As I have so many horses (well over fifty Julips now, eep!) I need rather a lot of riders. I have a lot of customised Doctor Who and Primeval figures that do the job, as well as many I have made myself, but I also have a small selection of Julip HOTY riders as well.
The newer ones are infamous for being virtually useless as the wire in their arms and legs is so stiff you can barely pose them. (The earlier iterations of the riders in the '90s were a lot more bendy though, and had nicer expressions)
I've never bought any new, but I have acquired a few over the years, either second-hand off ebay or, in two cases, won in the raffle at live shows!
I had a few in my body box that needed some TLC so this week I sat down and did some surgery... :P
First up we have Lexi.
I completely re-bodied her, with pipecleaners for her body and limbs. Her arms came courtesy of a really naff doll's house doll (whose only redeeming factor was her usefulness as a limb donor) and her boots are Equorum ones, though they are literally just latex recasts of the Julip HOTY boots so I don't really feel too guilty about using them as they're practically Julip anyway, lol.
I repainted her eyes (a bit too big but hey) and gave her some new hair, complete with 'shaved' side section like all the cool kids are modelling these days. To complete the look I gave her a couple of piercings courtesy of some tiny microbeads I had in my stash.
I bought a packet of T-shirt transfer paper at the £1 shop last year that I'd never really got round to using on anything so I dug that out and printed out a load of things including t-shirt designs and even some little EAE logos I can stick onto the edges of saddlepads and things! The pattern is rather lost on the black of Lexi's top unfortunately and it probably doesn't help that the image shifted when I was ironing it on but oh well, it's not bad for a first attempt!
Next up is Daisy.
She was also rebodied, though she got to keep her own arms. (albeit extra long ones, heh) I accidentally made her legs a bit too long too but I think she suits a slightly unrealistic physique. I sculpted the boots from fimo, and her new hair is a combination of mohair and tibetan lamb's wool. Her face also got a repaint and I think her eyes turned out much nicer than Lexi's.
Her jumper was made from a sock of all things (£1 shops ftw!) and has another transfer print on it. This one looks a lot better I think.
One of the benefits of customising riders is that you can get a good range of variation in height and body type - just like real life! All too often with model horses, the riders all look the same and are usually white, blonde and slim. I like to shake things up a bit. :P
Finally, we have Lauren, a very minimally customised lady. (who doesn't actually have a cyborg eye, it's just the way the light's reflecting on the gloss, lol)
She is one of the slightly older HOTY riders, and as such is perfectly bendy without needing any alterations. The only thing I don't like is that she can't turn her wrists but I can live with it as the rest of her mobility is so good. I gave her a little chest padding (they are all completely flat chested by nature, ahah) to give her a little more of a figure, repainted her face and gave her some new hair. Her jhods are original, as is the waistcoat, but her top is just a bit of scrap fabric cut to size.
It's hard to believe they all started out looking identical!
Here are some of my other altered HOTY bods.
The girl on the left - Ainsley - has been rewired - same body as normal, just with new wires put in and sections cut out of the plastic to enable the joints to bend better. The one on her right - Mhairi - has had exactly the same done, although her legs were shortened as well.
Kelly, in the middle here, has had exactly the same treatment. (although no amount of customising can ever put a smile on her face, she's the yard's perpetual grump)
The girl on the left is a customised doll's house doll, but with an entirely new body and the boy, Rory is completely home-made.
Sally here is as close to original finish as is possible out of my lot - she too has been rewired but that's about it. I gave her some padding and a new jumper (nicked off a small boy) but aside from that she's just as she was out of the packet. (and just as grumpy as Kelly!)
I made a really brief tutorial a couple of years ago on MHL for those wanting to adapt their stiff old HOTYs into a useable state. It can be found --HERE--