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Dan's Build Journal #3 - Sewers (COMPLETE)

Dan S

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For the flow of sewage I am going to be using a two part Epoxy Resin and Woodland Scenics water tints, which are resin dyes designed for various water effects. 




As I am going for a rank slimy look I used the moss green dye.  I prehaps added a drop too much tint, as I'd lost visibility after about a centimetre of depth (which is fine, it still works for my purposes), for my next pour I'm going to significantly reduce the tint so that we will still be able to make out some of the skeleton and tentacles beneath the water.


Because it would still be relatively easy to fix at this stage if I didn't like the result, I decided to experiment with some floating scum and gunk effects.  I applied a single drop of moss green, and a single drop of murky brown tint to the water and using a toothpick gently teased it about into swirling patterns.  It looks pretty decent and so I'll likely add some scum to the surface of the final pour.



Edited by Dan S
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Sewage Continued. 

I ended up doing a further 2 pours, and with each layer of resin, I repeated the swirling dye effect from the last step which helped produce a putrid looking water.  After pouring the final layer I used green dye on the tip of a toothpick to create some floating scum accumulation along the edge of the canal and boat.  I left a little swirl free gap above the skeleton so that he is still slightly visible through the murky water.  As I forgot to mention in my last post, after each pour I let the resin sit for 10-15 minutes until any air bubbles have made their way to the surface and then quickly run a lighter over the top which pops them all quickly and easily.


It is going to take about 12 more hours for the resin to fully cure at which point I'll start to add ripples to the water and splashes around the tentacles.



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Fixing a screw up 

To achieve the ripples in the water I stippled gloss Mod Podge onto the entire surface and then used an airbrush to blow air onto the glue in short bursts creating sporadic ripples, once dry this sets completely clear and gives a nice choppy or disturbed water effect.  For those who do not own an airbrush, blowing through an ordinary drinking straw can achieve the same effect.




Now I had a complete disaster at this stage, which has spoilt a few things going forward.   This part is pretty long winded and boring so I've only included it in a spoiler tag only for those wondering where all the nice water detailing and swirls went.




I left the Mod Podge to dry over night and when I awoke it seems to have reacted with the dye somehow.  Previously I had created swirling patterns within the resin using a colouring dye, and on top of the final layer of resin I had applied blobs of neat dye to simulate algae and scum.  With the resin being very thick and viscous these blobs did not sink but continued to float on the top.  What I hadn't realised is that whilst the resin had cured by the time I applied the Mod Podge, the dye must not have fully dried.  When I returned to the model in the morning the glue had soaked into the little blobs and pockets of dye that I'd added to the surface.  Even worse in a few areas where these 'pockets' touched with a 'dye swirl' the glue seemed to have partially spread into the channels of the swirl, turning them white.  Chances are that these would have gone clear over time as glue dried, however now that it was encased in the resin, I wasn't confident it would definitely fully dry and still go clear.


This bummed me out a little, I was in two minds about whether to leave the water as it was and hope the glue that had soaked into the dye would go clear eventually, or try and fix or hide the damage.  In the end I tried to hide it, I peeled up all the Modpodge (fortunately it all came up very easily in one big skin) which revealed several pockmarks in the resin where the dye blobs had been placed confirming my theory that the dye had not been fully dry (I am surprised I didn't notice this when applying the mod podge).  


I had to mix up one final layer of resin which I ended up dying a little darker in order to cover the unsightly white lines, which unfortunately meant also covering up all the swirls added in the previous steps, as well as now almost completely obscuring the skeleton.  Adding an extra layer of resin also meant that the boat is now sitting deeper into the water than I would have liked and looks a bit off.  To try and compensate I added some loot to the boat and poured some water into it to give the impression it was weighted down.  Far from ideal, but it was the best I could do to try and save the piece.




Once the resin was completely dry (This time with no dye added to the surface), I added Mod Podge and recreated the ripples as per the previous step.  With the the ripples dry it was time to add the little waves and splashes where the tentacles are emerging from and disturbing the water.  To make these I used an adhesive called clearfix, which has a very rubbery finish, similar to a silicone sealer.  Mixed with a little isopropyl alchohol it becomes quite gloopy and can be painted onto the resin with a brush to form the little waves.  Once the clearfix starts to dry it can be manipulated without it loosing its shape, which is how I created the splash effects.




