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Simple alterations

Discussion in 'Tutorials' started by Daniel M., Feb 26, 2013.

  1. Daniel M.

    Daniel M. Tongo, the best dog in the world. (Saarloos)

    I don't know a whole lot about taxidermy, but I'm thankful for everything that I have learned from others and I always try to help beginners any way I can.

    Altering forms is my favorite part of taxidermy, because it allows you to get creative and make a truly one of a kind mount. Many people seem hesitant about cutting up forms, considering how expensive they can be, but you really can't destroy a form unless you burn it or drop from the top of a skyscraper, lol

    This is a Thompson gazelle form and when I test fit it, I noticed that it was too short in the neck and face. Angled cuts work the best for faces, because they help keep things in proportion.


    Then I taped one side, laid it flat on the floor and foamed it.


    Now it looks more like a Tommy and it fits :)


    I didn't get very good pictures on this one, but whenever I have the time I will try to add more alterations to this post. Hope it helps someone.
  2. wright

    wright Timothy Wright


  3. Megan :)

    Megan :) Well-Known Member

    Marking... Thanks!
  4. bowhunr

    bowhunr New Member

    Yes alterations to forms should not be scary you just have to dive in and do it. Once you get the confidence to alter, skys the limit. I was "lucky" enough to get to do a snout length alteration, a shoulder width alteration, a total length alteration, a belly circumference and a leg position alteration all on one bear mount this past weekend...sometimes you feel like you should have just had a go at sculpting your own form LOL...in the end though the bear turned out good so it was worth the efforts. Bear forms have to be the worst for alterations req'd...
  5. Love it, thank you
  6. Daniel M.

    Daniel M. Tongo, the best dog in the world. (Saarloos)

    Bowhunr, I agree it can be a lot of work at times just to get the skin to fit, but the end result makes it worth the effort.

    Here's a blackbuck that was 6 inches short in the length and about 8 inches short in the girth. I added 4 inches to the length of the body and 2 inches to the neck.

    Then I also deepened the body and neck by about an inch.


    Then I drilled a couple short pieces of threaded rod through the body to help hold it together while I foamed it. I like to use plastic shrink wrap (the industrial packing version of Saran wrap). It's easy to wrap around the form and it sticks to itself. I do use some tape first to help cover the larger gaps.


    Once it's foamed, I trim away the excess foam. From my measurements I know that it stil needs more girth in the belly, but from test fitting it, I know that everything else fits. So i mix up another cup of foam and wait for it to rise enough were it pours itself. Then with the form laying on its back, I shape the foam on the belly and sides to fill out his gut area.


    After more trimming to round everything back into shape, I blow off the foam dust and test fit it a second time. Now it fits and looks like a big healthy blackbuck :)

  7. *
  8. Randy Miller

    Randy Miller Active Member

  9. Daniel M.

    Daniel M. Tongo, the best dog in the world. (Saarloos)

    Here's a Sable form that I needed to turn into a Roan. I also wanted to show off the head better.

    I started with a few wedges in the top of the neck.


    Then I flipped each one over on the underside and screwed the neck back together close to how I wanted it to look.


    After trimming the extra foam, I took a spade bit and drilled holes all over the inside of the gaps in the neck and up inside the neck as well to provide more surface area for the foam.



    Once the neck was foamed in, I test fit the skin and found that the neck was too small. First I added a little depth to the lower jaw and the neck by cutting through from the nose to the brisket. Then I layed the form on its side and foamed in the neck along with a thin layer over the top as evenly as possible to beef up the neck a little.




    I had to flip it over and add some to the other side as well. All I had to do then was stand it up and carve down each side evenly and smooth the neck. A second test fit let me know that it was now the correct size.

  10. caveman90

    caveman90 New Member

    Marking, thanks
  11. ladyarcher726

    ladyarcher726 2012: 1st & best of category

    Daniel, I'm one of the new ones who feels intimidated by altering. Are there any videos out there that I should get? How do you cut apart those bigger forms? I tend to struggle with a sawzall cuz the long blade flexes and I feel like I don't have enough hands to hold onto everything. Thank you so much for this post! Any bear pics?
  12. Daniel M.

    Daniel M. Tongo, the best dog in the world. (Saarloos)

    I dont know of any videos geared toward altering forms other than the video that Dennis * made and sells.

    You can get it from his website, The Artistry of Wildlife

    Its well worth the money :)
  13. country

    country New Member

  14. jazz_fan1

    jazz_fan1 Member

    Thanks for posting this, I found it really useful. You are very talented.
  15. Daniel thanks for sharing, that is makes a master taxiderist, knowing the tricks of the trade. Well illustrated too I might add.
  16. Very cool stuff. I too would like to learn this stuff and would be interested in hearing of any DVD's offering this info.
  17. boarhunter67

    boarhunter67 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the tutorial, Daniel. I do mine very similarly, but use a trash bag stapled to the form instead of the wrap since I don't do major alterations often and tend to use what I have on hand. I sometimes have to fill in tiny areas with fix-it-all mixed with vermiculite to smooth out areas. It appears you're far better than I at this sort of thing. I only alter when I have to. Thanks again.
  18. RICKP

    RICKP Let'er Buck

  19. Michelle_Nelson

    Michelle_Nelson Bring on the Bears!

    Lovin this thread.

    Hey daniel could you go into a little detail on why you make the cuts where you do.
  20. RTF

    RTF Active Member

    Love this thread and have been finding myself altering forms more and more. Pretty much do the same process as you Daniel. For all others, once you get past your first major alteration, you never look back.