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DON'T USE BAKING SODA FOR SNOW!!!!!!!!

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  • Member since
    January 2007
DON'T USE BAKING SODA FOR SNOW!!!!!!!!
Posted by the doog on Thursday, September 6, 2007 9:54 AM

Hi guys, this post is inspired by the recent posts where several modelers have said that they've used baking soda/sodium bicarbonate for snow in their dioramas!

PLEASE---DO NOT USE BAKING SODA FOR SNOW!!!!

Sodium bicarbonate is an antacid--too chemically unstable and reactive to be used for modelling applications! It can be used to relieve stomach problems, clean both contact lenses and silver tarnish, and is one of the ingredients in crack cocaine! BUT DON'T USE IT FOR MODELLING!

I had a nightmare of an experience with it that ruined half of my collection in the late 80's. I used to use it like a "magic powder" and used it to simulate everything from mud to rust to snow. A few years afterwards, I started noticing a gunky, oily, resinous gunk on all the surfaces where it had been used; tracks, mufflers, etc--I mean, it was GROSS!Yuck [yuck]

I couldn't figure out what the heck it was, so I got on the phone. I called several paint companies, hardware stores (problems with the lacquers? Thinners?!), and finally called Arm & Hammer, makers of "Baking Soda". They said that what was most likely happening was that the sodium bicarbonate was breaking down because of he chemical interaction of the laquers and/or enamels that it was in contact and/or combined with, and that ooze was the by-product of it. Half of my collection was RUINED! There was no way to save it!Boohoo [BH]

I know there will be guys posting here with testimonials saying that they've used baking soda for years and have had no bad experiences, yadda, yadda, yadda...LUCKY YOU! I'm just telling you what happened to ME, and saying "YOU"VE BEEN WARNED!" If you want to take your chances, well, I hope you're "lucky" too! 

IN closing, I'd suggest using unscented talcum powder instead, or one of the many available snow products out there. Better safe than sorry! 

  • Member since
    October 2004
  • From: Katy, TX
Posted by jthurston on Thursday, September 6, 2007 11:50 AM
Wow, how uncool. It left a residue that damaged the stuctural integrity of the plastic? Thanks for the heads up!
  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Valrico, FL
Posted by HeavyArty on Thursday, September 6, 2007 12:06 PM
Yup, Baking Soda snow is a big no, no.  I have been preaching against it for years.  It can also yellow over time and bugs will eat it.  Woodlands Scenics snow is the best to use in my book.

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  • Member since
    January 2007
Posted by the doog on Thursday, September 6, 2007 12:18 PM
 jthurston wrote:
Wow, how uncool. It left a residue that damaged the stuctural integrity of the plastic? Thanks for the heads up!
It didn't necessarily damage the PLASTIC, j, but I think it was somehow breaking down the paint itself. I know I could've probably done the whole strip-em-down thing, but it just didn't seem worth the trouble back when I was a relative "noob"--Sigh [sigh] Don't forget, great forums like this didn't exist back then, so the kind of info I might've needed to do that step wasn't really around anyway~
  • Member since
    September 2005
Posted by Kykeon on Thursday, September 6, 2007 11:27 PM
Yeah, I used to use baking soda for adding texture under paint. I too got the barfy, yellow-brown ooz leaking out from under the paint! I now use powdered silica, which is totally chemically inert. Just don't throw it around because it is not good to breathe the stuff.
  • Member since
    March 2007
  • From: Carmel, CA
Posted by bondoman on Friday, September 7, 2007 12:03 AM
I used it for a while mixed with brown paint to make muddy tracks. Big Mistake! Also, long long ago I tried canned shaving cream for snow. Never gets rid of that fresh smell of winto'green.
  • Member since
    January 2007
Posted by the doog on Friday, September 7, 2007 10:03 AM
 Kykeon wrote:
Yeah, I used to use baking soda for adding texture under paint. I too got the barfy, yellow-brown ooz leaking out from under the paint! I now use powdered silica, which is totally chemically inert. Just don't throw it around because it is not good to breathe the stuff.
Wow, hate to say it, but I'm glad to hear that somebody actually had the same problem, and so verified my experience. Years ago I wrote this same type of letter published in FSM, and got a few letters back from guys disputing it and calling into question the whole premise of the letter and my experience, so I'm sad to hear that you had the same awful experience, kykeon, but , uh...glad to hear it! Smile,Wink, & Grin [swg] Thank for posting it!
  • Member since
    March 2006
  • From: Drummondville, Quebec, Canada
Posted by Yann Solo on Friday, September 7, 2007 10:54 AM

Thanks for the warning guys, I was about to use it mixed with paint and Mr. Surfacer to simulate mud.

