Show Report: Rose City Live 2018

Earlier this month I attended one of my favorite show, Rose City Live. I’m totally spoiled to have a show like this every year just 15 minutes from home. Showholder Vicky Harms always does a great job putting on a fun, well organized show.

This year I judged performance and then showed halter in the afternoon. Performance was relatively small, so between classes I entertained myself by helping call classes for other judges, hawking Erin’s sale horses, and oogling other people’s entries.

I just finished a new horse- Maggie Bennett’s micro mini cob, Rockwell. I painted him as a surprise gift for Maggie, but he was done just in time for the show so I had to bring him!

I was delighted when Microsoft Clippy took first in breed and second in workmanship. I was chuffed to be able to send along two ribbons and two NAN cards when I mailed him to his new home :)

My micros had a stellar day overall. Thumbelina was AR Reserve Champion Draft/Pony/Other and Dirt Nap took first in AR Mix Breed Draft.

The biggest surprise of the day was Hovito being pinned AR Reserve Champion Stock Breed, AR Reserve Champion Pattern/Other Workmanship, and then Overall Reserve Champion Resin!

I have never, ever had a horse get a rosette in breed and workmanship at the same show, let alone go on to earn an overall! By the time this championship was pinned I had started packing up my table, and for a long time I didn’t even notice what happened. It didn’t even occur to me that I might have won- I just knew I needed to go pick up my horse later. When I did finally look I was absolutely speechless!

It was a stupendous ending to a wonderful show!

BreyerFest Ahoy!

And I’m off! This year I’m flying out to Chicago and then driving the rest of the way to Lexington. It felt real strange to pack so light- no show stuff, no models. This is the first year since BF 2014 that I haven’t been showing or competing in the custom contest.

Leaving Portland

I’ll be plenty busy at BreyerFest Live and Breakables none the less- I’m judging! I love judging, and having the opportunity to do so at these big shows is an honor.

I didn’t actually think I’d be returning to BreyerFest so soon after my first experience in 2016, but everything came together and here we are.

For the rest of you traveling- be safe and see you soon! And for those of you at home, enjoy your sleep and air conditioning, and armchair ‘fest in comfort :)

Pieces of Flair…finally

My newest model is done, but truly he’s not so new. In fact, I started him five years ago when I first took a dremel to a Breyer Citation ornament. He languished in my work in progress zone for years, getting attention every once in a while. The poor thing even went through two or three head swaps as I tried to find one of the right size and worked on my head sculpting skills.

I finally got truly motivated last winter when I decided this horse would be my BreyerWest performance horse. And several months later, he was finally done.

BreyerWest 2018 – Western Pleasure

I nearly defeated myself by deciding to paint him buckskin, a color I’ve never done in oils. And of course since he’s a large horse, he also needed a bunch of new tack. But I managed to get him and his gear done in time for BreyerWest, where he was the Overall Performance Champion.

BreyerWest 2018

I am finally happy with how Fancy (as I called him while in progress) turned out, especially his floating trot. His head is from the Breyer stablemate Django mold, which turned out to be just the right size- and has such sweet character. His neck, back, mane, tail, ears and much of his legs is totally new sculpting.

This month I’ve entered Pieces of Flair in the Breyerfest Best Customs Contest, in the Performance Excellence division. His entry is an expanded version of his winning stock work entry from BreyerWest. He’s shown doing a really neat event called Rodear, which is a newly-developed version of a cattle dog trial.

The goal is to have the cows go into the chute and over the bridge. Fancy and his rider herd the cows while their cattle dog (left) blocks the other end of the chute.

Judges watch the team work while a trainer videos the run on her iPhone

The scene from above, showing all the fun background elements.

It was fun to take the time to set up a performance entry as a full scene, with more background action and detail than is usual for a live show. The scene includes other competitors with their horses (can you spot Puns N Roses, my 2016 BreyerWest performance champ?) and dogs, spectators snacking on concessions, and a brave kitty taunting one of the doggos :)

If I’m lucky, I’ll be selected as one of the finalists and get to bring Fancy and his gear to Kentucky with me for exhibition at Breyerfest!

Creative Spraying

Most models have a good handle- their tail sticks out, or they have a base, or something else easy to hold while priming, fixativing, or painting. But sometimes you have to get creative.

When my main projects are drying or otherwise on hold, I’ve been working on some of Maggie Bennett‘s awesome micro mini resins. They are super fun and I enjoy painting them in acrylics.

My current project is Maggie’s sleeping resin, Kahlua.

Because of her size and her pose, Kahlua doesn’t have a great handle. I needed to spray her initial layers with fixative, so I decided to get creative. The advantage to her pose is that she has a large area that won’t be seen- her belly and bottom.

So I grabbed my trusty dremel, picked just the right bit, and caaaarefully made a hole in her belly.

The drill bit I used was chosen to match the size of a toothpick. And thus…

Micro on a stick!

I made sure she was firmly on there…

…and then took her outside for an all-over spray of Dull Cote. Then I simply planted her stick in a glob of playdoh.

Easy peasy! She’s drying safely on the shelf next to her buddy Hazel, who also got a layer of fixative.

