Tag Archives: kitties

Martouf is done!

And just in time. I’m heading over to Caryn’s house today for a customizing day. I’ll also be dropping off a horse I repaired for her and the newly finished Martouf. He’s going with her to the Swap & Shop Live Show while I’m in Hawaii later this month. Generally I’m not into proxy showing, since the best part of a live show is being there, but I’m really pleased with how Martouf came out and I’d be tickled to get him in the ring before, oh… September? That may be the next time I get to a live show.

I finished Martouf up last night with a few last minute details, layers of matte coat, and then his final eye gloss. And I took some quite glamor shots, although they’re a bit washed out and don’t catch all the detail. I’ll be adding him to my grey gallery page shortly, and I’ve made him a page in the Equine Resin Directory. I also added some updated pictures to my site’s other pages.

Bookcase the cat helps me take pictures of Kaylee

Bookcase the cat helps me take pictures of Kaylee

I hope one of these days I can take the time to update my photo show photos- they really need some work, and I have a number of horses who don’t have a picture at all.

Anyway, here’s Martouf!

martouf - right

martouf - rear

martouf - left

martouf - front

Martouf’s rose gray color is a combination of pastels, acrylic hairing, and white charcoal pencil. His mane and tail are acrylics. Big thanks to Caryn for gifting me this lovely resin!

New Packing Procedures

In addition to my horses who annoyingly needed touch ups before the show last week, I also had one snotty little guy who chose to break in transit. Alas, the issue was too much to be fixed at the show with my basic kit so he got wrapped back up and sent home.

What a little snot:

This incident, and some frustration with finding my horses, inspired me to spend some of this week improving my packing procedures.

Many of my horses already had fleece bags, but I decided to actually assign one to each horse and label it so I could find them. Also, I wanted to find a good, reliable, reusable way of padding on ears and tails and other fragile bits.

So, in addition to making more bags and adding labels, I got my hands on some lovely red fleece. I cut it into 18″ strips and used those to wrap the horses and brace the more fragile bits. I like this as an alternative to toilet paper because it’s thicker and very reusable.

Nightfox with his personalized kit

So satisfyingly organized!

I sewed the bags on a machine but did the labels by hand. My cat thought it would be really helpful if she sat on my arm while I was sewing.

She was wrong, but cute.

Besides the petulant Alpo, I’ve got two horses getting repairs or upgrades. I’m hoping I’ll finish all three before my show this weekend, but since Alpo is getting a whole new paint job (sigh) that’s rather a tall order. We’ll see!

Homecoming

Since arriving home I’ve been spending lots and lots of time working on models, getting ready for two shows coming up in September. I’d like to finish my two commissions and two show donations, and a couple show horses for myself. I have a list and everything.

Alas, not everyone in the family is so committed to pony progress. Bookcase, the needy socialite kitty, reeeeeallly missed us. And she takes every opportunity to express her happiness that we are back.

Luckily after a few minutes of head butts and face-licking she’ll usually settle in my lap or across my shoulders like a scarf. And then I can get back to work.

Repositioning Do’s and Dont’s

DO be safe
Dremels and heat guns make repositioning easier, but it also makes it more dangerous (especially for a clutz like myself). Handily, it doesn’t take too much of an investment (just some creativity) to protect yourself.

Always safety first!

No matter how careful you are, cutting plastic results in flying bits and nasty dust. Protect your eyes from harm with a pair of goggles, often available second hand for cheap- check garage sales and thrift stores. Keep the plastic dust out of your lungs with a dust mask. Sure, you can buy those little white face masks, but I prefer the bandit look for economy and style.

When using a heat gun, plastic pony parts can get really hot, but you need to maintain dexterity in your fingers to accurately manipulate the heated plastic. That’s why I opted for a thick pair of socks on my hands to protect myself from burns.

Bottom line: I look totally ridiculous when I’m customizing.

DON’T bend without reheating

Sometimes I’m tempted to rebend a body part when it’s only a little warm. But the plastic that was totally malleable a few moments ago is now brittle, and the same little bending motion will snap it. Trust me. (See also: How to Fix a Broken Leg and the upcoming How to Fix a Broken Leg at the Joint)

This is not a helpful reference picture.

DO heat the big areas first

When using heat to bend plastic, you always want to make the biggest changes first. Big chunks of plastic need more heat to become soft and bendy. If you heat and shape a small area, like an ear, and then move on to a nearby large area, like the model’s neck, your perfectly formed ear will become a blobby mess while you struggle to heat the neck. Even if the ear gets a little limp, you won’t be ruining previous work.

