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My Ultra-Light Hens Are Done, Made a Slight Improvement to the Drakes

Discussion in 'Decoy Forum' started by Green Duck Truck, Jul 29, 2021.

  1. Green Duck Truck

    Green Duck Truck Washington State Moderator Moderator

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    I finished (finally) my painting on the hens yesterday. I was slowed down by waiting for a decent orange paint for the hens' bills, which took awhile to get here. I also added to the drakes to make them look a bit better. Here was my process:

    First the drakes. I got some feedback that the gray all the way to the wingtips was too much, and I needed to darken the flight feathers. Here's what I ended up with:
    [​IMG]

    For the hens, after I coated them with waterproof wood glue, followed by spray primer, I went for a tan color on the bottom portions and heads, and darker brown on the top (wing) parts.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Next I decided to just flip the colors and highlight feathers on the top part in tan, and the bottom part and breast in brown. The molded-in feather pattern on these ancient styrofoam Carry-Lites really helped me here. What really made the difference though, was switching to a small sponge type brush. I had some trouble with what to do with the tails. I finally just mixed some tan and white to get a really light tan, and used the sponge brush to tap on some light tail feathers.
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    Last edited: Jul 29, 2021
  2. Green Duck Truck

    Green Duck Truck Washington State Moderator Moderator

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    For the heads, I brushed on some eye lines, and a small grin line. I used some black gloss for the eyeballs. Then I used the sponge brush to get a good stripe on the top of the head, and lightly brushed some dark accents on the back of the face and neck.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I didn't like the brown color for the bills that came with my kit, so I ordered some hen mallard orange from a different company. When that finally arrived the other day, I was able to paint the bills, add the black nostrils and black nail on the front of the bill. The sponge brush came in handy again to dab a good black patch on the top of the bills. I had the colors in the paint kit I got, so I decided to add the white, black and blue speculums for some color and pop. Here are some close-ups of the finished hens, as well as a before and after picture of the hens and drakes. I had great fun doing this. I think I'm hooked. Next I want to do a few drake Pintails and a few drake Ringers to put some white in this ultra-light spread. Thanks for those that gave input, both constructive and positive. I was pretty pleased with how they turned out for a first effort. Hopefully they will get even better as I go.
    [​IMG]
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    Last edited: Jul 29, 2021
  3. Green Duck Truck

    Green Duck Truck Washington State Moderator Moderator

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    The whole flock: All 22.
    [​IMG]


    Before:
    [​IMG]

    After:
    [​IMG]
     
  4. bird junkie

    bird junkie Elite Refuge Member

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    Look good they will hunt!
     
  5. Billy Bob

    Billy Bob Elite Refuge Member

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    Nice work GDT. :tu

    Just wait until the first birds lock up. You'll never be the same.
     
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  6. NWRINGNECK

    NWRINGNECK Elite Refuge Member

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    Nice job. Have you considered carving a few of your own to add to a rig?
     
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  7. Green Duck Truck

    Green Duck Truck Washington State Moderator Moderator

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    I might consider that once I get in a little further. :tu
     
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  8. Billy Bob

    Billy Bob Elite Refuge Member

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    It won't take long. :l
     
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  9. NWRINGNECK

    NWRINGNECK Elite Refuge Member

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    You should give it a try. Painting is most people's (mine also) bug a boo. Looks like you enjoyed that part. The carving part is just mechanical stuff depending on your material and tools/method. It does take an artists eye to make "wildlife art" (decoys) but "working decoys" only need to be as good as you want them to be. Over the years my rig birds have run from pitiful to pretty good (in my eyes). I've killed 100's of ducks over them in the last 35+ years. Probably made in excess of 250 cork and wood decoys....mostly divers. I'm not making much now but if and when you want to give it a try let me know....if you can't find a carver to get you going that lives a little closer.....
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2021
  10. reddogge

    reddogge Senior Refuge Member

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    They look great. Big improvement.
     
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