Tag Archives: repair

Repairin’ for Erin: reattaching broken parts

I wrote this post this summer and forgot about it… oops!

Another victim from Erin’s shelf is a cute, floppy earred BHR slider who was destined to be a performance horse. Unfortunately, he suffered a couple breaks and has been wrapped up for several years. Handily I am pretty confident fixing basic breaks like this, so I snagged him and brought him home to fix.

BHR slider - before

Thank goodness the broken pieces were still with him!

To repair the broken leg and tail, I went with my usual technique– just adjusted a bit for the specifics of a BHR resin. Black Horse Ranch horses are traditional sized and made of solid resin- they are heavy. The tail and foot repairs needed to be strong enough to support his body.

The first thing I did is mark where I want to drill holes to thread my connecting wire. I mostly eyeballed it on the foot, but I did measure a bit on the tail to make sure the bottom would be level.

BHR slider - marking to drillNext I got out my handy dremel drill bits and selected a good size. I wanted to make large holes to accommodate a large wire- and at this scale that wasn’t difficult. I also made a point to go nice and deep into the pieces so that the wire would have a lot of length on either side to hold things securely.

BHR slider - drilling foot

BHR slider - drilling tail

Once the holes were drilled, I twisted wire together to make an extra strong, extra thick strand. Using the magic of baking soda and super glue, I fixed the wire strand into each of the loose broken pieces.

BHR slider - attaching wire

Then I carefully filled the corresponding hole with super glue, pushed the wire in, and held the piece in until the glue fixed it in place.

BHR slider - pieces reattached

At this point I checked and the fixes were holding well under the full weight of the body. So far so good!

Since the pieces didn’t go together perfectly (something to improve on next time- I think bigger holes to fit the wire into might help…) I needed to fill some gaps with epoxy.

I tend to get epoxy everywhere, so first I covered most of the horse so I’d have a safe place to hold. With stablemates I usually use plastic wrap, but for this big guy I just used a plastic bag.

BHR slider - protection for epoxy

Carefully I pushed epoxy into the gaps in the break, doing my best to smooth it down nicely. On the tail, I followed the lines of the hair texture so the fix wouldn’t be obvious.

BHR slider - foot with epoxy

After the epoxy dried, I did some careful sanding to make sure it was perfectly smooth.

Finally, I painted the epoxy to match the white around it. Like most white areas, this took a lot of layers to get smooth and solid, but it was worth it.

BHR slider - paint layers

Slowly but surely, the repaired areas started to disappear. And voila!

BHR slider - after

Mr. BHR Reiner is back on his feet, literally, and ready to pursue his destiny in the performance ring.

 

 

 

Repairin’ for Erin: Straightening a Bent Leg

My friend Erin is a dedicated and accomplished hobbyist. Among other things, she is a committed and skillful performance shower…

English Performance Champion at Breyerfest 2013

English Performance Champion at Breyerfest 2013

…and makes top quality western tack:

Pleasure saddle made in 2014

Pleasure saddle made in 2014

Erin has been wonderfully generous with her knowledge, helping me learn about working with leather and improve my performance entries. So I was excited to find an opportunity to me to use my skills to help her out in kind.

Although Erin’s short foray into oil painting was pretty successful, she doesn’t do any customizing or repairs herself. Being a clumsy person, I’ve inevitably learned to repair models. Earlier this month I was visiting Erin and found several horses to kidnap and repair. I figured I could do some mini tutorials as I went.

The first horse in need is a OF Stablemate Arabian Mare who was formerly a part of Erin’s mini show string. Alas, Miss Pinto has been staying home since she developed a bent foreleg.

Ouch! That can't be comfortable.

Ouch! That can’t be comfortable.

Bent legs are a relatively common problem in plastic models and can be caused by heat, pressure or a combination of the two. You can prevent bent legs by protecting your horses from extreme temperatures (e.g. never leaving them in a hot car) and packing them carefully for any transport.

Fixing a bent leg on a show quality model follows the same general practice as bending a leg while customizing- only you need to be much more careful about the finish. Overheating an area can cause the plastic to bubble.

To make this repair, you’ll need a heat gun, a wide bowl of cool water (big enough to dunk your horse into), and something to protect your hands while you shift the leg. I use an old pair of thick socks. The plastic will be hot when you touch it, and you will burn yourself without something over your skin. Trust me.

Curious cats are optional but encouraged.

Curious cats are optional but encouraged.

The key to this is to take your time. With your hand protection on, turn on the heat gun and wave it back and forth slowly over the bent leg, keeping the gun about 3/4″-1″ away from the horse to prevent damaging the finish. Move the gun so that every side of the leg gets heat. Bends are generally going to happen between joints. Pinpoint the place you need to manipulate to fix it, and aim to get that whole area warm.

Erins Arab Mare - heating area

The red block shows where I’m aiming the heat for this fix

After a minute or so, gently try to bend the leg back into the correct place. If it doesn’t move easily, heat it a bit more and try again. Once you’ve got the leg in the position you want, dunk it into the bowl of water. That cools the leg and (hopefully) keeps it in the new position.