Avoid frustration by moving from largest to smallest

DON’T loose the little pieces

It’s easy to get caught up in the hacking and bending and chopping and loose a little piece, especially when you’re working on a small scale. Keep track of all the bits in a container of some kind. It’s a simple enough idea- and certainly simpler than resculpting a lost leg from scratch.

If you have pets, I recommend using a container with a lid.

DO consult your references

I’m so busy gathering my heat gun and safety gear and pliers and dremel and bits and superglue that sometimes I forget to grab my reference. But a reference is crucial when you’re making big sweeping changes like hacking off a head or moving legs. You always want to keep your main reference handy so that with each cut or bend you progress towards your final goal, and avoid incorrect angles or unnecessary work.

Amid the chaos

And most importantly… DO try your hand at repositioning! It’s a jolly good time.

Mischief Cat Strikes Again

SIGH.

Why, why must you be so cute and yet so curious, and curiously destructive?

Somehow, kitteh managed to mash into the pony shelf, sending many of them down in a cascade of equine plastic. So now it is time to play hospital, and move the collection to a safer place.

First step was to move everyone to the safety of the cupboard until I had time to take care of things.

Next, we moved the shelf away from other shelves, so that felines cannot access it. The ponies who are still whole go back up, with some rearranging.

This cool glass-fronted case was finally put to good use. I picked it up at a vintage store earlier this year but didn’t have a spot for it. It’s now a sturdy book end and holds the Pony Hospital and WIP creatures.

Those admitted to the Pony Hospital include Rumble Strip (from the racehorse diorama, top right), Doublet (middle bottom) and Senna (middle bottom, too tiny to see). Troy Soldier is there too- from a previous accident.

Next up: fixing broken ears, damaged finish, and reattaching broken acrylic rods…

Plotting evil with her minion, Wee Pinkiemouse.

Pony-less Progress

We are now fully moved into our beautiful new apartment… though not exactly fully unpacked! Luckily we’ve had a lot of help…

Frances helps us pack up the fragile items

Bookcase guards the couch cushions while we load the U-Haul

Part of the organization has been the creation of my hobby shelf in the bedroom. Unfortunately, there’s a lot more organization that needs to happen before I can relax and actually get back to models. We’ve still got plenty in boxes, the closets and drawers are a mess… etc. And it’s difficult to relax and concentrate when the house is in such disarray. For now my crafting will be limited to things that aid the organization, like sewing loops onto the potholders so they can hang from the wall.

I am eagerly looking forward to getting back to my ponies, but for now I’m getting my fix by haunting other hobbyist’s blogs. I’m hoping to have a few posts coming with some “required reading”!

Packing Peanuts and Ponies

As it turns out, Laura Skillern (of Don’t Eat the Paint blog) is also moving soon, so we’ve both got packing ponies on the mind. She has a great tutorial on packing model horses for optimal safety.

Most of my horses are hardy beasts, and small, and they are easily packed in hard plastic tubs. I put each in a bubble wrap and/or felt pouch, and we’re good to go. A few get an extra bit of padding in necessary areas between small fragile pieces, such as swishy tails or upraised hooves.

Where Laura’s tutorial was particularly helpful for me was in packing my other horses- the ones that I don’t consider part of my collection, exactly, but are still in the basic sense of the term model horses. The most fragile of these is a large (Traditional+) porcelain Chinese horse with a base that I inherited from my great grandmother. I used to admire it as I looked out the window of her NYC apartment, and it’s very special to me. I used foam and tissue paper to pad his more delicate bits and then wrapped him in several layers of bubble wrap.

My kitty, Bookcase, assisted by shredding the tissue paper and keeping a watchful eye on the whole process.

Since I need to move all of my stuff, and the winter weather is finally clearing up, I used clothing to add to my packing. I took a good, solid, not-too-small box and lined it with my down vest. My Chinese horse stands up nicely inside it.

Riding in style

Around him I packed several other fragile things, and my not-so-fragile but still beloved Brighty.

Brighty already has his share of rubs, but I wouldn’t want to break off those great big ears!

Once everyone was packed and arranged tetris-style for optimal fit and stability, I filled in all the little gaps with crumpled newspaper and wool socks. Lastly, I labeled the box on all sides “FRAGILE” in permanent marker. We’re not hiring movers, but with so many boxes moving around during the process it’s good to be reminded when you need to take extra care.