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Using clean skulls on bases?

Discussion in 'Lifesize Mammals' started by Darcum, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. Darcum

    Darcum New Member

    Hey all, just wondering about your opinion on something :)
    I know a lot of people use professionally cleaned skulls on bases for a lot of mounts and they look stunning and add more character to the piece, but I wonder if anyone has tried using mucky skulls? Like on a base meant to be woodland/dirty area do you think it'd be best to use a dirtier looking skull (if you were to add one)? For the sake of realism, my personal opinion would be that it would add that realistic effect but a lot of the bases I see use cleaned skulls/bones.
    I'm not mounting anything similar anytime soon, it was just something that crossed my mind! Like I said, all the mounts I see with it are amazing anyway :D

    - Ellie
  2. Lone Wolf AK

    Lone Wolf AK Lone Wolf Taxidermy and Wildlife Artistry

    In my opinion, it depends on your goal. If using a skull in a diorama or habitat where I want it to look more "natural", I use a weathered skull such as the Sitka Blacktail winter-killed skull pictured here that my wife picked up on her Kodiak bear hunt. On the other hand, I may use a cleaned, pristine, skull if I was going for some type of "artistic" creation, such as a lamp base or a combination of a client's trophy skull in combination with their mounted trophy.

    Attached Files:

  3. Jim B

    Jim B Active Member

    Nothing wrong with using a "dirtier" looking skull as long as it is clean.If the "dirt" was real blood and dried tissue,I wouldn't let it in the building with any mount.It wouldn't be hard to replicate the look with water based acrylic paints.
  4. Agreed. You could even use coffee to stain a skull. Depending on how dark you want it, water down your coffee and just paint it on. You probably won't need to water it down much, or at all even, but it should give your skull an older look. It might smell like coffee for a bit, but it beats rotting flesh and dried blood.

    (On a side note, Lone Wolf AK, that bear/fox mount is gorgeous!)
  5. Darcum

    Darcum New Member

    I agree, I love that bear and fox mount! :) And I can see what you mean, I like the idea of using the skull of the same animal you're mounting, it's very tasteful. I have a lot of skulls that I find when I'm out walking that are naturally cleaned and sun bleached which is why I wondered whether people use that kind of thing in mounts. Mine are just on display/waiting to be properly cleaned but just thought about using a sheep or something on a base one day.
    Definitely wouldn't consider keeping rotting flesh on it though!
  6. LordRusty

    LordRusty If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

    You can replicate dried flesh/skin by using some suede leather scraps. Skive some real thin, dip them in water diluted Elmer's Glue - 50-50 - and attach them randomly ... but NATURALLY ... on the skull.

    Bits of hair or fur - depending on the species - can also be stuck on.

    Use references of natural 'Nature Cleaned' skulls.

    To create a dried look to the leather scraps, you can later coat them with Amber Shellac, allowing them to dry.

    Touching them up with dry powdered Tempera paint color will make them really look dry.

    I usually incorporate some form of bone - pieces or whole bones - on most African bases, and usually on most predator bases. On our land, you can always find leftover remains of Coyote or Fox victims, so I have a nice little store of bone bits!
  7. Wow. I love both of those bear mounts. They are amazing. Neat idea to use the bear's skull for the second one too.
  8. LordRusty

    LordRusty If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

    "Alas, poor Kodiak ... I knew him Horatio, etcetera, etcetera ... "

    Well done, by the way!
  9. Lone Wolf AK

    Lone Wolf AK Lone Wolf Taxidermy and Wildlife Artistry

    Thanks...LMAO! That's funny, John :D.