I thought I would finish up the river construction section today as my first post brought us to the painted river bed with some rock debris added but no further.
Once the river bed was plastered, I painted it as shown with darker blue for deep water in the center of the water flow, becoming more greenish blue toward the river banks. I feathered the edges with light fine sand and inserted small pebbles I picked up in the driveway and garden.
For sand I bought a bag of fine children’s playground sand, available at any hardware store – cheap and easy and Ive used it over and over again to create river banks, sandy surface and roadsides. I sprinkled the sand on river banks and over the approaches to the river. Once everything was in position I sprayed it with undiluted medicinal alcohol available from any pharmacy or grocery store. This allows scenic cement to flow easily into every nook and cranny and prevents spray on scenic cement from disturbing the surface and blowing the sand away ( I learned this tip from one of the posts on this site).
Once sprayed with alcohol I sprayed the entire river bed and river bank construct with scenic cement – simple Elmers Woodglue or Modgepodge glue diluted 50:50 with tap water. – It sets rock hard in a few hours.
Then I laid a few broken dried twigs from the garden to simulate fallen trees and branches lying in or near the water. Remember these tend to wash up in the corners of river bends.
Once all my sand, rocks and timber debris were in place, I poured the river. Herein lies a lesson I learned to my cost! Acrylic water (e.g Woodland Scenic Realistic Water) is self leveling, dries slowly, and can find its way into every tiny orifice imaginable to leak away! SO first, make sure your river is leveled or, if creating a descending stream, separate each level portion from the next descent by a waterproof dam disguised as a rapid. If you don’t the liquid water will gently trickle its way down to the lowest part of your river leaving you with a desert landscape up top!
Next, plug any tiny holes in the river bed so as to prevent leakage of your water – its expensive stuff and its very disheartening to see you river leaking onto the floor beneath your layout. I created a plywood bulwark at the end of my river but I didnt have a perfect seal and lost quite a bit from first pour. Lesson learned.
You can do multiple pours to build up depth. I ended up using 5 bottles of the stuff as it contract as it dries (up to 50%) and my river system is nearly 2 meters long. Noch and Faller make similar ready to use liquid water as well. Noch’s 2k Wasser is apparently better for deep water.
Once the water was set, it looks great and you can see through it to your landscaped river bed etc. Problem is you dont see movement. To add rapids and ripples etc, use Woodland Scenics Water Effects. It comes as a thick white paste in a plastic bottle with nozzle and you just squeeze it onto the smooth water surface and spread it with a toothpick or serrated card. It dries clear and looks like ripples. If you add a little white acrylic artists paint, it creates white foam-like ripples which dry whitish. They look pretty realistic.
The river banks are painted with the leopard spotting technique shown in the many Woodland Scenics Youtube videos on landscaping and building water features. The videos are excellent. Once painted I developed the river banks with blended and light green turf sprayed with my scenic cement mix, and then stuck on clumps of medium coarse foliage and lichen to simulate bushes.
The pics illustrate the final results. It’s an incredibly gratifying experience and great fun to build.
A big thanks to Glyn – I know the water feature ‘how-tos’ always go down well. Get them right and they look fantastic, get them wrong, and, well…
There’s lots of waterfeature stuff in the Beginner’s Guide if it takes your fancy.
That’s all this time folks. I always enjoy reading your mails, and it’s great to be able to share them with so many like minded folk.
Please do keep ’em coming!
PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here. Some nice HO stuff at the mo.