Tag Archives: frankenhorse

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.

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!

Chop Chop part two

I found some more pictures from the lengthening of the HA Fritz resin’s back. He’s currently in primer stage, but he’s getting close to paint-ready and I’ve picked out color references for him.

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I’m really glad I decided to go ahead and do this- he looks great now. Between my upcoming busyness and my complex color choice, I’m sure he’ll be a work in progress for a long time… but it sure will be fun!

My main color reference

My main color reference

The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword

I love to rave about my dremel tool, but there is another tool that I always use before I start drilling into a new horse: a sharpie marker.

Using the dremel is fun, but it’s easy to get over excited and do too much cutting, which only results in more work in the long term. The opposite is true too: I’ll get out the supplies to make a few cuts, put everything away, and realize that the horse needs even more dremel work before I can move on.

After doing one of the above far too many times, I’ve finally settled down to the sharpie routine. Especially for a drastic custom, this can be a crucial step.

So that this:

Can become this:

And now I’m at it again, with a not quite so complex customization. The new guy, all marked up:

So hopefully this weekend he’ll have an after picture too. Or at least, a fun frankenhorse look.

Patches the Eight-Legged Horse

Sleipnir has a new nickname. Because he is made of so many parts, getting him fully prepped and smooth has been quite a task. Every time I look at him, I find new places that need filling and/or sanding. Last night I sat down and circled everything I could find that needed fixing.

Oy! I’ve got my work cut out for me. After some time with the sand paper and epoxy, he began to earn his new nickname, “Patches.”

It’s the rare epoxy-loosa!

Then I had some leftover epoxy (and time) so I made a bunch of ears for my collection. Ears don’t use much epoxy, so it seemed to take forever to go through my extra. But I used it up before it dried and now I have quick a few more ears for next time someone needs a transplant.

Splitting a Schleich in Half

…is honestly a big pain in the butt, and a task I won’t be repeating if I can help it. But if you really must know, here’s how I did it.

Unlike Breyer and Peter Stone horses, which are made of hard plastic and hollow, Schleich horses (and similar brands) are made of a softer, more rubbery plastic, and they are solid. This makes is much harder to cut through them, because there is way more material to go through.

If you have a Jigsaw you should just skip all this and head to the tool box. But I only have a dremel, so that’s what I used.

The first thing I tried was using an abrasive metal brush tool to strip away plastic where I wanted the model to split. The brush is not very big, however, so although it works well against the rubbery plastic I could only make about a quarter inch dent into the horse.

I needed to somehow get rid of and/or weaken the plastic still firmly holding the middle of the horse together. So I got out a cutting bit…

and starting drilling holes through the remaining plastic (a straight up drill bit would work for this as well).

After drilling a bunch of holes all the way through the remaining plastic, it was weakened enough to pull apart.

You can see the “star” where I drilled through the middle:

The second model, for whatever reason, needed quite a few more holes drilled, but finally he too was able to be pulled apart.

I’m just glad that part of the Sleipnir project is over with and I’m on to the fun stuff now!