Two things about ripples (or anything else, for that matter)

I probably should’ve included this in my initial posting on adding ripples to the Lynn River, but it’s important enough to warrant a stand-alone entry.
Ripples photo Ripples-01_zps384544b7.jpg
(Click on the image to read the initial post)

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…

2 thoughts on “Two things about ripples (or anything else, for that matter)

  1. The ripples look great.
    I recently added ripples to a lake on my HO layout, using acrylic gloss gel. This was the first water I’d done, it was acrylic and not deep enough or tinted. So the bottom was clearly visible (though painted appropriately) The ripples helped a great deal disguising the lack of depth and looked pretty good.
    So I decided to try the same technique on the large “Ohio River Inlet” I’d built on our O scale club. In this case, the original acrylic had been tinted with Floquil Pullman Green, which gave it a nice muddy look and you could only see the bottom near the shore. I wasn’t nearly as happy with the ripples in this case, probably they aren’t big enough to be credible in O scale and I think I liked the reflective surface of the river better (which had made nice reflections of trains crossing the bridge above it). Fortunately I didn’t do the entire surface, so the far side of the bridge, where the water is a pond, is still smooth and reflective.
    So, in different areas, different treatments work. Live and learn.

  2. Hi Trevor,

    I haven’t visited in awhile, and I see you’ve been quite busy this past month or so. The ripples add to your already excellent water, and the trees, cattails, etc. look great. Your scenery prowess serves as something for me to aspire to!

    BTW, the tune by BluesBop was quite good…thanks for the link.


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