Model a flooded field

Model Rail (UK) - - Contents - Mark Rowland, by e-mail

I want to in­clude small ar­eas of flood­ing in one of my fields. How do I do it?

Peter says: Imag­ine a field in late au­tumn af­ter a pe­riod of heavy rain. In dips and hol­lows, wa­ter gath­ers and forms a shal­low pond. We can rep­re­sent this by first lay­ing sheets of foam, shaped to form an un­even land­scape and painted with Wood­land Scen­ics’ Wa­ter Un­der­coat. This lat­ter prod­uct seals and colours the base of the wa­ter fea­ture, with six dif­fer­ent shades avail­able, each of which can be in­ter­mixed to cre­ate darker depths in deeper, mid-river sec­tions or lighter shades around shal­lower shore­lines. Hav­ing es­tab­lished the foun­da­tions, the en­tire scene can be cov­ered with var­i­ous lay­ers of static grass fi­bres, with some colour vari­a­tion. Sep­a­rate, darker green tufts can also be added here and there to add even greater vis­ual va­ri­ety. To cre­ate the scene fea­tured here, it took five sep­a­rate lay­ers of Noch’s ready-mixed wa­ter fluid, ap­plied once a day to en­sure the pre­vi­ous layer was com­pletely dry. This pa­tient ap­proach re­moves any risks of the ‘wa­ter’ dry­ing cloudy. I was also care­ful to check that my base­board was level be­fore pour­ing on the wa­ter, en­sur­ing a con­sis­tent cov­er­age and pre­vent­ing the liq­uid from drib­bling onto the floor. It’s im­por­tant to read the man­u­fac­turer’s in­struc­tions care­fully and ad­here to the rec­om­mended dry­ing times. I usu­ally pre­fer to build my wa­ter fea­tures in the sum­mer months, with dry­ing times be­ing shorter and wa­ter prod­ucts be­hav­ing more pre­dictably. Work­ing in a cold, damp en­vi­ron­ment makes life more dif­fi­cult, yet it’s im­pos­si­ble to rush the dry­ing process – if you pour on an­other layer of wa­ter fluid pre­ma­turely, the pre­vi­ous layer may never dry out or, as al­ready stated, there’s a risk of the fluid turn­ing cloudy. Af­ter build­ing up sev­eral lay­ers, I found that the ‘wa­ter’ spread fur­ther than I’d in­tended it to with each sub­se­quent pour. Ac­cord­ingly, I de­cided to model the pond with a cen­tral area of still wa­ter, sur­rounded by damp and soggy ground. This was achieved with a sprin­kling of Wood­land Scen­ics fine turf, hav­ing ap­plied PVA glue in a few key ar­eas. One al­ter­na­tive to pour­ing out the wa­ter is to use a plas­tic pipette or sy­ringe to dis­pense the fluid. This gives you a lot of con­trol over where the wa­ter is go­ing, although care is needed to avoid in­tro­duc­ing air bub­bles into the fluid. Care­fully drag the fluid to the sides of the pond with a wooden cof­fee stir­rer.

Above and below: Noch’s Ar­ti­fi­cial Wa­ter is ideal for cre­at­ing smaller wa­ter fea­tures, such as ponds or flooded fields.

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