With the MEPSA donation horses done and shipped, I’ve turned my attention to preparations for a live show in early September. Of course, by “preparations” I mean all the new stuff I want to have done, not actually preparing for the show…
One of my main goals is to have my Saddlebred mare done. When I last posted about her she was getting close to done but still lacked a tail. Since then I’ve done hours of sanding and refining, resculpted her lower legs for the 3rd time (sigh) and added a tail.
The first thing I did was cover the rest of her in plastic. I have a bad habit of getting epoxy all over my fingers and then all over the otherwise-smooth model, which means more sanding later. I’m trying to avoid that here, using plenty of blue tape and a cut up plastic bag.
Next I built up the wire tail with tin foil, secured and stiffened with super glue & baking soda. Once I had the basic shape built, I started to block in the shape with chunks of epoxy.
The tail took quite a bit of epoxy. I could maybe have done more with the foil to avoid this, but oh well. It’s funny working in this larger scale- normally I wouldn’t go through that much epoxy in an entire drastic custom!
Once the tail was blocked in with the epoxy, and it had dried a bit, I started to add the hair detail. I’m not great at this, but with a lot of shaping and brushing and shaping I got something I was sort of happy with. I use denatured alcohol to smooth all my epoxy including manes and tails. I think I learned that from Jen Buxton who learned it from Tiffany Purdy.
After more sanding, primer, and little changes, Chryselephantine 2.0 has a tail!
I’m still working on smoothing and sanding, but she’s getting so close! I’m excited to start adding color.
This Sleipnir project is such a blast to do. I’m really enjoying myself and spending a lot of time working on him. Even though his body still needs a decent amount of work, this weekend he got a mane and tail- I just couldn’t wait!
Since the mane we designed is large and mostly upright, I used wires and tape to make an armature, and sculpted the hair on top of that. First I dremeled holes along his neckline for the wires, just like I’d normally do for a tail.
Then I planted wires in the holes and secured them with super glue and baking soda. Once they were dry, I trimmed and bent them into the right positions.
Then, using Laura Skillern’s excellent method, I blue taped over my wires in the shape of the mane-to-be and added glue and baking soda over the tape for stability. This also helps the epoxy grab onto the tape armature.
Then I slabbed epoxy over the blue tape liberally.
After that, it’s just about shaping and more shaping. I use different tools depending on the day and the horse and whether or not Venus is in the sixth house. These were my favored tools of the day:
As I sculpt, I use water (some people use rubbing alcohol) on a smooth brush to go over the sculpting and smooth out any harsh lines. Here is his new hirsute look:
I’m very pleased with his new do, so pleased in fact that I went on a put a mane on my running pony too, because I felt like I was in a good groove. And next up… adding feathers! This is gonna be a very hairy guy.
Ah, how I look forward to posts on the Don’t Eat the Paint blog! Every post is a new treasure trove of pictures and helpful information. Today’s post is a lovely step by step on tail sculpting. It’s definitely a must read!
Don't I wish I could sculpt a tail like this!
Today I took a long time to work on models as a reward for hard work earlier this week and because I really wanted to listen to Pride and Prejudice on audiotape.
I was inspired to restart an earlier project on a different mold. Early in my customization career I attempted to make a micro mini standing stock horse into a mule. This failed in all sorts of interesting ways, but I still want a mule. I was able recently to purchase a PS Chips Mule cheaply, and during Chemistry of Art I was daydreaming about making him into the mule I had imagined.
I wanted to give my mule a belled tail but needed references. It turns out that the belling of a mule’s tail is a tradition from the army. Newly recruited mules had their tails shaved to show that they were untrained. By the time it had grown out they had learned to pack, and were given a tail “bell.” When they could pack and drive, they had two bells. They received the third bell when they were also broken to ride. My mule will of course bear all three.
My mule is in an ugly stage at the moment but I will post pictures when he is presentable.