Monday, September 19, 2011

The big Fulla ...

And I am in no way kidding, there is so much work on this fellow that he weighs in at 720gms.

So very close to being finished, in these pics all he is lacking are his eyelashes and veins. When he is done, he will be painted a warm soft dapple grey suitable to his age.
With his stallion bulk and the movement of dressage he is performing, I am thinking he is about 10 to 12 years old.

Silly begger got sick of waiting for me to edit his photos, so laid down and had a roll, lol. he really does have a face only a mother could love.

And a reminder of where he began ....

Photo credit to Melissa Williams, Identify my Breyer

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Reference photos

Remember I mentioned the importance of good reference photos? Well there is no point having them if you don't use them :)
I have taken a photo of the foal into Paint.NET and made it black and white, then used pencil sketch to make it more contrasty (I am sure that is a word :) if not it should be).

Then, with this altered photo in front of me, and a Sharpie in my hand, I mark the areas I want to change. The areas I want to carve out are shaded, the areas that need a gentler hand are lined.
I then end up with a graffiti pony like this;
The area at the base of his neck, and at his elbow are bits I will be adding to,
the rest will all be substantially carved out.
Mmm, spaghetti leg!

Next is more Dremel work ...*happy sigh* I love my Dremel.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Blobbing clay on.

Both satisfying and fun!

I love this part of the customising, were I can throw Apoxie in the general direction of the horse, in general muscle shapes. This is the point where I want to find the shape and feel of the sculpt, where what I pictured in my head begins to come to life.
Lots of mistakes are made, nothing that cannot be fixed  :)

...and before the ridiculous amounts of sanding.
There still has to be a lot of playing with proportions, such as the near side stifle, really not happy with how it is translating. So I will e doing a lot of staring at it and some measuring as well. Right now I think it is too low and without tension.

Neck muscles will have to be sanded right down, way too much bulk there! Shoulder points are very uneven, even allowing for leg lift, so they will be evened up as well.
I will make these alterations before I add anymore Apoxie, as there is no point putting good over bad :)

An important thing to remember when you start throwing clay onto a horse shaped object, is to make sure your surfaces are roughed up. You have to give the plastic (or cured Apoxie) some tooth so the new apoxie sticks.

One body that came my way was a Peter Stone Arab, he was a lovely boy by a BNA, but all his Apoxie work was lifting off as it had been applied directly to a glossy body. Unfortunately he could not be saved, and is now in the process of becoming a TB.
Heartbreaker with scruffs from a carbide scraper ready for Apoxie work.

PAM with sanding scruffs from a dremel ready for Apoxie work.

So far I have used the photos of the real foal as reference, and this book (my favourite!) to see what is happening under the skin.

I got mine off Ebay, for about $12.00. Bargain!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Bendy bits done :)

I have now altered all the bits I highlighted as needing changes in Photoshop. The hooves and psterns are still a wreck, but I am going to leave them alone for now. 

Here you can see just how much original plastic I have removed, and how the Space Invader is holding him steady.

 He looks very up hill now because I have completely removed his hips and rump, that will change when I start adding Apoxie.
Little young to be doing a piaffe! :D

I need to do some more playing around with his head placement, as right now he looks like he is shying away, when I want naughty-snorty. Should just be a matter of dropping his nose a touch.

Next comes the fun stuff, Apoxie Sculpt!

Heartbreaker Photoshop.

Yay it is the weekend!  well almost Therefore it is Heartbreaker time :)

After the heating and the squishing I fill the cavity of the body with either foil, or space invader (do not use space invader if you intend heating the model again! Space invader is VERY flammable).
With Heartbreaker I have used the Space Invader. So no more heat gun.
Now Heartbreaker is a Frankenstein mess right now, and I am itching to jump in and start Apoxie work. But it is so much cheaper and easier to go into a program like Paint.NET and have a play with your sculpt digitally.
By placing the sculpt onto a page of white paper, it brings the horse forward without a noisy background, making it much easier to photoshop.


I am not a whiz with a computer, and what I have done is very simple, but these simple little changes on Paint.NET  help me see the changes that need to be made in plastic. Tomorrow I will pull out the dremel again, take off a fair amount of near side hind quarter, and move the off side hind further underneath the body. I am also wondering whether or not to bring the off side front leg forward. Hmmm ...

