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First Mount: Fox head

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Sugar, Aug 16, 2013.

  1. Sugar

    Sugar Member

    Thanks for the advice on tanning guys. I am now on my forth pelt and breezing through the process comfortably :)

    Anyways. in the past I have done trivial things like bird and rabbit feet, wings etc, but now I want to get into proper taxidermy. So here's my attempt at a fox mount. Sadly only his head could be saved as he was pretty messed up at the side of a road. He was missing a bit of fur on the lower back of his ear and his lips a tiny bit split but overall I enjoyed working with him. I got loads of reference photo's and didn't rush him; think I found the lips the hardest and the ears were interesting, not what I expected from watching the videos!

    Anyways, for my first attempt I am reasonably pleased, though I know he's not perfect. Critique is highly desired though please keep it constructive! As I said, this is my first attempt and I didn't jump into it, I've spent months researching and reading but it's a lot different when your actually faced with doing it yourself! He's still wet and currently drying so I'm still moving him around. The lips look a bit better now as I have cut into the form deeper and tucked them in more :)




  2. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    Ouch, why all the thumb tacks and pins? Is there a book or video that instructs readers/viewers to use hundreds of pins? I mounted 3 bobcats and a 70lb. beaver this week and used 6 small brads that you can't even see...TOTAL. That's a lot of little holes to fix.

  3. Sugar

    Sugar Member

    Being new to it I guess i was going for the 'safe than sorry' mode xD I've removed a few though and can see no holes :) The majority of them are around the mouth, I admit panicked with it mostly due to the split. As for the chest, it was pretty highly damaged so I've just folded bits and pinned them in place for now until I try cutting, gluing and piecing together However I would appreciate criticism on the actual shape of it rather than the amount of pins! (uploading a photo of the lip in a sec, photobucket is being awful slow)
  4. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    I almost don't know where to begin. You need to cut a slot and tuck the lips into it, not just pin them in place. I think it would be beneficial for you to get a different video and watch it a couple times before trying your next one.
  5. Sugar

    Sugar Member

    Yeah I did that but I really don't think I did it deep enough, especially on the front :L . I had real problems with the lips but in a way I'm glad because I have spent all night looking into it more. Thanks for pointing it out though, sometime it helps for someone else to see it. i noticed the eye was off when I held it in front of a mirror and fixed that before taking these photos but i think maybe I was concentrating too much on the eyes and forgot the lips.

    However as I have said he's still wet so I'm trying to fix the lips now. They still aren't perfect but the one side seems a lot better than it did so thanks! For anyone else reading this please understand that this is my first time attempting a mount and though I have researched it, its a lot different being faced with it myself. I am sure some peoples first mounts were a lot better but this is mine and I on't want to have the 'there, it will do attitude' so I'm still working on it and trying to make it as good as possible whilst learning from the experience. It's is not an expensive pelt; its road kill with low value fur, scarring and, other than his size (he's pretty big) he probably wouldn't be worth the time for experienced taxidermists. However I'm using him as a practice piece All practice isn't it. I expected him to turn out a lot worse though so I'm remaining positive as its my first go.

    I know theres probably a lot wrong with him, for example I know now that I should have added some more clay to the bridge of the nose, but please if theres anything I can alter or work on in future please point it out because thats what I'm here for. thanks for your time again.
  6. Grihm

    Grihm New Member

    Did you use any reference pictures? I hope you have this bagged so you can come back to it and fix things. Just looking at a few refs will show you all the problems. Carding the ears like that will make the fur lay badly and the edges are wavy, ears are also too far apart, tear ducts too wide, eye shape is wrong, lips pulled back too far, and what's that weird bend in the bridge of the nose? Actual nose needs more clay in it. You also need to brush and fluff the mount.
    A good mount only needs a couple of pins, if that. Everything should be tucked & glued well enough and the skin should be properly thinned and prepped that you don't need pins to hold things down.

    You shouldn't try to defend your mistakes when they are pointed out, just admit it and go along with it...we don't need to know the reason for every issue in the mount...but at least you're taking it graciously. Just keep working at it, and thank you for not being one of those girls who buys a rare and expensive pelt to "practice" on. :)
    Good luck!
  7. TWinter

    TWinter Winter taxidermy

    My suggestion as stated, make sure your skin is fleshed well and thinned, otherwise you can really fight with a thick hide. I think it all starts from there. On a positive note, you did it and now you will be able to see more things on your next specemin.
  8. Severalwaystoskinacat

