Home Forums Terrain and Scenery Thickening PVA

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  • #46219
    Sane Max
    Participant

    I have decided 30+ years of wargaming and not owning a river is shameful*, plus I am bored, so I am making some river using Caulk.

    I want to build up the edges. Caulk is messy and a bit hard to work when it’s setting, so I plan to add river banks after it sets, but want something that will remain flexible. I have thought of thickening PVA glue with something organic to see if that will do , anyone any suggestions?

    *it’s not really of course. in about 90% of games a river is a PITA. If you have bridging points it becomes a ‘get to the bridge first’ contest, if you can wade it it has little real impact. But like I say I am bored.

    #46220
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Hmmmm not sure about thickening PVA, sorry, what about hot glue as an alternative?
    Not tried mind you..

    #46230
    PatG
    Participant

    There are a couple of ways of thickening PVA. Leaving the bottle open is the obvious route but funnily enough freezing the bottle can also thicken it (leaason learned from Canadian winters). Neither method is easy to control though and I wouldn’t recommend them.

    Another option is to look for artists modelling paste. These are essentially acrylic medium (paint with no colour pigment) with a filler mixed in to stiffen it and allow it to hold its shape. Pricey though.

    I have had good success with mixing PVA and dried spent tea leaves to make hedges for 6mm bases. They looked really good and held their shape well, but I am not sure if you could do a 28mm sized river bank with it – you would have to drink a lot of tea. A friend did something similar making monster figures out of used coffee grounds and Gorill glue. I have done other basing work with PVA mixed with sand but that does tend to slump a little before it dries out. I have also used baking soda as a filler / texturing agent – sculpt the soda to the desired contours and set with drops of super glue. Works great for snow and ice but is not flexible at all.

    A final option is Oogru – the do it yourself version of Sugru. It is a silicone based modelling clay made by mixing silicone caulking with cornstarch. See this link for more details: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Make-Your-Own-Sugru-Substitute/

    Building off of this you may be able to experiment with PVA and cornstarch to avoid working with silicone caulk.

    #46231
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    I think a problem you might have with PVA is that it shrinks as it dries and this might pull your river into weird shapes. You might want to try what the Yanks call “wood glue” instead. This does not shrink as it dries.

    I think you can build up banks with glue, yes, but unless you thicken it somehow, they’ll be too fluid. I like the cornstarch idea and am going to experiment with that.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #46239
    Sane Max
    Participant

    Cornstarch, i like the sound of that – I was thinking about wheatflour, but suspected it will swell when wet and thus shrink again when the glue sets

    I guess the only thing I can do is experiment. They are going to be very basic rivers, extruded onto greasproof paper, spread very thin, painted and highlighted, gloss varnished to look wet and then the banks built up (the advantage being the water will look wet and the banks ‘dry’) and then peeled off the paper. I was not planning on spending more than an hour a day over three days on the whole task.

    #46242
    PatG
    Participant

    I think a problem you might have with PVA is that it shrinks as it dries and this might pull your river into weird shapes. You might want to try what the Yanks call “wood glue” instead. This does bot shrink as it dries.
    ….

    Apart from hide, milk and fish based glues, most cabinet maker’s / wood glue is just high quality PVA. I have had no problem with shrinkage as long as I stay away from the dollar store/pound land varieties.

    Speaking of which, I just found this very thick PVA on the Lee Valley* tools site. It’s Titebond so it should be easily available elsewhere and for less.

    *Lee Valley caters to carpentry oriented retired gentlemen with too much money in their wallets. Top notch stuff but you pay for it.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by PatG.
    #46244
    Noel
    Participant

    Yes, I believe that wood glue is a thicker pva.

    #46291
    Piyan Glupak
    Participant

    SOME wood glue is thicker PVA.  It is sometimes possible to buy other types of glue for sticking wood together (and very annoying if you want PVA for scenic purposes).  Ask me how I know that. 

    #46304
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Oh, go on then… How do you know that there are other types of glue for sticking wood together, which is very annoying if you want PVA for scenic purposes? 

    #46319
    Sane Max
    Participant

    Oh, he told me about this – He bought 30 litres of ‘Shergar Brand wood Glue’ used it to glue all his scenery together and now the ‘RA are demanding Hush Money from him every time one of his units enters a BUA and his Games Room smells like the Storeroom at McDonalds.

