First off I'd like to say a massive thank you to all the people who liked my Last Alliance Studios page on Facebook. I wasn't expecting such an overwhelmingly positive response and it totally made my week so yeah, thanks guys! :D
We got a great view of the solar eclipse yesterday morning, though heavily obscured for most of the event by cloud.
|What do you mean you can't see anything? Isn't it obvious? :P|
This actually worked in our favour as it muffled the sun's rays, allowing us to look at it 'directly' without actually blinding ourselves. :P We weren't quite north enough to get the full obscuration but we saw it at about 95% so that was pretty cool. I didn't get anything with my camera as I had the macro lens on as usual and setting up the tripod with the standard lens on would still have meant that I'd have had to point it vaguely in the direction of the sun and shoot until I got it in view. (it doesn't have a digital preview screen and I didn't fancy blinding myself by looking through the viewfinder!)
Luckily my phone pictures turned out reasonable so it wasn't entirely a missed opportunity.
My painting muse has returned after a very long absence, and I've managed to finish a few customs I'd had in the works for a good few years.
First up is this lovely little Magpie Shetland stallion who has had rather a lot of customising. His mane and tail slots were filled in and replaced with sculpted hair, his neck and crest were built up more, he gained a beard, some manly bits and a closed mouth. Magpie Shetlands are rather hard to find as they were only produced for a year I believe and not in regular runs, only through the newsletter. I have another two couple of bodies in hiding, but they're a long way off being finished! I heard through the grapevine that the company has been bought so fingers crossed they might make a comeback soon! I hope so, as they are excellent little models and very easy to customise.
(I just googled 'magpie models shetland' in the hopes of finding a good 'before' picture and one of my other customs is the very first image result! Score! XD Here's some better info.)
This little lad has been named 'EA Tattie Bogle' as it sounded like a nice ponyish sort of name as well as being a Scottish term for a scarecrow which, lets face it, most Shetlands look like in their natural state. :P My showstring is rather lacking in the native breeds department which is very disappointing as they're my favourite type next to cobs, so he's not going anywhere.
Next up is a Schleich Icelandic I painted and pastelled to a nice mealy bay Dartmoor. I called her Chutney already but I may well sell her on as I'm not hugely attached to her yet. I need to get some more matte sealer too as she's turned out super shiny for some reason. XD
Then, because I'm clearly a glutton for punishment, I painted up a handful of minis I'd bought last year at a model railway show. They were both started and finished in an evening which has to be some kind of record for me I think.
The first is a Clydesdale in traditional bay sabino. The red accents on his bridle are my favourite part.
His friend, a little Dutch Draught, turned out really nicely as well.
I don't know why people are so intimidated by micros, I mean, they're not *that* small! :P
The other one is a tiny little plastic horse, not hugely detailed really, but had potential. I'd painted one already to a nice dark dapple grey but this one told me that he wanted to be a mule, so I added some ears which turned out a little too big in the end annoyingly.
Here's the other one, with a penny for scale.
Finally, I started on a custom I've been wanting to do for years, a resculpt of the G2 TB.
I've always loved one particular stride of canter above all others, where two feet are on the ground and their diagonals off it and I knew that with just a little bit of work I could achieve that.
I'm not really all that fond of epoxy so I heat-bent the hind foot downwards and resculpted it with superglue and bicarbonate of soda, then used the same trick on the mane and tail, (with embroidery thread for the main hair of the tail and teased out headphone cable wire for plaits) as well as lowering /tucking her headset and flicking back an ear. The superblue/bicarb sands really well and is exceptionally easy to work with so I doubt this'll be the last custom I do using those methods. The clear peg in her forefoot was actually a scrap of acrylic I had in my stash and is simply glued on, though it's very sturdy and shows no sign of fragility.
She told me she wanted to be a nice dark bay, and as I took these photos yesterday, may I present EA Eclipse, the Selle Francais event horse.
Some of the resculpting is a bit obvious on the head which is a pity, but as you'll see in the next lot of pictures, it'll be cunningly hidden by a bridle as she's going to be my main mini performance horse from now on.
I've made a couple of SM scale saddles before, using Anna Kirby's excellent patterns and guide, but this is the first one I've been REALLY pleased with. My cousin had given me a massive box of fabric and leather scraps she'd had knocking around from her costume design course at college and there was a brilliant section of skiver which is perfect for tackmaking as it skives incredibly easily and is a dream to work with.
The stirrup leathers are adjustable which will come in very useful if I want to switch out to some better stirrups in the future. (which I will do as these ones are awful and very much a temporary measure) I hope to make a matching breastplate/martingale too.
The reins are plaited thread and I thought about dying them to a more leathery colour but I rather like them like this.
I keep forgetting just how tiny they are. XD
The whole set took me the best part of an evening and nearly half the night - I'm a night owl and generally find any time after midnight to be at my most creative (hence writing this blog post out at five to one in the morning!) so when combined with bingewatching/listening to procedural crime/cop/legal dramas on Netflix, I can get into the 'zone' really easily. Of course it means I'm absolutely knackered in the morning but it's most definitely worth it!
Every good event horse needs a rider, and Eclipse is no exception. Her new passenger is a Britains Ltd rider I bought off ebay ages ago. I need to repaint him as my original custom job was pretty poor and I'll probably carve his hands out a bit too as he's got clenched fists at the moment which make holding the reins impossible without the addition of sticky wax - something which is fiddly enough at the best of times! He's got a pretty flat bum as well. XD
The reins really are far too long but I can always shorten them later and hide the join with a 'buckle'.
So yeah, a pretty busy week indeed! :D