There are a few reasons why Stablemates make a great choice for etching: they’re inexpensive, quick to etch, and you can fit lots of them on a shelf! They’re also frequently sold in sets, and having plenty of models to etch gives you more opportunities to be creative. Ready to get started?
What You’ll Need
For etching, you’ll need a hobby knife and at least one Stablemate. Hobby knives are often sold in the craft department at various stores, and Stablemates can be found at your local toy store, Breyer retailer, or online. You should also find some reference photos of the markings and patterns you’d like to do. While realistic patterns are the most common, feel free to do anything that inspires you. You could give your model a holiday theme with snowflakes, a leaf pattern for autumn, or stars and moons for a cosmic look. The sky’s the limit!
|A very simple etch with minimal sabino markings.||A much fancier etched tovero pinto.|
How to Etch
To etch your Stablemate, simply hold him in your hand and use your hobby knife to carefully scrape away the factory paint in the areas that you want to be white. Some artists prefer to use the front of the blade, while others like to use the back of the blade. Try it both ways and see what works best for you. Try not to gouge the model with the very tip of the blade so you don’t leave scratches in the plastic.
For the best results, be sure you’re using a sharp blade. Some models are easier to etch than others, but if you notice it’s taking more effort to etch than it was before, sharpen your blade or switch it out for a new one. If you’re worried about accidental scratches in an area that won’t be etched, consider using painter’s tape to protect it. Also, don’t forget to keep your reference photos handy to make sure you stay on track.
Etching a tobiano pattern.
Distinct or Soft Markings?
You can etch crisp, distinct edges for white markings or pinto patterns, or you could etch individual hair patterns to give a softer look for roan, appaloosa, or sabino markings. You can also combine the two techniques, and etch soft mapping around otherwise solid markings. Keep in mind that Stablemates are small, so try not to make the soft edges of pinto markings too wide if you decide to go that route.
|Crisp, distinct edges.||Soft, mapped edges.|
Once you’re done etching your model, wash off all the tiny paint flakes that came off in the process. At this point you can consider your horse finished, or you could add pinking on the muzzle, repaint the hooves, or even change the eye color if you’d like.
|Repainted and glossed hooves.||Repainted muzzle and blue eye.|
You can paint directly over the original paint in these areas, but be sure to use a brush-on clearcoat to seal the paint once it’s dry. Acrylic paint is often used for these details, and brush-on clearcoats (available in satin or glossy finishes) are usually found near the acrylic paints at craft stores. You can also use clear nail polish instead of brush-on sealers.
Now all you have to do is let your horse dry, and enjoy your new model!