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Modeling water/stream/drainage down a slope

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Modeling water/stream/drainage down a slope
Posted by The Milwaukee Road Warrior on Thursday, November 25, 2021 8:43 AM

Soliciting best ideas/practices for creating a stream or other runoff from a higher level to a lower level.  In my case, I have a higher plane with a rail yard and I want to model drainage running down a slight slope to a lower pond or water structure.  Could be overland drainage (runoff) or some type of concrete channel.  I haven't decided yet. 

Since the resin products I'm aware of for modeling water, like Envirotek and Magic Water etc, are self-leveling, how do you keep the appearance of water flowing down a slope/channel without the resin all ending up at the bottom?  

I'm guessing there is no way to do it (?) and options are limited to maybe lining the bottom of the drainageway with styrene that has been "painted" to look like water with acrylic medium gloss.

Thoughts?

Andy

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Milwaukee native modeling the Milwaukee Road in 1950's Milwaukee.

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Posted by cowman on Thursday, November 25, 2021 9:24 AM

For my waterfall I used clear Lexel caulk.  For it, I formed it on a glass plate, then placed it over the cliff.  In your case, it is thick enough so that you should be able to place it directly on the streambed.  Since it's on a grade, I think all you would need to do is to use a small spatula to form it along the streambed and then drybrush the tips of the waves to show movement.

Good luck,

Richard

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Posted by B Rutherford on Thursday, November 25, 2021 9:25 AM

I am going to try to help but full disclaimer, I have yet to actually do this myself.  I know some guys use silicone for waterfalls, etc.  Check out Luke Towan's scenery videos on Boulder Creek Railroad.  He has at least one in which he details creating a waterfall.  I would think the techniques could be adapted. 

Hope this helps a little!

- Bill Rutherford Lancaster, NH

Central Vermont Railroad 

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Posted by The Milwaukee Road Warrior on Thursday, November 25, 2021 9:42 AM

Yep, I've seen quite a few videos from Luke and Kathy Millatt, and Lou Sassi shows how to make a mill pond with a wier overflow.  Luke and Kathy both use a bent sheet of styrene that is laser cut to give the appearance of water flowing over a dam.  But I don't have a laser cutter and my water will actually be in contact with the ground surface: without the open space "underneath" or "behind" the water as you would have with a waterfall.

Andy

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Milwaukee native modeling the Milwaukee Road in 1950's Milwaukee.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Thursday, November 25, 2021 10:05 AM

I'd experiment with the clear silcone caulk, for what your looking to do.  I used the brand Lexel for my water fall, and water effects.

Mike.

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Posted by The Milwaukee Road Warrior on Thursday, November 25, 2021 10:11 AM

I will check out the Lexel.  Sounds like an interesting solution.  Is this something you would also use on a flat area like say, between yard tracks to model standing puddles/ponds of water?  Sounds like it would be easier to work with than trying to pour multiple shallow areas with resin - assuming you can "finish" it thin enough.

Andy

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Milwaukee native modeling the Milwaukee Road in 1950's Milwaukee.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Thursday, November 25, 2021 10:39 AM

The clear caulk sounds to me to be an easy way to model moving water.  I've not used it, but I'd guess that you'd need to first paint the stream bed an appropriate colour, then, after applying the caulk, use a putty knife to sculpt it into the degree of turbulence you think suitable.
I'm not sure, but if the caulk doesn't cure with a look of "wetness", you may need to apply a coat of clear gloss.

The "water" effects on my layout were done using Durabond 90 patching plaster, which sets in roughly 90 minutes (faster-setting versions are also available).  After the initial application, I spent most of those 90 minutes "teasing" the plaster into swells and ripples. 
A few days later, I painted the "water", and another few days later, applied, in succession, three coats of Varathane Diamond Wood Finish. 
I think that the same finish would likely work well if you need to apply a gloss finish over the caulk. 
My rivers have endured many years of cameras being placed on the "water" for close-up photography, with no degradation of the finish...

Wayne

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Posted by mbinsewi on Thursday, November 25, 2021 10:40 AM

Besides the falls, I used it for water effects like ribbles, waves, and flowing water.  I forget the name of the product that Woodland Scenics offers for the same use, that goes on white, and dries clear.

You'd have to experiment with the small standing water areas.  I guess if you could get it down smooth enough, it would work.

For standing water, I always used the resin.

Mike.

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Posted by The Milwaukee Road Warrior on Thursday, November 25, 2021 10:45 AM

Good input from all here.  I think I will try the Lexel on the slope, but at the moment I have been roped into helping with the cranberries and the green bean casserole.....

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Andy

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Milwaukee native modeling the Milwaukee Road in 1950's Milwaukee.

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Posted by dknelson on Thursday, November 25, 2021 11:05 AM

This isn't the first thread on this issue.  My prior advice: for a "babbling brook" use the self weathering resin on a water feature which uses a piece of styrofoam for the base, which has been colored and scenicked, with due regard for sealing the ends to avoid the leakage.  Pour it while flat, then shim up one end of the styrofoam.  Fully support it so that it does not bend and thus crack the hardened resin.

Dave Nelson

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Posted by The Milwaukee Road Warrior on Thursday, November 25, 2021 11:24 AM

That's a great idea Dave.  Work smarter not harder.  I tried the search feature but didn't find the previous thread so thanks for weighing in.

Andy

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Milwaukee native modeling the Milwaukee Road in 1950's Milwaukee.

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Thursday, November 25, 2021 1:35 PM

I have a swamp which stretches for a foot or two, and has a gradual downward slope.  I decided to "terrace" it with sticks and stones, and have a few levels about a half-inch different from each other.  Each level was poured independently, and where the water flows from one layer to another I painted the drop with Envirotex so it would be "wet."

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by cowman on Thursday, November 25, 2021 5:29 PM

I think Lexel would be too thick to use for a smooth water surface, like puddles.   It is quite thick, so would be difficult to smooth.  It could be used for ripples, maybe similar to Water Effects, which I have not used.

Good luck,

Richard

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Posted by John-NYBW on Thursday, November 25, 2021 5:57 PM

Woodland Scenics Water Effects might be the answer. It's a paste, not a liquid and can be brushed into place. It dries translucent. You can apply it in layers if you need extra depth. 

Amazon.com: Water Effects 8oz- : Musical Instruments

Don't ask me why the link says Musical Instruments.

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Posted by cowman on Thursday, November 25, 2021 9:57 PM

If you do buy Lexel, don't buy a caulking gun tube of it, get the smaller tube, sort of like a toothpaste tube.  It lasts quite a while, but not forever.

Good luck,

Richard

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Posted by ndbprr on Friday, November 26, 2021 8:14 AM

I built a drainage ditch next to my yard for esthetic reasons made an upstream bulkhead from a piece of 1×4 Woodland painted it concrete. Two 3/8" side by side holes allowed me to insert two pieces of 3/8" pipe as culverts painted concrete also.  The water was easy to put in with no waterfall needed. The channel was then lined and painted with concrete paint also.  This was HO.  In N I would look at copper tubing for the culverts 

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