General Material Questions
1. Why are some resin sculptures sold unpainted? Why do you sell unpainted resin horse heads and parts?
Many collectors enjoy painting their own horses or commissioning custom paintjobs on LFS sculptures. Some customizers find they need to replace the original ears or hooves on a custom model. Others want a new pretty face for a plastic body they are working on, and heads are one of the hardest parts of the horse to learn to sculpt. These resin parts make the customizing process more fun, a bit easier, and a bit more unique. They can even pose the ears any way they desire, which gives their custom model its own “life”. Unpainted models are not intended as “cheaper” or lesser product. These are not “kitchen sink” resins. We have a state-of-the-art resin facility with autoclave and clean room. These parts are professionally cast in art quality resin by Paul Francis, who has been producing resins for the model horse hobby (and other industries) since his time at DaBar Enterprises in 1997. They are not intended for recasting (I retain copyright) nor are they meant for OF competition.
2. How do you prep a resin for painting?
It is best to ask the manufacturer of the resin you have in mind. Some polyester resins require gentle handling, and polyurethane will need thorough de-greasing. In general, the model needs its seams removed with care to maintain or restore detail, a light sanding overall to give tooth to the surface for paint, de-greasing by scrubbing with a toothbrush in lukewarm water and soap, thorough drying, and finally a spray coat of quality automotive primer.
3. Aren’t ceramics and resins fragile?
Ceramics vary in strength due to their ingredients, firing temperature, and pour variations. For instance, high-fire ceramics such as porcelain,bone china, and stoneware are actually melted on the molecular level, or vitreous, making them resistant to damage. Lower temperature clays are more susceptible to breakage, but these vary according to quality of clay. For instance, Hagen-Renaker, Pour Horse, and Lucas ceramics are lower temp earthenware ceramic, but of a refined and strong grade. Resins also vary in strength according to ingredients, ratio of mixture, quality of leg reinforcements, and the sculpt itself. Polyester resins tend to be hard to carve but shatter when dropped on a firm surface. Urethanes have more flexibility, carve easier, and bounce with minimal damage when dropped. The presence of filler dusts in either material reduces weight and reduces molecular binding, making for greater fragility. Modern casters use steel or brass rods to reinforce the resin legs from within. Resins should not be left in a vehicle on a warm day or in the sun… the heat can cause the material to warp or sweat oils, thereby ruining the paintjob. Viewed overall, modern ceramics and resins are of better quality and strength than ever before. With reasonable care, they are meant to last a lifetime, and beyond.
4. How do OF ceramic and OF resin differ?
“Original Finish” ceramic is made from clay ingredients and is fired at high temperatures at least twice in a kiln. “Original Finish” resin never sees a firing process, or it would melt and burn. The most a resin is subjected to in a factory is a heated wax spray sealant coat. Powdered ceramic additives are mixed into liquid resin to create “cold cast porcelain”, but these are truly resins. They are not fired as a complete casting, though the powder ingredient might have been fired once, in its distant past.
5. How do custom ceramic and custom resin differ? And how do OF and custom differ?
Custom or one-of-a-kind ceramic goes through at least one firing process, and may then be painted in “cold paints” (acrylic or oils) directly on the bisque. Some ceramics receive unique glaze finishes, entitling them to at least two firings in a kiln. The glazed finishes are substantially tougher and near impossible to scratch or rub off, and light-stable (no fading). Custom resins are never fired, but can be cold painted with acrylics, oils, etc. after prepping.
OF, or “Original Finish”, or “Original (Factory) Finish”, denotes a number of pieces all painted alike in assembly-line, by a factory or similar facility. Some small facilities actually produce the most consistent and lovely OF models available. “Custom” classifies unique, one-of-a-kind paintjobs that have time-consuming detail and special artist touches that are impossible to recreate in numbers or on a large scale. OF and Custom horses compete in separate divisions in model horse shows.
LFS Product Questions
6. Where do I get sold out or discontinued LFS pieces?
These are found only on the secondary market. Such pieces may turn up on eBay, collector sales sites, or at your local live show. Keep your eyes peeled and ask a hobby friend to scope around for you, too.
