Saturday, May 7, 2011

Itty-Bitty Ear Project

Ever wonder what happened to my earless stablemates? Well, they've been setting around waiting patiently for me to get up off of my arse and figure something out. At first, I was going to try Laura Skillern's nifty method, but the tutorial was for traditional ears and the idea of trying some so much smaller was daunting to say the least. (I really dislike making ears) Then I decided to just eighty-six that idea and to make them out of superglue and baking soda. I'd planned on the "Blob Approach..." You know, just making an ear-sized blob and whitlin' that sucker down with my trusty carbide scrapers and jewelers files. Wellllll..... I eighty-sixed that one, too. So, back to the first method from Laura. And here's the result:

This is before I cut the long tail-like ends off

So I'm still procrastinating attaching them; hopefully I'll attempt that today. Keep your fingers crossed that I don't wind up with critters that look like the bastard children of bunnies.

On a different note, here is the Stone Chips Andalusian that was also purchased prepped and primed.

Now I might be prejudiced, but I think this critter's awesome. His body color ranges from wheat gold to black, with russets, caramels and yellows used. He's got lots of bells and whistles and is for sale in my Webshots Album (as of today, I have been unable to upload photos to Webshots, but I'll keep trying so check back often). I also have a resin rider for uber-cheap and a pretty nifty hunter/jumper jump in Traditional size (which also has fallen victim to the ailments of Webshots).  Stay tuned... I may have ears with models attached soon.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Bettie Boop

Years ago my grandmother bought me a 4-book set of Thelwell's Pony cartoons and I remember reading and re-reading those books until I had pretty much worn them out.  There is one toon in particular that, while I don't remember the specific book that housed it, has stayed in my mind to this very day.  In fact, I think about it every single time I go riding. There are two sketches actually... The first one depicts a very neat, tidy and sharply-dressed young girl eying an extremely dirty, hairy, just plain messy looking pony. And in the next drawing, the pony is so clean and shiny and braided nicely for show, while the young girl is sweaty, dirty and just plain messy looking. I always feel that child's pain whenever I'm brushing my mare for a ride (she thinks she's a pig and is always covered in mud). It is this cartoon that's inspired my newest idea: Bettie Boop. Bettie is going to be a very well-turned-out show pony for someone and this is her story... 

Here is my recently received almost-conga of (4) G2 Shetland Ponies.  

Bettie is on the last one in the line...

I decided that I wanted this little girl to be, despite her pudgy self, in a very light and floaty trot, with her head on the bit and both ears on her rider. Since I've planned to braid her mane and tail, as well as move her ears, the entire hair-do had to go. I should've used The Old School Tool instead of the cutting wheel on the Dremel as I burned my stupid self plucking hot plastic off Bettie's neck. Since I planned to tuck her head anyway, I didn't really need that neck. Her head is so tiny however (and with no ears), that I tried to save myself a bit of a headache by cheating and leaving a portion of the original plastic neck for proportional reference.

I got a bit carried away with the Dremel and cut her neck almost completely off!
I also notched her joints so that she could be moved into a more correct trot and refined her blobby joints a bit and removed her fetlock feather. Unfortunately in carving her hooves, the pressure caused her left-fore to pop off and I had to insert a pin for support. Later I'll sculpt a new foot for that leg.

She's going to "float." Tho I've not decided how I want to achieve this... Pins? Clear Pegs?
I use aluminum foil to give me a form with some body (that will easily hold shape) when I'm filling large amounts of empty space and cement it into place with super glue (liquid) and baking soda. First I line the seams where the foil meets the plastic (it's a lot like sealing the seams on a tent) with the glue then dust copious amounts of baking soda on top. I usually pat the soda down on top, then gently dust it away (I get really sticky with glue if I don't proceed with caution here). The last fine layer I blow off and presto! Instant fix! I keep adding glue and soda in layers until my "armature" suits me.

Pitiful looking little critter isn't she?

Here she is after her first application of putty.

I still have the sides of her head to grind off in order to make room for the ears. I'll prolly have to start on those ears next thing, which is definitely something to which I do not look forward. I did manage to find an excellent tutorial on making ears (here: by Laura Skillern, but unfortunately I am having no luck with it on a SM scale. So my plan is to try the blob approach... You know..? Put an ear-shaped blob on the afflicted critter and carve away. I'm thinking about using straight pins as supports due to my enthusiastic approach to carving ears tending to pop them off. Then there are her legs and feet still needing some beautifying, and the left front leg still needing a finished hoof.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Just Got Spotted

I just got this little critter done, hence the name....

I do love this mold but it sure does have some thick little legs! I honestly thought I'd never get finished painting this thing and can say that my urge to paint super detailed white markings has been well-appeased.  Her pictures aren't the best (they actually suck) as I just plunked her down on an unfinished base and proceeded to take mug shots on the front porch using the gloomy day as our back drop. Tho overcast days are usually far more kind to the models' color, I've found.  This girl is for sale in my webshots album.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Babysitter

Anyone who's had the privilege of learning to ride on an older, well-mannered and patient mount, will definitely understand the term, "Babysitter." My babysitter was a small Paint mare by the name of Lady. My Mom, when she graduated high school, instead of buying a car with her graduation money, purchased herself a horse; Lady. By the time I came along, Lady was in her late teens and by the time I rode her, in her early twenties. The old mare put up with a lot out of me, including riding with my tape player tied to the saddle with my leg thrown over the saddle horn, while we traveled along the road that runs by my house. Lady is who taught me how to mount up like the Lone Ranger.  In case you're not old enough to have seen him, the LR used to mount his trusty steed, Silver, by running up behind the horse and vaulting up over his butt to land right in the saddle.  It takes a very special horse to stand rock steady while you run all out at full speed, directly into their blind spot, only to pop them flat-handed on the booty before leaping onto their back. And she stood like that through many, many attempts... So this particular project is inspired by and dedicated to my babysitter, Lady, and all the other babysitters like her.

