1. Welcome to Taxidermy.net, Guest!
    We have put together a brief tutorial to help you with the site, click here to access it.

Artificial Head prep for competition - photo heavy

Discussion in 'Tutorials' started by txoutdoors, Feb 20, 2015.

  1. txoutdoors

    txoutdoors Active Member

    Thought I would share what I do to prep an artificial head for competition. As with any other taxidermy process, there are several ways of doing things. This is how I was taught and I wanted to share. For this particular project I needed a very light weight head, so I ordered a few open mouth wegion heads from Ted Weyenberg. These heads come with a removable tongue.

    Here is the head as delivered:

    [​IMG]

    The objective is to get the nostrils opened up, get nasal posts installed, and be able to paint the inside of the bill. For reference, here is a photo (different species) of a nasal post. Notice how the post comes off of the top of the nasal passage. Also there is a slight "bulb" aka - slightly thicker flesh at the end of the post.

    [​IMG]

    First step is to separate the bill from the head. Used a dremel with a cut off disk to make this cut.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Now to separate the top and bottom of the bill. I cut up to the edge of the lip line, but not through the lip line. When close, you can bend and break the lip line. By doing this, there will only be a hairline crack in the lip rather than having a gap from the dremel cut. It will go back together clean.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Now using a fine tip bit in the dremel, open the nasal passage from side to side.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Next is to extend the passage from the bill towards the head. For this, go in on an angle and slowly start working back. Be a little careful here. In my case the chuck of the dremel actually rubbed on the bill causing some repair work to be needed. Also be very careful around the edges of the nostrils. The objective here is to get a path started and not to punch all the way through the head.

    [​IMG]

    Now, finish the process by working from the back of the bill towards the nostril. Here is a head I cut open for reference (it was sitting out a few days so its a little dry). Not a good photo, but you can do this at you shop and examine for your reference.

    [​IMG]

    Starting to work towards the front. Notice I leave a "wall" in between the nasal passages. You can see this on the real head used as reference (maybe not in the photo posted here, but locally you can) Work this down until you have a complete passage all the way. Be sure to smooth out the top edge to ensure that the nasal post you will be installing will be tight to the top.

    [​IMG]

    Here you can see I stuck a pin through to show the completed path. Complete this on both sides.

    [​IMG]

    Next I prep the nasal post itself. I use a straight pin for this. Dip it in the proper color paint and leave a little excess on the end of the pin to dry. This will replicate the "bulb" on the end of the post. Sit this aside to dry. I will cut the head end of the pin off and glue this into the passage later in the process.

    [​IMG]

    Next I color the passages and let dry so that I can install the posts later.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Since I have the paint out, I will now "antique" the rest of the bill and tongue. In this process, I cover the entire surface with black paint, then use a moist paper towel to remove most of the paint. This will leave paint in the depressions and start to give you a more realistic look.

    Covered in paint:
    [​IMG]

    Wipe off excess. Notice the marks from the dremel chuck rubbing on the bill on one side. Grrr.....repair needed.
    [​IMG]

    Lower part of the bill and tongue antiqued.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Now for the repair. Have to cover these dremel marks. For this, I use Smooth-On Free Form Air. Its a 2 part epoxy that is super light weight and easy to work with. Thinned it down with a little water. Filled and smoothed the area. Letting sit overnight to harden and dry. Will sand and paint tomorrow.

    [​IMG]

    Painting...I use a lot of water based "hobby lobby" paints. When painting, I always do 1 layer, let dry, cover with a thin coat of clear Matte spray, then do the next layer of paint. This process allows for 2 things. First it builds up the layers of paint so the paint job doesn't look flat. (Adds depth) Secondly, it seals one layer from the next so when I screw up, I can wipe off the last layer or color used and the rest will stay. The Matte is lacquer based and paint is water based. If I screw up a color (being water based) I can simply wipe it away (most of it) with water, and the lacquer based matte (or anything under it) isn't effected.

    [​IMG]

    Here is a shot of everything so far:
    [​IMG]

    And because I ordered multiple heads, here is an example of the stages side by side. Right side head is as delivered, center is cut into pieces, left is dremeled and ready for posts and paint.

    [​IMG]

    So I let the Free Form dry overnight, then sanded and covered with a light coat of white to blend the area. I used the real head (realizing the colors are off from it being dead) and used it as a pattern to paint the inside of the mouth. These photos are kind crappy and don't really show the true colors.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now its time to superglue the nasal posts into the bill.

    [​IMG]

    Use the cut off disc on the dremel to cut off the pins. Let the glue set up well before doing this or you might have to redo this set a few times. Make sure the remaining post doesn't move during this process.

    Here is a photo of the nasal post when done.

    [​IMG]

    Now hot glue the parts back together. Then add some epoxy to smooth and blend the cuts. I also used the dremel to remove paint around the edge of the bill so that the skin will glue properly onto the head when ready to mount.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now for some eyes and eye rings.

    I filled the eye sockets with Free Form Air and set the eyes level with the skull. (depth)
    I then measured from the end of the bill to the back of the eyes on both sides to get the same distance. Then I measured from the bottom of the head to the eyes to ensure equal height.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I let the eyes sit overnight to harden into place then started the eye rings.
    I rolled out a length of Free Form large enough to do both eyes. I do this so I start with the same thickness material for both. I then cut it in half and roll it around the outer edge of the eye.

    [​IMG]

    Now I use the scalpel to thin and shape the eye ring as needed.
    In this photo I have thinned the front of the eye and am working my way to the back half.

    [​IMG]

    Now the completed eye ring. You can see one thick and one thinned out.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I did actually work this a bit more to close the gap on the front corner. I will paint the eye ring black then mount the bird.

    hope this helps someone.

    dan
     
    AlpineValleyTaxidermy likes this.
  2. josh s.

    josh s. Active Member

    ..
     
    TPT66 likes this.

  3. magicmick

    magicmick magicmick

    cool post dan ;)
     
  4. buckmasters243

    buckmasters243 Active Member

    marking, thanks for posting this very helpful
     
  5. babak

    babak Active Member

    Really great topic Dan ,thank you my friend,i wanna see the rest of photos٫plz.
     
  6. jots

    jots Member

    56
    4
    Very Good!!! Thanks for sharing!
     
  7. Whitetail906

    Whitetail906 New Member

    Very nice! Thanks for posting!