Erins Arab Mare - cooling

Once the leg is moved some, check your horse again. Is further bending needed?

Frances is skeptical

Frances is skeptical

If the leg is being stubborn, heat and move it again. Something you have to do this a couple times to get it right, as the leg naturally wants to move back into the bent position. Be firm, and show the leg who’s boss… but gently and slowly, so as not to damage the finish.

The final result: showable once again!

The final result: showable once again!

With only about ten minutes of fiddling, this mare now has a straightened leg. She’s ready to go back out on the show table!

 

Tiny Things

My Christmas gift portrait cob now has hair! Said hair needs work, but she looks a lot better than last month when she had no ears and a wire sticking out of her butt…

Kettil Blacksmith is still in the pony hospital, but he’s recovering from Brokentailitis and will hopefully be ready to hit the show ring in a few weeks.

Progress!

Meanwhile, awesome hobby bloggers are busy making tiny masterpieces. EG of Last Alliance Studios cooked up some delicious looking sandwiches and Nichelle of Desktop Stables made a whole library of wee books. Seriously, the first pictures in these two posts will give you a real double take.

Here and There and All Over

As I’ve mentioned I’m busy with a new job (wheee!) and adjusting to much less pony time. I’m still managing to sneak it in though, never you fear.

Two of the top priority projects right now are fixes in preparation for the NW Congress Live Show at the end of the month. Kettil Blacksmith had a tough ride to his last show, despite my efforts, and ended up with a broken tail. He now has a double-wired, super reinforced tail.

Since that picture was taken I’ve added acrylic to cover the epoxy patch. He looks pretty good, but still needs some pastel layers to make everything match. Hopefully (knock wood) this will be the last time that tail needs repair.

The other guy in the Horsey Hospital is Troy Soldier, who isn’t a horse at all. This wiley mule came to the Harvest Halter Live with some ear tip rubs that I hadn’t noticed. I did a quick n dirty fix with a brown marker (thanks Vicky!) and he managed a red ribbon in his breed class, but he needed a real fix. Luckily, I’ve been keeping notes on the colors I use on recent horses, so I knew what would work with a minimum of fussing.

I have some more projects on the to-do list before the show, but that hasn’t stopped me from rashly chopping off some heads and starting a new project or two. If anyone has a Chips TB head they don’t need, I’d love to take it off your hands…

Meanwhile, I’m also working on two Christmas projects. My Welsh Cob portrait is just about ready for hair. And this thing is, believe it or not, coming along…

I know of one or two of my readers who might guess what that is. Need a hint? I’m just a madwoman making a box…

Frustration –> Satisfaction

I have a busy work week before Rose City Live on the 8th, so I wanted to get ahead on packing. I am sure glad I started early, because I found not one but 4 horses that needed repairs! Argh.

I was really peeved at first (especially because it was my clumsiness that added one of those horses to the list) but then I realized that in the big scheme of things, this is not really worthy of exasperation. For one, I had caught everything in time to fix it (not, for example, the night before) and nothing needed major work.

But secondly and more satisfying, I realized I am perfectly capable of fixing all of the problems. I made the horse in the first place, so I can be confident in putting it back on the work bench for repairs. I’m happy that I don’t need to send these guys off to someone else to get repaired- I just added it to my pre-show to do list.

The four models went into the “hospital” on Tuesday, and by today nearly everyone is ready to go. Their fellows are all packed, and the other projects are nearing completion. Hurrah!

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!

How to Fix a Broken Leg

One of my acquisitions from the last show was this free but broken G3 Stock Horse. Since I already had the dremel out, I fixed up his leg so he at least could stand on the shelf and await his customization. I took pictures so I could do a quick little tutorial on how to fix a broken leg.

Step One
Use a dremel to make a hole in both pieces of the leg. This break is at the pastern, so I drill up into the cannon bone and down into the hoof. Go as deep as you can without puncturing the outside of the plastic. This is easiest using a small dremel drill bit, but you can use a carbide scraper to dig a hole into each piece if you don’t have a dremel on hand.

Step Two
Insert a wire into one of the holes as deeply as possible. Use as thick a wire as will fit. Secure the wire in the hole using super glue and just a touch of baking soda. The glue-and-baking-soda resin should only fill the hole and not spill out. If it overflows the hole you’ll need to sand it back down, otherwise the leg will end up longer than it was originally.

Step Three
Trim the wire so that when you put the two pieces together they are snug and no wire is visible, as seen below:

Now you see it…

Now you don’t!

Step Four
Using just a touch of super or tacky glue, secure the exposed wire in the other side of the break. Make sure the sides are snug and that the hoof is positioned correctly. Stand the horse up to double check stability.

Voila! My horse has four legs again. He’ll still need some epoxy and/or modeling paste to smooth over the break, but it’s secure.