The Pour

Posted: August 16, 2018 in Uncategorized
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Rich Erwin pours the resin to make a radio active slime pit on his science fiction model railroad “The Mines of Xenon”

The next phase of the scenery sees several items come together as we finish the radio active slime pit and stream.

After the base of white Sculptmold was painted orange to match the surrounding terrain, I painted the the pit and stream various shades of green to simulate radio active slime. I started with the brightest colors out on the edge and worked towards a very dark green in the center section, being careful to blend the edges from one color to the next. Rather than painting strokes, I used dabs and swirls to simulate the effect of a current under the liquid. The bottom of the stream really shows through the clear resin, so an effective paint job is important.

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The stream bed painted shades of green on Xenon 3

Lastly before putting down the layer of resin, I added details to be below the water line. I cut a grocery store toy dinosaur in half to appear as if coming out of the liquid. I cut a Matchbox car tire in half, weathered the two halves, and glued them to the base. I sanded down the end of an HO scale barrel so it would look like it was bobbing up and down. Parts of another toy dinosaur skeleton were scattered about. Bristles were cut from old paint brushes and glued to for long grass and weeds.

Now time to pour the resin. I use Envirotex Lite. I knew from my test attempt that the resin drys very clear – almost too clear. The problem is that light doesn’t bounce off like it would off of a water surface to give the illusion of depth. I thought I would try to tint the mixture to give it some color and visual texture. I mixed the two parts according the manufacturer instructions and added just a few drops of acrylic craft glow in the dark neon paint.

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Applying a coat of Mod Podge over the resin-cast radio active slime pit

Then I just poured the mixed resin in the pit and stream. I used a disposable wooden chopstick to spread the mixture about and to get into all the nooks and crannies. After 24 hours I came back to check the pour. It should have been rock hard, but was still a bit sticky to the touch. I gave it another day, but it was still sticky. My theory was that the added acryllic color threw off the mix ratio and affected the drying. I contemplated tearing it out and redoing the whole thing, but then I had another idea.

The next step is to add several layers of Mod Podge (gloss medium) to build up some depth and let the light dance around for that depth affect that is so important. I know this also dried hard to the touch, so I decided just to cover the sticky resin after letting it set for several days. Before applying the gloss medium, I poured some out into a disposable cup and again mixed in the acrylic glow in the dark paint. The affect is clear and subtle, so I added a generous amount – maybe a spoonful.

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A newly applied layer of gloss medium along with the debris of the slime pit

I did five layers of dabbing the Mod Podge. The layers built up successfully, but it was still a bit tacky. So I tried a final coat without any acrylic paint. Yes! That was it – it dried hard and solid. A few other dabs over some trouble spots that had difficulty drying and the application was complete. I’m quite happy with the finished effect.

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Trains are ready to go as the finishing touches are put on the slime pit on the planet Xenon III

The slime pit and stream are the lowest piece of scenery and several other items on the layout depend on them being finished before I could continue, such as the final track placement and ballasting. In the next installment, we’ll add the drain pipe with some glowing sludge coming out and then move on to securing the track.

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