Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I have a Monster.

I answered a wanted ad on MHSP for someone looking for tack for their PS Drafter and when the customer agreed to work with me, I had to go and remedy my lack of PS Drafter bodies!

Today this big boy landed on my doorstep.

This won't come as any surprise to people who have seen a PS Drafter in person before (or own one), but holy moley is he BIG! I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't this giant.

He is, obviously, just a body, so at some point I will give him a coat or five of gesso, just to make him all one colour. I won't do it right away though, as the first order for him is a white bridle, and we do need to be able to see it on him! I do like the flames drawn on his right side, though.

I can't wait to get making some tack for that ginormous noggin!

In other news, I have a lovely view of my garden from my room, and it's a great spot for blackbirds and white-browed scrubwrens to scurry about in the undergrowth. On one of the tree ferns, my Dad has hung an elkhorn, in which I thought a pair of tiny scrubwrens had been building a nest.

Yesterday, I looked up and spotted a male blackbird making himself quite comfortable, sitting on top of the elkhorn/nest. Although I didn't think I'd have any success shooting through my filthy window, I grabbed my camera I took a few shots of the blackbird, and the scrubwrens hanging around nearby. They are a bit blurry and could use some editing, but I'd thought I'd share anyway. Enjoy!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Incoming shipment.

The ponies have a cart.

Repeat: the Karen ponies have a cart!

This adorable little spider phaeton was made for me by Reuben of Kulp Enterprises. It's black (all metal) with silver trim.

I even got single shafts to go with it so I can use the ponies on their own as well.

Although I do eventually intend to get the ponies their scurry cart, I can't afford Bill Duncan's prices now (or ever, lol) so this phaeton was a bit of a test as Reuben didn't have any pictures of non-wooden carts on his site.

I'm fairly pleased with it. I can just see Apollo or Tommy rocketing through a cones course now!

Reuben also made me this adorable gig for Rosie.

I just love the detail in the slats, and the stain on the wood.

Unfortunately I managed to botch the measurements and the shafts ended up too narrow for her fat Welshy-ness, so I have to send it back for a new set.

In the meantime, I guess I have a couple of harnesses to work on!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Nylon surcingle and girth

Last night I finished my first attempt at the featherweight racing surcingle and girth, using 6m grosgrain ribbon. I don't think they turned out half bad!

I was really taken by the yellow ('Daffodil') colour when it arrived, so I opted to create a yellow and black set for Ruffian. As I mentioned in my last post, I wasn't entirely sure if I would be able to create a seamless transition from the elastic insert to the nylon, plus I didn't know if superglue would be enough to hold them together. So I secured the end of the elastic with superglue, and the end of the nylon with Helmar Fray Stoppa, and when they were dry, sewed them together.

Have some crappy iPhone photos.

(No, I can't sew, so sue me. :P)

Then I wrapped the join in leather and superglue, mostly as extra security to keep it all together, but also to protect the model from the scratchy edges of the elastic and ribbon.

Ta-da! My first join. :)

I don't like how the grain on the two pieces goes in different directions, but that can't be helped.

Unfortunately the first join was in vain, as the resulting girth...

ended up being too short. Oops!

But it was good practise for finishing off both the girth and surcingle. I even managed to put (non-working) rollers on all the buckles so it does up a little easier.

The finished set:

I tried using 1.5mm nailheads on the surcingle to replicate the studs on the real surcingles, but I think they are just too big for model scale. They don't look terrible per se, just not good enough to use again in the future. On the plus-side, I think the 2mm strap looks much better than the 3mm I've been using previously!

When I get some racing stirrups (when I have cash lol) I will be selling this set.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Lookit the colours!

This is why I a) love working with coloured leather, and b) wanted to get into nylon surcingles and girths for my racing sets. The colour choices for the nylon are just ridiculous!

So pretty.

I picked colours that matched my leather, though I was hit-and-miss on some (three shades of purple, lol) since I was ordering online, and some I picked up just because they could be a fun highlight against black leather, like the turquoise (very bottom of the stack). They were cheap though - the 6mm 10-yard (9-odd metres) hanks were $1.93 each on special, and I bought matching 3mm hanks for about $1.25. The price may or may not have been part of the reason of why I bought so many...

