Painting a 3D model horse for the first time can be intimidating, especially when you are trying for a realistic horse color. What seems like simple patterns in the real world can seem difficult when it’s time to put paint down on your model. Here, I’ll give you some tips on how to create a chestnut horse with a Stablemates Paint and Play set!
Along with items in the set, you’ll want some paper towels (to try your brush off with between colors and layers,) water in a small cup, a styrofoam plate or something else non-absorbent to use to mix paints (I’m using a scrap piece of palette paper) and a toothpick to help with eye detail. You can also use a hair dryer with a low or cool setting in between layers if you’d like to speed up the drying process.
First, a few other tips that will be helpful for any color you choose to paint:
To start our chestnut, I’m going to use the brown paint included in the set without any mixing and build up a bunch of layers. This first photo is just one layer.
Remember to let every layer dry in between! There are many different shades of chestnuts, but with the colors available in this set, this sort of medium shade is your best bet, and the color right out of the paint pot works great!
Here, you can see our horse fully colored in about 6 layers of paint.
Now I can start shading! Again, I’m going for a more painterly style, so I want to make some areas of the horse pop and others not. To do this, I’d like to make some light highlights.
I’ve mixed a little bit of white and brown paint on my pallet paper. Remember, less is more and this paint will dry on the paper while you’re waiting for layers to dry on the horse. Mixing up small batches so you don’t accidentally use up all your paint is a good idea!
You’ll also notice that I left one foot white. This is the foot I decided to hold onto while I paint, especially because this horse doesn’t have a long tail to use as a "handle." I’m going to pant a white sock on that leg, and leave it blank for now.
A lot has happened in a few layers! When adding thin lighter shade layers to your horse, the paint will look a lot lighter and thicker as you put it on, and then dry darker and more transparent. Highlighting under the front legs, flank, and cheekbones will give your model some depth. I’ve painted his mane and tail darker, and they can absolutely stay this way if you’d like.
Since this model is a draft horse, I’ve also started making the hair on his fetlocks a bit lighter also. To shade his muzzle, I’ve added a bit of grey paint - white and black mixed. You can use this exact same mix to paint your dark colored hooves! His white stocking leg gets a tan hoof, made by mixing white and brown again. This looks much different and lighter over the bare plastic than when you use it on the brown layers on the horses’ body.
I’ve use a toothpick to work on his eye; first white in the outer edge, then brown for the iris, and a dab of black will come for the pupil.
Here’s my finished chestnut! I’ve added more layers of highlights until I felt he was dynamic enough, and made sure to be careful at the edge of his white sock so it looks deliberate.
I also wanted to show another mane option here - to create a chestnut horse with a flaxen (lighter) mane and tail, you can add some layers of white or white/brown mix on top of your brown hair. This will give it more depth than if you left the mane as bare plastic.