Even brand-new Breyer horses can exhibit problem such as tipping over. Many model horses are positioned with two legs in the air, supported by the remaining two legs and the tail. If the balance is only slightly off, the entire Breyer topples over. Such a 'domino effect' has caused heartache for many a collector who had one tippy model hit the other models on the shelf, causing them all to fall over with a crash. You can add a simple base to many Breyers using either polymer clay or two part epoxy putty.
How to Make a Small Supportive Base for Breyer Horses
The goal is to make a small, thin, unobtrusive base that will support the horse model and keep it from falling over. The base should stabilize the horse and balance it properly so that you can set the horse model up on a display shelf, at a live show or at a photo show and not have to worry about it falling over.
To make your base, you will need:
- Polymer Clay or Two Part Epoxy Putty - most collectors prefer epoxy putty, but polymer clay can be used as well
- Horse model - the horse pictured here is the G3 Breyer Belgian Stablemate, a notoriously 'tippy' model horse who definitely benefits from a base, but there are probably others in your collection that tip over easily.
- Juice glass or soup can
- Craft Knife or Clay Tool (to cut or trim the polymer clay or epoxy putty)
- Acrylic Paint
- Paint brush
- Glue or Museum Wax / Tacky Wax
Make the Base
Soften the polymer clay in your hands or mix the two part epoxy putty and remove a piece about the size of a quarter, rolling it into a ball. Use the juice glass or soup can to flatten the ball of clay into a thin wedge. Trim it using the clay tool or a craft knife if you wish. You can also use a cookie cutter to get a perfect shape.
Shape the Base and Fit the Model to the Base
Now take your horse model and press the hoof of the horse on the side that is out of balance into the clay. Make a deep impression so that you can slide the hoof into the clay. Repeat for any other hoof you wish to stabilize with a base. You can also make a big base and fit or glue the entire horse model to the base if you wish.
Bake and Paint the Base
Cure polymer clay according to package directions, or allow your epoxy putty to harden. When cool, paint the base to resemble dirt or grass.
Place the Model Horse on the Base
To finish your project, once the base paint is dry, take your model horse and slide the hoof into the base into the impression you formed when the clay was soft. If the model still doesn't stand well in the base and you don't mind permanently attaching it to the base, glue the hoof into the base. Museum wax or tacky wax may hold lightweight or small model horses in place.
Showing Model Horses with Bases
Judges understand that sometimes the gait or position of the model horse requires a base. You won't be penalized in the show ring for having a model horse on a base. If you're photo showing your model horses, you can cover the base with sand or bird grit during the photo shoot. When you're finished taking your show pictures, uncover the base and use a soft cloth to brush off any remaining grit or sand clinging to the base.