Maybe? Maybe not?
 I am also going to remove the muscling in the neck and chest, as my sculpt will be younger then Heartbreaker, and therefore more sinewy and bony.
Always keeping in mind that a CM is a tactile and shifting thing, I will be changing parts until the very last moment I put the last coat of primer on, an even probably then!
On Wi'Hell'mena I took off an entire shoulder and redid it after I thought she was finished. I fought the urge, and procrastinted and thought "Nah, she is fine" But I knew in my heart it was not right, and had to come off.

One of the best pieces of advice I have ...don't be afraid to lope off necks, heads, shoulders legs etc that don't feel right, anything you have done, can be redone, and often better.

Till tomorrow!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Diary of a CM.

More then anything, I love a good tutorial.
More then any other question, I am asked is "How do I do it?"
So I thought, why not put the two together and Blog on :)

First a disclaimer. I have only finished 6 CMs before this one, I do not profess to be an expert by any stretch of the imagination. I will be guessing, making things up as I go along, and no doubt making lots of mistakes. So this is not really a tutorial, more of a diary of a CM.

I will be starting a thread on Model Horse Blab with this guys progress, because I respect any artist that puts their work out there for critique, and although it is really, really tough thing to do, it is a very important part of the learning process, and I am a firm believer in putting my money where my mouth is :) and I aim to get this pony to Breyerfest, so I really want it to be the best it can be.
I will post a link to the thread once it is up :)

So let's begin!

First a photo for reference. I actually have about 80 photos of this little guy, but this is the pose shot. An important thing to remember is the sculpt is only ever as good as the references. 
Never ever guess, no matter how well you think you know horses. I have 10 of them out in my paddocks, I am with them every day, riding grooming, cleaning up after them, and I can still not stress enough the need for good reference photos!

I have had these photos for around two years, he was one of my bust portraits. I have been patiently waiting for the right mould to come along for CMing.

In this case it is Breyers Heartbreaker.

Nooooooooooooo I hear you shriek, why ruin a perfectly good horse!!
Well this fellow was not perfect, he had an almighty big dent on his top lip, and I am not one for simple patch work/paint jobs :) so off with his head, metaphorically ...

Using the reference pic' as a guide, I then mark the horse with a Sharpie so I know where to make the cuts to move the limbs. Try to make the cuts where the legs would naturally bend at the joints. Knees, pasterns, shoulders, throat latch etc.

I then make the cuts using a hack saw. I used to use the dremel for this, but found I very very easily got carried away the hack saw is also more precise and makes cleaner cuts.
I then use the dremel to remove the lower half of his face, as he is going from Warmblood to Arabian, there will need to be some major face changes.
Try to be as neat as possible, it saves time and headaches later, learnt this one the hard way!

Then I move onto the heat gun, I know a lot of people don't like these things, but I love mine, and have not managed to set fire to a horse yet! Which for me is actually surprising.
Before I got my heat gun, I used boiling water and a hair dryer, just as effective but it just takes toooo long. I like things done now! Just remember though, you are warming, not melting.

This is the result. Looks terrible right :) they always do at this stage. But stay tuned!

Wondering about the dreadful floral pillow under Heartbreaker?
That is a wheat filled heat pack. They were Mothers Day gifts from my youngest sons, who made them at Scouts, so as hideous as they are, I am very sentimentally attached to them :)
They are also extremely useful. They cushion the horse you are working on, the wheat can be manipulated to straighten a horse while you work on it, and once heated, an apoxied horse will cure faster when laid onto it. They also hold ears and eyeballs whilst curing so you don't get flat spots :)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Stablemates, my new favourites!

Since Cm'ing the Welsh D, I am addicted to these little guys! Compared to their larger cousins, they are so much easier. A little bit of Apoxie sculpt also goes a really really long way! I am still in the habit of mixing much more then I need, so the perfect answer to that problem is of course to CM more then one at a time, lol. So right now I have three on the go.

This one is nearly finished. Just a few more tweaks and a lot more sanding. He began as a G3 walking Arab, you can see his original form here
 He is a more drastic CM with pretty much new everything, though in the beginning he was to only have a new head set, mane and tail, but after removing his head, I lost it (typical!) so he had to have a new face. The old body no longer went with the new head, so it was altered as well.

Then there are these two, the one on the left is a G3 Belgian, being CM'ed to a Welsh D cob, and on the right is a G1 Silky Sullivan.

I have twelve Silkies, so expect to see a lot of differents takes on the little fellow over the next year :). I have ideas for a few of them, but if any of you guys have something you would like to see done a comment or shoot me an email :) I would love to hear them.