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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 11:32 am 
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I've tweaked and changed my ocean methods quite a bit over the past couple of years. I have worked very hard to develop these strategies so that they conform to the following criteria: Cheap to make, easy to do with easily acquired materials, permanent, fast, non-threatening to the finished ship, and realistic. Here is my USS Wisconsin build that uses the walled-off oat method (below), covered with paper towel and finished with paint, airbrushing, and rayon cotton batting. While I probably wouldn't do a sea with oats these days, the basic concept of covering a textural surface with paper or paper towel to 'bridge' the texture is the key to my wavy water. Ultra calm water requires slightly different approaches. I've tried to lay everything out as best I can in the following links and tutorials.
Attachment:
WISCONSIN03.jpg
WISCONSIN03.jpg [ 174.75 KiB | Viewed 35268 times ]


As far as I can see, a sea has roughly three aspects to consider: The overall sculpt of the initial sea form, The surface treatment of the sea (wavelets, waves etc.), and the painted finish including wake effects. Each one of these aspects has to be convincing in order for a sea to look realistic.

INITIAL SCULPT
I've done sea sculpts in a variety of ways. I've used plaster, oats and CA glue finished with paper(below), and carved styrofoam, also covered with paper (links provided, also illustrated in this thread).
Plaster is outlined here, though I would never do water this way these days: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=156538
Styrofoam Here: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=157503&p=637868#p637868
Very calm water with wake swells here: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=158909&p=651903#p651903
Oats and CA is outlined below
While each approach can work, I've come to the opinion that styrofoam is the most versatile and easy to work with for any sea condition. These days, I'd do my sea by first carving foam. I'd do the entire sea before attaching the ship. Any cracks along the waterline are easily resolved with more cotton. I outline this in the links above.


SURFACE TREATMENT
I've come to believe that smoother is better for a sea surface. Everything has to be smooth, undulating and free of un-wavelike lumps, grits, cracks, inconsistent 'waves' , pin holes, brushy daubs, and other such tells. I've had a great deal of success using small pieces of regular paper or paper towel that are glued down with either acrylic clear medium or aerosol spray adhesive over the sculpt, be it foam, oats, or whatever. I outline this process here viewtopic.php?f=4&t=157503&p=637868#p637868 Sanded smooth, the overall effect is quite naturalistic.
I've experimented with attempting to fill a lumpy surface with some kind of filler, but nothing works quite so well as collaging paper and acrylic clear medium over a rougher surface to create that smooth undulating effect. I do lots of sanding and nit-picking these days to get it perfect. Coarsely carved styrofoam that is sanded, then covered with paper is probably my most favorite and more successful efforts at making a sea. Many different effects can be produced by applying paper or paper towel to a coarse surface. My HMS Howe and Zerstorer are good examples of this. It's really become my go-to process.
http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... /index.htm

For thousands of wavelets, it is possible to lay down a rough surface of oat bran onto a glue layer, let it dry, then glue paper towel on top of it regardless of how your initial sculpt was made. Here is a link to that specific idea: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=156536 . Coarsely carved styrofoam that is then covered with paper or paper towel produces the same sort of effects and is more elegant in concept. For a very calm, breezy wavelet look, you could simply use some kind of small tool to make thousands of little dents in styrofoam and finish it with a single sheet of paper towel applied with spray adhesive. After many coats of paint, the look will be very convincing.


For a very calm sea, I've used plaster that I blow with a straw. My Graf Spee was done this way. http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... /index.htm To be honest, making a sea with a wet material like plaster is messy, risky, and too wild to produce perfect results. The concept of blowing plaster is kind of cool and might work for certain people though.

While plaster can work well for a very calm sea, I again have to say that styrofoam that has been carefully cut and shaped and sanded to perfect smoothness is still the better way to go, followed by a texture treatment. I've been experimenting with a perfectly smooth surface that is first textured with acrylic clear medium then painted. This can work very well for calm water and is outlined in full here: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=158909&p=651903#p651903

PAINT FINISH AND FINAL GLOSS
I always paint my seas the same way. I first paint the entire sea a single ocean color, then I go in with an airbrush and a minty color to do the sub-surface aquamarine churn. I have experimented with many different ocean colors and have settled on one specific color that seems to be the most realistic for both photography and real-life presentation. I always use a mixture of black, white, and thalo blue. First I mix a bit of white into my blue to lighten it, then I add small amounts of black until the color approaches something like a blue-jeans hue. For my sub-surface churn, I use a premixed turquoise green that I then add a bit of white to, followed by a drop of black to grey it a bit. I then use acrylic gloss medium and medical cotton puffs to create my whitewater effects. I outline that all here: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=157503&p=637868#p637868
As a final gloss, I use Liquitex HIGH gloss acrylic varnish. My Prince of Wales received something like 15 coats of it. It's easily as shiny as epoxy, but permanent and non-yellowing.


