The 7×9 bases are the largest I have, so I’m focusing on scales that work with those and I’m aiming to have the new fencing be as interchangeable as possible with the existing post holes. Options, people, OPTIONS! 😂
Finding the Scale
The hardest part about building model horse fencing is that the options in wood don’t always match up to what you need. Well… that and the scale of the individual models isn’t always the same.
The next scale up for Breyer horses is the Little Bits / Saddle Club / Paddock Pal size. In theory, all seven horses (err, six and a unicorn?) are 1:24 but if you look at the Shire next to the Saddlebred… yeah, not so much.
I’ve found the easiest way to figure out an accurate scale is to measure the posts against the horse and adjust until it looks right. I’ll be using the Arabian Stallion and Morgan Stallion because I happened to have wip resculpts of those on hand.
A fence height of 5 feet (60 inches) translates to 2.5 inches in 1:24 scale. So I marked a 0.25 square dowel at that length and held it up next to my two test LBs.
As you can see it was a little short, since most of the online fencing guides recommended: “have the top of the fence at wither height.” I aim roughly for that, but since these are for display and the sizes are going to vary, I dropped it down a smidge.
So I ended up with 3 inch posts, which means working in 1:20 scale, not 1:24. (Again, I’m always going to eyeball things against real photos to make sure they look decent!)
Fence Sizes at Scale
I’m relying mainly on the following two links to get the numbers:
At 1:20 scale, using the trust old scale calculator (thank you Wayback Machine!) that turns into the following:
- A fence height of 5 feet (60 inches) translates to 3 inches.
- A rail/board width of 6 inches would be 0.3 inches.
- A post diameter of 5 inches would be 0.25 inches.
- A 8 foot (96) and 12 foot (144) spacing between posts would be 4.8 and 7.2 inches, respectively.
The only wood size I had a problem with was the 0.3 inches, so I went with 3/8ths. The wood I had on hand for it is much thinner and more flexible than I’d like, so I may need to dig up a better option. 🤔
Since I’m building the fence to fit existing post hole templates, I’m going with a 6 inch spacing between the posts so it will fit the end holes on the Template D layouts.
So, I’ve got the sizes and pulled the wood out of my stash… time to make a fence! 😁
If you’re following along at home, here are the materials and tools I used (Amazon affiliate links included where possible for folks without a local hardware/hobby store):
- 18 inches of 3/18th basswood strip
- 6 inches of 1/4 square basswood dowel
- Wood Finish Stain Marker, Dark Walnut
- X-acto No. 7532 Small Mitre Box Set small mitre box set
- Elmer’s E7010 Carpenter’s Wood Glue
- Norton Abrasives Sandpaper Sheet, Multisand 220 Grit Sandpaper
Items specific to adding the paperclip posts:
- Loctite Super Glue Ultra Gel Control
- Elmer’s Carpenter’s Color Change Wood Filler
- KeShi Cordless Rotary Tool
- 1/16 drill bit
- Dykes Side Cutting Wire Pliers
I don’t have online wood recommendations yet, but I’ve got some orders in and I’ll come back and update things once I’ve done a review! (The Dick Blick Midwest scale model offerings look very promising…)
Prepping Fence Pieces
The first step of the process is to cut the wood to size using the saw and then sand it lightly with the 220 grit sandpaper. Basswood is too firm to cut well with an X-acto knife and tends to burn if you cut it with a Dremel, so you may want to swap to the lighter (and more fragile!) balsawood if you don’t have one.
I tend to slightly bevel/round the edges on the tops of the posts, just because I think it looks a little better.
If you are going to paint the fence, you can wait until it’s assembled, but if you are going to stain the fence (like this example) you are going to want to do that before you assemble it. Glue and stain rarely work well together.
Once the wood is prepped, I drill a hole roughly in the center of the post about quarter-inch deep (or so). I used to use a hand drill to do this, but I’ve found the cordless KeShi to be awesome for this! It doesn’t have to be perfect, just deep enough and wide enough to hold the paper clip.
Use the snips to cut off the rounded corners of the paper clip so you’re left with the straight bits. You are going to want roughly 3/8th of an inch of the paperclip left sticking out so it will sit firmly in the clay that’s used to fill the post holes in the base. (I have a measuring jig I made to keep them all roughly the same size.)
Use the superglue gel to set the paperclip section into the post and make it as straight as you can manage. It doesn’t have to be perfect, the post holes are big enough to offer some wiggle room. You can use a pinch of baking soda to fast-set the glue if you like.
Once the superglue is dry, use the wood putty to fill in any gaps and to cover up the super glue. The wood putty takes the stain (and paint) a lot better.
I use a Dremel to smooth the rough end of the paper clip that’s left by the snips. These fences aren’t made for kids, but it never hurts to be careful!
Now for the assembly and jig building…
Fence (and Jig) Construction
You don’t have to build a jig for your fence, I’ve just gotten in the habit because it makes it a lot easier to make sure everything is straight (and repeatable).
I use a random bit of flat wood (I grabbed some panels at Michael’s) and then use scrap bits to make bracers that guide where the rails go. I don’t add guides for the uprights because the positioning of those depends on where the post pins are… and those are pretty variable.
In general, you want to have three rails for pasture fencing, but make sure you’re working off your reference photos!
I will draw out guidelines on the wood and then lay out the top and bottom rails. Once those are in place (and squared up) I lay out the middle rails equidistant apart.
If you are building your fence to fit your base, you can stick the posts in the post holes at this point and build the fence from there. Put a little wood glue on both the post and the rail and wait until it’s tacky to assemble them.
Wait at least 24 hours from when you glue the fence to when you paint and/or seal it up. This gives the glue plenty of time to dry before you lock it away.
If the fence ever breaks, you can sometimes use wood glue to repair it, but oftentimes a bit of superglue gel will work better since at least one of the surfaces will be glue and not wood.
Release the Hounds! Err– Horses!
This particular fencing will work decently with all of the molds Breyer has at this scale, but the height should be tweaked to better fit some of the molds on the edges of the ‘scale.’
Interestingly, the fence is a little small for the Stone Pebbles (which are 1:16ish) but it doesn’t look horrible.