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Hair's a Great Project!

Text and photos by Jennifer Danza

Epoxy and tools used to create new mane.

Epoxy and tools used to create new mane.

Something as simple as changing the hair on your model horse can create a new and exciting look. You can create beautiful manes and tails in a few easy steps. Here's how.

First you need to your horse's old mane and tail with a Dremel rotary tool. When you're done, be sure the neck is smooth and free of any marks or bumps. This horse not only had his mane and tail removed, his neck was lowered in a previous project.

 

 

The Mane

Step One
Apoxie Sculpt comes in two parts.
Scoop out equal portions of Part A and Part B. Roll them into separate balls to see if they are equal.

Scoop out equal portions of Part A and Part B. Roll them into separate balls to see if they are equal.

 

Step Two
Mix equal portions of Part A and Part B together.

Mix A and B together

 

 

Step Three

Roll out a few cylindrical shapes.

Roll out a few cylindrical shapes.

These shapes will be used as part of your mane so first decide which side of the neck will display the mane.

Breyer without a tail or mane.
Breyer without a tail or mane.

 

Step Four

I gave this horse a bit of mane on each side. Place the cylindrical shapes on the neck and adhere the very tip of the cylinder to the base of the neck.

Add cylindrical shapes to neck.
Add cylindrical shapes to neck.

 

Smooth out any lines at the base using a finger dipped in rubbing alcohol. Continue to add more epoxy. Remember to start at the top of the neck and add moving toward the shoulders.

Add more to the other side.

Add more to the other side

Step Five

After the cylinders are applied, take your thumb and index finger and dip them in rubbing alcohol. Gently let your fingers create grooves by running both fingers along the cylinders, starting at the crest of the neck moving downward, and then slightly flatten them against the neck.

Flatten rolls with fingertips.
Flatten rolls with fingertips.

Step Six

Take your sculpting tool (it can be as fancy as the professional tool pictured in the illustration or as simple as a chop) and drag it along the flattened cylinders starting from the crest of the neck. Remember that you don't have to make every hair line you just have to block in the "look" of hair.

Use sculpting tool to create grooves.
Use sculpting tool to create grooves.

 

Detail added as epoxy begins to set.

Detail added as epoxy begins to set.

 

Let the epoxy dry for about 15-20 minutes before touching it again with the sculpting tool. At this point you will notice a change in the consistency of the epoxy as it hardens. This is a nice stage to add some depth in the mane by pushing your tool inward and creating nice grooves. It is also a good time to add a bit more detail by dragging the tool along the drying epoxy. Once you get the look you like, let the mane dry overnight before working on the tail.

The Tail

Step One

When the mane was taken off, so was the tail. A wire was placed in the hind quarters and adhered with Zap A Gap® glue. This wire will serve as a bone for all epoxy placement. Before the actual hairing on the tail begins though, a long "snake" of epoxy is rolled out and wrapped around the wire. This coil will help the bulky epoxy stick.

Epoxy coiled around wire helps more epoxy stick.
Epoxy coiled around wire helps more epoxy stick.

Step Two

Once the "snake" around the wire has dried (12-24 hours) more epoxy can be added to the wire. The tail is handled in the same fashion as the mane, except that there is much more bulk and therefore, more epoxy. You will need to mix up a larger portion of epoxy and make more cylinders. Add the first cylinder at the bottom of the tail and move upward toward the dock.

Add cylindrical shapes starting at bottom of tail.
Add cylindrical shapes starting at bottom of tail.

 

The tail will look funny, but as soon as you dip your fingers in the rubbing alcohol and start smoothing out the epoxy to the wire you will begin to see a solid tail take shape.

Step Three

Smooth and slightly pinch the epoxy and let it move with your fingers. I wanted this tail to have a wind swept look so I let my fingers twirl around the epoxy and it created lovely, windswept grooves.

Smooth out shapes with fingers dipped in rubbing alcohol.
Smooth out shapes with fingers dipped in rubbing alcohol.

 

Twist fingers around epoxy to create interesting grooves and shapes in tail.

Twist fingers around epoxy to create interesting grooves and shapes in tail.

Step Four

After smoothing out the epoxy, take your sculpting tool and begin to create lines by moving the tool from the dock of the tail downward.As with the mane, it is important to keep lines to a minimum at first. Once the epoxy begins to set, you can create deep grooves and details.

Use sculpting tool to create detail.

Use sculpting tool to create detail.

Step Five

The epoxy will take 24 hours to dry and can be sanded and primed.

The primed model.
The primed model.

 

There should be no unsightly bumps in the work itself or in the area where the new mane and tail meet the plastic model.


TIP:
Apoxie Sculpt (http://www.avesstudio.com/) is the epoxy I prefer as it is non toxic and feels better in my hands. I suggest you try all the epoxy products available on the market to discover the one that is just right for your tastes.

 

Supply List:

Aves Apoxie Sculpt
Sculpting tool (or chop stick)
Rubbing alcohol
Dremel rotary tool

 

To learn more about Jennifer Danza and her artwork, please visit www.jenndanza.com!

 

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