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Zink

Scratchbuilt pond/swamp

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Not the best photos (how many times can I repeat that before I improve on it?) but a slimy pond I made a few weeks ago. It's roughly 6"x4" and was made out of a piece of 1/2" pink insulation. I'd read about using acetone to melt foam into various shapes and wanted to try it out. Took me awhile to find acetone but stumbled across it in Walmart. I used my hot wire foam cutter to rough out a shape and then sanded the edges to bevel them a bit. I painted it  heavily with acetone in the middle and a touch on the edges. As it ate through the foam I scraped a bit and painted more to get the depth I wanted. I did such a good job that it ate a small hole right through everything. I patched the hole with some tape and painted a base coat. I did some rough highlights on the bottom and green on the banks.

 

I've been reading a lot about making rivers, ponds and other water effects lately and experimenting. After the painting I tried gloss Modge Podge for the water and on the muddy banks. It made it all nice and shiny but gave no depth. Then I remembered that I had some unopened clear resin I'd bought years ago. Luckily it hadn't dried out. I decided to try a technique I'd seen where you add a drop on paint to tint the resin or create a bit of a swirl of colour in the water. I used craft paint and didn't want to add water because it can react badly with some resins. The paint was thick and gloppy but I stirred it in some but not enough to totally change all the resin to green. Poured the first layer and found out the paint is heavier than resin and it mostly settled over my nicest painted parts of the bottom. Next time I'll try it with inks. It wasn't as deep as I wanted so I decided on a second pouring. To get a bit more detail I painted a few green spots on the top of the first layer of resin. The second layer I left clear. This didn't look nearly as good as the mixed in paint.

 

Lastly I added some flock to the grassy banks. Didn't like the lighter flock on the first patch so did up a mix for the rest. Thinking about adding some tall grass or bushes along the edges. I have a bunch of almost finished river sections waiting for water effects and plans to do more ponds and swamps so this was an experiment. I think I've figured out what I want to do for future pieces.

 

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Looks pretty good.  I think I'd put flock along all of the edge just to make the contrast clear.  

 

Or are the bare patches where you plan to put in the taller stuff?

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It was originally just a test to see if I could use the acetone to help with smoothing the edges. Learned that I didn't have a lot of control on how it dissolved. Left it unflocked thinking it might break up the edges a bit to give more of a swamp look. I had thought of leaving sort of an island in the middle until I over acetoned it. Turned into more of a stagnant pool than swamp. It would only take a few minutes to cover the patches on the edges. I haven't really decided what to do about taller stuff but kind of want more contrast and cover than what I have. Wouldn't mind doing something about the light green flock too. That corner looks out of place. I only put about 20 minutes of actual work into it and learned a lot so it's all good.

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It looks pretty good. I definitely think you should add some more flock/shrubs/tall grasses along the edges; that would make it even better.

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New photo with a bit of stuff added. Thinking I need more but not totally satisfied with my choices. The wife suggested something with more contrasting colours. I said I was going for mostly dark, wet looking greens. Ideas?

IMG_5262.JPG

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Just my opinion -

 

I'd think something like cattails would be nice. Maybe a bit more vegetation along strategic edges.

 

Overall I think I would add more flock, some being static grass - so different sizes of grass, to give it some variation in size and texture. Not so much colour.

 

RE: the swamp water - two part resin is really really good for this, as long as you remember to pour it in layers (about 1/4" max depth) to give it time to dry properly. To tint it (or a one part water effects like that made by Woodland Scenics) you can use a wash or an ink. I have Secret Weapon miniatures "Sewer water", as well as the GW washes - they work well. So does Liquitex ink (which I tend to use for blue water as that's the only ink of theirs I have lol)

 

A few drops is all you really need - you have to kinda figure it out by use unfortunately as how dark it ends up can depend on a lot of things, like how much resin it's going in, how deep the pool is going to end up and what colour the underparts are.

 

For the flotsom on the top, some people use fine flock. Throwing it in after the resins poured but before it's cured.


I've found it can be just as easy to simply stipple paint on the bottom of your pool, making the whole thing look stagnant.

