Thursday, November 20, 2008

Life after the unicorn!

Whew! I can't believe I finally finished writing all the unicorn stuff down! I have to admit that I seriously regretted my commitment to documenting that project about 4 posts into it! I swore that I was going to finish the blogged journey though and I did. Anyone who knows me will know what a BIG deal it is for me to actually finish something I started!

So, here we have a couple of pics of some things I am working on currently. Well, actually, I started working on them just before Breyerfest in July. I continued working on them *at* Breyerfest during free moments in my room. I am *still* working on them right now. . . but, eventually, something is bound to get completed. I bit off a little more than I could chew by tearing apart and trying to customize 9 resins all at the same time. That's a little self defeating move I like to call, counter constructive creative clutter clog. (O.K. I don't really call it that. . .I just made it up. . .but it does sum up the problem that I seem to run into again and again! )

The first two. . .yeah, I know there are three horses here, but the middle one is a control subject to highlight some subtle differences. . . anyhow, the first two victims are Strawberry Jam resins.

The one in the foreground is on her way to becoming a NSH filly. Her neck has been adjusted ever so slightly forward at the poll and throat latch into a graceful silhouette. She has a slightly dished profile that I am still working on. One of her rear legs was removed completely, cut up, and repositioned into anatomically correct stretched position. Since National Show Horses don't show parked out like Saddlebreds, she is now in a more appropriate halter stance. She will have a new mane and tail and her stacked shoes have been removed.
The one in the background has been made into a colt. His profile is a bit more bold and his neck is stretched out a little more than the original. I think it gives him some "attitude" that's fitting for a colt. His tail has been removed and will be replaced with one that isn't as flagged.

I have more to post, but I will try to get these completed before moving onto the next ones. These will be available for purchase, unpainted, when they are finished. I will probably accept offers privately or use Auction Barn so, if anyone is interested, please subscribe to my yahoogroups list for up to date information. (link is available through my website at

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Let us never speak of this again.

FINISHED! With only an hour to spare, which is good because I needed that hour to drive it back to Lake Geneva.

I did get him looking *almost* new and undamaged again. It was reasonably simple to touch up all the rubs and scrapes (he sure got petted on his nose and horn a lot!) and refresh most of his paint overall, but the hairline fractures proved to be a bit more than I could figure out.

The best I could do was to rub white paint into the cracks and try to diminish their appearance. It worked o.k. but they were still visible from certain angles. The final coats of finishing spray helped to smooth them out a bit too, but I wish I could have eliminated them altogether.

I did add quite a bit more dappling to his body so that went a long way toward disguising a lot of little things as well. So, these are the last photos of this critter.

Strangely enough, I no longer wished I could have him for my very own. I was happy to be rid of him and he brought a good price ($3,000) at the auction the following afternoon. All's well that ends well eh?

In the future, please direct all requests for my participation in public art fundraisers to my manager. . .

Almost. . .

Ahhh, the last 24 hours! AGAIN! Whoopeee! I only stopped to photograph the finished resculpting before the paint went on. There wasn't any time to photo the paint work in progress so the finished pics will be the next and LAST entry about this project. *sigh*

So, the first pic shows the semi-repaired shoulder. I stabilized the broken pieces as well as possible and then sculpted additional decoration over the damaged areas. I had to get a little creative with that loooong crack going down toward the leg. Even the curliques are covering some sort of damage. ha! The Dragonfly was added to balance out the new vining because I couldn't stomach trying to sculpt yet another flower in that spot. Since I had added an insect to one side, I figured I should probably add one to the other side for some continuity. I threw in a couple of curliques on this side too. Be kind when judging my bug sculpting skills. I was exhausted and too darn tired to go looking for pics of any real dragonflies or butterflies. I know they're not the most realistic things around, but I had high hopes that some pretty paint would distract people from that fact.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Ummmmm. . .Yeah. . . so, that didn't work the way we expected it to. Once we removed the brace between the legs, it promptly cracked open again. The only way to be 100% certain it was fixed, was to break the leg the rest of the way off and start fresh. No wonder the previous fix didn't hold! That leg alone was VERY heavy, at least 10 pounds!

