Water with Waves Step by Step

  • threeq
Seaview on the surface
This is part of my continuing efforts to portray water in all its myriad forms. This time the subject is the Polar Lights Seaview submarine.
Step by Step
I will describe what I did.

Step 1. Painted an inexpensive plaque from Hobby lobby with dark green and blue acrylic paints.

Step 2. Added a ¼-inch wooden lip to keep the “water” in.

Step 3. Used clear silicone caulk (on sale at Lowes!)To glue the sub to the plaque and added the stern wake and the bow build-up. Let this fully dry before moving on. If you don’t the caulking will come out milky white.

Step 4. Poured about a 1/16 of an inch of Woodland Scenic’s Realistic Water tinted with Dr. Martins inks. This model took about 2 – 4 oz. of Woodland Scenic’s Realistic Water. That’s about ¼ to 1/3 of a bottle.
This stage was done in small doses. I mixed the Dr. Martins in with the water in small disposable cups a little at a time – better to err on the too little than too much; it will darken slightly when it dries.
Dr. Martins were used because I had them already. I like strong pigments to begin with these are strong. Any water-soluble ink should work fine. I really stayed to the green side of blue green.
Let this dry for a day or so.

Step 5. I then used Woodland scenic’s Water Effects to add smaller wakes and splashes.
I let this dry until it was clear, no paint was added.

Step 6. Finally, I gave it four coats of Minwax water based gloss polyurethane- that is it. I used Mixwax because I had it on hand from another project. the urethane was applied with a 1/2 inch soft brush- like a watercolor brush The minwax tied it all together- I only had the minwax hit the seaview part of the way up to make the sail look drier than the lower hull- the minwax extends to about 1/2 inch above the water
Wrap up/Summary
The only problem I had was the long drying /curing time - I suppose gentle heat would speed it up but you run the chance of the layers wrinkling or cracking- this is not a problem for me since I am always working on multiple projects and I can put it away and work on something else. This is about a year old now and it shows no sign of yellowing or cracking - it has a slightly rubbery feel to it and it attracts dust like crazy. Look at that sea-foam!
  • caulk
  • wsrw
  • drmartin
  • wswe
  • minwax
  • side5
  • top6
  • straight
  • front12
  • sideclose
  • backend1
  • frontside
  • frontdark
  • front23

About the Author

About John Fields (BM2)

10 year Navy veteran Boatswain mate 2nd class


Thanks for posting. Nice looking tut.
DEC 06, 2007 - 01:00 AM
I want to thank Scott for the great job he did in making my rambling nonsense make sense- Great job Scott
DEC 06, 2007 - 11:39 AM
The greatness was in the feature. One day and a ton of hits already. I'm sure people will refer to it often.
DEC 06, 2007 - 12:19 PM
Thanks for the tips BM2!!
DEC 10, 2007 - 01:04 AM
My pleasure
DEC 10, 2007 - 04:17 AM
I like your diorama/article John, the light in the cockpit is a nice touch! Such an unusual and dreamy subject i was thinking of something you tell about heating the acrylic transparent paste, i did that once and it proved to be a bad idea as the outer part got transparent fast enough, but the inner part stayed white forever -I had to wipe out. Another time I heated similar stuff with a hair dryer and it created some small bubbles on the surface! You are right, always take your time while the stuff dries JB
DEC 10, 2007 - 06:02 AM
Thank you -JB I really enjoy your work as well
DEC 10, 2007 - 12:16 PM
Don't know why I kept forgetting to click on your article. Great stuff, explains everything well, and your pix show fantastic results. (also a nice choice of subject, and well done). I will have to find a subject to "put in the water" and give this a try. Thanks!
FEB 07, 2008 - 03:23 PM