Cheap but realistic water

Hello again. I just finished my Attack Hobby ambulance, and the results were not quite as good as I'd hoped for. It wasn't about the kit quality, but my
effort this time around. Ah well....consistency is still something I'm working on. At least my efforts to open the front and rear doors were successful. I didn't want all the detail of the cab and rear stretcher area to be wasted.
Anyway, now I'm on to a new project, and it's rather ambitious. I want to do a scene with my Italeri "Red Devils" taking a small bridge. These days, due to severely limited finances (i.e. unemployed) I must use my imagination to fabricate as much as possible. I just finished the first stages of a destroyed bridge span made from assorted wood pieces. One thing that I'm concerned about, and will need to address eventually, is the water. This is where I need your guidance. For the absolute least investment necessary, what are some ideas for creating realistic water? For my purposes it will be stagnant. The area I need to cover will be about 4.5 square inches, and I'm estimating not more than about 1/8 inches thick.
Please, if you can, feel free to give brand names if applicable. Also, if needed, tell me the best places to buy the stuff.
On a related note, I'm very pleased to see more diorama-related items coming out for 1/72 scale, but from what I've seen I'll continue to attempt creating my own in most cases. Some things seem reasonable, like the various resin stowage sets. I've gotten my money's worth from them ten times over. However, $25 for a picket fence and $11 for a lamp post is too much for my taste. Anyway, as the scale gains new interest maybe costs for these items will drop from competition. I'll hope so.
Thanks for any advice or suggestions on the water, and best wishes.
Randy IPMS Houston
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Randy Pavatte wrote:

Is this in 1/72nd scale? In that small of a scale, there really should not be any "clear-ness" to the water. Simply a section of sheet styrene, painted a dark, glossy blue/green/brown (depending on the nature of the water), with some subtle shading and highlighting, should work nicely.
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Greg Heilers wrote:

would using clear sheet, painted on the underside offer any realism?
Craig
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Craig wrote:

Yes it would. I was going to get into that....but didn't want to write an essay...lol. One local guy here, uses clear "shower door" plastic, that has a "water-ish" texture on one side, smooth on the other. He paints the textured side (the bottom), and uses the smooth top as a base for 1/700th scale ships, painting in the wake, on the top. It looks surprisingly realistic.
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Would that be Tim, by any chance? Steve
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Steve Collins wrote:

Not by "chance"...but by *fact*!
:o)
How 'ya been Dude?!
I guess I need to add you to my "joke subscription email list".....
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That the modeller with the funny hat, afraid of rabbits....
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On Mon, 23 Aug 2004 18:00:20 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Randy Pavatte) wrote:

I had always wanted to to this but have not got around to it yet - to repose several old and damaged armor models as having been shot up while fording a shallow river. The water will come up to the top of the tracks. My plan to simulate water is to use soft gel wax, the stuff you see in curio shops, where they embed a coral reef scene and fishes for example, and there is a wick on top for you to light it as a candle.
I found a specialist crafts shop in my city that sells the wax supplies to hobbyists as well as to craft manufacturers. There is probably one in any mid sized city. The wax is normally clear but can be dyed and sculpted. I supplose its hardness can also be formulated to suit. That coral reef curio suggests that you can include underwater details like weeds. reeds and perhaps some fish in your diorama.
A lot less than $20 should get you there.
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Springfield OH
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There is really no need for any kind of clear medium. Every European canal I ever saw was completely opaque with gray-green algae. Shep Paine used to just give the surface of the base a smooth finish and paint and varnish it to represent the surface of the water. If you have a need for small waves or eddys, you can use acrylic gel medium or epoxy to texture the surface, and both dry clear. Gerald Owens
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And Future makes a great topcoat for water.
Lafimprov wrote:

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Hey, thanks so much for the great ideas. I have some good options now. One thing....yesterday I was in Hobby Lobby, and in their toy train scenery stuff they had something called "Realistic Water" (I think that's the right name) by Woodland Scenics. It claims to be ready-made, and you just pour it. The price was about $15. Any comments on this product? It sounds like the clear sheet painted on the underside is gonna be my best bet. I was also instructed to use a clear gel to tidy up around the bridge supports, but would I also use the gel for where the water touches the embankment?
Randy IPMS Houston
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I've used this stuff on a seashore diorama a couple years back and I love it. But you have to heat the beads and melt them (I bought a cheap cook pot from Dollar General to be dedicated to this project). The plastic melts nicely and pours well, assuming a nice flat surface. I put it down in several layers and with the last one, I cheated and raised the diorama for force "breakers" to form. I painted Tamiya translucent blue to the second last coat and touched it up on the last coat, with opaque titanium white on the breakers, and a drybrush of sand to replicate debris churned up. For this diorama, the Woodland Scenics worked well, but I tried it on another, with a scrap boat (as a test) - the boat melted.