7. How much do LFS sell for on the secondary market?
Depending on the rarity or popularity of the piece, anywhere from a little over issue price, to nine times issue price and more.
8. Do I have to be a professional to compete in live model horse shows?
No, anyone can enter a live show or a photo show. One of the best things about collecting Kristina’s horses is that they are interactive on an exhibition level. Simply put, you can purchase a finished model, pluck it out of the box, and compete in a model horse show. OF horses are judged on condition (keep it free of dust and damage), rarity, and breed representation. It takes a lot of organization and planning to campaign a string of model horses, making a great learning tool for future real horse owners and exhibitors. More important than the ribbons and glittering trophies are the amazing kindred spirits you will meet at a model horse convention or live show. In the Collect section of this web site, you will find articles to help you get started or refine your game.
9. Do LFS pieces get special recognition or awards in model horse shows?
For years, Kristina has sponsored Challenge classes at shows across the USA. Every year a new trophy/ornament design is given away to Champions and Reserves in both custom and OF.
10. Will Kristina create a special run model for my show/ event/ retail establishment?
Yes, Kristina can be commissioned to design an exclusive sculpture for your show. The line of Foundation Stock Parts breed heads have been used as trophies by some. We also have an attractive custom sculpting/resin casting medallion combination offer that has been popular with model horse show holders.
11. Is there a collector club?
Yes. We have an interactive yahoogroup called, “lucashorsecollectors“, and a Facebook Page called, Animal Art of Kristina Lucas Francis. Anyone with an interest in Kristina’s work is welcome to join these free groups. Every so often there is a membership-exclusive item for sale.
12. Is there a list of all the pieces ever made?
Click Archives and see the list and read about the making of each limited edition. This is constantly being updated. Kristina has been sculpting professionally since 1994, and there is always something turning up from storage or being emailed by a collector!
13. What steps are involved in the creation of each LFS piece?
Each piece starts out as an original sculpture, which is molded and castings are then pulled from this mold. Each casting is cleaned, seamed, and decorated by hand. No two are exactly alike due to the nature of the technical handwork. In the case of outsourced factory resin, each piece was hand-inspected by Kristina. Older Lucas Studio ceramic pieces were made by the team of Joan Berkwitz and Kristina Lucas (Francis). From 2002 forward, Kristina has done the entire solo production of her ceramics as Lucas Francis Studio.
14. Are Lucas Studio and Lucas Francis Studios the same company? Who is Francis Design Studio?
Kristina Lucas gained the Francis surname by marriage in 1999, and in 2002 her husband Paul started using the name (not Kristina’s idea) for his film prop replica business. Long story short, the two had very different products, businesses, and methods. To stop the continuous confusion of Kristina’s work and customer service with his, she now is the sole operator of Lucas Francis Studio. Paul is Francis Design Studio.
15. Who are these people?
Kristina Lucas Francis is the animal artist who designs for numerous collectibles manufacturers, as well as her own line. Some Kristina trivia: she draws, paints, and glazes, as well as sculpts her own work, she has volunteered for various animal non-profits, she has pioneered captive research on some Old World chameleon species, and she spends more time reading than watching TV. This firmly classifies her as a nerd. Hello out there to my fellow nerds.
16. Does Kristina sculpt for private individuals, or only “big” manufacturers?
Private commissions can be the most interesting and personal sculptures of all. Kristina takes a limited number of private commissions annually, while balancing the needs of her manufacturing clients. A collector at heart, Kristina sculpts for manufacturers that consistently produce quality finished products and have sound relationships and policies with artists. For more information on commissions, visit How to Request a Quote.
17. Does Kristina ever teach classes or have apprentices?
Yes, Kristina teaches classes at shows and conventions, such as Breyerfest. Kristina does have students in the studio every so often. Students are accepted on a case-by-case basis; she has taught students from age seven up to mature artists. The prerequisite is focus. The student brings their own supplies, and keeps all rights to the work they create in their studies; there is a small fee for each day-long studio visit. There is currently an opening for an apprentice (an unpaid internship, studio chores in exchange for lessons). Skills needed are sweeping, organizing, and boxing up for shipping.
If you have a question not addressed here, please email me. I will continue to add to this FAQ.