The Cruel Sea

Things have progressed sufficiently on the mill structure that I’ve commenced initial work on Morpeth’s fourth and final scenic module: the river/pier module. I’ve been very lucky over the past year or so to have been swapping emails with renowned UK modeller Gordon Gravett, who tells me at one time scratch built ship models for a living. I’ve been sending him photos of my progress and he’s sent back a few of various projects he’s working on, including the following shot of a ship he built at some point in the past.

This photo sent to me by Gordon Gravett was well timed because it confirmed for me a decision I'd already made about the colour of the water i plan to include on my layout.

This photo sent to me by Gordon Gravett was well-timed because it confirmed for me a decision I’d already made about the colour of the water I plan to include on my layout.

What really caught my eye in this photo wasn’t so much the ship model, which is excellent, but the colour and texture of the water. As far as I can gather the base colour of the water is black with a layer of clear gloss “texture” applied over this to provide a ripple effect. I’ve been thinking long and hard about what colour to make my water as over the years I’ve seen lots of different colours applied to reproduce water at depth. However the one “colour” that always seems to me to be the most effective is black (and yes Lindsay, I know black isn’t a colour) 🙂 and I had already decided that I was going to use black as the base colour when this photo was sent to me by Gordon. I love having my prejudices confirmed 🙂 Why black? Well the reasons are many and varied but I have a feeling that the reason black works so well as a “water” colour (well at least for me) is that our eyes tends to delete black when we are looking at it and all we tend to see is the reflection from the lighting and the shadows cast by objects which sit upon its surface. Of course it needs to have a high gloss finish, but the shadow reflected in the surface of the water in the photo above looks very realistic to me and if it’s good enough for Gordon Gravett, one of my modelling heroes, then it’s good enough for me.

I'm about 1/3 of the way through the preparation of the surface of my water in this photo. This shows the river module masked off and after having two coats of spay primer applied. This brings up the divots and gaps in gloious, annoying detail so I've appplied a second round of polly filler (the pe mixed type) to the surface. This will be allowed to dry overnight and I'll come back and sand it all back off in the morning before applying a third coat of primer. This will continue till I'm satisfied that the surface is reasonably flat and dent free.

I’m about 1/3 of the way through the preparation of the surface of my water in this photo. This shows the river module masked off and then two coats of spay primer applied. This brings up the divots and gaps in glorious, annoying detail so I’ve applied a second round of Polly-filler (the pe-mixed type) to the surface. This will be allowed to dry overnight and I’ll come back and sand it all back off in the morning before applying a third coat of primer. This will continue till I’m satisfied that the surface is reasonably flat and dent free.

I spent today working on the wooden surface of the water on the river module. I’ve decided to use spray paint from cans to achieve the base colour of the water and I began today by dragging the river module out to the garage and filling all the holes in the fascia and the water surface, which started life as two small sheets of 6mm ply. Normally I would be pretty slap dash about this sort of thing but I decided that this particular part of the project probably called for a bit of effort and a proper sequence of work in an attempt to get the surface flat and smooth prior to the application of the base black colour, which will be from 2 1/2 cans of Dulux DuraMax Satin Black. I filled and sanded the surface of the ply “water” and then sprayed on a thin coat of Rustoleum grey primer. I lightly sanded this first primer coat after 2 hours, took a trip to Bunnings for more paint and sprayed on another coat. When this dried I applied a second round of spak filler to the holes and gaps around the edges and along the line where the two ply sheets butt up against each other. I’ll never get this surface completly flat and smooth but I can certainly improve on the cratered moon surface that currently exists. As with a train model, nothing drags a less than perfect surface into the cold light of day better than applying grey primer.

So far I’d mark this assignment Gordon G 10/10, Trevor H 2/10 🙂

Advertisements

One thought on “The Cruel Sea

  1. Gordon’s work is enviable and I am sure that you will accomplish much the same thing.

    Years ago in Railroad Model Craftsman a gentleman built a New York Harbor scene using rippled glass from a shower door — it was a very effectiveand might be an alternative for more mortal modelers.

    Bill

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s