Bear leg alteration (with leg rods in)

Submitted by Scott on 1/11/06 at 3:44 PM. ( )

Good day all! I searched the archives and saw the best thing to do is order a form without the leg rods in. I like to learn the hard way LOL! Anyways, I'm mounting a standing lifesize bear and I've altered the head,front legs and overall length (in midsection and Head). The hind legs are also too short, by approximately 4 inches. The form was the closest size and pose to what the guy wanted, so it's not a case of not ordering the right mannequin, just alot of fun work! My thoughts on altering the hind legs, are to cut at the knee and bondo in a 4 inch chunk of foam. Now, would driving in two or three, quarter inch rods(hoping to get 10 to 12 inch sections in) be sufficient? Or, would I be better off to rouder out a trench to lay in a threaded rod or two and foam in. There are currently two rods molded in each leg. Thanks a bunch

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This response submitted by Jim B on 1/11/06 at 5:19 PM. ( )

Driving rods in adds a little strength but not much and 1/4" rods are suited more for foxes.A driven or screwed in rod can still twist and let the leg break.I would much prefer to have the rod solidly bonded in.If I were doing it,I'd want 2, 3/8" or 1/2" in each leg and 12" would be bare mimimum.18" might be better.A rod with some bend in the middle is a little stronger because it has lest tendency to roll in the foam if stressed.I either bond them in with bondo(after blowing the dust out of the routed trench with compressed air or use 10 lb. density foam which when free foamed has a density similar to the compressed foam in the form.I know you probably don't have that so you could foam it in but if done properly with bondo,it will be stronger.The key is get the dust out of the trench so the bondo locks into the pores of the foam.I use a dremel on some animals and for the bigger stuff,a saber saw to make the trench.Also rasp off the excess bondo when it gets firm but not rock hard.If there are voids left in the bondo surface,it doesn't hurt to foam those.Glad you're having fun.I'm doing one right now-don't have to lengthen anything,but do have to change all the legs to fit the guy's rock wall-I'd rather be hunting.

Scott, I'm sorry, but it sounds like you're screwing up

This response submitted by George on 1/11/06 at 6:51 PM. ( )

FOUR INCHES TO A LEG? Unless this is a Short Faced Bear, I can't imagine having to do all the alterations you listed on a black bear. I get the feeling the hide wasn't measured correctly and you're matching the mannikin to the hide instead of the other way around.

To alter a leg, the best bet is to just tear out the existing rod. With bits of foam and wire, get the leg back to the position you want. Then cut a channel half way through. Take 1/2 inch thread stock and bend it to lay in this channel. Then mix another batch of foam, lay the rod in, and pour the foam over it. Once it cures, cut away the excess and Surfoam to shape.


This response submitted by Lou on 1/11/06 at 9:17 PM. ( )

Are the rods connected to others further up the form where the leg connects to the body or is it as easy as just tearing it out? I'm going through the same thing with a small bear with not quite as radical mods.


This response submitted by AndyO on 1/11/06 at 9:36 PM. ( )

I would pre fit before I go cutting off the legs. You mention lengthening everything, what about widening it? I have a feeling your measurements are off. If you did prefit, where are you off on the legs (above or below the knee)? That will determine where you make the alteration. Four inches sounds excessive to me.


This response submitted by George on 1/11/06 at 9:49 PM. ( )

When you pull the rod out, it's going to pull out a chunk up in the body as well (you may have to cut it out. A simple 90 degree bend laid in that channel filled with foam will hold you forever. If you have Breakthrough Magazine back issues, find the one where Ken Walker built a bear mannikin in my shop and he shows you exactly how to lay those bigger thread stock rods into the mannikin.


This response submitted by Scott on 1/12/06 at 12:44 PM. ( )

Thanks for the responses guys. Just to clarify, This bears measurements are 51/2x13x48x60 (spring bear). This mannequin is 51/4x113/8x48x55 out of research mannequins L-140. The legs look a little short to me in the picture let alone in person. Like I said before, The measurements are fairly close and it's the pose he wanted. There are two rods in each leg George, so I'm afraid by the time I tear those out, I won't have a leg left. And yes, I have test fitted several times. There is some slack in the butt area and I have not cut slots for the tucking of armpit skin, but I can see, By the feet hanging past the mannequins feet that the legs are to short.

Cut the slots and tuck

This response submitted by AndyO on 1/13/06 at 11:19 AM. ( )

There's your four inches.

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