OAT METHOD

A warning and strong bit of advice regarding the following procedure, please take note:

Once your oats are frozen in place, it is absolutely critical that you sand the resulting surface until it is as smooth as you can make it. You don't want strange oat bits sticking up, exaggerated lumps, or anything that is out of place. Spend a good 30 minutes sanding your surface until it has an undulating evenness about it. I do not recommend simply painting or applying gel medium to the oats to finish them. It won't be enough and the final look is nauseating to the viewer. The texture must be resolved by filling in the texture. The best and easiest way to do this is by collaging small paper or paper towel pieces onto this surface. The paper will bridge the gaps and produce a very convincing undulation. Here is a link that shows the process of coating a rough surface with paper/paper towel. viewtopic.php?f=4&t=157503&p=637868#p637868


This is a method for making the initial sculpt.
The principle is simple. You take oat bran, shape it until you are happy with it, freeze it with CA glue, sand it, and resolve the surface by collaging paper or paper towel onto it.
For a more comprehensive description of how I do my whitewater and wake look here: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=157503&p=637868#p637868

To be really honest, no two seas that I make are exactly the same. http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... /index.htm. I tweak my methods and try different things from build to build.
While the method below can work really well, it's not without its drawbacks such as the need for bulk CA, the hassle of having to protect the hull, toxicity, and the cost of the materials.

The idea of freezing a dry substance in pace is nice in principle. I've had good luck with it making general landscape forms as well as seas. My Graf Spee diorama as well as my Heian Maru dio were made with oats and CA. http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... /index.htm
The landscapes were made by mounding oats in walled-off areas and simply hitting them with CA. Once cured the oats are sandable and really tough.


Attachments:
File comment: For my base, I use pre-made artist's panels. These are nicely made and cradled from the back for support. I'm not a fantastic carpenter so have tried to make this aspect of my diorama as simple as possible!
WATER1.jpg
WATER1.jpg [ 176.89 KiB | Viewed 52346 times ]
File comment: Using heavy artist's card-stock, I construct a low retaining wall around my masked off perimeter. I use a 45 degree ruler to ensure that the walls are 90 degrees square up and down.
WATER2.jpg
WATER2.jpg [ 175.26 KiB | Viewed 52346 times ]
File comment: I construct the wall with a glue gun. I make sure to run a thorough bead of the hot glue around the inside perimeter to prevent any further wet materials from seeping out the bottom.
WATER3.jpg
WATER3.jpg [ 147.67 KiB | Viewed 52346 times ]
File comment: Using the hot glue gun, I attach my water-lined or un-water-lined hull to the wooden base. At 1/350, I water-line larger ships, but would keep smaller ships like a destroyer full-hull.
WATER4.jpg
WATER4.jpg [ 181.04 KiB | Viewed 52346 times ]
File comment: I dump bulk-purchased dry OAT BRAN, (not regular oats) into the walled off area. NOTE: THESE PICTURES SHOW ME USING REGULAR OATS, BUT I'M FINDING THEM TO BE A LITTLE TOO COARSE SO I NOW ONLY USE OAT BRAN. Using my hands and a flat brush as a tool, I manipulate the oats until I like the look. I love that I can do this indefinitely until I am fully satisfied.
WATER5.jpg
WATER5.jpg [ 175.11 KiB | Viewed 52346 times ]
File comment: Using a bulk amount of CA glue that I can get easily where I live for about 20 bucks, I carefully squirt the CA onto the oat surface. I am careful to get every square inch soaked. I squirt liberally along the cardboard perimeter where the oats meet as well as along the hull. I have had some minor issues with frosting from the CA. The only time I've had serious frosting was when I did this with sawdust outside on a cold day. Sawdust will produce smoke as it cures which can fog the model. Oats do not do this hardly ever for some reason. Any fogging that might occur can easily be removed with paint thinner. If you try to protect your ship, be wary of the possibility of the CA running up and into your mask and bonding the masking tape or whatever to the ship. Bad scene.
WATER6.jpg
WATER6.jpg [ 191.46 KiB | Viewed 52346 times ]
File comment: Within minutes, the CA cures and the oats will be solidly frozen in place and thoroughly bonded to the cardboard wall. Believe me when I say this is hard...like wood! The process of adding the CA doesn't disrupt your dry sculpt of the oats. It' now a simple matter to trim along the wave forms.
cutting.jpg
cutting.jpg [ 171.55 KiB | Viewed 52346 times ]
File comment: This HMS Howe is coarsely carved pink styrofoam that has been covered with regular paper and clear medium...sanded and then painted with many layers of gloss medium. A sanded oat surface, finished with paper would give a similar look.
HOWE03.jpg
HOWE03.jpg [ 189.02 KiB | Viewed 32882 times ]

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Last edited by sargentx on Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:43 am, edited 62 times in total.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 11:39 am 
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As I mentioned above, foam is my go-to process these days. For every type of sea condition where waves are present, it is possible to carve foam in such a way so that when it is covered with either paper or paper towel, the result will look convincing. Below are test examples of different foam carvings that have been covered with paper towel.

