Types of Model Horses

There are three main types of model horses, which are described by their finish. Unlike model cars or planes, model horses don`t need to be assembled from kits.

Original Finish

Original Finish, or OF, is a term used to describe models that have been produced in a factory, and they are often (but not always) mass-produced in bulk numbers. Plastic OFs are the most common, but resin and china models can also be considered OF when produced in bulk.

Plastic OFs are created in a factory, where the plastic is poured into a mould, removed when dry, and then painted. These painted 3-D models are then shipped out and often sold in retail stores, and often internationally. Breyer, owned by Reeves International, is a very popular brand in the hobby, as are Stone Horses and Schleich. An examples of a brand that produces OF resin models is Northlight, and brands like Royal Doultan produce what the hobby would consider OF chinas.

While OFs are usually mass-produced, they can also be released in a limited run or edition, where only a select number are produced. These LE models are sometimes made for special events or occasions, and the run number may be as small as one model, or reach into thousands.

Artist Resins

As well as the original finish resins discussed above, there is another type of resin model horses: artist resins. These models are created when an artist chooses to have their original sculpture produced in resin, and then the casts (resin copies of the sculpture) are sold in a limited or open edition. These artist resins (known as ARs), are usually sold blank for other artists to paint and/or and/or otherwise customise. Like OFs, resins are available in all sizes and breeds; they are only limited by an artist`s imagination!

Due to the high cost of having a sculpture cast, artist resins are often more expensive than OFs or CMs, but the detail achieved in the casting process often allows for more realistic models. Compare an AR to an OF: the higher level of detail is immediately obvious. Finer details such as hairing, wrinkles, veining and whisker bumps are some of the details that can be found on ARs.


A customised model is an OF model that has been modified in some way from the original version. There are various levels of customising work:

  • Etching, where a blade is used to scratch way the original finish paint to reveal the white plastic underneath
  • Repainting, where a model is painted a different colour or pattern.
  • Repositioning, where an artist will move something on the model to a new position: an ear, the tail, a leg, etc. A single joint may be moved, or the entire model modified. Models will then be repainted.
  • Hairing, where the plastic mane and tail are removed, and a hair mane and tail are added, or sculpted on with epoxy. Models will usually be repainted.

These levels can be combined; a model can be repositioned, then repainted and haired.

Customised models (known as CMs) are unique, one-of-a-kind pieces of work, and various mediums are used. Some artists, called customisers, like to use acrylics, while others may choose to use oil paints, pastel dust or an air brush, or a combination of mediums. Each medium has its own pros and cons with use, so no two models will be the same, and this is what makes them special and unique.