Enviro Tex on Glass?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Steam Donkey, Jul 9, 2002.

  1. Steam Donkey

    Steam Donkey Member

    Hi Everyone!

    I'm new to this post, but not real new to model railroading in general (although I haven't had an actual model railroad for about 15 years...yikes!!!).

    Sometime in the future I will be creating a waterfront area on my proposed HO scale logging railroad. The area will be complete with wharf , lumber schooner and other typical waterfront details.

    I would like to create underwater details also, such as a sunken rowboat and perhaps a boxcar that didn't know when to stop at the end of the pier. :D In order to do that, I'll need to work with exceptional water depth, far more than is reasonable with Envirotex alone.

    Has anybody used a sheet of glass or other transparent materials as a subsurface on which to pour Envirotex? Would you tint the Envirotex and paint the "ocean floor" to create additional depth just as you would a river?

    How would you get around the problem of disguising the joint of the wharf piles above and below the "water". If you used something other than glass, say Lexan, would you drill thru the "water" and have a continuous pile from the wharf into the seabed? What about a boat hull above and below the water?

    Hope you folks can help me, I'm stumped! :)

    Thanks !

  2. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Stan, and welcome to the gauge.
    Glad to see another logging nut like myself.
    It can be done using a plexiglass top which is sprayed with dullcoat after you have finished the base with what ever you wish to put into it. I would suggest that you use High gloss yacht varnish for the initial work where the Boxcar etc is going to be. Then you will have to make a sort of surround which will hold the Plexiglass.

    You asked
    "How would you get around the problem of disguising the joint of the wharf piles above and below the "water". "

    The best way around this is once you have the pier made and before you add the piles, is to make a template of where the holes will be and transfer this to the plexiglass, then drill it. The piles will go through the glass and sit on the base water effect. Once the dulcoat has been applied, or even a brush over with the yacht varnish, you would hardly notice the glass at all.

    Just click on my logo to see the website
  3. Vic

    Vic Active Member


    Hi Stan, What an interesting idea:) I don't see any reason why you could not pour Envirotex over glass. To create a water effect it really doesn't have bond to anything and in your case it would seem that it would only have to bond to the edges of the ajoining scenery.

    I like the idea of sunken items in the water and of course you want to be able to view them. However in the real enviroment things that are underwater are seldom visable unless the water is just crystal clear like in the the Islands.

    My "take" on this is that you would want to put your sunken items close to the shore. You would want to have them possibly partially protruding from the water. You would want to have your underwater terrain to vary from a light color at the shoreline to a dark color at the "deep end" so that the underwater portions near the shore would be visable. For example your boxcar that ran off the end of the pier. You could cut off about 3/4ths of the body at a 45 degree angle and have just a small portion of the remaining end sticking out of the water...it would look like the remainder of the car is buried in the mud and silt at the end of the pier but you would be able to see a portion of the carbody under the water.

    As to disgusing the piles of the warf you might not have to worry about that. Just make them the length to sit on the glass. Once the Envirotex is in place I'm almost willing to bet that it will appear that the piles go all the way down to the bottom. Lots of times our brains make our eyes see what really isn't there:D

    Just some random thoughts and hope maybe that it gave you some more ideas:)
  4. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Would love to see pics of that lumber schooner. The book, "Mallets On The Mendocino Coast - Caspar Lumber Company Railroads and Steamships"; Timber Times Inc. P.O. Box 219, Hillsboro, Or. 97123, has a few photos of schooners being loaded, if you're interested.
  5. Steam Donkey

    Steam Donkey Member

    WoW! You guys are great!!!! :D I didn't think I would get so many great suggestions so fast!

    Thanks for the tips, I'm going to look into yacht varnish. I've been a big fan of the Badger Creek Lumber Company for a long time, and followed many of your upgrades. You layout has been a HUGE source of inspiration to a fellow logging nut. :cool:

    You're absolutely right. I'll be modeling the North Shore mountains and coast line in the Vancouver area, and although the water is fairly clean here it's a far cry from clear.

    Ah Ha! You've answered my question without me asking it. I've had trouble locating photos of lumber schooners, the book you suggested sounds perfect! I'd love to see the model myself......I can't wait to get started!

    Thanks again all....keep the suggestions coming, I can't get enough!