Small Touches

I painted up a handful of the mushrooms and toadstools that I made with greenstuff earlier in the week, and started to paint and weather the mooring bollard.  I also recoloured the floor with some dry pigments and another wash.  I just didnt like the stark contrast between the grey of the floor and the red of the bricks, it looked a little off to me, and so I tried to tie the colours together a bit better.  Finally I've started painting a few spiders, which I am just trying to test fit to see where I like them.




Edited by Dan S
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3 hours ago, Standifer said:

Very cool, how are you keeping the resin from pouring out of the ends?


I use plastic sheets.  In this case I cut out small rectangles from the blister packs that miniatures come in, and used masking tape to secure them to each side of the canal, finally I sealed the inner edges using modpodge to ensure that there is nowhere that the resin can leak from.  It all peels off pretty easy once the resin is finished.


You should just be able to see the plastic still taped to the edges in this picture:



Edited by Dan S
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Ged took a deep breath to calm his nerves and then instantly regretted it, as the stench rising up from the old sewer entrance made him retch involuntarily.  Reaching into his side pouch the young rogue pulled out a small vial of purple oil, uncorked it and then dabbed a copious amount in the space between his nose and upper lip.  Lavender Oil, thats what the old drunkard had recommended, though truth be told the solution only made the stench slightly more bearable.  The rogue carefully descended an old and very rotten wooden ladder into the underground sewer complex, the air was still and heavy and the only noises, the scuttling of nearby rats and the occasional sound of dripping water.  Ged ignited his torch and pulled out a crumpled old map.  


It was common knowledge that in his youth the old drunkard had served as a smuggler for the local thieves guild, and after several weeks of plying the man with drink and trying to befriend the old retch he had finally revealed his secret.   Decades earlier, the old man and his crew had used the sewer tunnels to smuggle contraband and stolen goods in and out of the city, that was until they had allegedly disturbed some ancient horror sleeping beneath the water and were forced to flee, abandoning their camp and their treasures.  Ged couldn't help but smile to himself, he knew the old smuggler to be an honest man, and there was no doubt in his mind that the smugglers cache would be exactly where he had been told, however Ged didn't believe in monsters, the old smuggler was a notorious drunkard and he probably got spooked by his own shadow after a few too many ales.  Having now gained his bearings the rogue carefully refolded the old map, and set off towards his prize confident that this was going to be an easy and profitable payday.


Navigating the old tunnels proved an arduous task, the floor was slick with slime and it would have been easy to get lost within the complex labyrinth, but the smugglers map proved true and after about 30 minutes Ged arrived at the tunnel that had been marked on his map.  The tunnel was long and Ged's torch did little to penetrate the darkness more than a few feet in front of him, unperturbed the rogue slowly started down the eerily quiet passageway, until....  SPLASH!


Startled the young rogue spun about, hand reaching instinctively for his dagger and eyes straining to see in the darkness.  Ged momentarily caught sight of several circular ripples radiating outward from the centre of the sewage canal, before the disturbed water settled back down to its prior stillness.  Ged, crouching low and and holding his breath in order to better hear his surroundings continued to scan the surface of the water.  After several moments of silence, he sheathed his dagger and stood up straight, it was probably just a rat he thought to himself.  The next few minutes passed without incident until young Ged neared the end of the tunnel and finally came upon his prize.  Stacked high were dusty old chests and coffers, caked in a decades accumulation of spiderwebs but still full of valuables, there were piles of gold and jewels, paintings, rare books and other works of art.  Most of the books and artworks were ruined, rotten from years stored in a damp environment, but the gold, this would set up a man for life.  Trembling from excitement, Ged unfastened his backpack and eagerly began filling it with anything that looked valuable.  So engrossed in the task at hand, Ged didn't hear the disturbance in the water, he was blissfully unaware of his encroaching doom until he felt it tighten around his leg.  Looking down in surprise the young rogue had no time to time react before the long green tentacle yanked him violently into the water and complete darkness, terrified the young man tried to to scream but only succeeded in flooding his lungs with the rank sewage water, his desperate thrashing lasted but a few moments and then complete silence, the only evidence of the rogues passing, a torch slowly burning out next to the old smugglers cache.



Edited by Dan S
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4 hours ago, Glitterwolf said:

You should post this in SHOW OFF as well.


It's simply amazing, love the story, the sewers look stunning.




Thanks Glitterwolf.  As for reposting in show off, I wouldn't want people thinking I was spamming.

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