Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Fantabulous Grane

My best advice for everyone who wants to have a successful NaMoPaiMo is to start the month with a prepped and primed model. Karin Hullatti did not do that this year. Instead, she treated us to a month long saga of cartoons, customizing and creativity, with a little bit of painting on the side. It was awesome, and I love the finished product!

The Fantabulous Grane 

by Karin Hullatti

It started with a facebook message in December.  My Evil Genius friend (who might look a little like Wile E Coyote but I am sure that is a coincidence) was planning a birthday surprise for a mutual friend.  “It occurs to me that you have a certain set of…skills.” “And you need my help.” This wasn’t a question.  Whatever he had in mind, I was totally on board. I did not expect it to lead directly into NaMoPaiMo.  He was in need of a horse.  But not just any horse.  No, he needed a mount suitable for Bunhilda to ride into the heart of one Elmer Fudd. 
If you haven’t seen What’s Opera Doc, check out this link.
Looking through my collection, we selected Dreamweaver, the glorious cross-cantering Black Beauty, as my victim.  I posted on the NaMoPaiMo facebook page, asking a simple question: “How does one *really* fatten up a horse?” “Spray foam insulation,” suggested Shauna McDaniel. Others postulated more hobby-and-art oriented solutions, but the spray foam insulation idea took hold.
And so it began. 
 Wear your PPE.
Spray foam is way too much fun.
This is not a sheep.
After drying/hardening, I blocked out the approximate shape of the horse...
and started cutting it down.
Once I had a vaguely horse shaped object, I cleaned up the lines a little and coated the entire thing with masking tape.  
I continued carving bits off and building bits back up for what felt like an eternity, until I was happy with the shape.  It probably would have been easier to just sculpt the rotundness but it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun.  Spray foam is awesome!
I started adding primer and continued refining.  
I used modeling paste to smooth the lines of the tape and add contour and minor detailing.  
Many layers and lots of sanding later, I began to notice some stability issues with the horse.  The foam seemed squishy in places, and new cracks appeared every other day. I kept going.  Was the foam or the horse offgassing and helping break the surface?  Did I have a slow-moving chemical reaction on my hands?  Was the project going to implode?
I took him to the Circle C Classic model horse show, and entered him in the Unfinished NaMoPaiMo class…. He won a big floofy rosette!
The cracks continued forming, as quickly as I could fill them in.  I decided to keep going.  I sculpted eyes and a pedestal for one foot to keep the horse from participating in Black Beauty’s favorite pastime, tipping over for no reason at all.  At least he’s well padded now.  I have no idea how you realistic sculptors do it.  I had a hard enough time getting these cartoony eyes to almost match! 
And soon enough, it was time to paint.
I looked at the amazing art everyone else was creating, and my simple, brightly colored paint job seemed plain and boring. This is where the doubt starts creeping in. I mean, this was a month for painting, right? This was supposed to be about finish work, and I was planning to use five colors.  It was almost embarrassing to post the pink and white start to my paint work amid everyone else’s masterpieces.
But on the other hand, I had a whole bunch of people cheering me on, geeking out over my three dimensional rendering of our childhood.  And most importantly, I was having fun!

I did it!


  1. This was definitely in my top three, if not number one for favorite model of the year (there are so many great horses/painters)! Loved seeing this childhood memory brought to life!

  2. So glad to see someone FINALLY brought this gal to life! I've wanted to do this custom for AGES! Just haven't gotten around to it yet.....this has inspired me to make that happen sooner than later now! Great Job!! <3

  3. I am not able to post the image as it was delivered, but it was the center piece of the change of "duck season, to rabbit season.