First three mounts completed!!!!

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First three mounts completed!!!!

Postby 1080tommy » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:42 pm

Well I have learned a great deal on this site and I can't thank you guys enough for putting up informative and helpful posts. I do know that these are definitely not perfect and I have trouble with getting wings looking nice but all in all, I had a great time doing these and they look good on the wall. I am not completely completely done and still have some grooming to do on the Merganser and the Red Head but I am satisfied with these. I hope to continue on with some fish this spring and I have decided to do a shoulder mount on any buck I get next year. Lemme know what you guys think because I respect the critiques you guys give and want to get better and better.

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Re: First three mounts completed!!!!

Postby tam9492 » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:07 pm

One thing that stands out to me is the wings on the mallard. The base of the wing looks too far away from the body. The tertials should be in contact with the body. The feet may be tucked up too tight to the body but could just be the pic. The head and neck look great to me!
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Re: First three mounts completed!!!!

Postby Pete-pec » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:30 pm

Ok Tommy, you said wings, and I can help you with that. The mallard needs the primaries stretched out instead of the wings so forward. Most of the time a bird's wings needs to sit near the body of the bird to keep loft. Landing and birds taking off, this is different, until they get aloft, when they will have their wings pushing downward to keep aloft. So I would have moved the wings on the mallard toward the body more. I would challenge you to find a bird in flight with that look. Not killing you here, but good reference pictures pasted next to your work station will do you wonders.

I just sent an email to Duxrus (Brian) about a new method I use to keep my birds wings positioned without support wires, but that was a long-winded email, and will have to wait for another day, and it isn't really the most popular idea, even though it works for me. If I get the time to cut and paste it, I will. For now, I will just tell you to get a sharp wire in a gauge around 14 or 16. This wire gets shoved into the mannikin under the wing to keep the trailing edge from falling as much as yours did. Don't get me wrong Tommy. They can manipulate their wings in a lot of directions, but they look a little sagged to me? This wire won't be a super straight wire, it will perhaps have some curvature to it. Don't settle for "that's good enough" when fitting it. Get it right, pull it back out, bend it some more, until you like it. You can take a thin piece of cardboard (like cereal box cardboard) and tape a piece of wire to it, and allow some wire to extend beyond the cardboard to stick into your mannikin. This will give you a wider surface to support the loft, as well as something to pin your wing to. Get some Euro pins. 100 of them through TASCO is like 20 bucks, and the cheapest you will find them. Get the orange colored pins, and maybe order some of the longer ones as well, but you won't need nearly as many of the longest kind.

When mounting a bird, make sure the bird is dried thoroughly, yet the skin on the inside is still moist. This allows for longer time to mount a bird. You're not in a race, but I remember my first, and I thought there was a deadline. The best method to get rid of the feeling you are not going to complete this, is to make a detailed list. I have one that is like 14 steps long that involves prep as well as the remainder of the process. I no longer use it, but there are times I wish I had lol. Get yourself a soft surface to mount the bird on. I'm talking for running wires and sewing. Try not to drag the skin against the grain of the bird. If you need to move the bird, lift it, don't slide it. Brian uses a terrycloth towel. I use a a soft smooth, and thick fabric made from polyester.

Your birds look pretty good as far as neck to mannikin transition, but they look stiff concerning the rearward portion of the bird. Those mannikins sometimes need to modified, and that brand looks like it has a big rump. I always pre-fit my skins to mannikin well before I run a single wire. Trust me they rarely ever fit perfect. Shave them with a knife or a planer, and sand them smooth.

You took my advise on the paper clips and triangular carding on the feet, and the bills are pretty good paint jobs. Like I said before I can't comment, because I hate to paint. Brian hates to paint, Pat hates to paint. I'm seeing a pattern! I like your diorama. I know you will get better once you realize grooming is more about drying properly, and keeping the stress off the feathers during the mounting process itself. When drying your birds, lift the feathers with your blower (for me blow drier) against the grain, and they typically fall in place. Sometimes you need to lift a feather or two that is overlapping the wrong feather, but get a nice pair of long tweezers and use that. I also have a very soft shoe polish brush. I repeat, very sort brush, that I use to stroke the feathers on the back as well as the wings to get them to dry right, as I'm blowing, and close them back up onto themselves, and it certainly helps with feather alignment as well as grooming. Remember when you want to move the bird to lift and place it. Be gentle. If you need more time to mount the bird, then do as much prep the night before to make the next day that much easier. You can dry a bird nearly complete the day before, and place a damp paper towel inside the skin cavity, and freeze it, and then warm it up, and complete it the next day in only minutes versus an hour. Have your driftwood ready with the hanger attached, and the hole drilled. Have the necking pre-fit, and your wires cut. Have your carding cut for the wings and the feet, and save them for the next bird in baggies. If you have your tools out, and a list to follow, you will have more time to put into the grooming versus the wiring and sewing. All of this gets easier and faster by the way. It will be quite some time before you should attempt to mount two birds on the same day. Even to this day, I usually only do a single bird.

Keep them coming, and good job!
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Re: First three mounts completed!!!!

Postby 1080tommy » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:46 am

That is awesome!!! I was wondering how I could get the wings not to sag and this was a problem on the mallard for sure. You have a great eye when it comes to mounts and IMO could write a book on taxidermy instructions and how to finish a mount. On the mergie and the red head they came out better but I did something different and although it worked better, they are still a little lower than they should be. I knew that my wings were not right and I still don't think on any of the mounts the wings came out that great. Also, good to know I have some time once the bird is washed because that was my big issue with the mergie. The manikin did not fit well at all and the back was too wide for the bird. Instead of modifying the manikin, I tried to mount it the best I could because I do feel that deadline you were talking about. I would be interested in hearing your method of doing the wings without wire, because I don't feel that I ever get the wire in the right place. (If there is such a thing.) Thanks for all that feedback and I was thinking about everything you were saying so now next year when I get some more birds out hunting look out, I am going to hopefully be able to translate all this feedback into a better looking mount. As far as the bills go, I actually like the airbrush. I just need to get more focused on the bird I am doing for reference. I painted all three with pictures and then when I was mounting the birds I noticed very individualized traits on the bills that I missed because I did not look at the real bill. I guess after time I will get better at this stuff. It's funny now that I have done a few mounts, I am noticing all of the little things on mounts my friends have. A big one for me is the placement of the primaries and secondary feathers. Some are great and some like on my mallard, you can see the primaries kindof bunched up and the secondaries are spread apart. Thanks for taking the time to give me some feedback on my mounts.
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Re: First three mounts completed!!!!

Postby 1080tommy » Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:33 am

Tam you are right on the money with the comment on the mallard wings. I was so engrossed in the process of cleaning and fleshing, I did not bother to have reference pics for the wings. I really put a lot into the head and painting the bill but forgot some basic stuff such as, how the wings are actually postioned on a flying bird. I did better on the red head and mergie but they are off as well. That is what is great about this site and this forum. I feel like you get real honest feedback that can only be beneficial to me in making a more quality anatomically correct mount. Great forum to be a part of for sure!
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