Thursday, February 27, 2020

Perspective

By all measures, NaMoPaiMo is going well. Over two hundred eighty models have reached the finish line.
 Awesome Tribute is one of them.
I should be happy, but mostly I've been feeling overwhelmed. This is mostly because the last two days of NaMoPaiMo are also the first two days of the first Denver BreyerWest.
Even as I type these words, hobbyists are flying to Colorado from all corners of the country to compete in the live show, sell at the swap meet and learn in the workshops at Erin Corbett's fifth BreyerWest. If it was any other weekend of the year, I would be so incredibly excited. Instead, I've been kind of hostile. How can I possibly enjoy BreyerWest with NaMoPaiMo happening at the same time?
Today has been a long day of NaMoPaiMo admin, house cleaning and packing for BreyerWest, but I did sneak away to the barn for a short ride.
The weather was great, and Stealth was his usual surefooted self. We came home through the river bottom, which included some slick, technical sections. No problem. Then - right at the very end - we hit a patch of black ice. Stealth lost his footing. He scrambled, sat down and almost tipped over. I stepped off, and he was able to right himself. My ribs hurt where I collided with the saddle (it wasn't a graceful dismount!) but we're both fine.
And strangely enough, that little mishap gave me a lot of much needed perspective. There's still way too much going on this weekend, but it's okay. I can deal with it. For a couple of moments, I thought I was going to be finishing up NaMoPaiMo in the hospital. Running it from the National Western Stock Show Complex will be just fine. In fact, it will be awesome. I can't wait!

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Hairing a model, part three

Here's the third installment of Jennifer Kroll's hairing tutorial. Thank you, Jen!

Hairing a Model Horse, Part Three: Styling

by Jennifer Kroll

Now that the hair is on the horse and the glue is set, it's time for styling! I use a soft bristled tooth brush and watered down Aussie styling gel (approximately a 3:1 gel to water ratio). I usually put a bit of plastic wrap under the mane while I work to protect the horse's finish. I forgot this time - oops! - but no harm was done.
Here the mane is dampened and ready for trimming. I trim it with the scissors held at an angle and not straight across. This gives it a more natural edge.
Here it is after trimming.
Next, I trim the forelock.
I give it a V shape for a more natural taper.
I sweep the forelock off to one side. This horse is walking, so the mane needs to flow backwards slightly.
Then I do the same with the tail. Loose bits of mohair will fall out. Don't be alarmed.
After the hair dries,  I brush it lightly with a dry toothbrush to tease it out a little, and put the final touch on the way it drapes.
Finally, use a razor blade and pair of tweezers to trim any hairs that are out of place. Now it's finished!
Here are a few more haired models by Jennifer Kroll.
Thank you again, Jen, for sharing your knowledge with all of us!

Hairing a model horse, part two

Part two of Jennifer Kroll's hairing tutorial explains how to prepare the hair and attach it your model's tail. Thank you again, Jen, for sharing your secrets!

Hairing a Model Horse, Part Two: The Tail

by Jennifer Kroll

These are the four colors I'm going to use in my model's tail. The mohair comes in hanks and needs to be pulled before use. 
Pulling the mohair from the hank. The lighter red was VERY tight, so I actually had to slice it gently down the length with a blade.
In this picture the colors are pulled and waiting to be mixed.
To mix, I line it up in the same direction. Then I grab each end firmly and pull.
If I do it right, I'll end up with about half of it in each hand.
Place both ends back together and repeat.
As I blend it, I feather out chunks that don't seem to want to come apart. I also remove any short or clumpy bits. For this particular horse, I made three color blends: brown, brown with white and white.
Once the hair is mixed, I proceed similarly to how I did with the mane. I start by running a stripe of glue down my clear tape.
Then I glue the mohair to the tape. Notice this time that I glued it close to one end instead of down the middle. I always make more than I think I will need partly because I want mostly longer hairs (unless I'm doing a foal or rat tail Appaloosa, of course!) and also because there's going to be a lot of waste.
 After all the hair is glued down, I trim off the fluffy part above the glue line.
Then I carefully peel the glued mohair off the tape. If you leave this too long, you will not be able to peel it off.
As with the mane, clip the strip of glued mohair into sections. They should be wide enough to cover the top half of the tailbone.
I glue the end piece on, and continue to glue the sections upward, overlapping each so that the glue isn't visible.
After the first few sections, I start dividing the bits of hair in half so that half will fall naturally over each side of the tailbone.
I center the divide more or less, but it does not need to be perfect. It wouldn't be a perfect split on a real horse either.
I continue gluing the segments up the tailbone.
As I get closer to the rump, I start trimming the glued ends of the hair segments so they are rounded. When I am up almost to the horse's dock, I take two tiny segments and clip the glued area as short as I can without the hair falling apart.
 I then glue one of these tiny sections to the sides of the tail.
I squish it up along the edge of the previous glued segment.
After the two small sections are glued in place, I take one more wide segment of mohair from my strip and trim as much of the glue as I can without it coming apart. I glue that over the two small pieces from the previous section, so that it joins it together. I push this around with a small tool until it's the proper shape. Then I clean up any stray hairs with a sharp blade and some tweezers.
Now the hair is all attached to the horse! Yes, it's fluffy! No, your should not style it in any way for twenty four hours. The glue needs to set firmly or you will lose a lot of hair.
In part three, I will show you how to style your model's hair!