My victi--err... base model was a G3 Stock Horse Mare.  First thing I did was decide on her position. I wanted her to have her head turned and lowered, as if she were listening to a cue from her rider, or receiving an apple from a friendly hand. So I chopped a large wedge out of her neck, leaving only a thin strip in the front where her windpipe is.

My pre-melted windpipe picture was grossly blurred, so here she is after her appointment with the lighter.
While I like this model, I also have a few problems with her... First of all, she really has a "Spirit, Stallion if the Cimarron," feel to her, so I set about correcting it. After removing her tail and whittling away at her bubble-butt. I also reshaped her topline a bit and added a crease between her hips, as is common for stock horses. Second thing is that ugly ole head, especially with those psycho eye-whites... I refined her muzzle a bit as well as carved/resculpted her jaws. The pooky lip is in the works; putty will be added to define it a bit more.
(I keep seeing that same streak in all of my photos *grrrrr*) I need to remember to clean my speaker off!
Here's girlie with her head tucked and neck filled in with aluminum foil and baking soda. I still have that wonky leg to fix (will prolly do that last thing) and adding the ears (this particular girl came to me without one, so I just lopped the other off). I also filed her feet a bit as I dislike the lumpy way her legs adjoin her hooves. And as I sit here studying her photo, I've decided that her right hind is really bugging me, especially now since her tail's been removed. After checking it, I found out that it's a bit shorter than the left, so now I'm seriously debating whether I want to chop it off and shorten it or not.

And after first application of putty.

Still needs to have ear room sanded into her head. (Please overlook the cat hair all over her; I can never seem to get it all up)
I'm still trying to make friends with that right hind... Even from this angle, it;s hard for me to ignore, so I'm thinking tomorrow, before she gets her ears, I'll shorten her leg at the gaskin and while I'm at it, I plan to set that leg back a bit, too.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Nez Perce (G1 SMND)

This fellow is the biggest PITA that I've worked with in a while, insofar as removing a tail.

Another that came to me with a broken leg...

I wanted to lower this critters neck, but still wanted to keep the beautiful lean lines of the original piece, so I whacked it off and trimmed it a bit. I also started resculpting the "lail" (or "teg," either way, it = leg + tail) into something more like a leg. And as I whittled away, I remembered why I don't CM Native Dancers too much (tho I do love this mold). I suppose this critter's lack of mane should, in some small way (not!), make up for the major chore of lail-resculpting.

As I was working on this fellow, he took a plunge off the shelf and broke both of his ears... I guess it's time for me to learn how to make stablemate sized ears, ya?
As I was sanding and cutting away at the mass of plastic between those back legs, I inadvertently used that left-fore for leverage and popped it off again. At this point I gave up and just used a clipped-off straight pen as an armature. In the photo below, you can kinda get an idea of what a chewed up mess his patootey is...

Still tons of plastic to carve out and off...
Got the first layer of putty added and made something closer to a bone for that missing front leg.

The head still has to be filed for ears and I need to work on making sure that entire neck looks harmonious. Right now getting the putty to blend smoothly in the negative spaces is aggravating, hence the layers. Still have the lower leg to work on too, so I'll prolly build that gradually as I go (I tend to crack under pressure and if I know that I don't have to rush and will have another "putty session" at my leisure, I tend to not flub it so badly!)

Friday, April 15, 2011

East and West

I finally got the first layer of putty on the G2 Quarter Horse...
Foundation type Appaloosa with rat tail and thinned mane

...and the G2 Thoroughbred.
Polo Pony with braids and a mud knot.

These fellows have pictures of their sorry selves somewhere else among the earlier pages here... This is just the first application of putty, hopefully the finer stuff can be done on the second application. (Epoxy putty and I have a love/hate relationship. It's not unusual for me to have to really psych myself up for a day or two before even breaking out the putty. That's because while I love the results, I sincerely and deeply dislike handling the stuff during application. BLUCK! PTOOEY!!) Still have a way to go on both... The stock horse needs some more work on his hip and flank area, as well as finer detailing on his forehead and boy bits. The polo pony needs the messed up back hoof doctored a bit more as well as work on his/her/it's (undecided there) neck and shoulders (don't like the way they adjoin).

My plan here is to attend the major parts (missing muscle masses due to moving and/or removing of bits and pieces) first and when they're up to snuff, I'll tend to the finer things (such as wrinkles, pooky lips, nostrils, faces, etc). More photos to come as they progress.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Woo-hoo Frosty!!

Finally! My Moon Frost is done! I ordered three of these little guys (love this resin!) and finally managed to get one painted.

He was painted the exact same color as the G3 Friesian, tho unlike the stablemate, this fellow got the chestnut mane and tail. It's amazing what a difference mane and tail color can make.

I recently purchased 4 G2 SM Shetlands and am planning to chronicle the entire customization process from beginning to end on all of them.