  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Just to make your job more complicated, don't forget refraction. Anything that goes into the water at an angle looks to be at a different angle underneath. Now which wedge of the boxcar do you want to cut out?
  7. marty w.

    marty w. Member

    I think somebody has done this using plexiglass. There was article in Model Railroader about using plexiglass and modeling the underwater details. I don't remember what issue this was in.
    Maybe some of you guys know.
  8. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    I saw it also but didn't respond since I also don't know which issue. Less than a year ago I think. As I recall, it showed how to build a scene in which the underwater area was visable from the front fascia, in other words, the water material could be looked into from the aisle, not just from the top down, but as if you were a scuba diver. It was a neat idea, one which I thought I may try someday.

  9. Steam Donkey

    Steam Donkey Member

    Hey Gary!

    Great idea! It should be interesting to see the bottom portion of a ships hull "under water". Wonder if you could add a few fish and a diver dangling from some fishing line?:D Hmmmmmm.....a whole new world to detail!

  10. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Barnacles and other items, trash on the bottom, the details are almost endless. I've seen fish made from tiny bits of aluminum foil folded just so and painted with transluscent ? (not sure if that is what I mean) paint which allowed the foil color to show thru. They were much more convincing than you would think. Well, I hope you go ahead and try something along these lines, I'd love to see the results of your work.

  11. marty w.

    marty w. Member

    I found it.
    Model Railroader January 2001.
    3-D Waterscapes by Bill Aldrich, page 70.
  12. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    January 2001 is more than a year ago, isn't it? Time is going way to fast for my liking!

  13. marty w.

    marty w. Member

    What's the saying?
    Time goes fast when your having fun.
    :D :D :D :D :D
  14. triman

    triman Member

    A couple of things about modelling a harbour and the underwater scenes.
    1. Wot is Envirotex??:confused: :confused: Presumably some sort of clear or semiclear finish, possibly rippled(?), to give the appearance of waves?
    2. I spent far too long at sea for a living (it's hard to keep the rolling stock on the tracks when your cabin is rolling about 30 degrees) and I must confess there is only 1 port worldwide where the seabed was easily seen, and that's Rabaul outside volcano season. Most other ports have water discoloured by silt, mud, industrial and human effluent etc and the timber ports seem to have tannins and resins from the timber making the water cloudy. Does Enviro-tex come in a scungy grey-brown?
    3. Please don't think I'm trying to put a downer on the basic idea, far from it, but modern life has to contend with pollution. Besides if the water was crystal clear there'd be an apartment block (condominimus), a marina with some really cheesed off boat owners all of whom take out their pent-up rage on boating forums, a nice sandy beach and a stack of bronzed bodies playing volley ball.
    4. I seem to recall MR doing a story many many years ago about a swimmin' hole with bottom details, sunken dinghy, weeds, old tyres etc. Really, it's your layout, but reality suggests the harbour bottom should at best be a somewhat sickly brown with bits of boxcar sticking out.:D :D :D :cool:
  15. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    HI Triman, Envirotex is a two part medium. Its sorta like polyester casting resins except it does not have that god awful smell. Its totally clear but can be colored using dyes or water based paints. It also sets a lot faster than the regular resins. Also it does not tend to "creep" up ajoining surfaces as bad as some other casting resins do. Since the catalyst for it is mixed 50-50 I don't think that it will create "waves" as poly resins will do by increasing the catalyst. I heard that you can set an electric fan to blowing on it while it dries and it will make small waves but I haven't tried that. It does make beautiful smooth, calm water though.
  16. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    You can create ripples, if not waves, in envirotex by using a palette knife to tease the material up. This must be done at the right point of the material setting up. In my experience there is no way to determine when that time will come, you pretty much have to hang around and keep trying. So many factors can affect the setting time, mix ratio, temp and humidity levels. If you start too early, no problem, the ripples just settle back to level. Later, they settle more slowly. Wait too long and the material will stick to the knife and then fall back and may not look right. A little practice and a lot of patience helps here. One other thing, the amount of suction the envirotex creates on the bottom when you pull up once pulled the plaster stream bottom up off the plywood base. This was because a thin batch of plaster had been used to give a smooth riverbed. The resulting plaster was weak and therefore pulled up.


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