Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Studio Update: January: Hunter Jump

With a new performance horse mule on the rise in my studio, I decided it's only fair that she gets her own set of props. 

Naturally, I started with the most complex: a hunter jump. I wanted to create something that would last me a while, instead of me throwing something together for the Feb 14th show and then having to re-do it later. This meant cutting no corners for the first time in my prop making career.
My fantasy jump idea was for it to look similar to below, but with different standard 'bodies' as I'm not a fan of that guck brown and peeking brick.

I decided to splurge on some really cool texture sheets to make the standards look like stone. Much classier.

As part of my not cutting corners, I couldn't just chop out pieces and glue them on, I actually had to create a pattern that could give me smooth edges around the standards.

Tada! It worked! Nice and covered, 

and then painted! I was able to slop on some grey and texture it by patting the wet paint with a makeup sponge. The 'mortar' was a pain to paint in there, but the effect was definitely worth all the time it took to do all four (yep, doing the oxer).

Next I had to shingle all the tiny roofs. 

This was by far the most painful part. It meant cutting out strips of very thing birch plywood in varying thicknesses and layering them onto a roof 'base' to get a shingle look. 12 of these. Twelve

After they got all their shingles, they were stained and got white painted trim (aka more birch strips I had to cut and paint white before gluing on).

A small army of roofs in the making
And finally, they're finished!! I was on a skype call with Grace when I finally glued the last roof on, and she can vouch I almost cried with happiness. 

I am so so so please with the way these guys turned out. They obviously don't match the reference picture except for the style, but I like them much better this way. 

And yet, even in my joy, I knew I wasn't done. 
For some reason I decided I should tackle the next most complicated part immediately after finishing the standards: the gate.

This I was following the reference picture style for, too. Right down to the itty bitty diamond cut outs.

First coat of white
It was not fun to glue everything together, and I almost threw in the towel a couple times. Even now there are parts that aren't completely straight, but I'm hoping it'll be less noticeable when it's all painted and the rest of the jump is put together too. 
There's a lot more left, but the standards are happy so I am happy.


  1. Oh my gosh that is gorgeous! I'm so impressed at your speed. I just saw some of those plastic texture sheets at Blick the other day and was wondering about them. The bricks look FABULOUS.

  2. Oooh, they look brilliant! Regarding the whole gluing everything together - if the plastic sheet is styrene, then get hold of some dichloromethane - otherwise known as 'plastic weld' - it's a liquid that you paint over joints to attach styrene bits together - it kinda melts the plastic so it 'welds' together to create a stronger bond, rather than just adhering to it like glue, and it's an absolute lifesaver! I used it all the time at college for modelmaking. :)

    The grooming kit boxes here were made from 1mm styrene.

  3. It's looking great so far - well done!!