    Severalwaystoskinacat New Member

    I would personally put a lot more study time into things. Buy videos and books (the breakthrough mammal taxidermy guide will be your best friend).
    Also, personally I wouldnt.. use thumb tacks. Use pins, but not tacks. Tacks tend to have thicker needles and they can just kind of disrupt things if pressed in all the way down to the form. (also as already stated you shouldnt need so many)
    Im going to wager that the skin isn't thin enough either. By the looks of your nose I'd bet the cartilage is in and it wasnt fleshed, so its shrinking more than you want it to. There wasnt enough clay there, or a real form for it to stick to there and shape nicely on. (I made the same mistake on my first mount.) Also your whiskers are kinda sticking right to the side of his face there. You dont want that, and youll have to look up how to not do that.
    Reference photos are your friend. You can NOT have too many. Keep them all over your work place, look at them constantly. You're trying to mimic mother nature. Its easy to get side tracked and focus on a spot and forget to look at the photos when youre first starting out. Try to break that habit right away.
    Its good youre staying in a positive mood about this.
  9. Mr.T

    Mr.T New Member

    (I see a pattern here on taxinet over the years,, so to all beginners)

    You just can not beg strangers to make you better by asking for critiques while your mount is wet, this isn't taxidermy school, ;D :eek: :p only practice and a personal tutor/ mentor can do that, a website of strangers can only throw suggestions at you that you have to try and interpret. As you claim, you did a lot of research, but it is different when it comes to hands on. You need hands on training, not internet guessing. A day with a teacher will show you a lot more then a website can, even a video is better than expecting a website to fill your head with knowledge, you can read all you can and actually memorize the whole process if you hang around here long enough, but only doing it under a mentors watchful eye will you get better.
  10. Sugar

    Sugar Member

    We do not have taxidermy schools here in UK, believe me I have looked and I have not met anyone who actually practices it professionally in this area, it just is not as popular as America. So please do't judge me on that I have no choice. Also I'm not looking for schooling I'm looking for peoples observations and tips on a beginners forum. However I'd like to thank those who have privately emailed me for being so helpful.

    Thanks very much :) I actually didn't even notice this. The form was 'alright' and at the time I thought I had added a lot of clay. I wish I had added more but thats something I will know for future. I have got photos printed and stuck up everywhere but I think its a common mistake to focus more on eyes when your starting out, my degrees in art and its the same with drawing, and I have spend majority of my time on them (though I'm still not happy with them, I can see more faults the more look at it). Also thanks, I will get rid of the tacks and get in some t-pins.

    The nose was hard to move around, as I haven't done it before I wasn't sure if that was natural or not. The pelts I have tanned and fleshed myself though the noses can be worked a lot easier. this guy wasn't tanned or fleshed by me. thanks very much, think you have by far been the most helpful, this was all I wanted.

    I don't think I defended anything, I was pointing out flaws in it so that it could be considered when offering advice. This is my first mount; I doubt there are many people who have perfect or near to it first mounts, and as I said I'm specialised in art so I'm more than used to criticism! And yes, nice cheap pelt rather than paying a bundle and making it a cross eyed monstrosity! I agree with the ears, the leather was too thick but it wasn't tanned or fleshed by me. The ears just wouldn't move very freely but he was cheap and bought for the sole purpose for me to practice.

    As for the pins, I used hide paste and have other fixatives but due to the thick leather I just couldn't see a way not to pin him down. The badger I have I fleshed myself and I think will be easier to work with....hopefully! I think I have already commented on the nose? Not sure but I mentioned it to friends yesterday, just wish I had put more clay in the nose bridge.
    PS. Managed to move the ears closer together with a lot of work! Also he only has four pins in now, think I have done the best I can with the lips but next time I really want to concentrate on them more. Also I see what you mean about the ears, don't know how I didn't notice how close together they actually are on live foxes, guess I was just focusing on the wrong bits
  11. I attempted a squirrel on Friday, and it turned into a disaster. I didn'y even post a pic on here, I was so embarrassed. I pitched it in the trash, and I'm just going to start another later on....but this one sentence of yours about sums it up. It's a TON tougher when you have it right in front of you.

    Keep going...never give up. Learn from each mount. My first time taught me a ton of stuff that you just can't get from words on a computer screen.
  12. Sugar

    Sugar Member

    Aww I'm sure it wasn't so bad. I told myself before I started it was just practice and had the worst expectations so I'm happy in that sense! I guess its easier if you can find someone to mentor you but for those of us who have to struggle the hard way and self teach I guess we have to keep working at it :L Learnt so much from this one though, hopefully I can improve on some things with the next one; I'm not one to quit :)

    Also, update on what he looks like now. I altered the lips best I could and shifted the ears closer together (as much as I could) And sorted the whiskers amongst other changes. i know he still has numerous flaws but as mentioned; this is a cheap pelt intended to practice with and its served its purpose. I am positive that my next one will improve upon some of these errors.

  13. You have learned a lot from this one mount. Keep trying.
  14. Kydeerhunter03

    Kydeerhunter03 New Member

    I highly doubt anyones first mount was flawless, the criticism on this website kills me lol Everyone was once a beginner, for a first mount its not going to be perfect! I have never done a fox, so I cant really critique. Yes there are obvious improvements needed, but taxidermy is a hands on learning process. If you keep it up you will get better, just try and improve with each mount :)
  15. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    It shouldn't kill you, when someone asks for a critique they usually get one. :-\ :-\