Hurrah! This will make the rest of my work on Kahlua much easier.

Freeing Hazel

Morgan Kilbourns Mini Hazel resin is cast with a base, which I am removing as part of this commission. She now has an acrylic rod in her front hoof to provide stabilization.

Removing a resin from an attached base is a time consuming process. It’s not terribly difficult, although I do recommend that you only attempt something like this if you are also confident doing small repairs and minor resculpting. Unless you have a way steadier hand than I do, you’ll inevitably end up having to resculpt a bit of hoof or fill in a gouge somewhere.

Hazel before- securely attached to her resin base.

Generally something like this would be done in the sculpting and prepping stage, so the resin would be blank. Here I’m doing it with the paint job largely done, so I’ll need to protect the finish. Even on a blank resin, these kinds of precautions can help keep your horse safe while you work on it.

I wrapped Hazel in several layers of cotton and then fleece, leaving only her back hooves exposed. I used rubber bands to loosely hold the fabric on while I worked.

For the next step, I got out my trusty dremel. I wanted to cut through the thick base around the hooves to get the bulk of the resin off before I worked more closely to the hooves. For something like this I often use a large drill bit and use it to gnaw sideways through the resin. A round cutting bit- especially a diamond bit- will also work.

A key thing to keep in mind with something like this is that you want to keep as much stress as possible off the parts you’re keeping- in this case, the legs. I was careful to hold the legs still to minimize the amount of vibrations from the dremel. This prevents weakening the important bits.

After some quality time with the drill bit, I had taken off the front chunk of the base and the middle bit, leaving little stumps under the hooves.

Now I switched to a diamond cutting bit (pictured above) and very carefully cut away the bulk of the stump, leaving a few millimeters of resin under the hoof. Again, be sure to hold the hoof stable and only let the dremel shake the part it’s slicing off.

You can see in the photo above that- like many resins- Hazel was cast with wire in her legs for stability. The wires go all the way into the base. As I cut away the bulk of the resin, I also had to avoid the wires. Once the resin was cut away, I snipped the wires down as far as possible.

Once both hooves were resting on just a bit of resin, I sat down with my carbide scrapers, needles files, sandpaper, and an exacto knife. I used the knife to cut through the thin resin around the hoof. As I got closer to the hooves, I switched to the carbide scrapers and sandpaper to remove excess resin without damaging the sculpted parts. I used the needle files to shave down the rest of the armature wire. Slowly I got the hooves reshaped and flat.

The last step was to add the acrylic rod to the front hoof so Hazel can balance. For this I used a small drill bit about the same size as my acrylic (1/16 inch). I carefully drilled straight up into the hoof, trying to go as far as possible without coming out the top (inevitably I failed, and had to patch the top of the hoof). Then I estimated the length of acrylic needed, cut a generous piece, and inserted it into the hoof. Then you just need to use the needle files and/or sandpaper to adjust the length, and glue the acrylic into it’s final position.

Ready to roll!

All done! Now I just need to give her a bath to get the resin dust off, and I can move on to more painting!

Commission finished!

Now that she’s been delivered to her owner, I’m happy to share that the red dun overo Moxie is finished! I was able to get her done in time for her to be delivered as a surprise to her (very patient) owner at Breyerfest.

This was my first dun paintjob in oils so it was a new challenge for sure, but I’m happy with how she turned out. I’m looking forward to painting my own Moxie… once I finish customizing her :)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Region 1 Championship Show 2017

My most recent live show was the long awaited Region 1 Championship Show in Kennewick, Washington. Our NAMHSA rep- who is also an avid show holder- has been fundraising for several years to get this show off the ground. I’m really glad I made the trek out to attend.

This show was open to model horses who had won a NAN card at a Region 1 show in the last five years. It was different from a standard show in that we had to put the horse on the table with their NAN card (so that the stewards could confirm eligibility) but the winners did not earn new NAN cards.

The halter divisions had a good turn out with many lovely horses from all around the region. I was very chuffed to earn a few “cookies” of my own, as well as a number of Top Fives.

Hovito won Top 5 in breed

Mr. L. B. Scuttlebutt won Top 5 in breed

August P. Hattington surprised me by winning Champion of the carriage breeds class.

Tater Bug won Top 5 in breed

I was delighted when Jump the Shark won Reserve Champion in his breed class. He is one of my favorites but judges don’t usually agree :)

Mr. L. B. Scuttlebutt won Reserve Champion in workmanship

Tater Bug surprised me by winning Reserve Champion in a very large custom dilutes class.

I also showed in performance, but unfortunately I was one of the only entrants. Performance has been having very low turnout in our region in the last few years, which is really sad. It’s much more fun to show (and judge!) when you have full classes. Unfortunately, in most of  the champ show classes I was only showing against myself.

That said, it was fun to get RoboClop out again- especially now that he is actually done and has his pinto spots. The low turnout also sparked some good conversation about how we can hopefully encourage more people to show performance and hopefully revive it.

PHF Richard Squared in English Trail with my cute new welcome kitty props.

RoboClop in Stock Work

Hopefully the Region 1 Championship Show will become an annual or semi-annual occurrence :)