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Monday, December 8, 2008

Rivers, Part 2

So, this is a basic multi-part "how I did it" for the rivers. I have a few pictures to go with, as well, though they are of different pieces.

Just to re-cap, I am using the styrene sheet rivers from a company called Precision Products []. The sheets are 16"square, 0.025" thick, with vacuum-formed terrain impressed into the sheets. The stream is about 1" (2.5 cm) across, with banks of about equal width.
Materials and tools: wood putty, styrene rivers, kitchen shears, hobby knife, 1/16" thick plywood, glue, felt, a few heavy books
  1. Cut out the river piece. I cut mine all the way to the edge of the banks, but you could leave a small lip or flange of plastic around it. I used kitchen shears to cut them out.

  2. Wash the piece in warm water with some dish detergent, just to make sure there's no mold release on it.

  3. Mix the wood putty. I used to have Durham's, which I actually prefer, but the DAP brand stuff works as well. You want to mix water with the powder until it gets like a really thick milkshake consistency.

  4. Fill the underside of the river piece with the wood putty and let it dry overnight.

  5. Next day, trace the shape of the river out onto some thin plywood or MDF. I use 1/16 inch birch plywood (about 1.5mm), that is supposed to be for R/C airplanes or something.

  6. Cut the shape out. A bandsaw with a fine-tooth blade would be perfect for this, but I don't have one, so I use my hand jigsaw (sometimes called a fret saw or jeweler's saw, I think). Sand the rough edges.

  7. Glue the river piece to the base. I use Allene's Tacky Glue usually, but I have also used superglue (liquid, not gel) with good results.
  8. Clamp or weight down the piece and leave two+ hours (PVA) or twenty-ish minutes (superglue). I have tried lots of ways to weigh it down, and I am still least happy with this step of the process. Best so far has been a layer of felt or something, then a few large heavy books on top. It still leaves a few gaps at the edges, though.

  9. Spray with flat white paint. I tried black paint on one piece. It doesn't work for me. Let dry (duh!).
At this point, you should have a piece of nicely detailed river, with the hollows filled and attached to a base for a nice, weighty, durable piece of terrain.
Next post, I'll discuss painting and filling the stream with water effect.


Tim Mayer said...

Excellent article.
I gave your blog a mention on mine and provided a link to it.
Have you tried our Terrain Putty?

J Womack, Esq. said...

Thanks for your interest and support.

No, I haven't seen the Terrain Putty. I suppose now I need to drop by your blog and see what you have! Woohoo! Always like to see new stuff out there.