    Not as embarassing as my (True) wargames scenery story, in which I had the brilliant* idea to mix PVA glue and Compost together to texture a wargames table made of Kingspan. I had done 4 boards and ran out of mix, made up another batch and forgot to Boil the Compost. I was the proud owner of 4 very nice wargames boards and one with Mushrooms. If I could have found a way to preserve the mushrooms it would have made quite a good Science Fiction board…

    * It is Brilliant. It worked really well too, and I still have it.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by Sane Max.
    #46323
    Cameronian
    Participant

    There’s that bathroom silicone sealant which remains flexible and comes in a variety of colours as well as clear, indoor and outdoor grades.

    'The time has come" The walrus said. "To talk of many things: Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--Of cabbages--and kings--And why the sea is boiling hot--And whether pigs have wings."

    #46333
    Noel
    Participant

    Oh, he told me about this – He bought 30 litres of ‘Shergar Brand wood Glue’ used it to glue all his scenery together and now the ‘RA are demanding Hush Money from him every time one of his units enters a BUA and his Games Room smells like the Storeroom at McDonalds. Not as embarassing as my (True) wargames scenery story, in which I had the brilliant* idea to mix PVA glue and Compost together to texture a wargames table made of Kingspan. I had done 4 boards and ran out of mix, made up another batch and forgot to Boil the Compost. I was the proud owner of 4 very nice wargames boards and one with Mushrooms. If I could have found a way to preserve the mushrooms it would have made quite a good Science Fiction board… * It is Brilliant. It worked really well too, and I still have it.

     

    This so much sounds like something I would do!

    #46366
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Wargaming was it Sir? I’m sure it was. And those ‘mushrooms’ are just an accident because you ‘forgot’ to boil the compost. Almost ‘magic’ hey? Ahem. Would you mind just coming down the station and explaining that for the Sergeant then?

    #46376
    Piyan Glupak
    Participant

    Oh, go on then… How do you know that there are other types of glue for sticking wood together, which is very annoying if you want PVA for scenic purposes?

    I bought some once.  I think that I used it up making baseboards for my toy trains.

    #46398
    Sane Max
    Participant

    well, I have done some conflour tests, it set like concrete and shrunk very little. A promising technique for future use but not for these floppy rivers.

    I am not gonna waste more time, they are meant to be fast and dirty, in fact if they look too good they will make the rest of my stuff look bad, so I am just going to flock the edges, Gloss Varnish and then flock the edges again for ‘Dry Banks’

    #46502
    Sane Max
    Participant

    well, they look O…..K….. ish…… some warping but I have made over 4 feet spare and can weed out the worst offenders.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

    #46523
    PatG
    Participant

    Those look great – especially for a first “fast and dirty” attempt.

    #46550
    Sane Max
    Participant

    alas, a ‘slow and clean’ approach will only look very moderately better I suspect, hence my similarly ‘fast and dirty’ approach to … well, life in general.

    #46796
    Silent Invader
    Participant

    Hi

    Wood glue has already been mentioned but I just wanted to flag Resin W Weatherproof Exterior Wood Adhesive by Evo-Stik (the blue bottle).

    http://www.bostik.co.uk/diy/product/evo-stik/Resin-W-Weatherproof-Exterior-Wood-Adhesive/5

    I use it for all sorts of terrain building but it makes a very useful water, either clear or tinted (for which I use a drop of Vallejo Model Air).

    By layering it you can get all sorts of depths and effects.

    It’ll also take paint and white or clear silicone sealant (caulk).
    Afghan stream:

    Silent Invader river

    River in The North:

    Silent Invader river

    Ditch in Belgium:

    Salient Invader river

    Images are from my project website:

    http://www.SilentInvader.uk

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by Silent Invader. Reason: Incompetence
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by Silent Invader. Reason: More incompetence!
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by Silent Invader. Reason: Even more incompetence
    #46815
    Sane Max
    Participant

    <THROWS HOME MADE RIVERS IN BIN>

    #46816
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Sane Max:

    You can use a 5% solution of Borax to polymerize the latex in PVA glue which makes a sticky rubbery solid mass. The mass is quite malleable and will eventually dry into a flexible and elastic mass. It bounces well too! The borax comes in powdered crystal form and must be mixed with water to make the solution. You might also want to dilute the PVA with some water before adding the borax.

    Cheers.

    Rod Robertson.

