Friday, January 17, 2020

East Berlin Scenery Update: Mattabesset River

I have a confession to make - since I started the Valley Local group over on Facebook, the blog has lagged behind my progress a bit. In some cases, really far.

So (again with the New Year's Resolutions), I resolve to do better in 2020 and try and keep the blog more up-to-date. After all, it's a (web)log of my layout's progress that I own and can keep without worrying that Mark Zuckerberg will someday take it away.

With that in mind, this post will bring you up-to-date with what's been going on in East Berlin (click here for the posts so far). Here's a grab pic of where we left off last time:

I'd painted the Mattabesset river bed and installed the backdrop. Things were looking so good I was afraid no matter what I did next that I'd somehow mess it up. But the only way forward (to your end goal) is through (your fears) so I continued by working more on the river banks.

The first thing I did was try to get away from the river looking too much like a road (as The Missus put it) by roughing up the edges of the banks with more blended brown & black paint.

I also added some trees and ground scrub toward the back of the scene, not only for texture, but to hide the bottom edge of the backdrop. I used a variety of materials here, including static grass, lichen, Woodland Scenics foliage net, and even some stuff I picked up from the dry flower section of my local craft store.

I added tufts of taller grasses by rolling some longer fibers between my fingers, cutting to a length that looked good, dipping the cut end into some glue, and "planting" in place along the banks.

Meanwile, I decided to make the edges of the banks even more irregular and created some "shallow" spots in the center of the river, all with brown and black paint.

Don't be afraid to go over even "done" scenery to add more texture/variety. Here I'm adding some patchy glue that will hold some more static grass (for a patchy grassy look).

Looks a mess when you first do it . . .

. . . but it improves when you vacuum it . . .

. . . and looks eve better when it starts to dry.

After getting some feedback, I decided to add some "deadfall" (twigs) - again, more variety and texture.
 After all this working and reworking, I ended up with this:

And that's where things ground to a halt while I worked on some other projects and ginned up the nerve to actually pour the resin "water."

But like with many things in this hobby, the fear proved to be unfounded. Doing the water effect ended up being easier than I thought.

I used Woodland Scenics' Deep Pour water product (which Bill used in Goff Brook) and followed the instructions to the letter: basically, warming the two parts of resin beforehand, mixing them in the proper proportion in the right amount (calculated using a handy water volume estimator app available from Woodland Scenics), and then pouring . . .

This is what it looked like immediately after I finished pouring. WOW! I really like how the riverbed looks. Looks really deep (it's actually only 1/8" deep here).

Warmth is important to this product, so Woodland Scenics recommends covering the pour with aluminum foil to keep the heat in (the curing process itself generates some heat) and to keep dust off the resin as it cures.
 Believe it or not (BION), this is what it looks like after it's all cured!

Just as "wet" looking as when it was poured.
 One thing I did notice was that the product does tend to creep up the sides a bit. . .

But I don't really see that as a problem since I think riverbanks would be wet along the edges anyway. And check out the depth!

Speaking of depth: Be sure to pour the right amount! The calculator proved extra handy when I realized (AFTER the pour, of course) that I hadn't created a dam at the edge of the layout!

Turned out, the resin filled just to the top of the fascia. Talk about beginner's luck! Whew!

And this is what the scene looks like as of today:

Compare this to the photo at the top of the post
So now you're all up-to-date on the Mattabesset River. Be sure to stay tuned for the rest of the East Berlin Scenery Update - I've been working on the road and a grade crossing as well. And I still need to decide how to do some ripples on the river. I love the beautiful reflection, but no river is that still...

Hope to get this scene to a level of "done-ness" by the Springfield show. Wish me luck!


  1. Expect a lot of visitors to poke the top to see if there really is water in there. It looks great!

    1. Thanks! Hopefully there won't be TOO many fingerprints on it after next weekend %^)