I see that i am able to purchase reg. kinda smooth contour foam bodies form mackenzie, or the highly detailed bodies form various other companies! Are there actual advantages to these detailed bodies,or should i continue to use normal forms?
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It all depends how you want your finished mount to look. Do you want a "normal" looking deer or a ripped, pumped full of steroids Mr. Universe deer? Look at live pictures of deer. How do they look to you, honestly?
come into play here. Are you talking about birds or mammals? With feathers, most detail is in your grooming ability. Leah makes a good point with her views concerning exaggerated musculature of mammals. My opinion? A lot of the "highly detailed" forms are like fishing lures. Many lures are designed to catch the eye of the sportsman more than the eye of the fish. A lot of the detail on the forms is only seen before the skin, feathers, and fur is placed on top of it.
There is really not much advantage to the highly detailed bird forms. If you pluck a bird you will see that the fat deposits fill in and conceal most of the areas that are so prominently sculptured on the higher-priced forms.
What matters is the size and overall body contour, as well as having the limbs and neck correctly placed. Anything else is like color on dogfood. It does no harm, but is mainly just for marketing. It is also like the "signature" of whoever sculptured the form, and makes it pretty obvious if someone is making bootleg copies.
Now, if you are talking about mammal forms .... I will step out of the way and let the experts answer.
(This IS the bird forum, however.)
Being a sculptor and a painter of wildlife, surface anatomy is very important to my work. I have taught more than one white hunter or guide patience while I skinned kills and made detailed anatomy drawings in the field or back at camp. Nancy is dead right about the difference in muscle detail and surface detail. The "Charles Atlas" forms are actually cartoons and not true to life replicas. No offense to the folks who make them, they are actually works of art, but if you skin a bird or mammal carefully and take a good look at the carcass, you will see a much different critter than the muscle-bound forms with opposing groups of muscles contracting in unison as if the creature was doing some isometric exercises at the time of death. A good taxidermist using a bit of clay and attention to detail can do an exceptional job of mounting with an old paper form.
Birds are birds, and all the fancy underpinnings on the planet will not substitute for good feather arrangement and finish work. I should imagine a good taxidermist could do an acceptable job on a bird using a "Nerf" ball as body form. In defense of the new forms with all the bells and whistles, they do allow for much better placement of wings and legs than the eyeball methods of the past. I use the el cheapo's from Van Dyke's. The cheaper the better. If they don't have it, I wrap a body........works fer me.
You actually sound like a good and likeable human being. Good to see the change. We all appreciate you sharing your knowledge and skills with us.