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Building my first swamp model

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  • Member since
    April, 2017
Building my first swamp model
Posted by coffeehead12 on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 6:58 PM

I'm going to be using woodland realistic water for the first time. Right now the plan is to make a swamp scene on a 12 by 12 inch plywood, the type you get in a hobby store. Is plywood going to be good for this type of material, should there be anything I need to put under the water to set it? I came across something about using plaster since wood can be porous, I did take that into consideration. I want to paint the board so it looks mucky too. This is my first time doing any type of model so I apologize if I'm not seeing the obvious. Wink

  • Member since
    November, 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 9:20 PM

I've never used the Woodland Scenics for water.

Might be worth searching throu youtube to see what other people have shared.

Yes. paint the wood base.  I'd probably use Krylon, and in flat black.

However, I'd suggest a trip to the big box home center first, to go look at Trim.  See, your swamp will need some depth.  That trim will help define the depth, and will provide a much better finished edge than the plain plywood will.

Swamps are generally a mix of high and low spots, so you probably need to build up some high spots.  Many materials will work for this--celluclay, Durham's Water Putty, hydrocal, even plaster.

However plaster--and it's cousin premixed spackle--are some of the hardest materials for a first-timer to work with.  So, any of the previoulsy mentioned items are likely to be easier to work with.

Paint will be your friend.  But, over your groundwork, you can use inexpensive craftstore paint and use darker colors to show depth, and lighter to show shallow.

Cull through the diorama videos on youtube; do a lot of google image search for swamps.

Also, et this be a test.  Let it be astand alone, so you have not committed a model with your blood, sweat, ad tears into it.  If you can model a swamp all by itself, you can make a diorama of anything.

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Thursday, April 27, 2017 7:59 AM

I'll echo what Captain Mac already said. 

But if I may I'll strongly second painting the base before you put down the 'water'. Every swamp I've been in the mud has been a deep rich black so it the 'water' is shallow it will show. And if it's deeper you'll probably want to do the same to give the illusion of depth.

Most of the water I've seen is a brownish shade almost the colour of weak coffee. Not sure how you could do that unless you mix some dye in the 'water' maybe???  

"Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed." -G.K. Chesterton

 

  • Member since
    November, 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Sunday, April 30, 2017 12:22 AM

Most of the swamp water I've seen is in Texas or south Lousiana bayou (bayouxes if we want to be correct Smile), and those have been still water largely, so, not quite brown on the surface, but decidedly dark, as the ever-skilled gamera points out.

I'd be inclined to ass a wash in a dissimilar paint (hence the Krylon)--say a burnt umber & sienna wash over a deep glossy black (I wrote flat above, but should have usedd gloss).

I'd let that wash dry and add another of green, probably with some very fine green flocking for floating algae (aka "pond scum"), then introduce a very thin layer of water effect.

The swampy areas of south Georgia and NW Florida are largely river-fed, and have lots of suspended silt--looking a lot like hot cocoa mixed, poorly, with coffee.

If you handed me a 4" bit od scrap and said, "Have a stab at it" I'd likely start with a chocolate brown sort of color.  A thin coat of acyrlic gel medium over that.  A black/brown wash over that, then anothe coat of gel medium.  Probably an OD wash over that, then more gel medium.  the floating organics after that, with a finishing gel coat.  After that, I'd poke in tree trucks and branches and the like.

That's my 2¢ at least.

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Monday, May 01, 2017 5:08 PM

Worth more than 2 cents.

I've modeled a lot of water in a previous life as a model railroader.

The trick is to get something that looks like the surface of a body of water, without the depth. Try not to get into building up the depth more than 1/4" or so. Otherwise you'll put a lot of time and some money into it with little return.

ive never liked "pourable" model water products. Impossible to avoid bubbles.

There were some really nice ponds done on model railroads where the modeler took a piece of glass and built a frame to hold it with the "bottom" molded out of putty, maybe 1/2" below it. Paint and texture the bottom and it looks pretty good.

Acrylic gel medium is great stuff. It's pretty economical, easy to find in any art supply store, and comes in runny or thick, gloss or flat, clear or white. You can mix acrylic paint into it.

Applies with a brush and the thick stuff can be teased into ripples, waves.

The two methods I suggest staying clear of are those pellets you are supposed to heat and pour, and silicone sealant.

just my 1 1/2 bits.

  • Member since
    November, 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Monday, May 01, 2017 9:09 PM

GMorrison
just my 1 1/2 bits.

[twiddles abacus] er, that's 12 7/8¢

(for those with a keyboard with a separate numeric pad, ALT+155 will render ¢  Which is also &cents; )

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Monday, May 01, 2017 10:10 PM

CapnMac82

 

 
GMorrison
just my 1 1/2 bits.

 

[twiddles abacus] er, that's 12 7/8¢

(for those with a keyboard with a separate numeric pad, ALT+155 will render ¢  Which is also &cents; )

 

Gawd first time I went to Blighty in 1961; shillings, guineas, pence...

  • Member since
    November, 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Saturday, May 06, 2017 1:42 AM

GMorrison
Blighty in 1961; shillings, guineas, pence..

Before "decimalisation" IIRc it was 22 pence to the shilling (aka "bob"); 6 shillings to the Pound (aka "quid"); and 7 shillings to the Guinea (£1 1s)

Then there were crown, ha'crowns, and florins--which were differnet numbers of pence each (one of those was a 10d coin, which was wanted to use a phone box ).

After decimalisation, it was 20d the shilling ,and 5 shillings per pound, and a guinea was still £1 1s 0d)--I think.  Maybe.  So, a Pound was an even 100d.  And not the previous 132d

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