New to rigging and animating. Any help is appreciated


I’m a senior game art student working on a key asset for my senior thesis and could use some help. Rigging and animation are not a focus of the program but tech art interests me so I’m here to learn what I can and hopefully make this piece better. My project is a Norse-themed RPG where the main character has traveled high into the mountains to retrieve an ancient axe from inside a volcanic forge.

Just before entering, there is a massive door with a dragon head statue on each side. My goal is the have these statues articulate as if they are stretching out to breathe fire and “welcoming” the player into this hellish place.

I’m hoping to get any feedback on the progress I’ve made or tips on how to proceed. The current mesh is only a blockout of the mechanics and the actual statue itself would be made up of segmented scales that overlap each other. My biggest concern is how to attach them to the rig so they compress when the head is up and tight, and then extend when the head stretches and breathes fire. It doesn’t need to be a perfect fit since seeing a little bit of the inner workings would be cool. It needs to read as a mechanical statue. (dragons in screenshot are stand in meshes)

If I left out any important information, let me know! Thanks in advance.