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  • GreatLakesStudios

Choosing Your First Model Horse to Paint

Updated: Apr 23, 2019

Congratulations, you've decided to try your hand at painting a model horse! Now, who will be your first victim? I personally feel that one of the most important decisions that can make or break your first attempt is which model you choose to paint.


First, think about scale. Every scale of model has its pros and cons. For example, traditionals are a good choice if you're worried about details being too small, but keep in mind that they have a lot of surface area to cover and use a lot more supplies. Stablemates or micro minis use a lot less materials are are easier to visualize, but painting details requires good eyesight and a steady hand. Classics and curio size models are somewhere in between.


I began with a Breyer Mini Whinnie I had lying around because I know I work better in small scale where I can see the entire "canvas" at one time. I also know from a prior (failed) etching attempt that traditionals have too much surface area and I get discouraged and bored quickly.


Next, think about material. A model made of almost anything can be painted, but the most common choices are plastic and resin. Both come in every scale. Resins are prized for their limited numbers and high level of detail, but because of their handcrafted nature, they can be quite pricey, anywhere from $35 for a micro mini to several hundred dollars for a traditional. Plastic is an attractive choice because it is cheap and easily available from mass-produced model companies like Breyer and Stone.


I have several handfuls of naked Maggie Bennett resin micro minis, but I chose to start with a $3 plastic model so I wouldn't be heartbroken if I messed up.


Lastly, think about the model's pose. The easiest model to hold and paint is one with a good handle, like a tail or a leg. For a first custom, I also recommend a simple pose (such as standing or running) with a mane and tail that lay in one piece. A model in a complicated pose (laying down, scratching) or with a messy or windblown mane and tail might get frustrating to paint and keep neat. Take stability into account as well; a tippy model will be very difficult to set down while it's wet.


I chose a standing stock horse mold with a freely hanging tail and easily accessible hooves and face. This way I wasn't hampered by trying to finagle a brush into a tight space.



A Breyer Mini Whinnie ready for customizing
My first victim.


Of course, you can start with any model you like! You can always strip and start over if you don't like it. But if you're not sure what model you want to paint first, I hope these tips help you decide!

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