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For the past few years, my wife had been asking for a wolf prop for the yard display. Last year I stumbled upon some really good fake fur in a mill end shop, so I figured it was time to give it a go. We have a giant grave digger that we put out on the boulevard, and I thought that he could use an extra large wolf as a companion, so I made the prop oversize and he stands 48" at the shoulder.

I looked for wolf pictures on the net, and used the excellent bone length calculator here:

canine bone length calculator

to figure out the dimensions. I then made a silhouette out of plywood to work from. I needed him to come apart for storage, as he is a large prop and our space is extremely limited so it took a bit of planning but here's what I came up with.

The head and legs were built up with styrofoam and carved to shape. I am by no means an artist and I just looked at a lot of pictures to try to figure it out. I was thinking of using a taxidermy head, but they were a bit more expensive than I was hoping, so I ended up building from scratch.

Sorry if the pictures aren't too specific, but I often forget to take pictures of certain steps as they were only reference pics for me, and weren't intended to be a full tutorial. I was kinda in a hurry too, as it was getting close to the big day.

Here's the head in progress after having roughed it out. I had glued a bunch of layers of foam to the plywood and hacked out the head using pictures of a taxidermy head as a model.

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Made some teeth out of Fimo clay and hot glued them in

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Nose, lips and eye surrounds were made out of thin black leather from and old leather jacket I got at a thrift store

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Discussion Starter #2
Next job was the eyes. I bought some glass wolf eyes from a taxidermy supply shop. They weren't actually large enough for the prop, but they were the biggest I could get. Pretty expensive, but I always find that the eyes are the main focal point of a prop and it's worth it to get them as good as possible.

Made a surround out of leather and glued it to the eyes, then set them into the head.

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Time for the fur. Just started laying it up as smoothly as possible and gluing it down using hot glue. Looks really shaggy but the fur was double layer, meaning it had both underfur and guard hairs, so I was able to clip it short in the proper areas. Sorry, not many pictures of this process, but it was kinda difficult and once I got going I forgot to stop for pics.

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Moving on to the legs for the moment. Same construction, styro over plywood, glued up and carved out.

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Now the separate pieces get attached using blocks of wood, cut to the appropriate angles, as spacers. The individual parts are bolted through the main body silhouette using angle iron brackets. Once everything was positioned correctly I filled out the body by stapling on chicken wire and covering it with a large fur section, which was wired in place.

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You can also see the face and leg fur have been clipped down showing the underfur.
 

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Here's couple more head closeups. The ears were made by cutting forms out of plastic coffee can lids and covering them with fur. They were then glued into place. He also has a tongue made of thicker scrap leather, dyed red and varnished glossy for the 'wet look' Doesn't really show in the pics.
The tail has a metal rod core, with a layer of foam rubber to bulk it up. I then glued on a layer of fur. Toenails are black Fimo clay.

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I wanted him to look mean, but he's pretty happy looking :eek: Oh well, I told you I was no artist !


Finally a couple of shots of the finished product. I never set him out by the grave digger after all; we though he looked better in the yard. Not the fierce mean looking critter I was hoping for, but people seemed to like him, the kids liked petting the fur, and he was a fun project, so in all I guess he was a success.


Cheers
Don


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Wow! He's awesome! I'm wanting to make a wolf (or werewolf) this year as well....And you've certainly helped me alot with the photos you showed of your process!

Thank you!

-Shadow
 

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Caretaker of Eerie Manor
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WOW! That is awesome! Looks very realisitic. I'd love to have one of those in my graveyard!
 

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That is an A+ Job Don. Very impressive work indeed. I noticed the "Timmy's" can in the workshop and checked again and "Voila" another Canuck........
 

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Beautiful job on him Don. Thanks for posting the link of the how to.
 
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