Customising Horses

Hi! My name is Kris Gee of Chrome Lotus Studios in England, UK.

For Equestrians have kindly asked me to write a few words that would be of interest to newcomers, so I’m going to discuss my favourite aspects of the hobby: model horse customising, and model Arabian performance set ups! Model horse customising is an incredibly fun and therapeutic activity, even a few of my non-horsey friends have been drawn into the hobby after trying their hand out at painting a custom!  The act of customising a model horse involves a series of processes done in order to make the horse look more realistic. These include removing the factory seams and logos, carving out nostrils, ears and realistic frogs and heel bulbs in hooves. Some people opt to move and resculpt the limbs so the horse appears to be in a different gait, or alter the position of the head and neck. Some people choose to resculpt the mane and tail from epoxy while others  use to create a ‘real’ looking mane and tail. There is no end to the customising possibilities and often artists go as far as to create a totally original sculpture, completely unrecognisable from the mold it originated as! Below are a few examples of customised horses by myself along with the original mold they started as: 

Badlieh Zahrah
Breyer Classic Sagr

Left: “Badieh Zahrah” created 2003, owned by Elli Garnett, UK. Customised into an Arabian mare with an arched neck, resculpted ears, eyes and nostrils, a little extra dish and refinement to face and muzzle, correct mare parts, carved hooves and heelbulbs, sculpted chestnuts/veining, metal horse shoes and mohair mane and tail. Airbrushed to a feminine light grey with red fleabites. Very successful photoshow horse!

Middle: “Ellam” created 2004, owned by Jean Radde, USA. Customised into a stallion with resculpted muzzle with a pooky lip and lip wrinkling, whisper bumps, resculpted eyes and nostrils and carved out features for a ‘dryer’ looking head. Carved out hooves, heelbulbs, correct stallion parts and veining added. He has been pasteled to a star dapple grey with acrylic detailing and silky silver and white viscose hair mane and tail.
These two horses started out as the Breyer classic Sagr mold, pictured Right. 

Farrar Al Sahra
Huckleberry Bey

  Left: “Farrar Al Sahra” created 2003, owned by Jackie Beaman. Customised into an Arabian stallion with an arched neck, turned head and a reworked face and muzzle for a more typey Arabian look. I added veining, whisker bumps, neck wrinkling and refined the ears a little as well. Airbrushed to a dramatic shaded grey with handpainted dapples, mohair mane and tail and metal horseshoes. He has carved hooves and heelbulbs and metal horse shoes. The disk he stands on is hidden under the sand in the photo but is customised to a flashy chrome finish to compliment the horse.
This horse started out as the Breyer Traditional Huckleberry Bey, pictured Right. 

Peter Stone Arab

Left: “Thaqib” created 2004, owned by Caroline Hodges. Customised into a graceful Arabian stallion. His neck has been resculpted to a relaxed pose and his hind leg stretched back. He has a resculpted muzzle with new lips and nostrils, new ears with one tweaked back and an entirely refined head. His stallion parts have been detailed, his hooves carved out and his tailbone flagged over his back. Fine detail such as veining was added before he was painted with acrylic and pastel to a lightly star dappled rose grey with fleabites. He has a mohair mane and tail and metal horse shoes.

This horse started out as the Peter Stone Arabian pictured Right. 

One of the most enjoyable aspect of model horses is creating and putting together scenes including model horses, tack, riders, props and scenery. People compete with their ‘set ups’ at live shows and also use them to obtain realistic looking model scale photographs. When creating scenes I first consider what would be authentic in regards to the breed/type of horse at hand.

When setting up a model Arabian scene I have to make sure that all locations, tack/costumes, handlers and scenery are correct, in scale and authentic to the region chosen. I start by examining as many reference photos as possible in order to select the best location for the scene and then I build a diorama to suit. Below are some examples of my scenic dioramas and the set ups I have created: 

Red Sea Reef
Red Sea Reef

 ABOVE Left & Right: An original finish Breyer Proud Arab Mare on my “Red Sea Reef” diorama created 2004. Eqyptian Palace WallOasis & Waterfall Diorama

Above Left: My “Egyptian Palace Wall” diorama & Above Right: My “Oasis and Waterfall” diorama. Both dioramas were created 2004. If you have any questions please feel free to email me For more information on my model horse and diorama art please visit my website: www.chromelotus.4t.comThank you for reading and have fun!