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Monday, April 18, 2011

Mule Deer Project

We have written on this subject in the past.  Here I will explain how and why I take the time in sizing the head correctly.  Generally, we order a mannikin with the neck size very close to the size we need.  I still adjust neck size, but find the the head width 85% of the time is incorrect.  Here you can already see that the mannikin is wider than the skull.  Most taxidermist cut the eye sockets off so they would not have a width measurement to reference. 
The mannikin is 3/8 of an inch to wide on each side.  This head needs to be reduced by 3/4 of an inch.  Once you reduce the width by 3/4 of an inch, you have also reduce the circumference by 1 1/2 inches.  Without this reduction,  you would need to steal  skin from some where. This is where achieving detail becomes impossible. Stop and learn to size the mannikin correctly.  This will allow you to produce a more accurate mount.  Once you master the craft, you will be able to get more money for the work you do.
Notice how wide the mannikin is at the back of the head.  This is why you see deer with their ares pinned back.  There was not enough skin to form correct ear butts and have the ears in a forward position.
Using the skull you can see that the bridge of the nose lines up with the mannikin.  Without the bridge left on the skull, there is no way to line up the skull and antlers at the right angle.  The taxidermist must just guess at the proper placement.
I measure the skull and find the width.
I have split the form down the center and reduce the width to match the skull.  Remember, If you see the eye sockets cut off, that means that the taxidermist is not taking into consideration the head size. In my shop this is not acceptable. 
Here I have adjust the width and now the skull fits perfect.
Notice the factory eye set.  It also was incorrect for this deer.  I need to make adjustments here as well.
Here the head has been foamed back in place and the skull screwed down tight.  I will now foam the skull in and shape the foam around the skull.
Using foam will give you something to glue to.  It also has adhesion properties to help keep the skull tight to the mannikin.
Here the eye is ready to be sculpted in place.
I have checked the skin for fit.
I will have enough skin to place everywhere it needs to be.  I do not have to stretch and steal skin from other areas.  The photo below shows the mount in a drying state.  Eye angle is correct and the skin fits tight to the burr.  Paying attention to detail will pay off in the long run.

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