Wednesday, March 22, 2017

NaMoPaiMo in the showring

First we painted them.
Now we're showing them.
Custom Weather Girl by Audrey Dixon
All across the globe...
The Perfect Gentleman, Sarah Minkiewicz-Breunig Fritz resin customized by Kylee Parks, Owned and painted by Zoe Antrobus
NaMoPaiMo models have started making their show ring debuts.
SWF Apollo's Lyre, Kitty Cantrell Rastus resin
Customized, painted and owned by Carissa Kirksey

Most are showing in halter... 
Valencia, custom Breyer Salinero owned and painted by Elena Lemm
but a few have ventured into the performance ring as well.
Owned and customized by Lydia Ledward
It's not all blue ribbons and championships...
Notch On My Belt, Maggie Bennett Amarant resin, painted and owned by Erika Baird
(although those have happened)...
Zephyrus, Sarah Minkiewicz-Breunig Stormwatch resin
Painted and owned by DeeAnn Kjelshus
but I think everyone is happy with their models.
Benicio resin painted and owned by Julie Brooks
That's what really counts, right?
Unicorn/Narwhal project customized and painted by Vincent Lange
Congratulations again to all the NaMoPaiMo painters. You are all champions to me!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Just keep painting

I am really pleased with my NaMoPaiMo horse. 
She turned out almost exactly how I'd envisioned...
and I am convinced that she is the best example of my finishwork so far.
My only real disappointment is that I achieved these results with pastels instead of oils. 
I really, really, really want to paint a horse in oils.
So I decided to try again. My BHR draft customized to a Fjord was primed and ready to go so he became next victim. Here's the acrylic basecoat...
and one,
three coats of oils! 
I like the body color, but the legs are giving me fits. Fortunately, there's no deadline for this one. I can keep picking at him as long as I want. It may take me months, but I'm determined to just keep painting. I know if I try hard enough, I will eventually reach my goal!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Rocky Mountain Horse Expo 2017

Last Sunday, I attended the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo with Fabian, Jenn and Leila.
We spent the first part of our day at the trade show...
looking at tack...
and models.
The tack offerings... 
were plentiful... 
and varied.
There was something for everyone, even Tiffany!
No surprise, most of the models were Breyers.
However, we also found this trio of Tabatha Pack resins in the Art Show. That's Elnathan and two copies of Heza Classy Chic. Maybe next year, Jenn can enter her fabulous new Covergirl sculpture.
The miniature horses were on exhibit just beyond the art show.
So cute. 
They required lots of pets. 
At this point, we decided we'd rather see real horses than shop, so we headed over to the Event Center.
We spent some time in the barn area...
petting noses... 
and taking pictures. 
Then we settled in at the main arena, where we watched Steuart Pittman's Teach Your Horse How to Jump Well demonstration...
and the finale of the Colt Starting Challenge USA
This was an interesting competition in which each contestant is given a young, unbroken horse to start under saddle. After two days and four training sessions, competitors show their horses over a basic obstacle course. 
There were a few rough moments, but most of the horses did very well. I will discuss this event in greater detail in future posts.
I always enjoy the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo, and this year was no exception. Thanks for spending the day with me, Fabian, Jenn and Leila. Let's do it again next year!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Breyer by Braymere

Generally speaking, mass production and high quality miniature leatherwork don't go hand in hand, so I was curious to see how my somewhat complicated designs would translate into a forty dollar product.
In fact, I was so pleased with Breyer's efforts, I thought it would be fun to get a couple extra sets and tweak them  to see if I could push them all the way to live show quality. I said as much as much in the comments section of a blog post, and magically, two sets appeared on my doorstep. Woo hoo!

I planned to dig into them right away, but then life got really busy. The Breyer tack got set aside and eventually was forgotten. I tripped over it while cleaning my studio recently and decided better late than never. I opened the polo set and got to work, starting with the saddle.
Without a doubt this is the least LSQ part of the set. The saddle has no tree, so it is very soft and squishy. To make matters worse, this particular saddle was extremely asymmetrical.
I wanted to take the saddle apart entirely, but the rivets in the front make that impossible. Instead, I peeled back the skirts and carefully trimmed them in a way to downplay their unevenness. I also removed the blobby glue and treated all the edges with gum tragacanth and brown Edge Kote. 
I removed the stirrup leathers and carefully skived them to reduce the bulk. I also treated them with gum tragacanth. The leather used throughout this set is very soft and prone to fuzzy edges. By the time I was done with this project, every single piece except the metal parts and browband had been treated with gum tragacanth.
I removed the stirrup leathers' buckles and replaced them with a simpler, no buckle construction. This was done to cut down on bulk and give the saddle a smoother, more polished appearance. The stirrups are still adjustable. 
Although I hadn't planned to replace any of the hardware, I did end up swapping out the buckles on the girth. It's just so much easier to saddle a model with hole punched billets and nice, big, roller, tongue buckles!
Here's the finished saddle.
Compare it to the original finish version. As you can see, the main difference is the cleaner, smoother, dyed edges. I did also remove the little strip of leather that was glued to the back of the cantle.
On to the breastplate!
I removed all the buckles, scraped away the old glue, skived, treated each piece with gum tragacanth and re-glued. Here's the before...
and here's the after. 
Again, before... 
and after. 
While not as polished as my usual custom work, I'm pleased with the finished breastplate. It's not tip top live show quality, but it doesn't scream play tack either. 
The martingale and bridle were more of the same. I removed the hardware, skived, treated and re-glued each piece. 
However, the bridle presented some additional challenges due to leather damage.
Instead of using leather dye, which can be hard to control, I decided to paint the affected area with Edge Kote. 
That was a good decision. The strap looks almost as good as new.
Since the bridle was in pieces anyway, I also swapped out the bit rings and added a silver bead for the mouthpiece.
I'm not going to kid you about this: It took a lot of time, patience and skillful skiving to rebuild this bridle. I probably could have made a new one with less effort. Still, I am pleased with the results. Compare it...
to the straight-from-the-box version. The difference is pretty obvious!
Here's the whole, upgraded set. It's not top LSQ, but I think it looks pretty nice.
This was an interesting challenge. Thank you for your patience, Mackenzie. I hope you are pleased with the (long overdue) results!