?? I usually wipe mine down with acetone first, then paint it like anything else. I put a base coat down, and try to paint light to dark. The eye can be done several ways. I use two methods. One is to drill out the socket to allow me to fill it with wet two part epoxie sculpt. This way, I can plug in a pre made eye and eye ring. Another way is to have the eye in place, and have epoxie sculpt around the eye, allowing you to place the skin over the eye, and still allow you to adjust, and pin into place. If you're asking the question, you are pretty deep in it right now. Here's a picture of a wood duck eye ring ready to plug into the the socket. This is a very easy method, but I caution people not to make the ring too large like a wood duck when rebuilding a smaller eye-ringed duck like a pintail for example. Here is another picture of a rebuilt head that I have the eye already in place. You must make sure the eye is ligned up correctly when doing this. This skull is from the original bird, and the measurements were exact. I rarely ever use the original head, but I think it's valuable knowing how to do it in case you are ever in a pinch.
Although using the plug in method is way easy, and is what I prefer, you must use a slightly smaller eye than may be suggested, because it must fit into the socket, and also into the eye opening of the bird's skin, without dragging too much skin into the socket as you push it in. I want to shape the eye ring in the attitude I'm looking for, and I also want to grab just a bit of the skin, so the eye ring is pressing up against the skin, and the skin is pressing against the wet sculpting clay, where it looks like a perfect match. You won't win any contests with this method, but I like the ease, and the way it looks.
As far as any other prep for the head, maybe I've missed your question? Perhaps drilling out the back of the head to allow for the wire and neck to head transition, but we all do it a bit different. I just try and fit the length accurate so the duck doesn't look like a short stubby neck, nor a stretched out neck. Replace the length removed, but still test fit, and make small adjustments according to the duck's attitude (flight, resting, or standing positions).
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