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Super Mutant Mesh Change Question

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I've been working on a side project to change super mutant bodies to turn them into orcs. The mesh I am switching to is a modified version of the CBBE body (starting from the assets in darklynxxx's half-mutant mods), so it is built around the standard human skeleton. Just directly replacing the body mesh causes major deformation at the hips/neck/fingers because the super mutant skeleton has different bone lengths there:ScreenShot20.png.6b3a7e28ce0c2fdb59965855c9f17d4d.png



I've tried replacing the SM skeleton with the human one, with no visible change. I've also rebuilt the body in outfit Studio to use the vanilla SM skeleton (that solved a problem for me when working with Skyrim's werewolves), again without improvement.

So my question: are the skeleton files baked into the SM behavior animation files, and is there anything I can do to either change the in-game skeleton to use the intended human one, or get the model to work with the SM one without deforming? Ideally without having to edit the animation files.


My next attempt is to try editing through blender/3DS, but I'm very much out of practice using Bethesda assets with them, so I'm hoping to avoid wasting time relearning if that isn't even the right path.


I have fixed the head mesh by updating the facegen files, and made some improvement to the leg gap by messing with the mesh in bodyslide until they are overlapping in the nif. But as the in-game result shows, that is just masking the issue, not actually correcting it:



Any help/advice is greatly appreciated.


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