 

I wouldn't necessarily use paint to tint the resin unless you want a more opaque section. I think it ends up looking more realistic, if you use inks/washes because they're more transparent (translucent?)

 

Anyway, it's looking good!

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the advice. Definitely agree on the don't use paint advice. I wanted a green tint not a green blob which is what I got. I've got a small selection of inks and washes I'll try next time. I never thought about flotsam or anything else floating. I watched a swamp basing video and thought it was a good idea and simple enough to do. There's still some room left that I could add another layer of resin. I did try to do a cat tail patch but couldn't get the plants I was using to stand up straight. That's what's in the top right corner. I have a little bit of static grass but no applicator. It's on my wish list. I can probably do some sort of clumps but not sure it will be mostly standing. I'll try gluing on some more things and see how it goes.

Edited by Zink
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First attempts at things are learning experiences...actually, all attempts are things to learn from if you are open to it.

It looks like you learned quite a bit. The swap is a SPLENDID creation right now. The next one will be a THING OF BEAUTY.

Keep up the FINE WORK; you have a lot of potential.

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RE: plants standing up - yeah it's a pain, if you're doing something in glue, use a slightly heavy glue. Dip the bottom of your plants in it, so you can wipe off excess since sometimes it doesn't dry clear. You can get Tacky Glue in the sewing or craft section, or just wait a bit for regular Elmer's to set up. I'll lay some down, go off do something else, come back a few minutes later. Sometimes I just hold the plant in place til I'm sure it's 'caught' or try to find something for it to lean against without messing up the glue.


If you're doing something to go into clear resin, you can kind of do the same thing, just using a bit of resin or Vallejo water effects (which I really love)

 

And it sounds a bit silly, but static grass literally does just need static - there are tutorials about converting a bug zapper into an applicator if you're handy. Or honestly, if you're a bit desperate (or really cheap like I was in the beginning :P) you can just use a balloon. Do the rub the balloon trick, build up static, hold over static grass. lol It's not quite as good as a static grass applicator but it does work!

 

Anyway it's all a learning process as long as you're having fun =D

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Posted (edited)

The best bet with reeds/cattails is to put them in before you pour the water effect. You make a little trench-like depression & glue them in; hot glue works well for this. Sisal rope makes nice reeds.

For swamp water I don't use water effects at all. I get a swirling ripple effect with Woodland Scenics Foam Putty. Then paint that a slimy yellow green with darker areas for deeper spots. Lastly I do several coats of brush on gloss finish. It has a nice swamp water look.

 

Here is an example:

 

Spoiler

DSCN4003.jpg

 

Edited by malefactus
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Thanks guys. You've both given me some ideas to try out. I'm fairly handy so I've been considering making myself a static grass applicator from a bug zapper. I even have one that my mom bought years ago laying around somewhere. Just never think to look for it when I'm at that house. I might try the balloon idea tonight if we have any. I want to make a ton of watery terrain so I'm testing various things out. I did some river pieces using paint, gloss modge podge and acrylic gel that are ok but they lack depth. I'm experienced with resin but didn't feel like it was worth the hassle for long, shallow river pieces. Lakes and swamps though I feel need the depth. Need to find some sisal twine too. I might have some of it around.

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Tried a few things and then my wife decided she wanted to help so she glued on a bunch more. We're satisfied with how it is and calling it done. I sprayed it with a gloss varnish to help set the flock and other bits. That put sort of a hazy scum on what had been very clear water and blew and glued some loose static grass and flock to the water. Because it's supposed to be a dirty swamp more than a clean pool I wasn't too upset. Know not to do that when I'm doing pools I have planned. Learned a lot of things on this little pond. Hope I can remember it when I do the next one.

 

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That does fill out the edge SPLENDIDLYVERY NICELY DONE!

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You and your wife make a good team; nice work on it!

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We do work good together. She's my main advisor whenever I get stuck. We have a few differing opinions on things but for the most part our ideas work well together. She painted minis for a little while but quit years ago. Sad because she could easily be way better than me if she just learned a few techniques.

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