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Columnists : Taxidermy - Larry Reese
Last Updated: Feb 22nd, 2007 - 18:37:03

The Nyala Bull ... Start to Finish, Part 3
By Larry C. Reese Wildlife Artistry Taxidermy
Dec 13, 2006, 19:31

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The NYALA Bull - Start to Finish
Part 3

Larry C. Reese


        Now we will do some more alteration an get this Nyala mounted !!!

click on Image for enlargement 


 After test fitting the skin I needed to lengthen the neck about 1 inch so I drew some reference lines on the form an cut off the neck


   After the neck was removed from the form I ran some wires into the manikin an re-installed the cut off next an measured the distance I need to extend the neck.

   From here I add some reinforcement wires on the outside that looked like big stables all the way around so the foam would not push the two peaces apart. I than wrapped the neck in plastic than poured the void with a two part urethane

The face also had to be lengthen an the same procedure was done as above

I also started to do some detail work to the face like add some mussel an veins. I also carved out the nose an installed a septum (that is the cartilage that is between your nose)

   The horns were installed an the eyes were rotated about 3 degrees to the left. By doing this it will show the white in the back of the right eye an the front of the left eye. This was done because as you can see the Nyala head is tuned looking to the left, as he turns his head his eyes will rotate in that direction.

 The mussels in the neck had to be re-sculpted on this manikin to fit the skin and also enhance this mount. So what I did was make a void an pour it with urethane an than I sculpted the foam by hand using my anatomy references

The neck has been sculpted an the form was gone over one more time where final adjustments were made. The manikin was sanded down so the glue will stick.

   Now that the form has been gone over it is time to start putting on the skin. Glue was applied to the neck, chest area first as this is where I am going to start.

We custom make our own glue formula here in my studio cause the commercial glues do not seem to hold the skin as good as what we can do. It is more expensive for me an a pain in the butt but this glue will hold anything, an we do not cut any corners here in my studio.

The Nyala skin was slid over the neck an the head was re-attached to the manikin.  The eyes were than sculpted in with clay an glue was applied to the head an body.
    Once that was done the skin was pulled up over the manikin face and all the skin was properly positioned on the face, i.e. eyes, nose, lips, ears, etc.
     The rest of skin was than pulled back over the manikin an pinned into position.

In this Photo my assistant Terry starts the long an tedious job of sewing. The plastic bags were placed over the legs an other areas to prevent the skin from drying to quickly.
     African skins due to the short hair dry out rather quickly so we will wet the skin with a spray bottle an wrap it in plastic to prevent it from drying until we get everything in place.

   After a very long day of two of us sewing the Nyala the skin was sprayed with water an completely wrapped up for the night.
   The next morning when it is unwrapped it will be as if we never left it an the sewing can be complete.

    In this picture you can see the sewing is complete and that I have cut away the 2x4 armature that was in the belly.

     I have bolted the mounting bracket temporally to the mounting stand that I have on wheels so I can move it around an out of the way easily.

   In South Africa the sand is a reddish color so now that the Nyala is drying it is time to concentrate on the base an its habitat. Here I am starting to dye some sand to match the color of the African sand.


  I have all of my bases custom made by a cabinet maker to my pecifications.      

This base was a little different because we had to test fit the manikin on the steel stand I had made to fit the rod that goes up into the leg on the custom base.
    So when the my cabinet maker gave me a call that he had the main frame done I took the steel mounting stand and the manikin to his work shop an set up everything and to make some final adjustments.
    He had to build a false floor so we could bolt the mounting stand down to it before he could build the habitat floor.
    You can see in this photo the steel sticking up through the habitat floor. I have wheels on all my bases so they are easy to move around

 The Nyala once dry was placed on the custom base so I could fit the habitat to the pose I had chosen.

   The base top was taped so as not to scratch it an I started to build the rock that I wanted the Nyala leaping off of.
     I started by building a wood frame, than covered that in mesh wire, than covered that in floor padding. Over this I mixed two part urethane with some black Tempera powder to get a grey look an poured that over the frame.

   Now you can see how the leg steel will go into the base steel. I also made a fiberglass base under the foot which will fit into the base habitat. This will make it look natural an flow with the base habitat. I will build up the foam an carve it out so it is a perfect match.

You can see now that I am building up the base to snuggly fit under the foot an its fiberglass base.
    Once I get all the foam in place I will start to carve an sand it to the shape I desire.

After the foam has been carved an shaped the rock was covered in a mixture of plaster an Mache to give it a rock like feel. As I was doing this I was also texturing it to make it look like a rock. Since it was drying fast ( because of the plaster) this was done in small sections

After the Mache/Plaster was applied to the foam an textured to give it the rock look an feel I started to color it using water colors an also air brushing paints. I started off with a base coat of green than layered darker colors over it like, brown, grey, and black. I used the air brush to do some shadowing and some high lights.
     Than the red sand that you saw me dye earlier in this article was applied to the base by painting on Elmer's glue an placing the sand over it. This was done a few times to get some depth. Also some grass was added to the base as well.

During the tanning process there are certain features that  shrink an a good taxidermist will recreate them, one of these feature is the nose pad.
     Here in these photos I will rebuild the nose nodules. In the top photo you can see that the left side has been built up an the right side is not.
     Sometimes this takes two or three coats to build it up to the correct depth. When this material dries it will be crystal clear an ready for some air brush painting.


    The final detailed touches were put on the base as well as the Nyala bull an here is the final result.


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