I have recently discovered that it is very easy to simply glue down one long piece of paper towel by first spraying aerosol contact cement to both surfaces, waiting for it to get tacky, then pressing the paper down. After thoroughly buffing the paper towel with your hand and fingers, it will take subsequent paint layers without wrinkling. Wrinkling should always be avoided as it a dead giveaway that can ruin the overall effect.


Attachments:
File comment: Here I have used a dremel tool with wire brush attachment to create coarse wavelets. Covered in paper towel and many layers of paint, the final effect can be quite convincing. I used spray contact aerosol to do this. One long sheet of paper towel.
sidebyside.jpg
sidebyside.jpg [ 189.05 KiB | Viewed 26405 times ]
File comment: A slightly different dremel texture that has been covered with paper towel and many layers of paint. I would do many more layers if this were for an actual diorama to hide the towel texture. The more coats the better when doing seas.
texture03.jpg
texture03.jpg [ 176.71 KiB | Viewed 26405 times ]
File comment: Here I have used a lighter to create subtle swells by holding the foam over my head and making passes with the heat. I covered it with paper towel and contact spray adhesive. It still would need a dozen more coats of paint and gloss to come alive as water.
texture02.jpg
texture02.jpg [ 185.47 KiB | Viewed 26405 times ]
File comment: Here I used a different dremel bit to create the angular, jagged wave shapes you see in a storm. I didn't cover this with any paper. I would give this another 20 coats of paint to finish it.
texture01.jpg
texture01.jpg [ 184.42 KiB | Viewed 26405 times ]
File comment: Here is a dremelled foam base, covered in a single length of paper towel. I used aerosol contact cement to attach the towel. The towel went right over the ship's hole and overhung the edges. I trimmed it after I glued it down. It was ready to paint instantly. I applied about 10 coats of artist's gesso, followed by my sea color and minty green airbrushing. After the cotton work, I applied about 10 coats of Liquitex High gloss varnish.
dremmelwater.jpg
dremmelwater.jpg [ 177.42 KiB | Viewed 26329 times ]

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 12:34 pm 
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Chris- Many thanks for this. (I might try a variation with Cheerios... :big_grin:)


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:12 pm 
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PART 2

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 2:52 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:07 pm 
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Wonderful - thank you for showing!!!
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 5:35 pm 
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BOW CRASH
I'm certainly not the first person to use cotton for a bow crash. Here's a link that demonstrates my current thinking on the matter: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=157503&p=637868#p637868

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:15 pm 
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speechliess :woo_hoo:


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:22 pm 
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images I think about when doing this.


Attachments:
File comment: wake has a specific anatomy. Stick to it and your results will be look less 'made' and more natural
WAVEPATTERN1WEB.jpg
WAVEPATTERN1WEB.jpg [ 194.65 KiB | Viewed 51306 times ]
WAVEPATTERN2-WEB.jpg
WAVEPATTERN2-WEB.jpg [ 98.02 KiB | Viewed 51306 times ]

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 4:41 am 
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WOW

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 7:38 am 
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True art. Thank you very much for sharing your knowhow :thumbs_up_1:

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:59 am 
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Just a few important notes after the fact:

-After you apply the CA glue to the oats, there will usually be a number or oats that are sticking up in a strange way like a nub. I usually go and sand the surface as well as trim some of these off.
-Curing CA glue gives off an incredibly toxic and highly irritating fume. It will literally have your eyes and nose running to a point that you can't even open your eyes. Do this in a well ventilated area with a mask, goggles, and gloves and get out of there once you've applied the CA.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 3:22 pm 
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HOW TO MAKE A CALM, RIPPLED SEA
My Graf Spee diorama, the Yukikaze, and the little Nagato diorama each uses this method. http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... 0-cf/indexCalm water tutorial is here
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=156538

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:13 pm 
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Thanks so much for posting this, Chris.

I'll try this with an old Revell 1/570 kit I have of the Missourri to get a feel for it.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:15 pm 
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Cool. I'd love to see your efforts. For that scale, maybe try oat bran instead of oats...finer grain maybe might be more scaled?
Good luck!

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:09 pm 
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some questions and answers from my email. Thought I'd post it here.

Hi Chris!