I'm working on a yellow set right now, which I will be posting about shortly, including my first foray into nylon surcingles.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Racing surcingles

Speaking of racing tack... I use 6mm elastic for my racing surcingles and girths, which unfortunately limits the colour combinations as I can only find it in black or white. (There are no craft stores near me any more so I have to buy just about everything online, mostly form eBay.) And you know how colour-coordinated model people like to be!

In my on-going research of model tack, I sometimes come across surcingles (overgirths) and girths that are synthetic and have elastic inserts, like this:

Right now, I don't like the way I have keepers on my surcingles. The method is basically a long strip of leather with (usually contrasting) keepers around it. It does the job, but I don't like the way it looks. It's difficult, if not down-right impossible, to attach keepers directly to the elastic like in the photo below - their narrowness, and the stretchiness of the elastic, means they generally don't last long (and the glue hardens the elastic, which can cause a potential scratching issue on models).

So what I'd like to try is creating a surcingle that has the elastic insert, but also has the keepers directly attached. And I think the way to do this is with grosgrain ribbon (the nylon ribbon some tackmakers use for halters) in 6mm width.

The benefit of having a synthetic girth on models allows for more colour combinations - and what could be better than that? And when I get my hands on some vertically-striped grosgrain from the States (just look at these beauties here), I'll be able to do stripey combos as well.

My only concern right now is the nail heads on either side of the keepers. I'm thinking I'll either need to drop the surcingle strap to the 2mm leather instead of 3mm (will probably help with the perspective of scale too) to fit the 1.5mm nailheads on, or revert to silver ink to simulate the nailheads. Oh, and how to attach the elastic to the grosgrain without causing a lot of bulk. Hmm!

CM Order: Green/White Racing Set

Just finished at midnight last night. The pics have been sent to the customer; hopefully she likes it! This set will be used on her chestnut Affinity resin. This set will be jetting to the US with the red/black set I had on MHSP; both are going to the same owner, and will be my first sets in the US. Exciting!

(Just realised it's missing nailheads. Face palm! They will definitely go on right now!)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

When it rains, it pours...

This is what my order list looks like at the moment:

2 x traditional racing sets (one for a customer, one for sale)
1 x classic bridle for Stacey before December
1 x classic bridle for Lisa's D'Arry CM classic Haflinger
1 x traditional lunge set for Stacey before December

Then as always after a show, there are pieces of my tack that I need to fix or remake:

2 x classic girths to make (one to be done before December)
2 x classic bridles
1 x stallion presentation surcingle (Doorstop's, before December)
1 x trad Western bridle for Stacey

Luckily I am all amped up and ready to work! Just need to finish that sale saddle so I can get some cash to buy more lace. I might have also bought two hides from Packers, too. >.> But one of them should (hopefully) be the fabled dark brown I am looking for!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

More leather

Occasionally I will google variations of "buy kangaroo leather" just to see if anything new pops up. Last weekend I discovered which is based in Tasmania, though it looked like they only sold hides. (At least they have some nice colours!)

On a whim I dropped them an email asking if they had any remanant or offcut bags, and was delighted to find out 500g bags are only $10 plus shipping. So I snapped one up and requested browns, as I don't have any really nice browns at the moment.

A few days later I received a huge lot of leather in two shades. According to the colour on the website, the tanny-one is 'roan' and the darker one is 'brandy'. I think there's also some 'saddle tan' in there too though I forgot to put it in the pic. Oops. The brandy is a lot lighter in person though.

It's lovely and thin - less than 1mm but I'm no expert - and with more flexibility and softness to it than my hide from Amazing Lace. It skives nicely too, although right at this minute I can't get it paper-thin like I can the Amazing Lace. But I could just need a new blade.

I can't imagine using the brandy colour at any point (it's the shade that chocolate goes when it's bloomy, or like milky coffee) so will probably make up a grab bag with some other stuff I have here and sell it on MHSP.  But the roan and saddle tan will definitely stay!

I also picked up a grab bag of scraps off ebay for $5. According to the listing it's mostly kangaroo, but I don't know what the lady was thinking. There's all sorts of stuff in here.

Here's the bag with the stuff I'm not keeping:

and the stuff I am keeping:

I do think the neon might be fun! It's really thick but we'll see if I can skive that down.