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For larger surfaces Evirotex Lite is my choice. On small bases I have used WS Water Effects but find it no better than any of the acrylic gloss mediums available from Liquitex or Golden. Essentially they are the same thing but WS stuff is marked up more. Golden's Acrylic gels come in four consistencies from Soft to Extra Heavy. The extra heavy will hold peaks. The regular and heavy work well in basing as they tend to stay where you put them but still level out enough.

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I've tried Woodland Scenics Realistic Water and Future floor wax (recommended in an historical terrain book) for small puddles/pools on bases. Both are very liquid, so in both cases these were poured into depressions not as a shallow gloss over the top of a base. Both shrank a lot and required several applications over the initial period. The Future test is relatively recent, so I can't say about long term shrinkage yet, but the Realistic Water shrank enough to pretty much ruin the originally intended look.

 

I would have thought Water Effects would be too viscous, but sounds like it's worth a try next time I go at this. A guy on CMON recently posted his experiments with resin floral 'water'. Back in the day Jenova used to do a sort of water base that I think she described as just painted and then painted over with clear nail polish. Makes me curious to try how clear nail polish would do in a small pool.

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For larger surfaces Evirotex Lite is my choice. On small bases I have used WS Water Effects but find it no better than any of the acrylic gloss mediums available from Liquitex or Golden. Essentially they are the same thing but WS stuff is marked up more. Golden's Acrylic gels come in four consistencies from Soft to Extra Heavy. The extra heavy will hold peaks. The regular and heavy work well in basing as they tend to stay where you put them but still level out enough.

 

Sounds interesting. Effectively the same stuff as the Water Effects, only cheaper (I though $15 was a lot for the botle, but it goes a long way) and available in different consistencies.

 

I'm especially interested in the self-leveling ones. I'll have to try some out. Do you have any product links? "Acrylic gloss media" (not mediums) covers a lot of ground.

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I've used pretty much everything that dries clear or nearly clear at one time or another.

 

The only thing that I would not recommend would be the wax water crud. While it isn't hard to work with, you can't do much to change the color once it is applied, and when you are using it on the base of a mini the shrinkage will become an issue (not nearly as big of an issue on larger items and stuff with a lot of tooth to it).

 

For small stuff like a mini base, I normally use the cheap acrylic gloss gel you can find in the scrap booking/decoupage sections of hobby stores. Dries fast, no chemicals or mixing issues and it is a familiar medium for you to work with (basically just acrylic paint without the color).

 

For larger stuff it depends on the end result I want. I use a 7 minute clear urethane quite often (dry to the touch in 7 minutes). Envirotex make some of the best most predictable materials - and nearly everyone who has used them really come to appreciate them. They have other items besides the Lite that are better suited in certain situations.

 

For your specific example - unless I am not understanding what kind of swamp you are looking for...I'd probably just sculpt the base with GS or Apoxie Sculpt and then paint to suit my needs. To add the watery bits, finish with a brush on gloss clear coat after everything else is done. The only time I actually use a water effect type material is when I want to see what is below the water. Swamps tend to be murky and dark, so there isn't a whole heck of a lot that you will be seeing.

 

Whatever you go with - practice with it on something first. They all behave a bit badly at times, and you don't want to find that out after everything is painted up and ready to go (stripping a resin mess off a mini is no fun at all).

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Sounds interesting. Effectively the same stuff as the Water Effects, only cheaper (I though $15 was a lot for the botle, but it goes a long way) and available in different consistencies.

 

I'm especially interested in the self-leveling ones. I'll have to try some out. Do you have any product links? "Acrylic gloss media" (not mediums) covers a lot of ground.

 

Golden products have proved to be of consistently high quality in my use so I tend to look to this company first but Liquitex and other artist lines have similar products that are very good as well.

Acrylic Gels

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For small stuff like a mini base, I normally use the cheap acrylic gloss gel you can find in the scrap booking/decoupage sections of hobby stores. Dries fast, no chemicals or mixing issues and it is a familiar medium for you to work with (basically just acrylic paint without the color).

 

How's the shrinkage factor on this one?

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Depends. Normally I go through and preshrink it by letting it more or less half dry out before I use it on the base. Most of the shrinking you find with the paint type substances are from the water/solvent evaporating out (as opposed to 2 part compounds that don't shrink much at all...since the hardening is a chemical reaction).

 

The shrinking doesn't really become an issue though unless you are going thick (1/2 mm or more - thick for mini bases...). Even then, you can do a few coats and still not have any problems.

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In my experience, the Golden and Liquitex gel medium shrinks a lot less than Realistic Water does. And RW has a problem with bubbles forming over time (9-18 months after applied, so far), even when applied as a series of thin layers (1/16" layers, 24 hour apart).

 

Of the gel media, only the gloss media truly dry clear. The matte gel is translucent when cured.

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Hm... sounds like thickness is my problem and I need to try the type of products people are using to do cubes and deep water? This winter base is one example, and this rainy pond base is another. The rainy one I used Realistic Water, applied in layers over a week or so until it stopped visibly shrinking, and it looked all right for a while but within a year the water had shrunk to be a slimy layer over the rocks at the bottom and now looks very drought-like instead of rainy. The winter one I did recently with Future, again several applications but a bit more of a rush job, and then I was brushing a lot of stuff on and manipulating the surface before it was really set. Maybe that's why it took less than a week for this one to end up as the slimy layer over the stuff at the bottom completely ruining the point of what I was trying to do. (It's now also showing some bubbles, so sounds like it might share that problem with RW too. :-<) I'm in the process of slowly building up the Future layers again, but it looks like the thin pour products do not work for this type of base and I'm trying to figure out what might so I can keep this an option in my basing repetoire.

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The gel mediums should work to take care of your problems on those bases. I picked up another thing today that I will be trying out (Krylon clear glaze) - might be another promising option.

 

Bubbling issues can be hard to track down. I know that with realistic water (not a fan of it - but I have used it) they recommend you seal the surface that it is going to be applied to. Also, don't shake any of the clear compounds - ever...handle them like you see people handle nitroglycerin in the movies. If you need to mix them (matte medium separates overtime) - stir. When the air gets entrained in the liquid, you may not notice it. However over time, for various reasons the bubbles can get larger and much worse (heat from curing is one common source of the problem).

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