How to make rivers and lake water look real? is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


Stay off the tracks!
Um. Do you want best... or do you want cheapest?

The two are pretty much mutually exclusive in this area.

Best seems to be expert use of Envirotex epoxy and gloss medium.

Cheapest is cardboard balloon material.


Siccmade said:
What is the best and cheapest way to make my river and lake water look real?

This is one area I want to get a whole lot better at. For now though I did it the simple way with Woodland Scenics Realistic Water, some blue and black acrylic artist paints and multiple redo :(

For a starter, you want to make sure you have an inpression in the scenery that your want the lake or river at. You want to be sure that it's sealed well. I know some use plaster and smooth it, I used WS Foam Putty. Once I have the lake bed the way I wanted the contours to be, I mixed the black and blue together and made it more black then blue. Then paint in your lake bottom. Once it has dried, I then poured a very thin layer, let it dry for a day or 2, then pour another layer. You can pour as many as you want, but it really doesn't seem to help with the illusion of depth.

Like I said, mine is okay, and as I get more time I may redo them, the beauty of WS Realistic Water is you can pull it back up after a while if you want to redo it. Joe Fugate should be addressing lakes and rivers in his Scenery Clinic soon. He has some very realistic water effects. Hopefully others can chime in with some more professional results.


Modeling SP in the 1980s
Yep, I'll be covering how to do realistic water effects in the next few days in my scenery clinic on here ... in the meantime, here's some sample photos of the results:


Closeup of a small pond, done using envirotex and acrylic gloss medium


Same pond farther back, so you can see the whole scene.


And still father back, so you can see the scene in context.

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