Vintage custom model horse in top photo: Starzans (by Julie Froelich). Above right photo, left to right: Deloyer Starblazer (by Lisa Rivera), Sadamebius (by Nancy Strowger), Lunanegra (by Lee Francis), So Class Act (by Sue Rowe) and Highwayinthewind (by Judy Renee Pope).
For nearly as long as there have been model horses, there have been horse lovers inspired to remake them into something more.
Coaxing plastic into new positions, sculpting further detail with epoxy, painting the result in careful blends of oil or acrylic colors, and heightening the realism with manes and tails of acrylic fiber or mohair, these artists have hand-crafted what in the hobby are known as custom model horses.
It's a unique folk art, and its history now spans more than half a century. Some artists who honed their skills in the hobby have become top mainstream equine sculptors. For others it's a cottage industry, customizing model horses on commission. Novices can measure their progress as they compete with their creations in the myriad model horse shows held each year throughout North America. Even collectors can test their eye for correct conformation and breed type at those events, showing custom horses purchased from others.
That half-century has seen the creation of countless custom model horses. As time goes by, more and more are surfacing outside the hobby, after having left longtime hobbyists' hands. But with much about them a mystery to the uninitiated, many are relegated to toy status, damaged, or even destroyed.
And that's where the Vintage Custom Model Equine Center comes in! We believe it's important not only to preserve these vintage works, but also to promote them as the folk art that they are, by providing details about their artists and history.
First conceived in 2004 as an idea for an event, and evolving over the next decade, the Vintage Custom Model Equine Center (VCMEC for short--just say "vee-see-mek"!) got a big boost toward reality in early 2015 when an exceptional venue became available. Now the home-to-be of the VCMEC Hobby House & Museum is ours, a few years of renovation away from opening!
In the meantime, VCMEC's website is here and features our free downloadable quarterly newsletter VCMEC Model Horse Re-View, as well as our Guide to Artist Signatures on Vintage Custom Model Equines, an online resource that shows artists' initials, pseudonyms, symbols and more to help identify the creator of your vintage custom model horse.
With this website now live, the next big steps for VCMEC are to assemble our Board and seek non-profit status. Follow our progress on the Newest News page...and please feel free to contact us any time through the handy form at right.
Thanks so much for your interest in VCMEC!
TO BE ANNOUNCED