Hairing a model horse, part one

There was a time when most custom models were haired, but now it's become something of a lost art. This is a shame. As much as I love a good sculpted mane and tail, nothing looks more like hair than actual hair. In today's three part, Tutorial Tuesday guest post, Jennifer Kroll shows us how to add flowing locks to your model. Thank you so much, Jen!

Hairing a Model Horse, Part One: The Mane

by Jennifer Kroll

My first step is actually to pull the mohair from the hank, and blend the colors I want together. Since I didn't get pictures of that this time, I will add some when I start the tail. This particular horse has a blend of four different browns, black and natural white.

I use Fabri-Tac fabric glue for hairing. It's waterproof, clear, and durable. It will remove acrylic paint if you are rubbing it into the horse so you need to be a little careful. It is kind of rubbery, and you need to keep the end of the bottle clean as you go.

Also, mix and prepare more hair than you think you will need and dress appropriately. You will have hair glued to you. It's just part of the process.
I put some clear packaging tape across my desk. This keeps the glue from sticking and gives me a nice clean surface to work on.

For manes I usually cut the mohair in half, but it would depend on the length you want the finished product to be. I run a line of Fabri-Tac glue down the length of the tape and then push the cut ends of the mohair into it, essentially gluing the hair to the tape.
I peel the mohair off the tape and trim the cut end so that the glued section is only about 1/4" wide on the end.
Then I snip the lengths of glued hair into small chunks about 1/4-1/8" wide depending on the width of the hair bed along the crest of the neck. On a foal or thin maned horse I might want it on the narrow end of that. On a thickly maned pony you might even want to go wider. These will be folded in half so you want it twice the width of your horse's mane.
I continue separating the mane bits down your entire length of glued mohair.
Next, I fold each glue end in half. If you do this part quickly, the glue should still be tacky enough to stick to itself. If it doesn't, you can put a tiny dab of glue in it when you glue it to the horse.
This piece is now ready to be sorted by length.
I sort your sections by length if needed. If I arn doing a horse with a pinto or appaloosa pattern and need to match the mohair with the markings, I will also sort by color.
Piles of sorted strands, ready to go to the next step.
Now I will descide which pieces to start with. I usually use a few of the shorter bits at the wither area. Then I take my scissors and trim the corners off of the glued end, so that the glue is only as long as it needs to be to hold the hair strands together. It should form a V or U shape depending on how you want to trim it.
I glue the first piece to the withers so that the hair is flowing down towards the tail, and off to whichever side I want to have the mane hang. For a heavy double mane that flows in both directions, you can have it go straight back and split it or you can alternate, which is my preference. I find it handy to premark the start and stop points as well as a line up the crest to follow.
I continue overlapping the bits of hair slightly so that when I pull them over to the side, there is no gap. The Fabri-Tac has some give even after it's on the horse, and does not set completely for twelve to twenty four hours.
I continue up the crest.
When I reach the end of the mane, I switch to the forelock, repeating the same process but with the mane flowing down towards the nose. If the bridle path is very short you can continue the mane all the way to the ears.
 This horse has a long bridle path. My method for this is to take a longer unglued section of mohair and twist it tightly leaving the ends free. I run a line of glue down the bridle path and then put the twisted part of the hair down on it. I add some more glue under the ends near where the forelock and mane begin. I also use a toothpick or other pointy tool to put a little more glue along the edges, sticking it down firmly.
And there we have a mane. It still needs styling and thinning, but I will tackle that after the tail is on. I will also glue the area behind the ears down a little more.
I'll do the tail next!