I have to admit I was hesitant to take gel and brush to the Lynn River because I’ve never done this before. What’s more, the Magic Water I used to create the river turned out really well, and I didn’t want to wreck my work.
But today I found a scrap of Masonite and did some practice work, and when I felt confident enough I tackled the water on the layout.
I learned two things.
First – don’t avoid things because they seem difficult. They often aren’t.
Second – don’t be stupid. Don’t experiment on the finished product. Start with something expendable.
These rules apply whether it’s learning to distress ties, learning to weather a locomotive, learning to add ripples to a river, learning to use a resistance soldering rig, or anything else that we do in this hobby. When I think about it, I’m surprised how daring we hobbyists can be. I’m guilty of this too, although I’m trying to train myself out of it. When using a new technique, it takes very little time and almost no expense to do a practice piece or two, at the comfort of the workbench, where one can really see what one’s doing and become comfortable with the tools and materials required.
If something doesn’t work, you haven’t ruined the layout. And when something does work – really, really well – you can write down what you did so you can repeat it. A blog is a good place for that…