One of the things I enjoy is taking a small, £2.50 plastic toy horse and with a few tools and supplies (scalpel, saw, lit candle, dremmel, epoxy putty, sculpting tools, files, sandpaper, spray primer, acrylic paint, ground pastels, fixative spray, coloured pencils and gloss varnish) try to make it into something unique and much more realistic.
Here are a few of the ones I’ve been resculpting over the summer. They’re all Breyer Stablemate scale (1:32) horses, about 3 inches tall.
On this one I’ve sculpted a new mane and tail. I’m not great at these and this is probably my best efforts to date. I got a lot better after I switched from Milliput to Apoxie Sculpt. They’re both 2-part, self-hardening clays but Apoxie Sculpt is far smoother and easier to work. I do the sculpting with a combination of rubber-tipped sculpting tools, a needle and a wet paintbrush to smooth it down. Original model here.
This next one has also had a new tail. This is the first layer – a kind of skeleton tail. I’ll add another layer to add bulk to it and add texture. I managed to drop it and the tail is wobbly, so I’ll fix it with superlgue and baking power. They set immediately to a hard consistency, ideal for these kinds of fixes. He’ll be getting a new braided mane at some point, but first I’m finishing resculpting the neck muscles after I tucked the head a little. Original model here.
I know very little about the complex subject of horse biomechanics, but as I quite like dabbling in sculpture and as I like my work to improve, I’m reluctantly having to learn. I have a couple of good anatomy books I got for xmas last year, so with those, photos and this excellent tutorial I am having a crack at it.
This next one is another neck project. I changed her headset slightly and now I’m building up the muscle in her neck, chest and shoulders. These old moulds (this one’s from the mid 1970s) lost a lot of detail over the years and the later impressions (mine’s c.1996) can be a bit featureless. They’re sound models structurally though and much finer and more realistic than some of the later, more toy-like ones. I’ve also resculpted the tail, which was a bit of a skinny blob and she’ll get a new mane too. Original model here.
This last one is on the early stages of a project to turn this pony into a Mongolian Horse. He’s basically being uglified at the moment as Mongolian horses look like the back end of a bus. They’re extremely well suited to their environment and the job they do, but they won’t win any beauty contests. They also don’t have much in the way of a breed standard, so you see a lot of variety in shape and colour.
I’ve flattened his back, chopped down his rump and neck and given him a Roman nose. I’ve also carved down his flanks and sculpted a distended belly to give him that ribby, wormy look. There’s a huge amount still to do and I’m still debating removing his neck and sculpting a new, lower-set one. Original model here.