life-size mammoth

Mammoth Taxidermy

We had a requested to do a life-size mammoth.

The budget was very small and didn’t allow us to use an ideal species of hair as we would have liked and also spend the required time on the project that it realistically needed. This is my excuse the poor quality of the project, but I thought it was of interest.

We managed to locate some very poor original casts of some mammoth tusks and hired these, although they needed to totally remodel. I just basically got a shape so ligned the existing poor moulds with clay, and shot them full of foam, after adding some steel rods to take the strain and then sculpted to new tusks from the clay. I then cast these in fibreglass to produce the new pair of fibreglass tusks.

We started off by making a Marquette for the client to sign off this ended in clay to a scale so could use the model later as a reference, once a client was happy with the sculpture. Unfortunately I don’t have any photographs of the clay model just this photograph when I’d covered it in sheepskins to scale, so we could calculate how many skins we needed for the project. Just lots of pieces of kitchen roll cut to scale to represent the skins this way we could calculate how many skins we need to order for the project.

The next stage was to grid up the model up so we could superimpose the grid onto some blocks of polystyrene.

You can see we now have some grids on the polystyrene.  6 inch squares that allow the silhouette of the mammoth to be transferred, the shape was then cut with a hot wire. The blocks were then embedded into a framework of steel. At one stage we even managed to get Carl church to come over to give us a hand with the welding. When he came he stood and watched me welding in hysterics as Karl is an excellent welder and made me look like the absolute novice as I was and still are with a welder. He made quick work of the steel armature and we then added the polystyrene to the polystyrene to the amateur and checked the final shaping ready for the skins. Due to the size of the project we had to make the head and legs detachable as you would been virtually impossible to transport otherwise. The skins were cut and stitched into place covering the whole animal.

Colouring obviously was spasmodic and to get the uniformed colouration. We gave it a spray finish. Not perfect in the real world we would have gone through a series of dying and highlighting to get a more realistic look, but with a tight budget. It was the quickest way to get a result.

The size of the Mammoth was 11feet high and 36feet long

People working on the project were:
Dave Astley – Cutting polystyrene, placing skins, sewing, painting
Mike Gadd – Scale Model , Tusk Moulding, Cutting polystyrene, placing skins, Sewing, head/ears/eyes,
Steve Toher – Placing skins, Sewing,
Carl Church – Welding Armature

by Mike Gadd