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Competition Turkey Heads

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by Cole, Feb 27, 2022.

  1. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    Thought I'd share a new video Taxidermy University just released on erosion molding a turkey head. This is a method of molding a turkey head, allowing it to rot enough to slip the feathers/hairs, then casting the head, which transfers these feathers to the cast. The advantages of using this method for competition are: Far less shrinkage than freeze drying, maintaining the skin texture of a live turkey head, starting with a white cast eliminates the need to paint white, which means almost no over spray on feathers, the white cast also produces a perfect canvas to paint on, resulting in colors that are more true and vivid, and complete control of the process of posing/mounting your head without the need for a freeze dryer. The methods Blake teaches also all but eliminate casting issues like air bubbles, skin sag, flat spots, and seam work. If you're interested in learning more about the process follow the link below.

    https://www.taxidermyuniversity.com/product/erosion-molding-a-turkey-head/14?cs=true&cst=custom cover_sample.jpg
  2. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I remember reading about this subject years ago in one of the trade mags. I have always wanted to try it.

    I have a question though. I don't do taxidermy anymore, however, I do my own every now and then and plan on doing it at some level when I retire. The reason I would use this method is if it is in the end more cost effective than purchasing one from a supply company.

    Will the cast heads produced be less cost than ordering one from the supply company?

  3. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    This is not a money saving venture. This is a competition winning venture. The rubber for one head alone would cost more than purchasing one from a supply company.
  4. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Thank you.
  5. The specific technique they mention here is not cost effective. But to answer your question. A commercial turkey head mold is only cost effective if you do enough Turkeys to even out the cost. if you look at just what the resin to pour the head costs then yes. It is cheaper than ordering a head. Most people that make their own molds do so because they specialize in Turkeys. It's a labor and time intensive process that requires a fair amount of experience to get it right, especially on turkey heads.
    Tanglewood Taxidermy likes this.
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  8. jimss

    jimss Active Member

    Looks sweet! All of the freeze-dried heads I have seen have incredible detail with the original feathers/hairs on them. I'm a little confused how the repro feathers/hairs aren't going to need to be touched up and repainted similar to freeze dried heads after the white head is painted? It's pretty tough to beat the detail in original freeze-dried heads and beak but the repro looks nice.
  9. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    Hey Jim, the biggest issue with over-spray on hair-like feathers is from painting the head white. By starting with a cast that has the correct color white, the colors added are just the reds and blues. Those colors don't show up nearly as badly on the hairs as white does. While there still may be some over-spray here and there where we got careless, it is nowhere nearly as noticeable as white would be.

    As for the detail of the head, while some freeze dried heads are quite nice, they pale in comparison to the real texture of a turkey head. While nothing is perfect, molding and casting a head using this method results in a skin texture that is more lifelike, and a head with far less shrinkage. Don't get me wrong, a nicely done freeze dried head works just fine in all levels of competition. This is just another way of doing things.
    jimss and Wildthings like this.