I am always on the lookout for a good mulie form. I have tried McKenzie (old & new styles), Research (Lancaster & Frazier), Coombs, and Van Dykes (Hi-Country).
My favorite thus far is the Van Dykes, then the Lancaster. Anyone try the ones from Buckeye? I am guessing at worse it would only look ok, but wondering if anyone had any really bad things to say about them?
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I have used the largest one and I think it has the nicest mule deer head around-mounts up real nice but needs about a 25" cape.Some of the smaller ones I didn't like as well.The next size smaller I think is not too bad but it has been awhile since I mounted on it.
I think I will give it a try. I didn't like the McKenzie too much. I actually think the older 961 was a good form, but the new ones I don't care for. How did you like the eye-set on the Buckeye? Was it pretty close from the factory? I had to tweak the Van Dykes slightly, but that really has an awesome face on it. It even made a smaller 18" buck look very majestic.
I was just "listening" and had the idea that you were really grading the different mannikins for anatomical problems. Then you mentioned and "18 inch buck" and "majestic"! Seems like those two adjectives shouldn't be in the same sentence with mule deer.
Personally, I've never had a single problem with the McKenzie forms for the BIG muley's Last year I mounted an 8x24x32 on their largest semisneak form and it turned out beautifully. Scared me altering a from like that up, but it still fit like a glove and certainly looked "majestic" to both me and my customer.
My point is, if it can make a 18" buck look majestic, then obviously it is a great form as far as look goes.
George, I know you have been doing taxidermy a long time, but I have probably been around a lot more mulies than you have since I am from Colorado and 99% of what I do is mulies. I used to guide elk and mulie hunters, I worked at a meat market that did wildgame, I have worked for two large Colorado taxidermists doing all their caping and prepping, and I have killed a lot of mulies myself. And I can tell you that the McKenzie mulie forms are not anatomically correct. They do not even look like a mulie from the profile. The head is the wrong shape, and the shoulders are not prominent enough. The chest area is also too big. I know lots of western taxidermists that cuss the chest size of the McKenzies. Lancaster really captured the shape of a mulie head, and so did Van Dykes, they look very similar but I like the way VanDyke did the eye area, and the brow area. If you want to talk eastern game, then I am all ears.
Of ALL the mule deer forms I've ever seen, the very best one wasn't even cast. At the WTC this year, Aaron Connelly sculpted the most "majestic" mule deer in a pedestal that I've ever seen. He finished third, but only because of some exceptioally spectacular work ( a big horn by Dawayne Dewey and a bobcat by John Schmidt). I'd dearly love to have that form cast.
I measured a mulie that I have on a Coombs form, and the chest are is 46", I measured an older McKenzie 961 and it is 51", and the newer McKenzie form is measuring at 54". The Coombs is a 20" form, the 961 is a 20.5", and the newer McKenzie I believe was a 21" form. So there is an 8" difference in chest between the McKenzie and the Coombs. The chest is so big on the McKenzie that is makes the neck look like a twig. They would be better off shrinking down the chest circumference, and making the shoulder joints more prominent. The Van Dykes 18" form has a 43" chest. So it goes to show how far off McKenzie is off compared to the other brands.
Drew, the McKenzie form has a slight off-set to it. This means that the actually measurement around the end of the form will be longer. I mount around 50 mulies a year on McKenzie and don't have problems matching up the pits and hair patterns.
I do like the Coombs form also, but I always change out the head to a McKenzie. I don't like the pointed noses on Coombs forms. I always build up the briskets as they are pointed also.
I have mounted on Buckeye forms, but I don't like them much. The head is really blocky, so for smaller capes (20" or less) the head does not look correct, IMO. I never could get the arm pits and hair patterns to match up either, without a lot of work that is. I also didn't like the eye set and had to alter them quiet a bit. Just my experience with them.