White Crappie Taxidermy and Blue-winged Teal Mount by
                     Jeff Bratcher aka mopar
                        Leitchfield, Kentucky
Glen, this is my second fish with the air brush.   I been out of taxidermy for 15 years and fish for 21. I use to paint them with oil paints. The taxidermy.net forums is what has got me back in this and I am going to start taking some work in.
Thanks, Jeff
To submit a critique and suggestions click on the e-mail thingy below the photos.

This website is about taxidermy and people that make up the taxidermy industry.  Hobbyist, part timers, full timers, manufacturers, suppliers, we're all represented here, and we all have NAMES.  Be sure to sign YOUR name to your critique!
Please enter Jeff Bratcher's crappie in the subject line of your critique.
Please enter Jeff Bratcher's teal in the subject line of your critique.
Overall a nice mount but there are a few things I would suggest.

1. The tail is unnaturally bent, study of live fish will show they seldom
bend vertical along the spine. I know it is common with sportsman but it is
unnatural.  I would also keep the flare a little less than what it is.

2. The pelvic fins are too low, they should ride along the body and are used
as steering devices.

3. Too much yellow in the upper lip area.

4. Trailing edges of the dorsal and anal fin should be closer to fish body.

5. Looks like the pectoral fin is a little high also.

6. The cheek looks like it may be slightly overfilled?

7. Need a little more definition in the tail area when it connects to the
anal and dorsal fin, there is a natural shape to this area.  Try to imagine
cross cutting the fish at that location.  The entire tail region is more
squared then it is oval.  Hard to explain in words.

8. It is hard to judge a paint job from a photo but it looks like a little
more blending, scale tipping and darker coloration could be used.  I would
add some more flesh to the fin butt areas and the fleshy areas of the head.
Bottom lip is usually a little darker.

Overall a nice mount, study the fin connections and the areas around the
fins to see proper shapes.
Dave Toms

Wildlife Creations Taxidermy
Dave Toms
1231 Danberry St
Burkburnett, Texas 76354

940 733-4236 (Cell)
940 569-1322 (Home/Biz)
I hope I don't upset or offend anyone but when offering up critiques I tend to be a little "to the point" and figure it is easier to tell what is really going on in a mount if you're not worried about hurting the taxidermist's feelings, just be honest. The mount is good and above average in my opinion for a customer mount.

Here we go:
It is hard to tell some things like skin alignment of the sidepockets, head seam, eyes, eye lids, etc from these pics but here are the "obvious" things:

Wing anatomy is off. They appear to be to straight and have no natural bend in them. You have to think about what the bird is doing. If a bird is diving and dipping in the air, (which is what bluewings are known for and what I believe is being portrayed in this mount) the wings would generally not be extended to their fullest point. They would be folded slightly to cut down on resistance. The flight webs appear thick.

Tail looks "confused".

The grooming on the primary coverts as well as the placement of the secondaries is off a bit also. They should stay at a 90 degree angle to the radius and ulna.

The teal appears to lack some shape to the breast also.

The neck looks a little slender....possibly having a round shape could have caused this.

The feet are not tucked far enough. When in flight the feet should be tucked directly under the tail and are pulled out when landing, taking off or startled.

Overall the bird is a good customer mount. There could have been more time spent grooming and the bird overall looks "greasy and dirty" to me. When you get the bird really clean they will fluff up and fill out a lot nicer. Overall nice attempt.

Dane Bisel
Beaks N Bills Taxidermy Studio
Logan Oh, 43138
It's a real nice mount but it does lack a lot of other qualities.

To start with all the fins are too flagged.  The fins should be laying closer to the body, this includes the anal, dorsal and the pelvic.

And my only other gripe would be the paint job.  Looks like there really isn't any paint applied but some white and pearls to the fish.  It's lacking total color from the real fish.  I know crappies are hard to paint but using powders on the scales first will give him more of a natural look and then paint over that and finish off with powders.

You can also see that the tail, dorsal has very little paint on them if any and the anal got covered with white paint.  The anal lost all it's marking due to excess paint.

The cheek is over filled with mache.  You can see a bulge just behind or I'll say right around the cheek bone.  The cheeks lay or are pretty flat with the fish with a very slight bulge for the cheek muscle.

Other than that needs to learn air brush techniques and he'll be on his way.

I hope this doesn't insult the person but he produced a nice commercial fish that with an extra 10 to 15 minutes on some things can make a nicer mount.

Frank E Kotula
Besides what has already been mentioned the body anatomy is lacking.

The body naturally tapers towards the fins(anal, soft dorsal, and caudal) and
they need to be carved into the form.  One final suggestion, I would
stay away from the trimmed fin look it doesn't look natural.

Keep up the good work and at all times while working on that species use references such as photos, fresh casts or live fish to better duplicate nature.

Gary Bruch
Bruch's Fish