Behind the Scenes: the "King Horse"

Remember a few weeks back we shared the image of the metal tooling for our Irish Sports Horse mould? I thought it would be nice to show you a few more images from behind the scenes of the creation of this mould.

You're also probably thinking what's the connection to the "King Horse" mentioned in the title? Well, our factory nicknamed the mould the "King Horse" as compared to the size of the other horses, he is a bigger, and so when we talk to our factory, the name has kind of stuck!!

Most model horses are hollow and created in two halves. If you think of a model horse created in the 1:9th scale, like Copperfox Models, this is how they are made. Each half is created by injecting molten plastic into a mould, or metal tool- a bit like when you made plaster casts as a child by pouring plaster into a plastic mould. It's more or less the same process although with different materials. Once cooled, each half of the horse are joined together to make a complete model horse.

This means for every shape of model horse, in this case the Irish Sports Horse, you need two different moulds. One for the nearside and one for the offside, imagining that the join line for the model runs along the crest of the main, back, tail etc. This picture (below) is of one of the metal moulds for the ISH. Big isn't it?!

Below: This is how the metal tool (mould) is created. A machine cuts out the shape of the model from block of metal. Notice all the metal shavings around the mould. This is were a small amount has been cut away from the metal, ensuring that all the details of the original clay model are in the mould. The liquid in the middle of the mould is to prevent the machine from overheating when cutting, in addition to acting as a lubricant.

Machining the details of the metal tool

Machining the details of the metal tool

Drilling & machining the details of the metal tool

Drilling & machining the details of the metal tool

How much does a tool weight? A great question! The one pictured below, one of the tools for the ISH, is around 400-500 kgs and requires hoists to move them. It's not something you can just pick up by hand and it's one to mind your toes around when it's being lifted and re-positioned!! Ouch!

Moving a tool

Moving a tool

Below: This image is of a plastic Irish Sports Horse fresh after being "constructed". You can just about make out the faint join line running down the back of the model (look on his bottom). We use the same plastic as other model horse manufactures, cellulose acetate, although we use more of it per model. If you have ever handled or own a Copperfox model, this is the simple reason why they weigh more! :-)