Barta Livestock builds more than toys with scale cattle

The latest version of the pair of longhorns, still in the final touch-up phase.
Photo courtesy of the Barta family

Zach Barta, the son of a ranch man who grew up in the dunes of Nebraska, always dreamed of quality cattle and, like many farm children who grew up in the ’90s, spent his youth playing. with 1 / 64th Ertl Farm Country sets.

But as he got older, the lack of realistic poses hampered him, and he started cutting out toys to reshape them, which eventually led to them being sculpted from scratch.

Barta has always been an artist, so drawing and sculpting realistic animals was a logical step. He became a ranch along the way, which gave him plenty of benchmark animals to work with. “I’ve always dreamed of owning some of the best stocks available. I guess that’s my way of doing it on a more manageable scale, ”Barta said.

Barta now lives in Utah, where her work in the petroleum industry with a rotating week-long schedule and a week off gives her the opportunity to pursue her passion for creating breeding models. Two years ago, he embarked on digital design and sculpture. Through the use of 3D printers, he is able to easily reproduce his designs and make them available to the public. He has teamed up with experienced designers around the world to bring his animals to life. The designers are independent and work to order; these are all mostly cartoon / fictional designers so it takes a lot of work to get the realistic cue that Barta prefers. Hundreds of emails, messages and photos are exchanged for each model. Once the animal is conceived, Barta takes it and works on the smallest details to achieve the realism he wants. He hopes to soon have his own tablet so he can do all of his own design, rather than working with others. The printing process allowed him to mass-produce his designs and expand sizes and varieties.

Three-dimensional printed animals are 1 / 64th of actual size but custom sizes are available. They are made of a fairly brittle polyresin, which is necessary to achieve the realistic characteristics of each animal. These are currently more collectibles or exhibits than toys.

“I can’t settle for anything less than completely realistic, everything except the heartbeat. Barta said. “I devoted several hundred hours to each animal; my wife jokes that if I weren’t so perfectionist it wouldn’t take half the time or cost half the money. This is where not settling for anything less than realistic comes in.


The base price is around $ 10 per unpainted animal, which is mostly made up of materials and handling. Barta offers many custom options including painting and applying the customer’s mark. It can also create specific animals to match a photo. Most of his creations are currently sold to collectors. He is constantly working on new models and plans to offer models of Quarter horses and draft horses soon. Barta hopes one day to offer all species of livestock and equipment to accompany them. It has many breeds of cattle available including Angus, Hereford, Longhorn, and Brahmas. He will paint them as the buyer wants or he can buy unfinished models and paint them himself. Although the standard size is 1/64, it also made 1/87 for some collectors who wanted small animals for their model train displays. “I’ll do any size a person wants if they’re willing to pay for it.” Barta said.

Barta is fairly new to selling his models by far his favorites are beef cattle and he doesn’t really have any unique custom orders yet. Due to the novelty of his business, Zach does not yet have his own complete collection. The most significant were the animals he gave to young collectors to launch. The models were unfinished to help motivate collectors to work on them and add character.

Barta has attended the National Farm Toy Show for the past two years in Dyersville, Iowa. Last year he was approached by some domestic toy manufacturers looking to partner with Barta Livestock to use his designs to produce toy animals. Barta hopes he will soon be able to offer a small line of durable animals that are something a child can afford and will withstand tough play. “I want to create the animals for those who will appreciate them the most,” Barta said.

Building cattle for the next generation is his goal. Zach Barta and his wife Sally Jo have three children and another is on the way. They are all very supportive of the business and the children love to help it build and select new projects. He is always open to ideas and thoughts and welcomes messages about his creations.

Barta Livestock’s animals are available in the online store at or from him directly via his Facebook page, Barta Livestock @ custom164livestock or by calling him at (435) 828-3269. In the event of an unfinished order, the animals are shipped directly. Custom orders take a few months to complete. All figures are produced in the United States and Barta is committed to maintaining them. ??

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