Thursday, July 25, 2013

Start to finish with Kim and Kathi Haymond

Kim and Kathi Haymond are, in my opinion, the model horse hobby's premier diorama and prop makers.  I've featured their work here before, and today I am delighted to share a guest blogger piece that documents the creation of their most spectacular builds.  Enjoy!

Start to Finish--Murdock's Jump In Progress

by Kim Haymond

I thought people might be interested in seeing the stages a jump goes through from start through completion.  Rayvin Brewer has graciously allowed me to use in-progress photos of the cross country jump we made for her lovely Murdock resin.  This jump was inspired by the Rolex Head of the Lake jump complex, specifically the 2005 Head of the Lake design. 

Here is what we're aiming for:

We always spend a lot of time on design, but we were especially particular with the measurements and proportions of this jump since Murdock's acrylic rod will go into a hole in the resin water.  Once that hole is there, no further adjustments will be possible--we only get one shot at it! Since this jump includes water, it was constructed in a plexiglass tray. 

As always, the first step was to determine the size of the different jump elements. Once that's done, we cut the foam that will be the interior structure of the jump and created a rough mock-up of the finished jump.
The allowed us to fine tune the placement of the horse over the jump and the size of the different elements.  Changes made at this stage will save us countless headaches in the next few months!
That's a big log the real life photos.  Since we didn't have the right size log on hand, we used a glue bottle as a stand-in!
After we were happy with the overall jump dimensions, we calculated out the size of each of the different components in the wood jump structure. Sawing everything took a while and inevitably led to some additional adjustments--though this particular design was refreshingly straightforward! Then we put everything back together to make sure it fit the way we wanted and Murdock still looked good sailing over the top.

Back to the reference photos:
If you look carefully, you can see that there is a downward slope to the ground on the sides of the jump. We did a lot of contouring to the pink foam to match that slope, added a plaster based ground cover and gave it all a base coat of paint.  
The brown areas between the ground line and the jump, between the jump and the retaining wall, and to the sides of the jump will eventually be filled with flowers.
We also stained and weathered the wood for the jump structure and the retaining wall.
In between the stages of actual jump construction, we also made lots (and lots and lots!) of flowers.
We also made two flowering bushes to go on each side of the jump.
Bushes and flowers together.
Back to the diorama!  The next step was to permanently attach it to the plexiglass frame and add the first coat of ground cover. 
I always love the big change that first layer of ground cover makes!
The next step was to pour the resin water.  This is always a bit nerve racking since no matter how many times you do it, water is guaranteed to create some surprises and problems.
Fortunately, in this case everything went where it was supposed to and cured correctly.  That's a big sigh of relief! 
The next big steps were drilling the hole for the acrylic rod, 'planting' all  the flowers and permanently constructing the wood jump structure.
The jump looks almost finished here, but there's still a lot of detail work left.
The wood dowel will be eventually changed out for acrylic.  We prefer to use wood in the construction stages because wood is easier to cut and work with.
And finally--the finished diorama:

Thanks to everyone who was interested in seeing our 'process' and most of all thanks to Rayvin for asking us to bring her idea to life!

And thanks to you as well, Kim, for allowing us to peek over your shoulder while you work!


  1. I have jump standards by Kim that are just awesome - normal standards but the craftsmanship! Amazing!

    This is a VERY cool fence.... and fun to watch the in progress parts!

  2. Where do you find all of the stuff to do that? Hobby Lobby? Especially, where do you get resin water? I have wanted to make a jump for a while, but I don't know where to find all of that stuff. Thanks you for such a great post!


    1. Yes, craft stores and model train stores are good places to start for materials. Woodland Scenics is the most common brand for groundcover, foliage, etc. Woodland Scenics also sells little diorama starting kits that might be a good way to get a small selection of lots of materials and play around with it.

      Water is trickier, it depends on what you want to do with it. For a beginner, a good starting place is Envirotex resin. It can't be poured very thick, but you can do multiple pours with it. It's available at Michaels and Hobby Lobby, and is much more forgiving of variations in humidity, temperature, etc then some of the other clear resins. You can then put Woodland Scenics Water Effects on top of it to make ripples, etc.

      Good luck and have fun!

  3. Very cool! Have you ever made splashing water for when a horse is making contact with the water? I've always wondered how they do that!

  4. I watched this project take shape as it was being constructed and posted on Blab. I loved every minute of it and couldn't wait for each additional post. It was great to view this again in its entirety and marvel once again at the AMAZING workmanship!

  5. Gaaaaah! :D
    Dioramas are something that I absolutely LOVE seeing so this was an absolute treat! :D

  6. YEEEE HAWWWW Fantastic!!! Love it!!! Great Job!!!

  7. Very neat. Now to find a doll with that rider's facial expression :). Thanks for sharing.

    Questions. What is the footing in the water of the real jump? And in the photo of the real jump there looks to be two "rocks". Are those jumps also?

    1. Christine, Are you referring to the objects in the water in the second reference photo? If so, those are giant ducks carved out of wood, and yes they are also jumps! :)

      Here is a link to a bigger image of the ducks! (Looks like this is a different angle of the lake from the same year at Rolex. The ducks are at Rolex every year in some form or another though!)

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  9. Incredible! How do you make the flowers and bushes?

  10. Absolutely amazing. Having been at Rolex myself, I can vouch for the versimilitude of this AWESOME diorama. Can you please get us a photo when the horse has been painted and rider added?? I would really love to see that! Love the model too, by the way.

    May I inquire as the price of all of this hard work? I have no idea but I'm sure it's worth every penny!

  11. Wonderful that you shared the process. It's mind-blowing the amount of work that goes in to these things. Also, nice to see Murdock from different angles with a jump. I got to meet Rayvin twice, and she is a lovely, helpful person. I'd love to see her models (and this jump) in person too.