Sunday, April 17, 2011

Customizing the model dog: From longhaired to shorthaired

Welcome back, everyone! Looks like I've really been neglecting my blog. Almost a whole year has passed since I last posted here.

So to make sure I don't take another leave of absence, I shall give you an account of one my latest projects.

As you may have noticed elsewhere, I am now focusing on customizing model dogs. The model dog hobby is steadily growing in popularity, with online model dog shows, and even model dog divisions being held at some live shows. Plus, model dogs make popular sidekicks/companions to model horses!

There are many companies out there that produce fine dog figurines, but not all of them make pieces that are in scale to model horses. A few years ago, Breyer Animal Creations released a line of model dogs (as well as some other animals) called the Companion Animal line. One of these was a sweet little Setter in the classic "on point" pose.

Now as lovely as this little gal is, her breed options are limited because of her pose and coat. Now I've already painted one Breyer Setter(to orange belton), and am working on another (tricolor).

But I feel I can do more with this model, lots more.

Now usually when an artist does something more drastic, they take a model and add more to that model (e.g. add more hair/fur/etc). Say like, taking a smooth coated dog figurine and sculpting all over it to make it a shaggy dog. That sounds easy enough, right? Just whip out the epoxy and slap it on! (of course, a certain amount of sculpting and skill are a good idea).

I wondered how hard it would be to do the opposite: take an already long haired Breyer dog, say, the Irish Setter, and make it into a smooth haired breed, an English Pointer?

So I'm going to find that out, and I'll show you my progress along the way. Today I will share the first few steps.

Stage 1: Preparing the original finish Breyer
What I will be using:
-Breyer Irish Setter
-permanent marker
-small hacksaw
-Dremel, various bits, including the sanding drum
-sandpaper, the finer the grit, the better.
-protective goggles (bits of plastic will be flying everywhere!)
-reference photos (Pointers on point)

-First, I start with the Breyer Irish Setter:

-Then I take a permanent marker. This will be used to mark out where I plan to

-I use my reference photos to get an idea where the legs (esp. the
hind ones), the belly, and the tail are under all that coat. I also mark off the ears, which
will be removed completely and resculpted.

-Next, I use the small hacksaw to remove the ears and front leg feathering. This takes a lot of
elbow grease. I also make sure that I don't cut into the neck or legs, I want to leave as much
of the main body parts as possible(though I inevitably will have to fill spots spots in later on).

After I've removed her ears and as much leg feathering as possible, I take the dremel
(and put my goggles on!) to remove the rest, using either the sanding drum or a smaller metal
bit to get into the hard to reach places (like her raised front foot).

After that, I use the sand paper to smooth it all down.


And that concludes it for today!

Next time I will tackle the hind legs, the tail, and the underbelly.

Thanks for stopping by, and feel free to leave a comment, or give some