    #46817
    Silent Invader
    Participant

    Sorry SM, I didn’t mean to offend, if that’s what I’ve done. I just think that the Evo-stick ‘blue bottle’ resin glue is a great product for water, however the river is constructed.

    You’re rivers are great. Many would find my system to be too inflexible as the rivers are within 30cm tiles, which limits the choice of layouts. I mostly play solo, so I have only myself to please. 🙂

    #46824
    Mike
    Keymaster

    That’s very nice.
    I have used Vallejo still water which is great for smooth still water, no good for cool ass rivers though.

    ‘Even more incompetence’ < made me chuckle

    #46836
    Sane Max
    Participant

    Sorry SM, I didn’t mean to offend, if that’s what I’ve done.

    Offend???? No, you have certainly not offended – merely brought crashing down on me how bloody ordinary my terrain looks compared to yours. The colour of that ‘afghan stream’ is simply perfection.

    Also like the cycling poster. Go on, cheer me up, tell me the terrain in that is ‘Action Man’ scale rather than 28 or 15mm

    #46844
    McKinstry
    Participant

    Sorry SM, I didn’t mean to offend, if that’s what I’ve done. I just think that the Evo-stick ‘blue bottle’ resin glue is a great product for water, however the river is constructed. You’re rivers are great. Many would find my system to be too inflexible as the rivers are within 30cm tiles, which limits the choice of layouts. I mostly play solo, so I have only myself to please. 🙂

    I believe anyone else on the planet would be pleased to claim those rivers! Those are gorgeous and has me eyeing mine with disgust.

     

    Never wrestle with a pig. You both get muddy and the pig just likes it.

    #46845
    Silent Invader
    Participant

    Mike: my incompetence was in image formatting. D’oh!

    SM: Phew!  All the terrain is 1/56 (Belgium actually uses 1/72 Airfix resin buildings that I upscaled). Here’s a shot with a bicycle in it, though sadly it is partly under rubble (the mini is one of Paul Hicks WW1 range).

    Silent Invader Belgium

    #46859
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    When are you going to show off your SSS stuff?

    #46868
    Silent Invader
    Participant

    I did (do) use the above-mentioned glue as a key ingredient in my SSS snow mix – it’s very versatile stuff (but always the blue bottle, never the green bottle).

    Not going to ‘show off’ by bombarding images though, just trying to be helpful. 

    #46870
    darthfozzywig
    Participant

    <THROWS HOME MADE RIVERS IN BIN>

    Hahah yeah, that was pretty much my reaction as well.

    Dang. Those are amazing water features.

    #46882
    Silent Invader
    Participant

    You’re all too kind. The effect is very simple to produce as, in many respects, it’s just an illusion. I make my terrain on 6mm thick 30cm sq MDF tiles so (other than Belgium, which is raised on plinths for the building basements) there is no real depth. The lack of depth means the technique could also be used for sectioned rivers, though snake-like strips of MDF would probably warp so the base might need to be something more stable (hmmm, not sure what).

    Anyways, the bank is raised up using slivers of foam board and plaster:

    SI river

    Then a base texture for the ground level using sifted ‘sharp sand’ onto the aforementioned glue:

    SI river

    Painting (the Afghan river was clear and shallow, so had texture to its bed, whereas The North river is tinted and deep, so the bed is left smooth):

    SI river

    Then the pour:

    SI river

    The pour will overlap and have some shrinkage, which is actually a good thing, as it allows the adding of extra layers including waves and turbulence. For the Afghan river, protruding rocks were repainted as ‘dry’ after the river had cured.

    I haven’t got a suitable finished image of the WIP section above but the following is just downstream. In the foreground is a ford and in the shot you can just about make out the texture of the shallower river bed.

    SI River

    In this Afghan/Arizona/Sicily shot you can see the rocks etc underwater:

    SI River

    So, though a long post I’m not advocating anyone doing it this way (horses for courses, each to their own, etc, etc), I just wanted to show that what works for me is the result of what is actually a pretty simple process.

    #46893
    Patrice
    Participant

    Some rivers made by members of my gaming group (…not by me, if that can comfort Sane Max!)
    We use 120 x 60 cm and 60 x 60 cm tiles, 30 or 32 mm thick.

    In the following case the coating had shrinked when the liquid was poured on it, it caused unexpected ripples:

    A marshy area. The white cotton was magical fog in an Arthurian scenario…

    …and was concealing an objective which suddenly appears!

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
    https://www.anargader.net/

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