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Peahen: Critique Please

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Kate Lacour, Jan 8, 2021.

  1. Kate Lacour

    Kate Lacour Member

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    My first peahen, not dried. Commercial foam body and artificial head.
    I’d especially love feedback on neck/wing position (I used reference but still unsure).
    Also ISO ideas to minimize the look of tail feather damage. Maybe trim and slip in a few white turkey tip feathers?
    Thanks so much for your input.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 8, 2021
    drob likes this.
  2. Mike Powell

    Mike Powell Well-Known Member

    Birds are not my specialty, but comparing your mount to reference photos of live birds I do see a few things worth pointing out. The wings seem to be a tad too far back and high. The bottom of the wings should line up close to the belly line on a side view. The thighs also, seem to be attached too low especially for that pose. The feathered part of the thigh shouldn’t be showing. The extended thigh is more for a bird raising up standing tall. These are minor anatomical issues, and I am going strictly from reference photo comparisons. The biggest thing, to me, is the body feathers are hanging way too low from the legs back to the tail - the part of the body closest to the ground should be right at the legs. From there it streamlines back up to the tail.
    The feathers around the neck breast area don’t lay smoothly. Try fluffing with air hose or hair dryer. It could be that the skin is twisted a little not allowing the feathers to lay properly. A lot of peafowl have a ragged look on their tail feathers, but you could use white chicken or turkey feathers to set in and create a cleaner look. The view from straight ahead seemed to show the neck and body alignment a little crooked, but it could be the angle of the photo. Just my two cents...compare your photos to reference photos and make notations as to the anatomy variations. I find, for some reason it is much easier to compare photos of my work to reference photos, rather than comparing reference photos to the work looking at it with the naked eye. Looking at photos and making comparisons somehow, for me anyway, helps me see details and imperfections that I miss looking at the mount with my eyes. Good work!
     

  3. Kate Lacour

    Kate Lacour Member

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    Thank you, this is really helpful! especially about taking photos of the mount to compare to reference photos. Having two 2D images to compare side by side makes a ton of sense. My brain was really struggling to superimpose the reference photo over my mount to note the differences. Thank you!
     
  4. Jim McNamara

    Jim McNamara Well-Known Member

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    Great tip Mike. How did you wire the legs? I find wiring the femur to the body helps get balance figured out. Sometimes pen raised birds just have rough plumage . That’s a big project for sure.
     
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  5. Kate Lacour

    Kate Lacour Member

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    Thanks for the feedback, you really picked up on the issue I struggled with. This was my first time using a commercial foam body, and I was unsure that to do with the thighs. Normally I leave the femurs attached and build up thigh with batting, but the mannikin had thighs built in. I removed the femurs and wired to the body starting at the tibias. Seemed like the labor saving option, but, yeah, the balance and anatomy seems a off. Do people usually remove or do more alteration on commercial bird body thighs?

    I was actually also wondering about the leg wire itself. I wound up using 2 strands of medium gauge wire to provide enough support- I wanted to go heavier gauge but the stiffness I wanted also made it really hard to bend and manipulate. Is there a trick to this or do I just need to suck it up and practice?
     
  6. Mike Powell

    Mike Powell Well-Known Member

    The choice between stability and ease of bending and forming the wire can be a struggle. I tend to go with the thickest wire I can still bend. I use large needle-nose pliers to make the bends I need to make. Lots of practice helps
     
  7. Jim McNamara

    Jim McNamara Well-Known Member

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    If two wires made it sturdy then that’s fine. Whatever works. For me a way to get balance right is taking the leg off the skin Once the bird is skinned. you can place the leg back on the body and manipulate it to mimic walking or standing or flying and see where the joint between tibia and femur travels and rests in different positions. A great tool is a skeletal model with wings and legs wired but flexible so you can see how things work .
    Dave Luke has done some excellent Breakthrough articles on bird anatomy and how to get it right. With odd ball birds it’s always helpful to keep the carcass and use for reference. Seldom have I found a body that’s just right. Of course a wrapped body is another great substitute as is a carved one.