Now, where do you guys find the unscented Talcum powder or the powdered silica?

No matter where you go ....... there you are.
  • Member since
    January 2007
Posted by the doog on Friday, September 7, 2007 10:55 AM
 Yann Solo wrote:

Thanks for the warning guys, I was about to use it mixed with paint and Mr. Surfacer to simulate mud.

Now, where do you guys find the unscented Talcum powder or the silicum powder?

Unscented Talcum can be found anywhere that they sell "baby powder", that's it's "brand name"--just look in the "baby aisle" of your local market or drug store.
  • Member since
    September 2005
Posted by Kykeon on Friday, September 7, 2007 11:43 AM

One possible source for powdered silica is Diatomaceous Earth, or DE for short. DE is used as a filtering agent in public swimming pools, some people use it in their home pools as well. The only problem is that it comes in huge bags. Pottery supply or art supply stores also have powdered silica in small quantities, as it is used in pottery and ceramics. I have actually gone out and dug the stuff up out of the ground. DE is just what it sounds like, it is the prehistoric remains of siliceous diatoms, plankton and other tiny sea creatures, whose glass-like bodies die off by the trillions and form deposits of DE which we can now find on the surface, if you live near an area where DE occurs and you know where to look....Wink [;)]

I have also used silicon carbide abrasive powder, used in rock polishers, for texturing paint. I have had problems with talc before, as it is sometimes difficult to get it thoroughly mixed into the paint sometimes and it flakes off after it dries. I also don't really like the texture talc produces. Talc is made up of very small, flat flakes. When you mix it in paint, the texture it produces tends to be rather clumpy, not the rough, grainy texture we usually want. This is why I like to use powdered silica or silicon carbide powder instead.

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: australia
Posted by airfixdavid on Friday, September 7, 2007 3:14 PM

Hi

 

I went and got some of the games workshop snow .will try that on my next one .Also there is Woodlands snow that I have seen in my LMS .

David

  • Member since
    January 2007
Posted by the doog on Friday, September 7, 2007 3:40 PM
 Kykeon wrote:

One possible source for powdered silica is Diatomaceous Earth, or DE for short. DE is used as a filtering agent in public swimming pools, some people use it in their home pools as well. The only problem is that it comes in huge bags. Pottery supply or art supply stores also have powdered silica in small quantities, as it is used in pottery and ceramics. I have actually gone out and dug the stuff up out of the ground. DE is just what it sounds like, it is the prehistoric remains of siliceous diatoms, plankton and other tiny sea creatures, whose glass-like bodies die off by the trillions and form deposits of DE which we can now find on the surface, if you live near an area where DE occurs and you know where to look....Wink [;)]

I have also used silicon carbide abrasive powder, used in rock polishers, for texturing paint. I have had problems with talc before, as it is sometimes difficult to get it thoroughly mixed into the paint sometimes and it flakes off after it dries. I also don't really like the texture talc produces. Talc is made up of very small, flat flakes. When you mix it in paint, the texture it produces tends to be rather clumpy, not the rough, grainy texture we usually want. This is why I like to use powdered silica or silicon carbide powder instead.

Good point about the talc's texture, Kykeon. I was thinking of it more for the snow aspect; I've used it before for snow bases and it looks fine. Here's an example:

  I will investigate that silica stuff; sounds like something I need in the drawer!Big Smile [:D]

  • Member since
    November 2005
  • From: Somewhere over the rainbow
Posted by m1garand on Friday, September 7, 2007 3:54 PM
AGGHHHHHH..... goowie slimey greenie funky smelly baking soda~Dinner [dinner]
  • Member since
    February 2007
Posted by Boomerang on Friday, September 7, 2007 6:07 PM
 the doog wrote:
 Yann Solo wrote:

Thanks for the warning guys, I was about to use it mixed with paint and Mr. Surfacer to simulate mud.

Now, where do you guys find the unscented Talcum powder or the silicum powder?

Unscented Talcum can be found anywhere that they sell "baby powder", that's it's "brand name"--just look in the "baby aisle" of your local market or drug store.

   If you use scented talcum powder your dioramas will not only look great.....but smell great too!!!..Laugh [(-D]Laugh [(-D]...Whistling [:-^]

   Boomer...

  • Member since
    January 2006
  • From: California
Posted by SprueOne on Friday, September 7, 2007 6:13 PM
Thanks for the heads up.
I always like the household materials tips, for and against.

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  • Member since
    January 2005
  • From: Ohio
Posted by mikepowers on Monday, September 10, 2007 7:22 PM

Anyone see anything wrong with Plater of Paris?

I have been using it for awhile and havent noticed anything.

