The Journey of a Breyer Horse
Breyer make realistic, authentic models for horse lovers of all ages, imaginative play sets and horse toys for children of school ages. Breyer seeks out the top horses, the most knowledgeable experts and the most up-to-date trends to create a world of horses in miniature that is exciting, fun and relevant.
Every Breyer model is handcrafted. The process of creating a Breyer Horse is pretty complex. We’re going to a share the journey with you.
Firstly, the artists start by determining a particular horse, breed and pose, they need to decide how they’re going to portray the horse, whether this is them standing proud, up on two legs, or one of their many facial expressions. Once drawings and photos confirm the position, Breyer artists begin to craft a wire armature to confirm the pose and overall sizing. The actual sculpting process usually takes about three months.
Once a clay horse is finished and has gone through all approvals with the owners, the next step is to cast resin copies. These copies are then used by the injection moulding tooling engineers to determine how to build a nearly 2,000 lb. copper or steel tool that must withstand hot molten plastic over a course of many years of use.
The actual pattern making and casting of both the concave and convex halves of the injection moulding tool can take four to six months. New tools are then “groomed” and tweaked so that all parts are functioning smoothly enough to begin production.
With the exception of Stablemates which are solid, all Breyer models are cast in two halves. These two halves are then cooled to keep their parts straight and in place on special boards custom-made for each model. A custom press fixture then applies pressure to bond the two halves together. Once this is finished, the models cure for at least 24 hours before they are cleaned.
A very heavy bead of excess plastic runs along the seam of the model, and many other areas also have to be sanded and washed away during the cleaning process. Each model has its own unique areas for cleaning.
After final washing, the model then goes to the paint department where most likely ten unique painting stations await. If the horse has white markings of any kind, masks are painstakingly applied. Next, big gun sprayers add just the initial base coat. The colours are custom mixed daily for each model on the production line. A second gun spraying station will then add sweeping shading to bring out muscle tone and depth. Like any hand-made item, each horse is unique and variations do exist, but the consistency is astonishing.
Additional shading with smaller spray guns usually follows. Here, the mane, tail and lower legs are shaded – sometimes with multiple colours. Fine details such as the muzzle pinking and shading, eyes, ear tips, and any special marks such as leg stripes or a dorsal stripe are added. Hooves are then painted at the next station whether they are grey, black or tan; and with or without the ermine spots and hoof striping. Finally, paintbrush details are finished such as chestnuts, tri-colour eyes, brands, Indian markings, halters or harnesses.
Packaging is next, and each package is custom made for the model, including writing the text for the box, choosing the photographs or images needed, having the model itself photographed, and finally the master carton configurations which then protect the model from factory to warehouse, and from warehouse either directly to you or to the retail store!