Part 5: Painting and Detailing
Our model has come quite a way from where it first began. It's been heated, moulded, cooled, assembled, welded, polished, sanded and base coated. Quite a few processes just to get to the point in which a model starts to look like a model horse!
Each model receives between 7-8 layers of paint, depending on its colour and tone, building up shading and depth to the horses final coat colour. It is a very long process, as each time a layer of paint is applied, the model needs to be completely dry before the next layer is added. Paint layers are applied by hand using an airbrush to spray the colour onto each model and as the paint builds, the models start to come to alive!
For coloured models, like Henrietta and Bertie, a copper template is used to create their patterns rather than using a mask that sticks to the model. This template is held over the model whilst the paint layer is applied and once dried, it is removed.
Once models have received all their paint layers and their coat colour is complete, it is off to detailing. Details like face and leg markings, chestnuts, eyes and hooves are done completely freehand. In some cases, manes are hand painted too, like on our Henrietta and Bertie models, which are two tone in colour.
Above, is an image of a herd of Marbles waiting for their hooves to be painted. Below, is an image of what Marble's finished hooves look like. As you can see, there is quite a bit of detail packed into those little feet, from striped hooves and ermine marks, to shading around the hooves and the different colours of the hooves themselves. It's not a one colour process but one that takes numerous layers and patience- and a very steady hand!
A quick fun fact about detailing on our Copperfox Models. There are 7 different colours and steps to paint one horses eye. Below are Celtic Warrior Models during eye painting, at the white layer stage. Don't they look odd? They look like something you wouldn't want to meet on a dark night!!
Below is a little gallery of pictures of Superman and Sovereign getting their details. Sovereign is having his mane painted a snowy white. He would also get his face and leg markings, hooves painted and varnished, chestnuts added, nose pinked (and greyed) and eyes glossed. Superman is getting his hooves added in the picture(s) and once this is complete, he will have his chestnuts and star added, as well as getting his eyes and hooves glossed. Phew, that is quite a list of things!
Once models have completed their detailing stage, they are left to cure for at least 24 hours to ensure all the paint is dry. After they have dried, models receive a light coat of matte varnish to seal everything in and to give a protective layer. They are then left to rest and dry for another day or so (the drying time depends on the weather), before being checked, approved and packed into their Union Jack boxes for the journey to Copperfox HQ.
The image, left, is of the brown outer carton that the collectors boxes travel in. I just *had* to take a picture of it, as well, it had our name on it!
Creating a Copperfox Model Horse is quite a long process as you might have gathered from our Behind the Scenes posts. We've had 5 different parts- Moulding (Part 1) Creating a Blank Model (Part 2) and Welding (Part 3) Base Coating (Part 4) and Painting (Part 5). It's a process that not only creates wonderful models, it creates models that are as unique and as individual as the people that create them.
When you hear that something is made in China, you automatically assume that everything is the same; that in pops out of a "mould" looking identical, without any personality. Could something created in China be individual? I have to admit I did have this misconception before visiting our factory and seeing first hand how everything is created. I knew the process before I went but actually being there and seeing the team working away on our models, made me appreciate it more. There is quite a number of hours in each little model! When you see or read the words "Made in China" your imagination always seems to conjure up images of vast production lines, millions of items being churned out in seconds and each one being the same as the one that came before it. This is correct for many of items "Made in China" but not for our models. Our models are as unique as the real things, with lumps and bumps, personality and character.
Whilst we are not producing thousands of any one model, we are manufacturing quite a number of models, especially at this young stage of our brand (and as we always say, we have to start somewhere!) All Copperfox Models are created predominately by hand and so will have signs of being shaped by hand. Of course we have to use machines for the bits hand crafting cannot do (e.g moulding and welding) but everything else is hand done. As everything is applied by hand, models will have slight contrasts, which is what makes them each totally and utterly unique. Whilst models are the same in design and will look similar at a glance, no two are exactly identical when you compare them "under the microscope". For example the striping on a hoof or the shape of an edge on a face marking will be slightly different.
I hope you have enjoyed this look Behind the Scenes and how a Copperfox Model Horse is created. I hope too that you enjoy your Copperfox Model when you are the proud owner of one and that it will be a treasured model in your collection. You will be part of an very special and new club, one that has a like minded interest in model horses and breeds of the British Isles.