Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cutthroat customizing

Yes, I pulled a Sweeney Todd on a Peter Stone Arab, and I am not sorry. It's gruesome. You may want to avert your eyes.

Don't say I didn't warn you. Ha ha.

I haven't done alot of customizing, and what I have done has been super simple. My friend Tiffany Purdy has been blogging alot about it lately though, and she's had some really excellent tips, so feeling inspired, I thought I'd have a go at the above PS Arab. Once I'd...er...slit his throat and turned his head, I thought I might as well do something to fix his muzzle since it has always bothered me as being too wide and too big in general. I cut his head almost completely in half with a dremel cutting disk...

...trimmed a tiny bit of plastic off each side of the cut, and then bound the head back together with pink embroidery floss (it's a color I'm never otherwise going to use). Once the head halves were secured tightly, I filled in the gaps with two-part epoxy glue and Gapoxio and let it sit for a couple of days to dry. (Sorry the picture below is so awful. It was the only one I got, and I didn't realize I had accidentally goofed up the camera settings. Doh!)

I also cut the tail loose from the hock, heated it up (in boiling water because I am still that primitive) to move it out a bit, and then cut off and resculpted the end of the tail. I still need to finish filling in the neck and throatlatch and finesse the tail a bit more, but this guy is getting pretty close to being ready to paint. I haven't decided whether he'll be a purebred or a partbred color yet. I'm open to suggestions!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Personal Ensign 1984 - 2010

The great mare Personal Ensign has died. Twenty-six is a ripe old age, and she had a pampered life, but it is still so sad to know that she's gone. We have truly lost a legend.


Personal Ensign was one of those very rare mares who excelled not only on the track but also as a broodmare. She put together a string of 13 victories from 13 starts, including a G1 win over males, and she closed out her racing career with one of the most thrilling performances in Breeders Cup history. The 1988 BC Distaff was her final race, and she had to overcome not only the 1988 Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colors but also a wet, muddy track that she did not like. For much of the race, it looked like Personal Ensign was going to be beaten for the first time, and it wasn't until the very last stride that she managed to get her nose in front right at the wire. Watching that performance never fails to give me chills.

As a broodmare, Personal Ensign's sons included G1 winners Miner's Mark and Traditionally and G1 placed Our Emblem (sire of KY Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem). Her best daughter My Flag won the 1995 BC Juvenile Fillies and won three G1s as a three year-old, including the prestigious Coaching Club American Oaks. Her daughter Storm Flag Flying became a third generation BC winner when she gamely won the 2002 BC Juvenile Fillies after being passed in the stretch and then coming on again late to take the lead. She had a very successful career as an older mare, winning 3 more G1s, including (fittingly) the Personal Ensign Handicap, and she ran 2nd in the 2004 BC Distaff as well. She showed the same grit and determination in all of her starts that her grand-dam did. Hopefully her sons and daughters will help carry on the line.

It seems only fitting that the undefeated Zenyatta is running today and taking over the torch that Personal Ensign has handed off.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Holy Grail achieved

I can hardly believe it, but I am now the proud owner of a Woodgrain Proud Arabian Mare! The PAM is the only mold I obsessively actively conga, and having been on the lookout for a woodgrain for a number of years, I didn't really expect to find one I could afford any time soon. As is often the case with rare Breyers, the market is either feast or famine. No woody PAMs show up for years on ebay, and then in the span of two weeks, two come up for sale.

I got lucky in that my PAM had been "improved" by a previous owner who gave her socks and a blaze to make her more realistic (one assumes anyway). Not that woodgrains are a plausible horse color in the first place... But anyway, I got her for a song, and she arrived in my hands ready for some much-needed TLC.

Up until I received this PAM, I had done some minor restoration work for myself and for friends, both on CMs and OFs. Most of it was touching up small rubs and dings, sometimes on rarer models like a friend's 4-Eyed Misty or my own test run 5-Gaiter. I had never tackled anything as major or as rare as this PAM, and I was definitely apprehensive about taking sandpaper, airbrush, and fixative to her. But once I got started, even with a few false starts mixing color, it all came together quite nicely, and I am thrilled with the results.

And now that her legs and face are properly restored, it really makes her sensational woodgrain coloring pop. High quality turquoise is said to have "zat" or great eye appeal, and I like to describe woodgrains with really attractive contrasting color as having "zat" as well. This mare's zat goes right off the scale.