Modeling Water 2

Going back to the seawall construction, I’ve been concentrating on the harbor area. I want to move this phase of the project along, but modeling water, especially the deep water found in harbors is turning into a bit of a problem.

I have a vision of how I want this area to look, but I can’t start planting foundations until I have the water modeling sorted. Because the eventual backdrop will be sky blue (sunny days do happen in June around Puget Sound), the harbor water can’t be too dark. I’ve spent the past month experimenting with acrylic medium (gloss), and here are the results.

water test_2

From a previous post, this was as far as I’d gotten. The results looked promising. Further experimentation revealed some of the flaws of the medium.

Gloss Medium 3

There are some properties about acrylic medium that seem to be absent from the hobby press. It’s also entirely possible I’m doing this wrong.

I tried painting the bottom the color I wanted and pouring clear, tinting the pour, and multi-level pours (tinted, less tinted, clear).

Painting the bottom and pouring a thin (1/8″) layer would seem to work the best, but the medium invariably develops ‘valleys’ (thin low spots) that can’t be hidden. I’ll note now that all pours were 1/8″. The thin vertical pieces in the photos are scales marked at 1/8″ intervals.  The poles are 2 mm round stock representing piles.

Acrylic medium is apparently a solvent for CA and itself. The structures were secured with CA, and not long after the pours were made, they’d come adrift. I found that epoxy doesn’t suffer. I was careful to let each pour dry, a process that took the better part of a week, but subsequent pours would corrupt the existing layer.

My primary concern for water medium was capillary action. It’s not realistic to have ‘water’ creep up the sides of a structure. I found that acrylic creates an unrealistic meniscus around structures in the ‘water’. I tried pouring a layer, letting it set for a couple of days, and then inserting structures. This worked well for the tinted layers, but for good effect you’ll probably want a clear layer (much like painting a car). The clear layer forms the unwanted meniscus.

My conclusion is that acrylic medium is unsuitable for my application. My next candidate  is casting resin. This may seem like a lot of effort for a small area of the layout, but it’s going to be a focal point, and I want to make it look as good as I can. And I’m learning new techniques.


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