Presented By Rio Rondo
Resin-Casting has long been a standard in other hobby industries, for example other areas of figure modeling such as movie characters, monsters, military miniatures and so forth. 'Garage Kits' consisting of parts and pieces that customers assembled and painted had been around for a couple of decades at least. Most resins were produced in small quantities by individuals, with a few major casting houses in existence that featured large selections of items to choose from.
However, Resin-Casting was relatively unknown to the hobby of model horse collecting by comparison, in the early years of the hobby (1960's - early 1980's). There had been some producers of resin-cast model horses for some time, but these were generally considered "anomalies" and not the norm for most mainstream collectors. Francis Eustis, Black Horse Ranch and a few others produced some models in resin, most of which were considered collectors pieces rather than the latest trend in show models.
During this time, the mainstay of the model horse hobby for collecting and showing consisted of Breyer plastics primarily, along with a few other brands such as Hagen-Renaker ceramics. "Customizing", or "remaking" one of these factory-produced pieces was the way most artists chose to express themselves, and what many hobby exhibitors sought to show in the ring. Each piece was a one-of-a-kind work, and the more drastic the work, the more hours and skill were required on behalf of the artist. What few resins and alternative brands/media there were, continued to be a minor segment of the whole.
It wasn't until 1990, with the arrival of a singular resin-cast piece known as Quarter Horse Stallion #1, by Carol Williams, that swept the shows as a competition piece, did resin become generally known to model horse hobby collectors and showers. Instead of each hand-painted piece being a one of a kind original creation that could take months to complete, resin casting allowed artists to capitalize on their efforts by producing multiples that a larger number of customers could purchase and enjoy.
Collectors were no longer limited to just the offerings of a handful of manufacturers and the artists they employed, but now favorite artists within the model horse genre itself could reproduce their work for more collectors to enjoy. Active artists within the hobby could design and produce pieces that could specifically cater to the desires of collectors and exhibitors, and as a result the hobby was no longer limited to making purchasing decisions from the offerings of just a few manufacturers.
In the early '90's, DaBar Enterprises, a resin-casting firm, established a line of resin horses available for purchase to the public from pieces created by model horse hobby artists. In addition to the molding and casting services they provided to reproduce the works of individual artists, this also resulted in exciting new possibilities for collectors and artists alike, and further expanded the influence and availability of resin horses, as well as establishing the beginnings of a new industry.
At the present time, the Resin Horse is firmly established as a major mainstay of the model horse collecting and showing hobby. Resin horses are sold and marketed in a variety of ways, painted, unpainted, in large runs as well as small, limited offerings. Priced from $35-$500 or more, depending upon scale, finish and the artists involved, resin horses truly are an emerging artform and industry all their own.