But, the models I have used it on have been sold or given away so I really cant say but I'm getting ready to use it on another model, a Star Wars AT ST in a snow scene.

 

Mike

  • Member since
    January 2007
Posted by the doog on Monday, September 10, 2007 7:32 PM
 mikepowers wrote:

Anyone see anything wrong with Plater of Paris?

I have been using it for awhile and havent noticed anything.

But, the models I have used it on have been sold or given away so I really cant say but I'm getting ready to use it on another model, a Star Wars AT ST in a snow scene.

 

Mike

In that scale you wouldn't be able to see the texture of the snow anyway, so it should be fine. I guess it all depends on the "look" you want; I don't use it for my dios because  I find it much more difficult to shape than Celluclay, and a lot harder to control. You might want to experiment with a light coating of talc on top of the plaster to impart a more "feathery" surface to it? Let us know what it looks like if you do!
  • Member since
    January 2005
  • From: Ohio
Posted by mikepowers on Monday, September 10, 2007 10:33 PM
 the doog wrote:
 mikepowers wrote:

Anyone see anything wrong with Plater of Paris?

I have been using it for awhile and havent noticed anything.

But, the models I have used it on have been sold or given away so I really cant say but I'm getting ready to use it on another model, a Star Wars AT ST in a snow scene.

 

Mike

In that scale you wouldn't be able to see the texture of the snow anyway, so it should be fine. I guess it all depends on the "look" you want; I don't use it for my dios because  I find it much more difficult to shape than Celluclay, and a lot harder to control. You might want to experiment with a light coating of talc on top of the plaster to impart a more "feathery" surface to it? Let us know what it looks like if you do!

 

Thats an excellent idea.

I'll post pics when I'm done with it.

Mike

  • Member since
    February 2007
Posted by Boomerang on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 4:31 AM
 mikepowers wrote:

Anyone see anything wrong with Plater of Paris?

I have been using it for awhile and havent noticed anything.

But, the models I have used it on have been sold or given away so I really cant say but I'm getting ready to use it on another model, a Star Wars AT ST in a snow scene.

 

  MikePowers......

   I don't like plaster as i think it is too off white in colour. I have a container of stuff called SIMPLY SNOW. I picked it up at the Queensland Model and Hobby Expo a couple of years back. I haven't tried it yet but it looks very good. It is very light and 'fluffy', very fine in texture and has that snow look to it.  It is made by a company called   EFD SIMPLY GLUES. The only contact i have for them is an email........   simplyglues@hotmail.com    and a phone number if you want to try it......  (02) 69221187...

   

   This is a pic i found of it used on a railway layout.....

   

     Boomer...

  • Member since
    February 2007
  • From: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posted by T-rex on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 10:40 AM
What! now who would be using baking soda for snow? even I know that, intead I use spray snow, its use in chrismate craft on window, but i did some test on it and it surpisely works well in dio's, only problem is it takes a long time to cure, 2 weeks at least, but since its a spray bottle you can apply it evenly or make a great looking snow pile.

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  • Member since
    January 2005
  • From: Ohio
Posted by mikepowers on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 1:18 PM
 Boomerang wrote:
 mikepowers wrote:

Anyone see anything wrong with Plater of Paris?

I have been using it for awhile and havent noticed anything.

But, the models I have used it on have been sold or given away so I really cant say but I'm getting ready to use it on another model, a Star Wars AT ST in a snow scene.

 

  MikePowers......

   I don't like plaster as i think it is too off white in colour. I have a container of stuff called SIMPLY SNOW. I picked it up at the Queensland Model and Hobby Expo a couple of years back. I haven't tried it yet but it looks very good. It is very light and 'fluffy', very fine in texture and has that snow look to it.  It is made by a company called   EFD SIMPLY GLUES. The only contact i have for them is an email........   simplyglues@hotmail.com    and a phone number if you want to try it......  (02) 69221187...

   

   This is a pic i found of it used on a railway layout.....

   

     Boomer...

 

Thanks Boomer.

That dio looks very cool, and cold.

  • Member since
    April 2005
  • From: Baton Rouge, LA
Posted by T_Terrific on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 2:26 PM

 Kykeon wrote:
Yeah, I used to use baking soda for adding texture under paint. I too got the barfy, yellow-brown ooz leaking out from under the paint! I now use powdered silica, which is totally chemically inert. Just don't throw it around because it is not good to breathe the stuff.

On the other hand, would this be a good application for a nasty running ooze from a model monster figure's gross skin condition?Whistling [:-^]

Tom Cowboy [C):-)]

Tom TCowboy

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  • Member since
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Posted by Kykeon on Wednesday, September 12, 2007 9:49 PM
....and it smells bad too! Laugh [(-D]

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