Making a 1/12 scale horse - part 1

by brae  

I've made a burrowing owl, chicks, hens and fish, but I've always left the more complex animals to the artisans.  I have wanted to add a 1:12 scale horse to my collection for some time now, and I figured a break in between projects would be a good time to do so.

I'll be starting with a 1:12 scale Breyer Thoroughbred.  Adding flocking or fur adds bulk, so I thought I would start with the leanest horse model available.  Of course, you can scrape down a model before flocking as well but I'd rather keep it as simple as possible.

The barn find shed at Milo Valley Farm was never meant to be a stable, which is a good thing since my horse clearly isn't going to fit comfortably.  :D

Outside is good, though.

Baslow Ranch also works well for a backdrop.

My plan is to remove the plastic tail and molded mane to add mohair instead.  This entire process has the keen ability to end in disaster anywhere along the line, but the materials are all relatively inexpensive so therefore worth the effort even if I end up having to trash one model to get to the better, final result.

I picked up a set of diamond burrs for my Dremel to help with the deconstruction.

I found a great tutorial about removing the tail and building up with Apoxie Sculpt, so I picked that up as well even though I plan on having a mohair mane and tail.

After the deconstruction and any necessary remodeling, I will begin with painting.  I've always had a fondness for roan horses, so I might give that a go.  April sent me a fabulous set of brushes and clay tools called a Bundle Monster that will be invaluable here.  :D

There are a few methods for furring plastic animals, and one of the more in depth tutorials is this one from Paizley Pawz (be sure to look through the before & after gallery).  There is also a tutorial for making a furred fox, but I don't have the two magazines listed.  I will be on the lookout for them before I start that part of the transformation so I can see both methods in full and make an informed decision on how to proceed.  I've just started researching, but Soft Flock seems a possibility as well; they have a how-to on their website, too.

I haven't yet found a tutorial for both flocking and adding a mohair mane and tail to the same horse.  While there are a lot of fantastic painted models out there, I just think the flocking on the body sets it apart as in this example.  The challenge is in shaping the mane without ruining the flocking, I would imagine.

I personally have been on a horse twice.  The first time was when I was young and away at camp.  My horse decided it wanted to turn around on the trail, which happened to have a slight drop off to one side.  The counselors were yelling at me to get the horse under control, but it wasn't listening to me at all.  I weighed maybe 60 pounds, so that horse figured the seat was empty and wanted to head back for a snooze.  :D

The second time was about five years ago for less than five minutes, just to pose for this photo.  This horse was very responsive and well behaved.  Dude is an American Quarter Horse.  :]

Now, time to let things stew while I gather more info on techniques.

