Taking a dive

Not all battles are fought on flat, dry, grassy fields.  They can be in marshes, across rivers and streams, or just mud and puddles from the weather.  On the tabletop, you can model this many way, from simple pieces of felt for a river to resin river terrain.  But if you want to add some water to your bases, or just make much more realistic looking water terrain features, you need a bit more.

I know of two companies that make products to help with this.  Woodland Scenics makes some (they market toward railroad layouts) as well as Vallejo.  I have actually used some of each.

First off, I do NOT recommend Woodland Scenics E-Z Water.  I used this for my first river terrain pieces, and after a while it yellowed and cracked.  I still have some of it, but don't plan to use it again.

I have used Vallejo Water Effects gel before, for my Beech Boyz bases and display board.  This works great for shaping water (i.e. waves), but no so much when you want deeper water.

I used Woodland Scenics Water Effects for the river, waterfall and pond on my display board for The Drunk Dwarfs of Karaz Valdahaz.

However, for my new army I wanted to do here was have all my bases underwater (1/4 to 1/2" or so).  None of the products I've used before would work.

So I picked up some Vallejo Still Water.  This is a very thin liquid that sets clear.  I'd like to say it is simple and easy to use, but unfortunately it hasn't been so far.

I'm not ready to base the army yet, but I did have one base I could practice on that didn't require any miniatures to be complete - the flying base for the riverguard (for which I'm using Nameless Needle Drones).  So I assembled the base, with sand for texture for the bottom, as well as the flying stands.  I added some sea shells and some Huge Miniatures grass tufts (to represent seaweed etc).

I watched a couple of youtube videos to attempt to figure out what I was doing.  Since this is so thin, you need to make a frame to hold the liquid in while it dries.  My first attempt was using some thin plasticard.  I cut it into strips, then used a hot glue gun to attach them together around the base.  The glue goes on the outside corners, as well as underneath the base to make a seal.

And this failed miserably.  I was not able to get a good seal, and it all basically ran out all over my desk.  This does clean up with water (while still wet), so no harm, but the thin plasticard was not going to be enough.

So I went to thicker card. I want to use plasticard because it says that you can peel it off of non-porous, smooth surfaces.

Bottom, sealed up tight
My first attempt here also failed with still a few leaks, however on the third try (third time is the charm) I was able to get a good seal around the bottom of the base so there was no leaking, and poured the first couple of millimeters in.

This takes 24 hours to completely set however, so this is a very slow process.  After a day, I added another layer of a millimeter or two, and after that set I added the third layer ( enough to cover all the plants and sea shells).

Now that everything is covered, I left it for another day.  The next step is the unboxing - removing the frame from the base.

The first part is removing the hot glue from the seam around the bottom of the base (there to prevent leaks).

It all came off in one piece
It ended up being much simpler to push the base up out of the frame then to push it down.  The water effects were still tacky, though not liquid.  However even the slightest touch left a finger print in it.  In addition it did bunch up a bit on the front edge, so it is a little raised there.

Overall it doesn't look bad, and I like what the effect are doing.

However, after all of this work, I think I have found a simpler solution.

When I was working on a demo display board with a stream in it, I was worried about how to seal off the ends.  Hot glue could have damaged the foam on the board, and might not come off very easily.

I have the tub of water effects gel.  It occurred to me that I could use this to dam up the ends of the stream, since it would actually hold it's shape (unlike the still water, that flows into place.

It worked quite well for those purposes.

end of stream
This is touchable in 24 hours, though it takes quite some time to finally dry clear (48 hours later and it is still white).  However, as you can see, it is very difficult to exactly form this gel.

Woodland Scenics Water Effects is very similar, but comes in a squeeze bottle.  So I should be able to apply this more precisely around the edge of each base, and once it sets fill it with still water.

Because it is all fun and games . . .