Rock Walls for Fish Tank Project

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by TrainClown, Aug 17, 2004.

  1. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    So, if you don't know, I'm building a display for an old fish tank to show off some of my engines. It's a small tank, only 5 1/2" x 19" x 8". It has a dust cover with a light, so it's perfect for a display. :thumb:

    I started with a wood base and built up a back wall and raised the back track 2". I got this idea to put tunnel portals at one end to add some interest. I gave the whole thing a coat of plaster as a base coat, then, after that dried, I coated the bare rock areas with a stiff mixture of plaster and then pressed some crumpled tin foil onto the wet plaster.


    Here is what it looked like when the foil came off.


    Here is a close-up of the incline between the tracks.


    With a base coat and a few tracks and cars for an experiment, this is what it looks like now.


    A close-up so you can see the rock details better.


    I had to fill in the tunnels with some kind of liner as you can see in this pic.


    So when I did the second pour of plaster I made a slightly crumpled tray from some foil and poured the remaining plaster in it to create some rock panels.


    The panels looked like this.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Once trimmed and hot glued to the inside of the tunnels, touched up with a bit of plaster, I now have the effect I wanted.


    I had to re-enforce one of the panels with a piece of card board as it was thin and broke, but no one will see this.


    So what do you think of my tin foil rock? More photos to come once it's compleat. ;)

    TrainClown :wave:
  2. Catt

    Catt Guest

    Looks pretty damn nice to me TC. :D
  3. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Looks great Chris. :thumb: Looking forward to more pics. Fred
  4. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Looking good TC
  5. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

    Wow! Great job and a great new way to do something! Thanks for posting it.
  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I saw photos of them dumping subway cars in the ocean to make fish habitat. I hope your guppies like what you've done for them.
  7. NYC-BKO

    NYC-BKO Member

    Very nice and innovative, TC.
  8. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    Looks pretty good. :thumb:
    A railroad in a bottle. (sort of) :thumb:
  9. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    Thanks lads. :D Now it's on to the details.

    And you know what they say.

    God is in the details. ;)

    TrainClown :)
  10. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Innovative to say the least TC. The tin foil rock method has been around and used on many layouts and yours turned out really nicely. Now we just have to wait to see some locos stored there instead of those box cars
  11. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    True Robin. I can't remember where I heard about the tin foil method, but it's one of those good ideas I never forgot. I think the trick is only to slightly crumple the foil before it is applied. Some of the areas were to busy and convoluted and I think this was from the foil being scrunched to much. I fixed this by painting on more plaster to even out the bits I didn't like, also filled some of the air bubbles too.

    But, on the whole, I'm happy so far. Engines to come. ;)

    TrainClown :D
  12. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    Chris, now this is really an innovative way to 'recycle' an old aquarium! And your version really turned out very nice.

    I guess the method with crumpled foil was presented for the first time in an old MR some time in the 60's by one of the old greats in our hobby, Bill McClanahan. I've seen examples of rockwork which can compare anytime with latex rubber rock moulds, especially when cracks and fissures are enhanced with some color washes and drybrushed highlights. The structures of your rocks look also very convincing! :thumb:

    Do you plan to add some shrubbery? IMHO this would be the frosting on the cake!


    PS: This reminds me - didn't we have some old little fish tanks somewhere in our schoolhouse which weren't quite watertight??? Hmmmmm... :rolleyes:
  13. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    Yep Ron. ;) the shrubs are next. And a few other details to boot.

    TrainClown :)
  14. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    That looks really good, TC.

    I like the tunnel interiors, that is one area where most people forget to scenic. I think it ruins the effect when you look in a tunnel and see the underside of hard shell. One fellow cuts black cardstock and forms an arch through his tunnels so you look in and see only darkness. Nice effect.
  15. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    Thanks Will. Someplace I saw a mold where you could pour sections of tunnel liner out of plaster and assemble them as needed. I saw where a guy made his own tunnel liner on the net some place and never forgot how good it looks.

    TrainClown ;)
  16. beeblebrox

    beeblebrox New Member

    I seem to remember this method used on resin or plaster to make rough water. I can see where if you weren't carefull, it could end up looking like one of those old Star Trek sets (chicken wire+canvas+spray texture). Yours looks good, though.
  17. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    Thanks beeblebrox. ;)

    TrainClown :D

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