Saturday, 17 September 2016

BB`s Canal a Work Long Overdue

Simplicity is The Key

After having good results on my water samples i decided to bite the bullet and get started upon the real diorama of which i started three hot summers ago,and now quite well relieved that no expensive pours need doing.    Since that time i formulated the cheapest way that i found to produced good looking toy boats of various descriptions, A mid way stage in the process seen above making a Mule that was towed on behind another narrow boat in front. 

After the base bent up after construction it was weighted down with heavy books,and so it had been in flat bed storage actually under a bed, and this action which stemmed from good reason upon the matter of not wishing to waste work already done and dusted was taken.                                                                                                                          
 In the light of day it could be seen and avoided,but during the dead of night                                        one cannot have large lumps of  my four foot by two foot oddities loaded up with piles of books laying about the place for fear of stubbing a toe perhaps already still on the sore side  from doing it before. Or perhaps tripping tip over tail over  the darn thing  while doing a somersault and flat pack back landing upon the floor as if a dashed defeated failure at half asleep Gymnastics.                           

So here we see it below                                                     

i painted what is going to be the wettest part ,                                                                                      
that was of course then the deepest driest part  on the board.                                                                                                                                              

Soon it  was hoped that this desert scene will eventually vanish,and the void  left will be looking  like  it has been  rather filled up with water effects that need not cascade from each exposed end as if  an integral part of Niagara  Falls!  No hopefully not that.                                                                       

It is a simple affair   as seen set out below showing a long right angles canal section with openings in the top which are needed for good reason that will be made more clear in understanding later.

The paint having been found and then brushed on  was perfect for this odd job.
It was while the paint was still wet that dry kiln dried sand was well heaped up upon it leaving it looking like a filled in section of the Suez Canal that had crafty-like blown in during the night from the surrounding desert.  Why?    There was a join that i did not wish to show up on the canal bottom that`s why i decided to sand the base. A flat base  without any joins only needs painting.                                                                                                

 The sand was levelled off to stop to much running to the floor. We have stone floors here in the lower part of the house,and  dry Silica Sand is very slippery!  Be warned it`s like trying to skate without the proper kit on ones feet.   So sweep it up.                                                                                                                                                          

Most sand was now brushed away and back in the tub for a while.On that overcast bleak day i was  also working on making the supportive sides to this canal.                                                                                                                                               

Which was and is a simple task  of sharp cutting strips of cardboard off and then stripping one side off, as seen in the picture above___ and it was done as fast as me mitts could handle it.

filled up with a few helpful water effect samples still fresh and alert in my mind my confidence was and still is high. One sample  of  which to push a boat out upon is shown below. It shows the reinforced  right hand side designed at the deep side where narrow boats can tie up at these mooring points to deliver goods,and take them away too. To the left of the canal a gradual sloping side descends into the water and this is where mingled marginal plants blot their feet in the mud and water.                                                                                              

It shows a 5" wide stretch of water that is 11" long. The depth is 1mm deep. i found two lines of spaced out drops of Mod Podge  an inch or so off centre ,is enough to spread out over the entire board using my cheap brush.   It goes on white ,pongs a bit of boiled Beetroot,as my memory serves to describe it and it dries well clear overnight with one thin coat.  Now it seems that still lakes and rivers are quite popular  in the hobby for reflective mirror like qualities,but the slightest defect in the pour sticks out like a sore thumb. Whereas moving water is less prone to show up any tiny niggling spots of blemished endeavour.                                                                                                                         

My little canal being only 6 foot long including the bend is the self same width of this sample board so i am well looking forward to creating the long a waited for water effects.                                                                                                                                                  

An amazing very affordable product.    £7.75 Free Post on E Bay UK    
                         i guess i used 20 p`s worth on the sample above.                                                                                                                               
Another Messy Stage of The Work
Looms in Sight

                               Now i need to paint these strips with enamel  paint to toughen them up.


                                                   Soon After Paint Had Dried

             A good sanded bed was created and the join in the board is not visible at all.

With 16 dry strips all cut peeled and painted,i began the little task of sticking them into place. i used plenty of glue brushed on thickly on both the flat side of the card,and also a spread upon the area on this section of canal to be faced.

i left the glue to dry tacky,and then applied a thin brush of glue again over the top of the tacky stuff. Why? You might ask?
 i have long used this system using p v a glue, because as it`s put on and pushed onto its fixing point two things happen. One, the tacky stuff sticks like contact glue, and two the wet glue is squeezed out and seals the edges tidy like. The handle of a small paint brush is a perfect tool for pressing home the corrugated supportive sides of this stretch of water way. A tidy up with ones finger on the top is all that was required at this point of contact.

It took a while longer this way but i know each and every piece is stuck fast and will not come loose and Swan Off down river. The supportive edges holding back the banks will be lightly dry brushed in seconds later,and then the canal well flushed out in  the cool waters of this long hot summer of 2016.

Where i have stuff made up of untidy needful things i will be cutting out lift off bases that in themselves will have models buildings stuck into place on them.So these are actually going to be lift off landscaped lids that will hold a few surprises held in store.
 The riverside edges were soon sanded by applying paint,
and while still wet the sand was spread out onto it,via a yogurt pot. Which is very enjoyable,because ones gets to eat the yogurt first and then play in the sand. Magic!

The first patterns of the railway service hatch covers are cut and placed out.
These will be reinforced ,and landscaped later.