Your link and photos on how you make heavy seas and a bow-crash are great! I read through it completely, and I really learned a lot!

Some critiques and points that I caught and wanted to pass on about your water tutorial. If you have not submitted it as of yet to the magazine, and/or these are explanation additions you might consider that I found would be clearer and perhaps more helpful.

RE: Water9.jpg – “coat the oats with copious amounts of artist's gel medium” – Consider that there are various thicknesses of gel medium. Here I felt it would be more helpful to indicate (what appears to be in the photo) using an ‘Extra Heavy Gloss’ gel medium. Basic gel medium also comes in both ‘matt’ and ‘gloss’ finishes. The photo makes it a bit difficult to see what exactly you are using.

RE: The bulk CA cement – I had a double take on this, that you would use so much super glue on the oats. Again I’d suggest mentioning that CA cement name is “Calcium Aluminate”, which many people may know as super glue, hot glue, or Crazy Clue… Also that you want people to use the ‘thin’ CA liquid cement, as it also comes in gel form.

RE: Oat BRAN – This I was unfamiliar with. I assume that you are talking something found in the “cereal” section of a super market. It might help readers to know where to find it.

RE: water17.jpg – You mention “I always work wet into wet” – I felt to be sure, that I wanted to know exactly what you’d meant here. Do you start applying the other colors acrylics while the base black is still wet? You might want to expound this point/technique a little more.
When you refer to “Medical cotton puffs” are you referring to a hospital, or surgical grade cotton? Or, is it the type more commonly sold at a drug store, like CVS by Johnson & Johnson for consumer use? That’s a point I found you might detail out more so that people get the right type of cotton.

RE: water28.jpg – “Brush a little clear medium” – I assume you want clear ‘gloss’ medium used here?

RE: WATER31.jpg – You indicate that “I'm applying some white-water to the forecastle area” – I was wondering if this was a mix of white acrylic paint with some gloss medium? You really did not say fully, just that it’s ‘white-water’.

RE: WATER42.jpg – “I will let it dry thoroughly and will top-coat everything in Liquitex HIGH gloss acrylic varnish.” – Does this mean that after using Krylon Crystal Clear spray that you go over the ship, cotton and the black base? Or is it applied to just the water base and then cotton? As you say “top coat everything”, so do I take that as literally?

I hope that these points are good feedback so that others also have a clearer understanding as to your process.

Feel free to also e-mail me at: johnsullivan@sullivanvideo.com

Thanks & Cheers!

John

Hi John,
I"m glad you liked the article. I answer your questions point by point:

-I use gloss, extra heavy acrylic gel medium to coat the oat surface. i sand the surface first, then lay it on very thick, being careful to make it water like. Once it's dry, I'll add more to make sure the oats are very well buried.

-Yes, i use crazy glue . THIN viscosity that I buy bulk from Mercury adhesives
-Oat bran is basically just the husk of a wheat grain or something to that effect. I'm assuming you are from the US? I find that Americans don't know what oat bran is…it must have a different name down there. It looks like you took quaker quick oats and but them in a blender. It's a finer texture
-I work wet into wet as much as possible. While my sea colour is still wet, I brush in my froth colour. Should my sea colour start to dry, I brush more down and keep going.
-Whitewater on the forecast is simply more cotton and clear medium like I did in the water. I NEVER EVER use white paint as it simply runs any attempt at water IMHO
-I use Kyrlon crystal clear to affect glossy areas on the ship. I hose it on liberally around the forecastle, hull and any lower decks that might be wet. Though there is overspray onto the sea, I don't coat my sea surface with Krylon krystal clear. I use the Acrylic Liquitex brand High gloss varnish to give my ocean its shine. I don't brush it onto any cotton puffs such as bow spray..but yes, all ocean elements get covered with the liquitex
Hope that helps!

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 9:02 pm 
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From recent experience, I can tell anyone in the US that OAT BRAN is sold in US stores, it is just not very popular and can be difficult to find (not to mention pricey compared to what we are used to paying for regular quick oats.) It seems that the best place to find it in the US is in the baking goods aisle of the grocery store. Just take a while and search it out. It will likely not be on the store's website, and no one in the store will have the slightest clue what you are talking about (ask me how I know?) . But it is there, and works well. I tried Chris' technique and it is a dream! I did blend some regular quick oats, but these easily become very fine, finer than the oat bran, and therefore will suck up even more superglue, and will smoke and fog from the heat even more.

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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 8:23 pm 
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I'll say it again. Chris you are a MACHINE!!.. Amazing Amazing Tutorial!!!

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:42 pm 
Chris, I've been a huge fan of your dioramas for a long time, thank you for the tutorial, I usually do smoke etc, now I'm going to do water lol. Awesome job.
Heres the smoke effect of my 1/72 shuttle.

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