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Steps to Fix a Broken Breyer Horse Model

Fix Broken Legs, Tails and Ears on a Breyer Horse Model

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Breyer model horse with a mane damaged by acetone during a restoration.

This Family Arabian Stallion is missing part of his mane. Nail polish remover dripped onto the mane during a restoration.

Photo copyright 2010 Jeanne Grunert, Licensed to About.com Inc.

Learning how to fix broken plastic Breyer horse models can mean the difference between throwing out a broken collectible and enjoying it once again. A repaired Breyer does not maintain the same value as a mint condition original finish Breyer, but making simple repairs can make the model look appealing once again.

Broken Breyers Can Be Fixed

Your cat leaped up onto the collectible shelf and crash, the entire herd toppled over, domino-fashion, onto the floor. Unlike many other household items that can be fixed with a dab of strong glue, the plastic used to create Breyer horses doesn't adhere well with craft or super glue. Instead, you will need to use a chemical called acetone to melt the plastic and soften it so that it forms a bonding surface. Don't panic. It's easier than it sounds. One caution, however. Because you're working with acetone, otherwise known as nail polish remover, only an adult should attempt this fix. Kids, ask a grownup to help you fix your model horses.

Once repaired, models are never as sturdy as they once were, so your Breyer horse should be retired from both playing and showing. Enjoy him as a collectible. If you decide to sell him someday, you must disclose the repair, and preferably share close up photographs of the repaired area to prospective buyers. Repairing a model decreases its value considerably. Repaired models will not do well in live shows. Depending on where the break occurred, you may be able to photo show the model using camera angles or props to hide the break and repair.

How to Repair a Broken Breyer Horse Model

Work in a well-lit, well ventilated area. Cover the top of the table with newspaper or a cloth. Assemble the items you need and the pieces of your horse.

  • You'll need:
  • Acetone or nail polish remover. Use a new, unopened bottle for best results.
  • A cotton swab
  • Nail file
  • Metal pick or rasp (optional)
  • Clean rag

To repair:

Before starting the repair project, consider how you will prop the broken piece up while it dries in place. Look for books, rolls of cloth, rags or anything else you can use to hold the piece in place. Test it before starting the actual repair process. When you're ready, proceed to the steps below.

  • Use the metal pick or rasp to roughen the surface of the break. Rub the two pieces with the rag to remove dust. Don't file it too much. The goal is to create a rough surface to help the two pieces bond together.
  • Dip the cotton swab into the acetone. Rub the acetone over both sides of the break. After the plastic softens a bit, gently press the two pieces together so that they align evenly. You'll need to hold them in place for several minutes.
  • Once you can take your fingers off the piece without it moving, use books, paper, or another object to prop up the break in place so that it dries in place. Do not tape it in place, when you take the tape off, it will pull the break apart again.
  • After a few hours, the plastic should have bonded together and the model should be steady enough to stand upright if it was a leg break. Tail and ear breaks should stay in place.

Finishing the Repair

Use the nail file to gently sand off any extra bits of plastic. Acrylic craft paints may be used to touch up the break. Mix colors on a piece of cardboard or scrap paper and compare them to the color of the model near the break to create the perfect shade to cover up your repair job.

Cautions

Acetone-based nail polish remover also removes the paint from Breyer models. It melts all of the plastic on Breyer models. If it drips onto any part of the model, use the rag to wipe it off immediately. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after using it and follow label directions for safe use, storage and disposal of nail polish remover.

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