Friday, 25 May 2012

Creating Water.....Or The "Resinator"


Following my postings on the trials & tribulations of the river scene...i have been contacted by a number of people...two of which i have had no contact with for over 10 years, seeking info on products used etc & i figured it might be of some use to convert these calls into a stand alone post.

Even if it helps one person avoid the pitfalls, then it has been worth it.

When the decision to create a river scene on the layout was made, i set about researching as best i could.  It became apparent early on that there are specialised products available from the normal model railway scenery suppliers...

After a few calls it also became apparent that the quantities i required would need to be sourced from overseas directly...or wait for the local suppliers to build up an order worth placing . 

Other factors that would need to be addressed were that  they are relatively expensive when you work out the coverage area, would they survive the trip & indeed would there be a restriction on some of them being airfreighted because of the lack of info on the stuff  re volatility etc.

It all became to much of a drama & a decision was made to complete the job using resin.

My first ill fated attempt at creating "water" has been well documented i will just concentrate on the succesful method.

Before moving on to the actual materials used, it is worth touching on preparation of the shorelines & river bed.

In the case of Fish River, the complete river valley is built on a common or garden plywood base with the river banks built up using styrofoam & plaster bandage sloping up to the natural trackbed level.  The actual river bed started off as raw plywood.

I did think about the sealing of the plywood, but more importantly was the need to lay down a believable colour that would form the river floor & accept the resin.

Another factor was the possibilty of the resin seeping under the scenery at the edge of the river  & delaminating it from the baseboard.

In the end i finished the river bed & shoreline using a brown acrylic paint & then used a watered down PVA soup to seal the river bed to the river bank.

Indeed all scenery was finished before the river was laid as i reasoned that the river needed to fill the valley & not the other way around.

One last word of caution is to ensure that at the front & rear of the layout any small gaps where the front fascia or rear backscene meet the river bed.... they need to be sealed as the resin will find any escape paths.  Here i used a bead of clear silastic.

Now for the fun part.....

Following talks with the very friendly & knowledgable people from Barnes Products Pty Ltd....located in Sydney... i was given a choice between two products that would achieve the desired result.  The first being Epoxy Casting Resin...or an alternative was offered... Clear Liquid Urethane.

From my discussions it would seem that urethane ends up being a bit more "flexible" than epoxy when cured & for casting, cures with more clarity than the very slightly yellow epoxy.....Urethane is also double the price of epoxy casting resin.

While the flexibilty of urethane was attractive, the clarity issue was a no brainer as the material was to be heavily tinted anyway... all this factored with the prohibitive cost of urethane...Cast Epoxy Resin was selected and ordered.

Barnes also have a range of resin pigments available & i certainly endorse selecting one of these..... I selected Burnt Umber...but each to their own.

I ordered three packs each making up 1.5kg of product.  Each pack has two containers being marked part A ( The Resin 1KG ) & Part B ( The Catalyst 0.5KG ) mixing ratio is 2:1 by weight, which is completely different from traditional resins where only 3 or so mil of catalyst are mixed with say 1 litre of resin.

For my needs i mixed two packs of part A ( Total 2kg )... then mixed in the pigment a little at a time until the desired tint was acheived & indeed then added a little more taking into account i still needed to add the 2 packs of part B ( Total 1kg )

***Use the pigment very sparingly as it is easy to add more, but impossible to remove from the is unbelievable how little is required.

In hindsight i guess i could have added the pigment after mixing the entire batch because the product does have a fairly long "Pot Life"

Irrespective of which method is used....take the time to stir the combined components extremely well... before applying to the layout.

As i stated in an earlier posting...this product does not appear to reach high temperatures during the curing process & while it gives off very little vapour while curing...common sense should be maintained.

One last word of advice is...try to minimise dust etc for around 24 hours to ensure a clean cured surface.

And above all...HAVE FUN. 

Resin Pack From Barnes Products

Resin Pigment Pack



  1. Thanks Rod, about 15 mins walk from work ! Too good.


    PS Gyprockers finished today - another step closer!

  2. Gary,

    Were you talking about Barnes ???

    As for the shed....

    Certainly another milestone...or millstone??

    Did you end up insulating the shed & are you going to add heating cooling???



  3. Sorry Rod, it was a bit ambiguous wasn't it ! I was referring to Barnses', they have a store in King St, Newtown, a few k's from work.
    Yeah....millstone....I try not to think of it as such but every now and then when I look at the task ahead it seems a bit that way.
    Yep, fully insulated with AirCell 6.5 mm (R2.8) walls and ceiling. Normally wrapped around the outside of the frame when it's finished, I did it a bit differently by putting it between the frame and the gyprock battens. This gave me a 65mm air gap between the outside sheeting and the insulation and another separate 25mm air gap between the insulation and the gyprock. Even the guy from Boral who quoted me said it was the best 'configuration' he had seen !!
    Yes again, a Mitsubishi 2.5 hp reverse cycle inverter A/C unit is all waiting to go in. This should happen next Thurs when the sparkie and A/C guy come for the day. Then paint, floor coverings and skirting boards and then I've run out of excuses !!

  4. Gary,

    I look forward to seeing it all materialise on the blog...

    I still have not decided on "climate control"

    Your idea for the insulation was a wise one in my estimation...

    While i cannot vouch for the climate where you we obviously get the dew & frosts & the inside of the colourbond cladding drips with the condensation...sometimes till for anyone else reading this keep it in mind or your insulation will end up damp for around 6 to 8 months per year & eventually penetrate & rot your walls both colourbond & well as being unhealthy for you & the trains...

    I have done the same & left an air gap between the cladding & internal timber frame & insulation.

    Great to hear from you & talk soon..