Real Water Features for the model?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Olchesieluver, Jan 19, 2006.

  1. Olchesieluver

    Olchesieluver New Member

    I have a task that I'm set on. I would like to add real water features to my model railroad. Problem is, I don't see anyone else doing it. There's all this lookalike water stuff but it doesn't look like the real thing, it's close but I would love to have my engines run along the backside of a waterfall. So if anyone has any ideas or any sites I can visit to do so, please let me know. Is there anyway to hear the sound of rushing water with little electric engines? Thanks guys.
  2. ReefBlueCoupe

    ReefBlueCoupe Member

    On the sound part, you could probably find a "soothing sounds" CD or something of that nature that has a waterfall sound on it.. rip the CD to your computer, burn a CD of nothing but the waterfall track, hook up a sub and speaker hidden under your layout near your waterfall, and there's your sound!
  3. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    Water and Model railroads don't mix very well. The water never looks very 'scale' since it's properties are for 1:1 water physics. As well water tends to go places that you don't want it to. got a small hole? it'll find it. The humidity factor also plays in, cause corrosion of electrical, rail and engines.
    John Allen had planned to use real water for his habour area of Port but he decided against it due to the humidity to causes.
  4. babydot94513

    babydot94513 Member in training

    Wise words to model by.


  5. HPRL

    HPRL Member

    May not be a good mix but....I have seen one and it was on an N Scale T-Trak module. Was a waterfall and a pond. The pond served as reservoir for the waterfall. Used a Plastic bowl with a tiny water pump that flowed over a waterfall from an Aquarium shop. It really looked great. The guys next project was to build a flowing stream.

    I built a foggy valley using one of those small mist machines but the mist turned back into water. I am now experimenting with fog machines. FYI
  6. zedob

    zedob Member

    Find an old radio, tune it to the "white noise". Sounds exactly like a waterfall. Remove the speaker from the radio, mount it around the falls and rewire the two with longer leads.

    Oh yeah, as for using real water, DON'T. I've never used it myself, but from the negative response from modelers (for the last 30 years I've been modeling) who have tried I just as soon not try. I haven't ever seen real water look real in a smaller scale.

    The only way I could see it being done effectively is to build the scene using the true and tried methods, then basically wet the surface to give it the shimmering effect. That's all you really want out of the real stuff. You sure don't want a 400 gal river and lake on your layout.

    I still say no. Seems like it will eventually become a mess.
  7. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    I've seen pictures of real water being used quite realistically in HO. It relied on dyeing the water so it would look deeper than a couple inches. There was nothing like a waterfall - any animation based on something falling doesn't look right on a model because gravity doesn't scale down.
  8. zedob

    zedob Member

    What'd it look like in real life? If it was a still you were looking at, then why bother with the real stuff. Less mess.
  9. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    On any layouts that I've seen using real water, I found that it didn't look convincing. I'd also be concerned about increasing the humidity in the layout room, which would also mean that you'd have to keep adding water. Another problem would be scenery around the water scene. Not only could you not use the water soluble scenery that most people use nowadays, you'd also need to make the scenery from a material that wouldn't "wick" water out of the lake or pond. Finally, and this would be my biggest concern, stuff will grow in water and it's usually not to scale. If you could make decent looking "fake" water, the sound effects would probably make it look even better.

  10. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    Nothing is worse for modeling water than real water! Real water isn't Scale Thicnkness, if that makes any sense. In other words, Real water will act like real water, with normal ripples and such. they won't be tiny waves or anything. and all that corrosion and leakage is a big problem. you are better off usinegh tried and true methods of fake water. you just need to paint it right. you can get very realistic results.
  11. GeorgeHO

    GeorgeHO Member

    Has anyone ever tried using an oil of some type for waterfalls? I would think you could get some clear plastic rods and heat them up to be form fitted for falling water, the shape, then have some oil recirculated from the bottom back to the top, and have it slowly drop down the falls to recreate the waterfall effect. You could have the pan at the bottom lower than the level of the water at the bottom of the falls, and the fact that it is not touching the water on the downside hidden by spray.
  12. CharlesH.

    CharlesH. Member

    An animated waterfall... hmm that sounds interesting. I think the effect could be accomplished by using the oil method suggested by George, maybe using some very fine powder falling between some clear plastic (and getting it back to the top of the waterfall using a conveyor belt, and have all the mechanisms conveniently hidden by rocks and "mist") or perhaps build an ordinary static waterfall, then projecting a sort of "falling water effect" on it using a concealed light source with a revolving drum projecting the "falling water". Just a couple of notions.

    And I have seen one layout (in print, at least) hat not only used real water, but also had a rising tide and a sailing steam ship. It was on the November 1997 issue of Model Railroader, if I remember correctly.
  13. HPRL

    HPRL Member

    I like the idea of an animated waterfall. With the price of plasma TV coming down fast maybe a 42" Plasma could be use with video of a waterfall running through a loop cycle.

  14. zedob

    zedob Member

    Yeah, kinda like a Coors Beer sign, or one of those pictures hanging on the wall in some Chinese restuarants. Back projection if at all possible.

    I have a situation where a 6" LCD would work great, but I can't afford one of those yet, so my scene will end up being static, except for sound. Even so, the waterfall or dam is not to be the center of attention and will only be there if one looks for it. Hopefully, the foreground details will detract from the ones in the rear and anyone who makes the effort to look will see the falls, say "wow, cool" and never look there again.

    I'm planning on using this scene for the layout party, so stay tuned.
  15. HPRL

    HPRL Member

    Looking for a 6" (inch screen)? Look for used color PDA. Probably a Compaq 3600. It is 2.5" by 4" and it is color. Probably can find one on ebay under Computer/PDA. Just a thought. I upgraded to a axim PDA for work and I put my old unit away somewhere.:confused:
  16. zedob

    zedob Member

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