Monday, 26 October 2015

Breyer Classic Etchie

 I've had this little mare for some time now. I got her in a lot of 3 Classics Breyers on ebay, all of which were second hand with some rubs and marks. Of the 3, this mare was in the worst condition.
 She's on the Merrylegs mould, and the model itself is a portrait of Little Prince from the accompanying book, which I don't have. Interestingly, the character in the book is meant to be a gelding, but the mould lacks any male anatomy, so I consider it a mare.
 Sorry the photos aren't great, but you can just about make out the rubs that she came to me with on her nostril, shoulders, belly and hind quarters.
 The model itself is very prone to falling over, so I think that's where she got most of the rubs from.
 However, there are three bad scratches on her near (left) hind quarters that almost seem too regular to be accidental. Maybe a past owner carved them to simulate mountain lion scratches?
Alongside the marks on her body she also has very scratched up hooves. It all adds up to suggest she's been well played with in the past.
  Like I said at the start, I've had this mare for some time now, and never did very much with her. I was more interested in the other horses in the lot she came in, and just never bothered to try to re-sell this pony. That is until the other day, when I decided that, since she's got so many rubs, I'd try etching her.

   Etching is the process where you gently scrape away the surface paint to reveal the white plastic below. Many tools can be used for this process, but sharp blades like crafting knives are the best, so for this reason you have to be very careful and children should be supervised by an adult. Also, you're only scraping off the paint, not gouging into the plastic. 
  I did a little bit of research before I started, and I decided I wanted my mare to be a British Spotted Pony. I wanted to keep as much of her lovely palomino coat as possible, so I went for a small blanket pattern with additional spotting on the belly and shoulders to cover the rubs there.
I mapped out the pattern on her to start with using an ordinary pencil, then went over the lines with my knife.  It was much harder to get nice, round spots than I thought it would be (possibly because the blade I was using was a bit blunt).
 I got a bit frustrated, so I switched to a cotton bud/Q tip dipped in nail polish remover, but the cotton was way too big. So then I tried using cocktail sticks/toothpicks soaked in nail polish remover and I was able to get much better results (although I had to keep dipping them back in the remover liquid to reload). I used these for the round white spots.
 Unfortunately the cocktail sticks/toothpicks wouldn't work for the blanket and palomino spots, so I had to etch them with my knife. The spots were originally planned to be much bigger, but got smaller and smaller the more I tried to make them round.
 I deliberately left a gap between the blanket along her back, partly for interest but also because she was almost completely unmarked there and I wanted to preserve the lovely golden coat.
 Her nostril on the off (right) side was very rubbed, so I decided to give her a snip there. With all the awkward contours of the nostrils I figured it would be easiest to go back to a cotton bud/Q tip soaked in nail polish remover, but I forgot that nail polish remover can actually melt and warp the plastic on Breyers!
 Yep, the mare's nostril immediately started to melt and lose definition when I applied the remover liquid with the cotton. I stopped instantly, but it was too late. Thankfully the damage was fairly minimal, and with one nostril black and the other white it's harder to see the difference. I finished off the snip by etching out the paint that was left behind.
 The hole in her nostril was there when I started: it's the little pin-hole all plastic Traditional and Classic sized Breyers have to allow air to escape from the hollow model so it doesn't swell up and bloat too much if it gets warm.
 There's still a bit of definition left in the nostril, but it's definitely shallower than it was before. Oops! Sorry girl.

Her pattern probably isn't 100% realistic. Rather than work off a reference image I was trying more to cover up the areas where she was rubbed. I don't think she'd ever be show quality anyway, since her paint has so many blobs, bubbles and flaws in it to begin with. Regardless, I like her.
 Maybe some day, when the awkwardly non-circular blanket spots annoy me too much, I'll etch her out into a tobiano pattern. I probably should have gone with that from the start, actually, since it would have been easier, but I had my heart set on a British Spotted Pony.
 She not finished yet. I fully intend to repaint all her hooves and maybe even add some colour to her black eyes, but that will have to wait until the next time I get out my paints.
 In addition to the etching, I also slightly repositioned her near hind leg so she's a bit more stable on her feet now. She's still wobbly, but she can stand. Most of the time...
   The one thing etching her has done is made me love her properly now. Before, she was just a model that came with some other models I liked. Now she's my little appaloosa etchy, and I love her. I know her pattern isn't perfect, her nostril is warped and some of her spots are a bit too blocky and square, but I really don't mind. I love her, and that's all that matters.
   Oh, and because of how unstable she is on her feet, she's earned the stable name 'Tippy' :)


  1. Aww she's so adorable! Now she needs a matching tack set with padding me rhinestones and... Just kidding lol ;)
    You've done such a good job on her! ������

    1. Thank you :)

      I'd love to make my own tack, even if it's just halters and rugs, but I think I'd need a push to get me started. I just feel like it would be a waste to buy a pack of 100 jewellery clasps (for halters) and only use 20 or so, and I generally don't like the hassle of selling stuff. It's something I'd definitely like to try at some point, though

  2. Just catching up with blog posts I've missed...

    Oh my gosh, I love Tippy! Such a cute wee name. I've always liked the front half of this mould, but the back legs are the wrong way around in my eyes. I can't believe you melted her nose! Poor wee thing! She is really cute. You've done a brilliant job! I must try my hand at etching sometime. :)

    1. Lol, thank you :) It was a lot of fun to etch her, although it was a little bit daunting. It felt wrong to scrape away her lovely golden coat ^^; I probably should have gone with an easier pinto pattern since I don't have much experience with etching, but I had my heart set on turning her into a British Spotted Pony :)

      I have done a little bit of etching before, but it's been very minor, adding small white markings to other models. I'm really torn over whether to give my Sara Moniet a star on her forehead; her coat is so completely solid that I feel it would add a little bit of interest to her face, but I don't want to irreversibly alter her original finish ^^;

  3. Just catching up with blog posts I've missed...

    Oh my gosh, I love Tippy! Such a cute wee name. I've always liked the front half of this mould, but the back legs are the wrong way around in my eyes. I can't believe you melted her nose! Poor wee thing! She is really cute. You've done a brilliant job! I must try my hand at etching sometime. :)