25 July, 2018

tiny horses, part one

So here is a thing that I do: customize model horses*. I started doing it when I was a kid, when Breyer was the only game in town. And I sucked. I kept trying, though, and even though I never got amazing, I got better. I hated the prep work: sanding, filing, carving, basically all the sculpting. Hated it. Perhaps because I've never had the facilities to really get into it--torches, inflammable locations, a concrete floor--but even if I had, I just don't like sculpting that much. At its core, model horse customizing is about artists doing painting and sculpture work on a model equine body. There comes a point when talent supplements skill, or it doesn't, and I've pushed my skills about as far as I can.
Anyway, I stopped customizing a few years ago, when we moved from the student housing apartment to something 100 square feet and a bedroom smaller. Even then, I wasn't doing much; poor light quality, an excess of cat hair. But after we moved, I packed up most of my remaining models (after the massive purge of the early '90s), except a fistful of the tiny ones that were gifts or models I particularly loved. I had two sad unfinished mutants, too, but too bad for them. I was done

Then I discovered this summer on Amazon that Breyer makes blanks of my favorite scale (1:32) for sale, specifically to get kids into the hobby, and... I succumbed. I bought some paints. I dug out my reference materials, and my files, and my carbide scrapers, and my sandpaper. 

Summer's a good time to paint; I can take over the dining room table for storage, and I can paint outside on the patio where the light is good. I had to buy a magnifying lamp because fucking aging eyesight, and because I like the tiny ones. I got the warmblood "family". 

Then of course I started with my mutant, who had been one of these guys before the judicious application of candle flames and epoxy modeling paste. I straightened a leg and a head/neck and gave him better hair. I love the wild patterns you can get on a Clydesdale, (I love wild patterns in general, which are of course the hardest to paint) so I elected to try a grey sabino with some roaning and a lot of white. I did a little googling, found a couple of horses I liked for inspiration, and got to it. 

And then, in three drafts (a horse pun!): Day one: basecoat blocked in. Day two, roaning and sabino pattern added. Day three, mane/tail, hooves, eyes, skin, etc. He still needs a name (yes, he. The models are accurate. This one's a gelding.) 

* You can also show model horses. Live. Like, you take your horses to a place with a bunch of other people and you set them up on a table and you take them into "the ring" for their classes and people judge them on realism and on artistry. You can do this with original factory finish horses or your customized models. This is a thing that I also did, which I why I know I am not a brilliant artist. I stopped showing long before I stopped painting because I am competitive as hell.