Once you begin showing model horses, you will be immediately confronted with how to attach bits and other tack items without damaging your models. The obvious solution is to use some sort of poster putty or miniature holding wax. Of the two, the wax is the better choice. Poster putty has a tendency to dry out, frequently comes in garish colors, and is sometimes hard to apply. Depending on the type, it may also leave an oily residue. On the other hand, wax seems to last better and usually is a clear to cloudy-clear color. It also works great in small amounts.
You can purchase miniature holding wax from miniature hobby stores or through mail-order firms. It comes in a variety of brand names. Sticky Wax (tm) and Mini-Wax (tm) are two brand names, but there are others. I have only tried the Mini-Wax, but I have not heard that any particular brand is better than another. It comes in tubs or blocks. As it is reusable, one tub can last quite a while. It is also relatively inexpensive. A tub usually runs from $2.50 - $3.00.HOW TO USE MINI-WAX
Mini-wax is simple to use. Take out a small amount. Roll it into a ball. Apply it to the bit "bars" and stick to the horse's mouth. If excess squeezes out beyond the bit, carefully remove with a wooden toothpick.
When it is time to remove the bridle, pull off the bit. Clean off the excess wax from the bit and from the model. A gentle (not hard enough to scratch) scraping off with one's fingernail or with a wooden toothpick generally does the job. If it doesn't, wipe off with a cloth. If that still doesn't work, you can wash it off with soap and water. But be careful! You can damage some horses with soap and water. Customized models painted with acrylics are especially susceptible to damage in this way.
Don't be discouraged if your first attempts pop loose. The wax works. Really! But, it does take a little bit of practice to get it right. You want just enough wax on the bit to hold, but not so much that it shows. Keep practicing, until you find the right amount.
Note: Miniature holding wax, like any wax, will melt! This may make it difficult, if not impossible, to set up show photo scenes outside in extremely hot weather as the wax stops holding when it melts. If this is a problem, wait until a cooler day to shoot your photos or consider using Dental Wax, which reportedly has a higher melting point. Personally, I prefer using an unscented product specifically designed for use with miniatures, but many showers use Dental Wax. Dental Wax is available at your pharmacy.
Wax can also be used to hold other horse related items. I use it hold stirrup straps in place, pin down saddle skirts, and to apply bridle plumes. I've heard some showers use it to hold doll riders in place. Be careful here! The wax may not come out of your doll's clothes. Also, do not use on the suede seats so many western saddles have. It can permanently ruin the leather. A good rule of thumb is to only use wax on smooth surfaces. Avoid porous ones (like doll clothes) or fuzzy ones (like suede).
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