Moving limbs

I am not going to call this a tutorial, as it isn't, it is more of a show and tell.
This is how I do it, there are many different ways, cutting and pinning, warming and slow bending etc, but this is the way that works for me.

Before we start though, I do want to say, Dremels and heat guns are not for the faint hearted, they are dangerous tools in the wrong hands, please be careful and protect yourself.

As mentioned in the previous post, I am CMing a Zenyetta to an ASB. A rather drastic CM, but the theory is the same for all my CMing, wether it is simple or drastic.

Firstly, I mark the joints. This gives me the bending points, and I can also measure making sure the OF is even.

Always, always, always ...starting form the highest joint (shoulder, hip) moving down the limbs comparing to the reference photos work out what needs moving. Sometimes, on a simple CM shoulders and rump joints don't need moving, but rarely.
Once I think I know where I am heading, I mark out the sections of the horse I will be cutting away.
This is usually the same, regardless of the eventual position, but amount I take out will vary.

All the offending parts removed. I have not touched the knees, hocks and pastern, as often I will find I have cut them unnecessarily after moving shoulders and hips.

With my reference pic's in front of me at all times, I begin melting. As gently as possible, only using as little heat as is needed, only melting when necessary

This shoulder was tricky, I could not get the leg to the right angle and twist without shortening the shoulder. So I melted the plastic nearly to liquid, then clamped with pliers, holding until cool.

After a little fiddle with the rear end, I realised I was not going to get anywhere without further cutting. These are the most annoying cuts to make on a model horse, the leg is solid plastic and awkwardly situated. I do not use a wheel for this part, but an engraving, carving sorta thingy, and slowly carve out the plastic.

Once I get it to this point, the heating and bending is simple. I ended up taking a bit more of the wedge out of the nearside leg, to allow more movement.
With the hock, two cuts are made, a line cut on one side, and a wedge cut into the side you are bending towards, this gives a natural bend in the correct place, avoiding spaghetti leg syndrome.
It is usually unnecessary to cut pasterns, a gentle warming with the heat gun makes them pretty flexible.
Always think about the weight that is coming down on each joint. Hocks, stifles, elbows and pasterns can all bend and twist in what seems an awkward, and not always graceful fashion, study your references!

Once I am happy with the horses position, it is time to fill the holes in.
I use a space invading foam, available from any hardware store, just be sure to get the sandable one, you do not want anything that washes up with water.
It is simply a matter of filling the horse, and letting it dry, overnight is best.

Pillow pony

The foam can be cut with a serrated knife, but I tear it off instead. I want to keep a lot of the bulk there.

I then push it all back into the horse as this gives a firmer base to sculpt over.
That is it ...this stage is finished, the horse is ready for sculpting.
If you have any burning questions about any of the moves, or tools etc, you can find this photo sequence on my facebook page; Moving Limbs
More soon ...


  1. What kind of fill foam do you use for filling your horses? Does it have to be anything special so I wont have any major problems?

  2. I use a space invading foam, available from any hardware store, just be sure to get the sandable one, you do not want anything that washes up with water.

  3. I want her!!!!!!!!


  5. I love the foam idea!
    I never thought of that so have been cramming customs with tin foil.

    Also the head/neck sanding idea :)

  6. Cool! We have “Great Stuff” that is sandable...will check that out!


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