 The canal is a sea of sand at present again because work is still ongoing._____________So no need to clear it up as yet.
i can imagine a few hundred Riff gathering in this stretch of desert sand, to prepare an attack on some lone outpost in North Africa.

An overlap  of boards are planed which will work well in tidying the edges of a small granite sett out  access lane that will lead down to the tow path, and will hopefully look fine and dandy,and in the cheapest possible way.
i soon realised after playing with odds and ends about the place that various  landscaped covers for this simplified area could, and will be made and landscaped,giving me the ability to change the look of the canal without any major changes taking place. A simple system of Lift Off,________Lift On.
So a factory,a wood yard,a coal merchant can be spaced out evenly and be as large as i like on theses sections of lift on surprise. Then various houses can be displayed on full or half view upon others intermingled with trees.Which is presently a picture only tapped out in emotive language.

Below a few Narrow Boats Nearing The Finish Painting Stage & Dressing Up

Trees from my Toy Collection.

Playing with toy tree`s is a good pastime and in doing so helps me formulate fresh ideas,and using the camera is a must tool to use.    Odd numbers work well in design patterns,and are more pleasing to eye, like in three`s,fives and seven`s.    So is a good tip to pass along.                                                                                                                                            

                                        Those above will not be in place on the finished work.

So i could do with making a few more tree`s. i have a few fresh ideas upon the subject.

To Be Continued



Not to much to be excited about but i wish to show the process because i feel it could and would aid others wishing to do simple deep water effects.                                                                                     

Painting the canal base

                                Emulsion Paint  Brown and Black being blended in.

The base actually used as my paint palette for mixing the paint and in doing so this will aid reflection later. A wash of dull green then a much brighter green was added marking the high water mark to all sidings,but also for adding green to the bottom itself in the hope it would look like plant life and alga  beneath  the  surface of the water.

  So above looks uninspiring true, so lets get the sluice gates open and give this thing a good wetting.

                                                               Hodge Podge Time

The long awaited for beginning of the deep looking water effect .It will cost about £2.00 UK Stirling!
It will only be between 1 and 2 mm thick when dry.

    It had a good squirt down the middle then it was spread out with a little cheap brush.

It was so easy and this first layer is simply brushed toward each side sealing the base perfectly as i worked my way along it. When completely covered i gave it a duck stipple with the same brush all over  then i left it to dry clear and hard.

The next day i added another thin layer,and duck stippled that,and left it to dry clear and hard.

                The day after this i added another thin layer and did everything as before.

         The forth layer i wanted thicker as you can see and so it was given a good covering.

It was brushed out all over very quickly,but there was no need to hurry because there`s lots of time to work with this stuff,i have gotten used to working with it.
A little experience gained by doing sample work,and my raised canal will hopefully pay off.

Once spread out thick and globby it was duck stippled with the same brush.  i named it duck stippling because as the brush is pushed into the white of this stuff it forms the look of a Duck Foot.
Bellow is my Hodge Podge and using this stuff is as easy as opening the tub. i kid you not. This thicker layer will take two or three days to fully clear. Why so thick? Well i am building up a lens that will further define the look of deep water,and the thicker agitated white will certainly help me achieve this.

             The Lion & Unicorn are for another project and are just cheap plastic toys.

Below the canal looks to be in full flow,a look i want in order to have dark shadows and deep reflections skipping  across the sparkle of this working waterway. It is not yet completely ready for its final touch of duck stippling but i am most pleased with the look of it.

         The water is clearing and it is hard enough for a narrow boat to chug along at this stage.

Not a good quality photo i will do better later with proper daylight and natural shadows.

Perhaps i will see you later i`m in most days  BB

Tunnel Update


So two more homemade puzzled  pieces slip into place.  BB

Simple Support Brackets

                   These are strong fixing points for a back board to be firmly fixed into place.

This is a bridge where a roadway  will run down to the canal it will be in place where the bus can be seen in the second picture above.                                                                                                       

With the Back Board well fixed into place it was time for a Dry Run.

Like most in the hobby of railroading,                                                                                                 
space is at a premium and so my canal section was placed  in the corner of the room where it was designed to go. It will eventually sit over the top of the three Honey Well Railway Lines entering and leaving by way of tunnels beneath it.                                                                                                        

This was a dry run so to speak of just seeing if the box would fit into place without hitting the brackets that support the shelving system above it. A something needed to store my model figure collection and my scratch-built buildings as well as some of my homemade tree`s.                                                              

With the Napoleonic Toy Soldier Collection stored under the five tables that the layout rests upon,I have used all the available space in this room. Well I also have several other toy collections too stored in plastic storage boxes too. Yes I`m a hoarder of toys and eccentrically quite proud of it too.                     

After work is finished on casting up tunnel entrances,I will fetch this downstairs to the large         table, and finish scratch-building the entire  canal with buildings and boats with the backdrop fully landscaped.                                                                                                                                         
This work will take me into next year and I hope to finish and have it installed by April 2017.                                                                                                                                                
I hope to see you guys later.    BB                                      


  1. Stunning job BB, stunnning job!

    1. Hi Phil,i feel the water effect has nearly reached that point that i pictured in my mind when long ago i first put pen to paper and drew up the rough plans for it.It was a project that went terrible wrong and i stashed it away in the bright hope one day i could finish it. As far as the water is concerned that was a doddle and so darn easy to do.
      Thanks for commenting. BB