A Glimpse into Cavalrycat Rehab, Part 3: Marching Orders

IMG_0410 1st horse on!

The first horse on the diorama!

Now that Rebecca has finished her research, the cavalrycats have received their marching orders. A couple weeks ago, we began installing horses on “Come On, You Wolverines!” When finished, the diorama will have about 300 horses on it. Nearly every horse will be fastened down, using wire and several pins. Rebecca, our statistician, is attempting to count how many pins we use!


IMG_0447Here are some of the tools Rebecca uses when installing horses: white glue, tape measure, wire cutters, and needle nose pliers. She also uses tweezers with very long, thin tips (you can see them in the photos of wiring the horses together, below). They are not your ordinary tweezers—we bought ours from Micromark, which has a great variety of supplies for model and diorama builders.



Measuring the distance between ranks

When in close column of squadrons, the cavalry ranks should be 27 feet apart, which is 9 inches on the diorama. The rank itself takes up another 9 feet nose-to-tail (3 inches on the diorama). Rebecca double-checks the spacing frequently, to make sure the ranks don’t curve or drift (like handwriting on a blank piece of paper!).


Each hoof that touches the ground is being wired down. After Rebecca places the horse, she marks where his hooves are with pins, then carefully removes the horse (without bumping the pins) so she can press the pins down into the surface of the diorama.

Rebecca is using green wire for the black legs, and silver wire for the white legs. (Check your local Walmart’s craft area for green wire for floral decorating and silver wire for jewelry or bead crafts.)  Rebecca has to be careful not to over-tighten the wire or she risks breaking the horse’s fetlock.

Now it’s time to wire the horse down. Rebecca uses needle nose pliers to twist the wire around the pin.

Once the horse is secure, Rebecca squeezes white glue under the hoof and around the pin. Using the pliers, she presses the pin all the way into the base of the diorama, which anchors the horse well. Then she nudges some of the moss “grass” over the glue to hide the head of the pin.

When possible, Rebecca is wiring the horses to each other as well, using the rings on their saddle girths. First, she marks where the next horse will go, then she puts the wire on his legs. Then she sends silver wire through his girth ring and the ring on the finished horse.

Once the second horse’s hooves are wired down, she twists the wire connecting their girth rings to secure them together. It’s not always a snug connection, but it will help steady them and ease some of the stress on their legs if the diorama gets tipped.

And that’s it!  Repeat the process a few hundred times, and the diorama will be done!

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