Open the Floodgates! Pouring the “Water” for your model scenes.
This is one of the intangible “thresholds” of modeling that modelers have to work up the courage to do, because it’s a one-shot-waste scenario. It’s a tense operation pouring what can be awfully expensive water materials on your nicely painted riverbed.
In the two previous articles, we discussed a new way to research the color of a river, and how to prepare the riverbeds for the coming torrent of “water”. And appropriate landforms to compliment your riverbanks.
Options for Water
For water, Woodland Scenic has been selling a horrendously overpriced product called “Realistic Water”which is actually just Acrylic Glazing Liquid used for painting light layers of paint on a painting. Learn more about Acrylic glazing liquid here. You can get this stuff by the GALLON for half the price of the bottle of WS product at Blick Art Supply.
Acryllic Glazing Liquid
-Least Expensive! (Less than $10/Gallon!)
-Easy to Pour
-Non-Toxic, Smelly but not noxious
-Dries CLEAR and looks “wet” and like flowing water (more so than other fake water products)
-Smelly for 12 hours after poured.
-Takes 24 hours to dry
-Needs containment if riverbed extends off layout
-If you want to pour it deep, it will take many layers due to the fact that it won’t dry at all fast if you pour it deeper than 1/8″ layers.
-Cannot be colored or dyed (It doesn’t matter if you’re pouring your water shallow)
-It flows through the tiniest gaps in the scenery and like water takes the path of least resistance when poured. Make sure you’ve painted your riverbed properly before pouring.
Woodland Scenics Realistic Water is IDENTICAL to Acrylic glazing liquid, Except 4 times more expensive. (approaches $16.00/bottle)
-can be poured deep (thick layers) forming bodies of water
-Can be colored with dyes
-Looks nice, but dries dead flat and needs waves added in additional layers.
-PRECISE mixing may be difficult
-Excessive care to deal with bubbles is time-consuming and boring
-Produces a lot of heat from chemical reaction
-Yellows with age (big problem)
-Creates “fillets” (concave meniscus) and creeps up pier pilings, water weeds, Stone abutments and anything sticking above the water. Looks weird and hard to fix. (Joe Fugate remedies this problem in his DVD’s.)
With thanks to Mr. Williams of “Magic Water,” we’ve expanded our coverage of the pros and cons of his product.
-Can be poured to ANY depth without a need to “layer” pours
-Doesn’t melt plastic or foam
-Can be tinted and colored
-Has a much gentler meniscus around objects and the shore.
-No Shrinkage over time
-Comes with instruction booklet that shows how to model everything from mud puddles to high waterfalls.
-12-24 hour drying time (Not as bad as envirotex!)
-Needs additional layer to create realistic waves
-Will seep into porous plaster scenery and needs to be sealed.
E-Z Water (Bag of yellow/clear plastic granules)
-Looks enticing for beginner modelers…DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES PURCHASE E-Z WATER!!! It’s a terrible, noxious, yucky, sticky product that ruins cookware, your riverbed and your modeling confidence because every pour will end in failure.
Did I mention that it’s never actually clear? It’s always yellow.
Preparing the River
If not contained on both ends of the riverbed or water feature it can leak in all the nooks and crannys, this is the same for all other water products.
Building a Dam:
To hold back the heavier products like Envirotex, Acrylic Glazing liquid, and Magic Water, you need a dam. I made mine out of metal plates you use for workshop pegboard. These galvanized steel plates are less than $0.50 apiece at any well-stocked hardware store. I drove drywall screws through the holes to hold them in place.
THE MOST IMPORTANT PART TO MAKING THE DAM IS THIS:
You have to take Wax paper or Plastic wrap and seal the side in which the water product is going to sit against to prevent the liquid or resin from spilling all over your floor. THIS HAS TO BE NEARLY WATERTIGHT, as all these products seem to find every nook and cranny just like actual water.
Here’s a photo of the dam in place:
Make sure you have at least a 1/4 to 1/2 an inch over the top of your water surface for safety.