

Here I’ve got the leg just about where I want it.

As you can see above, I’ll need to do some resculpting (including removal) on that hock joint to make it anatomically correct. The important thing here is to get the bottom part of the leg securely where I want it to be on the finished custom, and then I can worry about the details.

Once the wire sits fully in the trench and you have the leg positioned how you want it, just fix the wire into the trench using superglue and baking soda. It sometimes helps at this stage to have an extra hand, or rest your horse upside down in a cup so you can hold the leg in place while still applying glue.

Once the glue is dry, make the fix even more secure by filling in the surrounding area with your epoxy of choice.

Ta da!