20 comments

Comment from: Debora [Visitor]
I'm so excited about this! Can't wait to watch. :D
01/27/16 @ 17:43
Comment from: Blondie [Visitor]
This will be fascinating to watch. Flocking baffles me, so I'll stick to watching you instead of trying it myself. &#59;)
01/27/16 @ 17:53
Comment from: Ellen [Visitor]  
I've seen a tutorial on how to remake a horse and wanted to try it but never have. Looking forward to watching your progress! There was a wonderful flocked horse on E-Bay this past weekend that I really wanted but I failed to bid enough. Good luck! I love your blog.
01/27/16 @ 19:46
Comment from: Christine Sutcliffe [Visitor]  
Ooooh, I wondered if you'd ever get some horses! Model horses are my main hobby aside from miniatures, so if you ever need any info on anything related to that just let me know! Breyer Classics SAY they're 1/12th scale but they're a bit oversized really, although I think some of the older moulds are more accurately scaled. Rio Rondo has a great tutorial on adding mohair manes and tails which should work perfectly with or without flock underneath. http://www.riorondo.com/info/brochures/pdf/HAIRING.PDF If you want to ogle what I consider to be the most realistic models around though, check out Juliane Gartska's work here! She hairs some horses entirely - just look at that Shetland pony! ^^ http://www.luckenbachranch.de
01/27/16 @ 20:13
Comment from: brae [Member]
Yes, I can see where it might be a bit oversize, but I think it will work well enough. The shed isn't meant as a true barn, and Baslow Ranch is small for a building of its type. I also doubt I could afford a really good sculpted, flocked and haired horse from a miniature artisan. Thanks for the links! :>>
01/27/16 @ 20:46
Comment from: Barbara [Visitor]
I can't wait to see the results! I have three traditional Breyer horses and I am slightly embarrassed to say I have spent almost as much on custom miniature tack as on the real thing. Embossed leather saddles and real silver on the bridles - it's out there!
01/27/16 @ 21:30
Comment from: Monique [Visitor]
that's a nice challenge Brae, but one I'm sure you'll be able to tackle just fine :D. I love Paizley Pawz, very clever way of making gorgeous animals. I love that photo of you on the horse, before I read it I thought it was an official photo with a model or something :D
01/28/16 @ 01:12
Comment from: Wilma Knipe [Visitor]
Hi. Brae. I can't wait to see the results. Just a word on your link to Paizly Pawz. What a wonderful site , the before and after segment is mind blowing. You mentioned that you are looking for the 2 American Magazines with the fox. They are # 112 and # 113 and you can buy them from Pocket Mags app. Thank you for this amazing link. I absolutely love all the minis you do. I read your blog over and over.
01/28/16 @ 08:22
Comment from: Karen [Visitor]
I'm so excited to watch your progress. Again, I have learned something new from you. Thank you so much for the Paizley Pazs link. I have longed to create two boxers to replicate my Titan and Spartacus. Her tutorial and your venture will help me do this.
01/28/16 @ 11:59
Comment from: Betsy Rogers [Visitor]
I am looking forward to seeing this one develop! I was just thinking about the same project the other day.... planning to "try" it "someday" probably in the distant future! LOL! You are so fearless with learning new skills.... I would probably never be able to "trash" the failed versions.... just adopt a moth-eaten mongrel into my Stables! Can't wait to see your progress!!! (It might even spur me to start mine sooner!) :)
01/28/16 @ 18:35
Comment from: Jeannette T [Visitor]
That is a great photo of you on the horse! I am so excited to follow your progress with the horse. I've been reading about furring plastic animals and making miniature sculpture animals.
01/28/16 @ 18:52
Comment from: Keli [Visitor]
This is exactly what I bought a couple of goats for a few weeks ago. I'm going to read the info you linked to, then sit back to watch you play before I tackle mine. :D
01/29/16 @ 04:08
Comment from: Claudia [Visitor]
Can't wait to watch this process unfold, Brae. Love that you're taking on that challenge. My grandfather had horses and I grew up riding, but it's been years!
01/29/16 @ 07:52
Comment from: BunnyD [Visitor]
This looks like a neat project! I loved the link for "removing the tail" where she suggests it's the most fun done at a model horse show and watching reactions to the crack sound! I've only been on a horse twice too. First time very many years ago on a well trained tourist ride horse around what seemed like a large meadow at a slow pace. Second time on a dicey looking horse bouncing and galloping down a rock strewn jungle path and through rivers in Costa Rica. Sort of, hang on or fall off and crack your head open riding. It was terrifying but I'm so glad I did it when I arrived black and blue but alive at a lake by a volcano.
01/31/16 @ 10:35
Comment from: Janice [Visitor]
Well this will take you into a whole new territory. Can't wait to see how you tackle it.
01/31/16 @ 14:16
Comment from: Lucille [Visitor]
That is such a nice photo of you, Brae! Love it! You look so pretty! Twice I had horses running away with me and it was not a good experience. The third time I got on a horse, it took me to the middle of the field and then refused to move. I can't remember if I got off or what happened. it's such a long time ago. That was my last time on a horse. I look forward to seeing what you will be doing with this horse.
02/01/16 @ 14:00
Comment from: brae [Member]
Thanks so much! :>> I will definitely look into getting those magazines. :yes:
02/03/16 @ 08:15
Comment from: Penelope [Visitor]
There is also an article about flocking a fox in Dolls House World July 2013 (Issue 250), but it is probably the same as the one in AM as they repeat articles from the UK magazine sometimes.
02/04/16 @ 19:31
Comment from: Sara [Visitor]
Was there ever a follow up to this? I'd love to see the process and the finished product, as I'm contemplating a similar project.
12/21/18 @ 06:03
Comment from: brae [Member]
No, I never did get back to it. It's still in the long list of projects, though. :yes:
12/21/18 @ 07:12


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