The original concept of mythical water horses was a valid
starting point for the artistic development of the structures, but
from his original sketches of 2006, Andy Scott deliberately styled
the sculptures as heavy horses.
The artistic process involved countless more sketches, using
real life models Duke and Baron, to determine the true form of a
Clydesdale's head. Andy used photographs and sculpted bronze
models. Clay was the early medium for the Kelpie design, as Andy
shaped the mane, neck and eyes to match those of Duke and
In forming the first set of 1:10 maquettes, Andy hand welded the
individual skin plates onto the steel subframe. This first set of
maquettes formed the backdrop to the successful bid to BIG Lottery,
unleashing the £25 million Living Landmarks funding that would take
The Helix project from concept to reality as part of a total budget
of £43 million.
Andy then set to work creating the more detailed second set of
maquettes, which would be scanned by laser to ignite the design of
the full scale, 30-metre-high sculptures. This scanning required
tremendous computing power, such was the accuracy of detail
During the design phase of the full-size Kelpies, many
engineering challenges were faced, not least in recreating the look
and impression of the many small plates which formed the skin of
the initial maquettes.
Up for the challenge
Weighing 300 tonnes each, The Kelpies are fabricated from
structural steel with stainless steel cladding, designed to
withstand the elements as they guard the new canal tunnel under the
Creating these colossal horse's heads has been a welcome
challenge for Yorkshire-based SH Structures, who were awarded the
£5 million contract to fabricate and construct the
As fabrication got under way, Andy was invited to Yorkshire to
see the huge pieces of steel being formed and shaped, welded and
aligned; pieces so striking they often appeared as artworks in
their own right.
The sheer scale of the build hit home when SH Structures
announced they had no room left in their sizeable warehouses or
storage yards! Arrangements were made to house some of the
structural parts in Falkirk, and soon huge lorries of steel started
to arrive, ready for construction to start in June 2013.
progress on our dedicated Kelpies Facebook page