Monday, September 22, 2014

Thank You, Breyer

Disclaimers: the product pictures belong to Breyer, and I'm not being paid to post this. Though that would be a pretty sweet deal if I was.

Long time no post, and this isn't exactly a satisfying end to this dry spell, but I had to share my excitement over Breyer's recent nod to us Stablemate lovers: you can now individually buy riders!

Had to giggle over the resemblance between the top product pic and
this shot from a few weeks ago.

Gone are the days of spending $10 on a horse and rider set just to get your hands on a doll to futz with. They're even offering a Native American and Jockey-- two riders that have been especially elusive (and therefore pricey) in the past.

Now, these dolls aren't perfect. I realize that. They all have issues, some more than others, and none of them are show ring quality, but they do offer a good starting point for tweaking position or customizing entirely. There are some extremely talented mini showers out there who just sculpt their dolls from scratch, but I'm personally grateful for a starting point (and face!) to work with.

At $3.99 a pop, I honestly can't complain too much. I mean, it would be nice if they didn't come with the plastic tack and were maybe a dollar less, but this is so much better than it was before.

On the studios news front, things are slow as snot. My free time has been minimized to almost non-existence, and I only get to sneak in a few studio hours a week. I would blog more, but there just isn't anything to see! So expect some more creative (and/or "random hobby thoughts") posts in the future. 

Thanks to all my new followers (hello) and old ones for your patience. Now excuse me while I go buy that cowgirl.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Horse Shaped Robots

Quick updates first:

The good: I have a shiny new MacBook that I am 300% in love with... this thing makes everything look a million times better, and runs way smoother than my old PC. And it's so pretty!

The not so good: New laptop means none of my old pictures are on here (which is inconvenient for today's post). It also means I need to learn the ways of the Mac (which shouldn't be hard, but if I'm a little slow in posting or responding, that's probably why.) Also, school. Sigh.

And now, a quick 'n dirty post about horse robots.

In my younger and more vulnerable years, I was really into making weird customs.

I didn't (and still don't) really have the patience for clean realistic customs, so I turned to the strange. That was also around the time I discovered that there are such things as riding simulators:

These are basically machines that move and respond to a rider like a real horse. They're kind of like really high-tech rocking horses:

They have sensors on the mouth, sides, and back area to receive cues exactly like a real horse would, and they look like a complete blast.

So why would anyone want one of these (very pricey!) machines instead of a real horse? Couple of reasons. Some able-bodied riders like how you can have your trainer on the ground physically help you improve your position. There's also the no-vet, no-poop, no-naughty-behavior-ever thing. It allows riders to train indoors, and some models come with a screen in front of the "horse" so you can virtually canter through a forest without actually, like, going outside. (The screen can also show a rider where they're carrying most of their weight and other shmancy things like that).

My favorite use I've heard of for these things is in therapeutic riding clinics. They're great for patients that are uncomfortable around real horses, or can't have the unpredictability of an animal, but would still benefit from the soothing motion of a horse's gait. (Spotters can also more easily physically support the rider). 

Anyway, I did my research and decided that the model horse hobby needed one of these things.

So I hacked up a Stock Horse Mare body I had at the time, and created Bot the riding simulator.

I remember choosing that image because it looked like a line of the Chips pony. And the tagline is a blatant ripoff of Breyer's (if there's ever a time for Breyer shmoozing, it's Breyerfest).

Fast forward to about a week before Sweet Onion- the urge hit me again. But Bot is dusty and retired and I'm pretty faithful to minis at the moment... so naturally I made a mini version.

Bot 2.0 is a G3 Standing TB with the lower half of his body chopped off; head removed, resculpted and replaced; shoulders sculpted over to be less detailed (how often do you have to do that?), and mohair mane and tail added. The mohair looks disgusting, but working with the stuff is something that I swore I'd never, ever do again after the original Bot, it was so gross and frustrating. Glue and hair is just never a recipe for a good time.

I was going to make a real saddle for him, but I really wanted that rider doll to fit it perfectly, and I knew that wouldn't happen with my current saddle pattern. Figuring I'd never show him without that rider, I just sculpted a saddle on. The lack of stirrups can be explained away as a training tool for this young rider... Whatever works!

What I find most entertaining about these fun little projects is that both Bots have NAN cards, and the original Bot has no less than two rosettes and a glossy pony from Breyerfest. Makes me wonder.. how many legless models are winning in the show rings these days?

Even more updates:
  • My studio time is limited, and I'm sad. Don't expect any more sale sets in the immediate future... I think my plan for now is to continue working on orders, taking my time to get everything right and now overwhelming myself with tack work on top of classwork. I apologize to my wait list! I'll get to you! Eventually!
  • The Western set is sold (woo!), but the racing set is just struggling to find a new home. I'll throw in an OF Breyer chestnut running TB! $40 includes postage to anywhere in the US.
  • I've decided to try a MEPSA show (if I find the time to take some halter pics!). Wish me luck!