Let there be water...

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Sir_Prize, Apr 12, 2001.

  1. Sir_Prize

    Sir_Prize Member

    Greetings most wonderful rail modelers and fellow newbies.
    My 'problem' is water. After several articles none approach my need. I'm rendering some Florida Coastline and would like the water to be seen below the surface. So... Will the Resins, Epoxies, and such methods leave 'strata' lines? Plus, would leaving a 1/8 of space at the ends to pour a vertical level remove the 'strata' look? Of course this means approx. 16 days of pour & wait.
    OR... Would it be easier to do the plexiglass with one coat of a gloss medium be better? Just suspending 'floating' items with hidden supports.
    By the way you all seem GREAT folk, I hope I am accepted onto your 'line.' ;-)

    Keep it on the rails;
    Sir Prize
  2. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Greetings Sir Prize, Sounds like I am greeting a Knight from the round table.

    Use plexiglass but with three/four coats of High Gloss yacht varnish. When dry, you can also polish it to a very high gloss.

    Here is one I did using a plexiglass for a stream.
  3. Sir_Prize

    Sir_Prize Member

    Thanks for suggestion Shamus. As far as Knights... I've been considered that quite often. Whole 'just a nice guy' thing. Kinda in my blood. My full birth name works out to Handsome warrior that travels. Soo...
    I started swinging toward plexi today during some planning. Picked up that new Scenary book from Kalmbach last night.

    Happy railing;
  4. George

    George Member

    Greetings Sir_Prize, and welcome aboard!

    If you're not a Rembrandt, you can achieve the "underwater" look without using any messy resin or blow dryer by a method I must credit to a FALLER German language publication from almost 30 years ago.

    Take a block of styrofoam and a knife or some kind of tool for cutting and gouging. Cut an angled depression, naturally from shallow to deep.

    I'm assuming you want this along the edge of the layout.

    The article suggests that you use light coloured browns (beige/tan/green/deep brown etc.) from the waters edge out towards the deepest extremity. This colour sequence is great for still waters and rivers with industries along the bank to suggest the illusion of depth.

    This was to push a product Faller sells (along now years later by Preiser and a few others) of sheets of plastic with water ripples along the top. Insert the sheet slightly below the edge, and cover with sand, small stones, whatever. Faller recommended scattering small pieces of lichen in the deeper area, and garbage (tires, junked vehicles, whatever) in the bottom. The suggested depth was about 5-10 Cm. (2-4 inches). Along the exposed area, it was suggested to put clear plexiglass so that visitors may see an interesting "cut away" view of your underwater mini diorama.

    Shapes may be cut in the plastic sheets for insertion of boat hulls to the waterline. An article about this technique was published in a recent American MRR publication.

    For lakes, the same procedure was used, except a bowl shape was carved out of the styrofoam, and instead of browns and greens, the use of aqua, yielding to deep blue at the centre of the lake was recommended.

    In another thread discussing water, Shamus mentions the use of putting a light underneath the water for effect which you might find interesting as well to enhance the appearance.

    If the manufacturers sheets are not to your desire, similar plastic products are available in larger sheets from lighting supply stores for fluorescent fixtures.

    A little work and imagineering and you will be amazed at the results.

    Happy Rails to You!!

    George [​IMG]
  5. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

    Hello Ken:

    Just last night I made a pond for my cottages. I use a product from Senic Mountain. It comes in a bag. They are in a form of plastic taplets. The instructions say.

    "Put them in a tin can and melt them on your stove."

    I did it. Works great. You can mold it by using a heat blower. I think a hair dryer works too.


    Shamus: Love those pictures!
  6. George

    George Member


    Is that product reusable if you have a disaster with an attempt?

  7. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member


    I think so. According to the instructions. If you make a mistake you can reheat it. This is the same process they reconmend for adding ripples on the "water".

    How would you remove molten plastic anyway?

  8. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Those tablets you are talking about I expect are called EZ Water. When it has been down for a while, it cracks at the edges and turns a yellowish color.
    Better off using either Envirotex or High Gloss Yacht Varnish.
  9. Sir_Prize

    Sir_Prize Member

    See I knew ya'lld come through. many good suggestions. Appearntly the tablets give problems. Thanks for the thought though. I got two issues of Model Railroader held to the side at my local shop, they're from early this year. Bioth got stuff on water work. One which is the plexi way. Thanks all, but do keep'em coming. After all I see that George had a question.

    May all your tracks be straight;
    Sir Prize
  10. George

    George Member

    Thanks again for the bailout, Shamus!

    I'd forgotten that there were problems with the pellits, and I now do remember hearing about the product yellowing.

    Despite this quasi-revolutionary idea in a product, it's probably why we're still seeing articles about using resin/yacht varnish. I guess there's no replacement for "old reliable". The resin based concept is certainly going to be more durable, and easier to clean over time.

    One last thought about using an industrial blow drier. We had one in a place I worked some time ago that would have done the trick with the pellits, however, it generated such heat that it would have easily melted a plastic bridge pier, and probably burned the house down with it! [​IMG] NOT A GOOD IDEA!


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