A glimpse inside the hollow leg stump and into the body. You can see the thin layer of fiberglass sandwiched between the two (interior and exterior) coats of resin. They must brush the resin into an open mold, lay the fiberglass on top, put the mold halves together and slosh another coating of resin inside the whole thing. That's just my best guess. . .I'm sure it's a bit more complicated than that.

We opted to go for a giant version of how the leg on a small resin horse can be fixed. Since the leg was already hollow, we skipped the part where you carefully drill into each section. We also skipped the part that involves fitting a thin metal pin into the two halves and opted instead for pounding a 2 x 2 into one side with a mallet. After packing the area around the wood with epoxy putty and letting it set up for awhile,

we fitted the other end of the 2 x 2 into the body portion of the leg which had also been packed with a generous amount of putty. We were careful to extend a thin layer of putty over the edges of the leg so there would be a tight seal between the pieces that would be easy to smooth and finish for a "seamless" appearance.

Once the two pieces were firmly pressed together, the holes that had been drilled for the earlier failed attempt at a repair suddenly came in handy. We were able to tightly pack more putty into the holes with the pieces in place to ensure a solid bond between the wood and the inside of the leg. Once everything was in place, we stood him up and adjusted the leg so it lined up properly with the hoof flat on the floor and the body weight supported evenly. About 15 hours later it was solid as a rock, ready to be sanded smooth, and finished with a fresh coat of paint! Yay!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Operation leg fix. . .

So, here's the plan. . . The leg is attached *barely* but it makes sense to try and mend it while making use of the small bit that's still hanging on. We'll drill a hole in the top of the leg. . .

Then we'll drag the horse off the table, turn it around, flip it over, put it back on the table and drill a hole in the *other* side of the leg. . .

See? A nice round hole! Looks like we've got something absolutely ingenious planned here!
O.K. now, take the horse off the table again, turn it back around, flip it over and put it back on the table again (be careful not to snap that leg off now!)
Look at that nice mesh cloth! Ooooh! We can wad it up, shove it through the little hole and naturally it will spring back into this exact position and we can use it as a backing for the superglue/baking soda mix that will magically bind this whole mess seamlessly together! Yay!
But first. . .pull the cloth back out through the little hole and spend about an hour and a half with a pen light, a chopstick, and a bent wire trying to position it correctly inside the leg.
Ahhh, sweet victory! Look at the beautiful skinny seam all packed with the miracle mixture.
Propped up and waiting to dry rock hard solid, holding that leg on like heavy duty cement, making it completely impervious to breakage, even if it falls off the roof!

Nurse! Scalpel. . .erm. . .make that a hammer!

Yes, he's on an operating table of sorts. We did some "manipulation" before laying him down . . . it was too hair raising for me to consider stopping to take photos though. Essentially, we used an icepick and the tip of a steel file to pry apart that big crack on his shoulder and then pounded on the uneven surface with a combination of my Father's fist and a leather mallet until the edges were butted against each other instead of overlapping. Before we even started that, we had to remove a couple of large chunks that were just getting in the way. They weren't really attached anymore so they would have caused more trouble than they were worth.
*Plus* it gave the opportunity for the second photo which shows the inner fiberglass mesh. I think I saw something that looked a whole lot like that in Alien. . . except it was throbbing and one of those face hugger critters leaped out of it as soon as the camera got this close. . .
But yeah, that's fiberglass in there. Little chopped up strands of glass. The top layer is resin. Probably Polyester resin judging from the powerful aroma whenever it's sanded, or drilled, or heated slightly above room temperature. *blargh!*

Once we got things a bit straightened out, we could finally lay him down and get to work putting ol' Humpty Dumpty back together again.
A lot of people will think it looks like we're filling the gaps and cracks here with cocaine and spit, but the model horse folks will recognize it as the ever popular baking soda/superglue mix. Awesome stuff for working on repairing resins, but, are we pushing the envelope a little by trying it on a horse *this* size?

We were throwing caution to the wind and plugging on ahead. We were determined to see it through and nothing was going to stop us from using as many cheesy cliche's as possible! I'm not exactly sure why the "wound" looks pink in this photo. it's most definitely *not* blood though. I think there was something on the brush that was being used to dust things off.