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    Angel Barracks

    What do people use for water in ponds and rivers and stuff?
    I have used Vallejo Still Water in the past, but am wondering about clear set resin, or Woodland Scenics water, or just letting PVA dry clear and doing that?

    malc johnston

    I use transparent sheets, its cheap and easy to create [/url]
    20mb image hosting[/url] for rivers i just used a blue cover all over the tabletop glued down and build on top of it like in the picture, i have tried so many water effects….the transparent is best



    I just paint on a few coats of high gloss varnish and done, easy peasy.

    If you like small scale skirmish, check out http://planetares6.blogspot.be/?m=0


    Usually, I use modular terrain panels with the water represented with lightly textured acrylic paste, painted blue, and coated with a couple layers of acrylic gloss medium.  It gives a sort of cartoony effect, but I like the contrast and appearance.

    Jungle stream and water fall

    When I did my Vietnam river panels for riverine combat, I just painted plastic sheets a sort of muddy brown green with a couple coats of the gloss medium.  Much more realistic looking, but not as pretty.  It looks more like to the dirty Ohio River water that was nearby and used to catch on fire, when I was a kid.  I still may revert to simply using cloth, as I’m concerned that over time the paint will get scratched off of the plastic.

    Vietnam river on platic panels

    I used a patterned cloth to represent ocean for my Pacific island games.  I figured it would be the easiest for moving 28mm plastic gunboats around on and that it didn’t look too bad.

    Cloth water

    For display models, I’ve actually made several models with real running water, usually clear, but tinted brownish on one occasion.  Models that didn’t require running water, received clear or tinted resins, which can be tricky due to shrinkage, thermal properties during setting, potential issues with delamination, etc.  I tend to avoid resin in gaming terrain, as I use modular terrain with waterways routed out of foam terrain panels, and using the resin takes more care to apply (temporarily capping the ends of the foam, keeping it level, etc) and time, plus I like my pretty blue cartoony water.


    I recently tried Woodland Scenics’ stuff. It looks great and is easy to work with. One caveat, though: I discovered that stuff will stick to it even long after it’s dried. I had made up some river sections and stored them in a box with some other terrain pieces on top. Months later, I found that the pieces had fused together where they touched the “water”.

    Where there is fire, we will carry gasoline

    Stephen Tunmore

    I have used a number of systems but I now rout out ths river, layer woth tile adhesive, paint, place layer of resin then stipple a layer of artists matt medium over the top.

    I have had a number of features published in WSS magazine, on scenery making. Issue 82 has a feature on representing water.



    Fortuitous that this topic came up.

    I’m contemplating creating the Nile, to be partly placed over my desert Cigar Box terrain mat for my Mahdist War games. The idea is to line a table edge up to 150mm wide with what will represent part of the river & one bank.

    I’ve thought about buying some thick, blue vinyl & building the river’s edge to line it & butting this up against the mat. Or, similarly,  using boards that show edge & water using various effects.

    The various liquids seem to be very effective but on a board with only one lip, damning the liquid seems difficult. I’ve been looking (on Youtube) at this product:

    As a gel, you spread it over the required area, creating eddies & waves with a coffee stirrer or some such, and it stays where you put it.

    Any comments or advice on this is welcome.




    Don’t use PVA, it has a habit of going milky over time. I also found that the Woodland Scenics Realistic Water stays sticky. Varnish is you best option over something with texture.

    Stephen Tunmore

    Here is my latest work on a water effect https://www.facebook.com/pg/tunniesterrain/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1346018308851725

    I have a number of these tiles to complete, but this is the ‘master’ to align all the others.


    This river is plywood base painted various blues  and varnished, a classic simple look.


    The canal is lino painted a green/brown and several coats of gloss varnish, I tend to use this method for my rivers and water these days.


    Or simple blue tarpaulin, cost effective and quick and easy.

    Keith Barker

    I use Liquitex Gloss Heavy Gel  …

    Gives results like this (but looks better IRL than in my poor quality photos)…



    Stephen Tunmore

    Hello Keith, that is the artist medium that I use. I have also seen a previous wargames club that I attended just paint a sheet of board blue and add small white flecks on a roller and roll that over the surface of the board. Very effective!

    Keith Barker

    Stephen, yes its surprisingly easy to use the artists medium, even for an amateur like me!

    Norm S

    Artists acrylic gloss gell makes very good water ….. but it does tend to retain brush or knife strokes, so if you want say a flat pond, it is less useful.

    After recently seeing the price of Woodland Scenic Water effect and really only needing a small amount for a pond, I used tinted varnish, poured thinly, spread with a coffee stirrer and let set, so that I had a mucky pond effect. This was a resin pond and it warped (though I could stretch it back out), so I think the varnish must grip and shrink as it dries.


    If this topic has taught me anything, it’s that there are many people with amazing terrain collections.


    If this topic has taught me anything, it’s that there are many people with amazing terrain collections.

    Indeed, I need to up my game and replace my green tabletop and grey yoghurt pots.


    I’ve used the Liquetex gel on bases and smaller areas. For big areas such as custom boards, after sealing I’ll paint on Woodland Scenics flex paste to create some waves/chop and then paint as desired with craft paint. I’ll follow that up with a couple of coats of a gloss urethane and a final of semi-gloss.

    If I really want depth on a land board where the water is somewhat clear to show the depth with rocks and plants visible underwater, I’ll use the Woodland Scenics resin but the key for me is multiple thin coats as opposed to a single big pour.


    The tree of Life is self pruning.

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