I use the Liquidtex Clear Gel for some dioramas. For a series of thin coats, it works very well, but I've used it on a series of tidal basin dioramas. Here the "water" will be thicker, up to one inch deep and I've found that it takes quite a while for the gel to clarify. One trick that I've used is to place the dioramas in the hot sun (after it has surface-cured first, usually about a day or two) and leave them there until they clarify, the thicker the coat, the longer that it will take. The longest was about a half-inch thick and that took about six weeks, but we have been having a cool summer without a lot of sunshine. I am leery about placing the diorama into a warming oven though, not having a lot of knowledge concerning the melting point of the plastic models inside. But once it dries, it looks fantastic!
-- John The history of things that didn't happen has never been written. . - - - Henry Kissinger
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And snipped-for-privacy@aol.comspamless (The Old Timer) opened up and revealed to the world

Ok, I've got a good question for ya what about fumes? I've got two birds in the house and I don't think that melting plastic beads would do either of them any good. What about that gel stuff, what kind of fumes does it give off during the outgasing process? Anything that shouldn't be used around/left where kids can get it probably shouldn't be used in a household with birds in it.
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Like I said, the Woodland Scenics needs to be melted to make it work. I did mine at the kitchen stove with the draw fan running. As to the Clear gel, I currently have three small dioramas curing in a bedroom window, and really don't notice any smell.
-- John The history of things that didn't happen has never been written. . - - - Henry Kissinger
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And snipped-for-privacy@aol.comspamless (The Old Timer) opened up and revealed to the world

The problem with that is that just because "we" CAN'T smell something doesn't mean that it isn't there in significant quantities to harm or kill a pet bird. Which is why I do all of my gluing and painting on the enclosed front porch with my birds in the house. Remember the coal miners taking canaries with them down into the mines to test the air? CO2 is odorless but the canary would die of CO2 poisoning LONG before the miners, giving them time to leave the mine.
Overheated Teflon doesn't produce an odor (at least as far as I know), but it is LETHAL to birds AS well as us humans. Which is why I do not use Teflon coated cookware.
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I understand that about the Teflon, that's why I was using the fan in conjunction melting the plastic beads. I've only used it once or twice because basically you can't put a plastic model into it without causing damage (it gets that hot). When I said that there was no odor, I was refering to the Liquitex Clear Medium. I have heard (but haven't tried it because of lack of stones) that you could speed up the clarification process somewhat by putting the item in a WARM oven (set to about 150) for a while (anywhere from a few hours to overnight), but again, I don't know what this would do to plastic model. The only birds that I have are chickens, turkeys, ducks geese and the occasional pigeon and they're in no condition to complain.
-- John The history of things that didn't happen has never been written. . - - - Henry Kissinger
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And snipped-for-privacy@aol.comspamless (The Old Timer) opened up and revealed to the world

I would have to say that again just because "we" can't smell any odors doesn't mean that it isn't releasing gas(es) that are toxic to parrots or other pet animals in the house. Even something as "simple" as burning dinner in a non-Teflon coated pot or pan can be deadly to a parrot. I have some wood glue that the FDA has determined to be safe for use on cutting boards. I called the manufacturer and they haven't tested it for use on products for use by birds and so their recommendation is/was that I shouldn't risk using it on anything for my birds. And without an assurance that it is safe to use on toys that my birds will be chewing on I will not take the chance with their life/health.
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Digital_Cowboy wrote:

How do you handle typical everyday home-cleaning and/or laundry products (bleach, ammonias, other "caustic" cleaners, etc.)? I have always wondered if these would have an effect on small indoor animals, be they birds, mice, hamsters, etc.
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revealed to the world

Greg,
I use environmentally friendly products, as for the laundry I go to a laundromat up the street from the house. As well as not allowing any smoking in the house, and using NO chemical pesticides.
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