Tag Archives: Sunset Highway

It Takes a Village…

My ex-frankenhorses, Liam and Lilah, are now basically finished. I am really pleased with how they’ve turned out. But I was stuck- how could I sign them? Their coats are both very dark, particularly on the underbelly where one would normally sign.

For most of my horses I use my trusty black Micron .20mm pen, which works wonderfully. But alas, Micron doesn’t make any pens in light colors that would show up on these guys. So I hunted around the Dick Blick website to find some alternatives. After compiling a list, I turned to two message boards, Model Horse Love and Fallen Leaves, to see if anyone else had experience with those products.

They had something better. Contributors on both forums pointed out that I could simply sign with my nice black Micron on the bottom of a dark horse’s hoof.

Duh. It’s a cheap, simple solution–just my style–but I needed help to get there. Thank goodness for helpful hobbyists!

Meanwhile, I also finished my bay-going-grey pony, Typhoid Mary. Check out her pictures in the Grey Gallery. Kettil Blacksmith and Troy Soldier are still in progress, but Kettil at least is on track for completion by Saturday. As for Troy, well, fingers crossed. If nothing else, this upcoming show is a fabulous motivator.

Ear Collecting

“George has a collection. One slip an’ he warns ye. Two, an’ he takes an ear–fer his collection. Three mistakes–” Stefan shrugged. “He takes t’other ear an’ all that’s attached. George likes things done right.”

I couldn’t help but think of Tamora Pierce’s Alanna series during my latest endeavor- sculpting ears. I had a couple horses that were giving me a lot of trouble, so I decided to try out Laura Skillern’s tutorial on the subject.

Following her directions, I was was able to make a little ear collection of my own- although surely smaller and cleaner than George’s.

After my ears were dry, I found two of relatively the same size that matched my horses in need. I dug a little hole in each horses head and planted the ear for stability. Then I added epoxy around the base as Laura instructs. I definitely need to do some shaping and refining, but I’m so far very pleased with the results.

(That’s an updated photo of the Head Down Mare, by the way- she looks pretty different now! and is destined to be a gelding.)

Neck and Neck

Now that I’m finding a bit of time here and there to be working on models again, I have to remember where I was when I left off! I am lucky to have Laura Skillern’s excellent three part tutorial on necks (Necking, Off With His Head, and Recapitation) because I suddenly find myself in progress on a bunch of tricksy necks.

Her explanation of the movement of neck bones was particularly helpful, because it showed me-before I got any further-how incorrectly short my head down mare’s neck is:

I knew something looked funky…

Laura’s tutorial helped me to see that really it should sort of look “too long” because the neck vertebrae are all stretched out in that position, creating length. I did this quick mock up of the necessary changes:

If only moving parts was this easy in epoxy!

I realized that the correct neck design also requires that the withers come forward a bit. And while I’m dremeling her to pieces, I’ll be bringing her supporting hind legs quite a bit more under the body to support her weight realistically. Sigh. This poor mare…

I’ll be tackling her when I have ample time to give. Meanwhile, I’m sanding and smoothing and fixing little nit picks on my next crop who are waiting patiently in their primer for the beginning of color.

Necking with Laura

Apologies to Laura Skillern, but she started it with her post title and I could not resist. Her post is a great introduction to sculpting horse necks, and all the things that can affect shape and size. And she says there’s more on the way!

I’m particularly excited about these neck tutorials because (prior to packing up the studio) I was working on a major neck resculpt for a stablemate whose in-progress title is “Head Down Mare.” Her front half is the G2 ASB and her back half is the G1 Morgan mare. She is on her way to being a snoozing mare.

This picture is rather outdated (for one, her topline is now level) but it shows the basic idea.

I’ve had to totally redo her neck, which is a first for me. Here are my two main reference pictures:

Image by © Gunter Marx Photography/CORBIS

I’m eager to get back to work on this sleepy gal, once I have established my new studio space… and gleaned more sage wisdom from Laura!

Alas, out comes the dremel again.

Taking and posting pictures has forced me to realize something unfortunate. One of my combo mares needs some serious surgery- her front legs are noticeably longer than her back legs! *headdesk*

Her topline is wonky and her hocks and knees don’t even come close to matching up.

Doc, we’re going to have to amputate…

Remake progress

I am having a bit of a crappy week but I hope to spend much of this weekend working on models and distracting myself from the aforementioned crap.

Several of the models that I have been sculpting for weeks are nearing completion and will be ready for painting to start. I have been having so much fun with the sculpting aspect of things that I have barely done finish work lately. But soon I’m going to be overflowing with models needing paint work. I like to work in these batches, with lots of models needing sculpting or paint, because I can go slow and rotate around, working on each one each day and still having plenty to keep me occupied. Otherwise I work too fast and bad things happen.

This is Alpo, a snotty little pony made from the G3 Highland. He’ll be painted a very white grey.

This is a PS mule with a new belled tail. I’ve redone that darn tail about 5 times but I think this time I might actually keep it. He’ll be a chestnut with pangare.

The G2 Shetland with a less neurotic headset, new ears, tail, and knotted mane. She’ll be a semi portrait of my friend’s adorable rose grey Welsh.

I love to chop up stablemates. My original idea was simply to use the back half of the G2 ASB with the front half of the G1 Morgan mare (left) but then my friend told me I should put the two remaining halves together too, so the model on the right was born. Colors, names, and breeds are still undecided, and I have a lot of sculpting left to do on these two. The model on the right is my first to require massive muscle re-sculpting… I’m learning lots, and fast!

Mostly the above models require sanding, sanding, more sanding, and a few little tweaks. I also have a G3 Cantering Warmblood who I hope to start today; he’ll be a warm dapple bay. I may also get feisty and try some acrylic body work on my another (uncustomized) G3 Highland pony.

Model horses are great therapy.