Custom Model Horses & Other Animals

In recent years I’ve returned to my childhood hobby of customizing Breyer and other model horses and animals. I enjoy taking old, beat-up and broken models, particularly in less popular vintage molds, and rejuvenate them while allowing them to retain their original beauty and character.

*******I AM NOT CURRENTLY TAKING COMMISSIONS. My currently available models may be viewed and purchased here on my Etsy shop. For a more complete gallery of current and sold models please go to my deviantArt gallery. Also, my eBay store has lots of original finish Breyer models, including lots for customizing.*******

Also, I am potentially interested in buying more damaged Breyer and Hartland models for customization, especially non-horse models. Feel free to email me at lupa(dot)greenwolf(at)gmail(dot)com if you have something I may be interested in!

Check out this special series of models inspired by European cave art, with LOTS of pictures and behind the scenes info!

To read more about how I create these art pieces, read on!

I start with a secondhand Breyer model; some come from thrift stores and antique shops, while others are purchased from other hobbyists, often other customizers who have decided to cull their own herd. (In hobby terms, these models destined for customizing are known as “bodies”, and their new paint jobs are known as “clothing.”) I like the older molds because they are reminiscent of my childhood, and they’re often overlooked by other customizers in favor of newer models. Missing legs and broken ears don’t scare me, either; I love a good sculpting challenge! (The little Breyer Stablemate Thoroughbred mare in the foreground of the above picture has the beginnings of a replacement for her missing left ear.)

Some models are given a basic prep job, in which I remove the Breyer logo and sand and fill seams; I also carve the ears, nostrils, mouth and hooves for more realism, and fix any other gouges or other damage. In addition, some models get repositioned (also known as “remade”) using a combination of precise cuts in the plastic, heat, and epoxy putty to resculpt muscles and other anatomy. The above picture shows a Breyer Classic-scale Ruffian in the process of being remade into a temperamental thoroughbred filly, with her head raised and turned and her right hind leg lifted. Her plastic mane and tail have been removed, and she will get a new ‘do made with real mohair after her paint job.

Even if some of the remakes I do change the original model quite a bit, I like to make sure the models are still recognizable as themselves, though, in honor of the original sculptors such as Chris Hess (Breyer), Maureen Love Calvert (Hagen-Renaker, later Breyer) and Roger Williams (Hartland). I grew up with these artists’ works, and I feel as an artist myself that it is important to not erase the spirit of their creativity even in a mass-produced form. I am not a fan of just using a model as an armature for a sculpture that looks nothing like the original, unless the model was so badly damaged that it was very nearly unrecognizable to begin with. So while my remakes may still sometimes retain some of the supposed “flaws” of the original sculpts, I would rather they retained their original character than completely overhaul them in making a more supposedly “realistic” piece.

I use various combinations of earth pigments, acrylic paint, and colored pencils to create both realistic and fantasy-themed paint jobs. Occasionally I even make a unicorn, or a pegasus complete with real (legal) bird wings!

In addition to horses, I also customize other Breyer models (and the occasional Hartland.) Here we have the Breyer Traditional-scale Spanish Fighting Bull made over into a tribute to the Red Bull from The Last Unicorn, facing off with a tiny Amalthea made from Breyer’s Stablemate-scale Rearing Arabian.

While this is a departure from the hide and bone Vulture Culture art I’ve been creating since the 1990s, it’s actually a return to an art form I first explored as a child; you can read about that journey here. If you’d like to keep up on my newest creations, you can follow me on my various social media links found here!

Artist & Author Lupa