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A Simple Ocean Effect...

  • we-59
"MSW crew-mate Carl Musselman (carlomaha) send us a step-by-step feature of his method of creating his super realistic water bases!"

I have found this simple method of creating ocean waves and wakes, for the display of my 1/700 scale waterline ship models, to be very easy and rather realistic. It works well for 1/700 scale and probably not as well with larger scale models, and it may not be applicable for smaller scales such as 1/1200 and 1/2400 scales.

I have received many compliments from other ship modelers concerning the water effect that I have used in my dioramas and some of them have asked about how I do it. Although I didn’t invent this technique, I have prepared this tutorial “How-To” in order to demonstrate my method of it.

the method, step-by-step...
The key ingredient for this method of water effect display is TAMIYA’s “Ocean Effect Plate A” Item No. 89673.

The “Ocean Effect Plate A” creatively depicts a gentle, but rippled, ocean surface.

I have just recently discovered that Plastruct has similar, thinner water effect plastic sheets that come in blue or clear and in larger sheets. They are intended for smaller scale displays, but with the various textures that the sheets come in, they could be used for 1/700 scale harbor dioramas, I would think.

Material list:

Besides the “Ocean Effect Plate A”, I use the following listed materials:

1. IMEX Model Company, Inc. Stackable-Crystal Clear plastic display case. (IMEX has several different sizes to choose from with black or clear bases.)
2. LIQUITEX Gloss Heavy Gel (Found at Artist’s Supply Stores.)
3. TESTORS’ Model Master Acrylic Flat White paint
4. TESTORS’ Model Master Acrylic Gloss Clear Coat
5. TESTORS’ Model Master Spray Enamel
6. TESTORS’ “Colors by Boyd” Spray Enamel
7. HOBBY TOWN USA Gap Filling Insta-Cure Cyanoacrylate (CA) Glue.
8. LOCTITE Epoxy Glue
9. MONOJECT 412 Hobby Syringe
10. Various paint brushes
11. Wooden oak base
12. STICK-IT-FELT’s “Stiffened Adhesive Backed Felt”

About the Author

About Carl Musselman (CarlOmaha)

I just got back into building models in November 2007. Ships, this time. It has been about 8 years since I was actively modeling. Since I was a kid, I have built cars, planes, armor, ships, submarines, and wooden ship models. I am currently building a collection of 1/700 post WWII/Modern USN surf...


Bjorn, You have a great technique! Very convincing! I like it. Forget my technique if you have mastered your own. Rui, I'll see about taking an overhead view of "BROACH!!" Do both of you use artist's oil paints? Model enamel or acrylic? I have dabbled in landscape painting on canvas in the past. A wet on wet technique with blending of colors. It just takes forever to dry. I'll have to take a day and spend it on practice painting the top surfaces of the scrap pieces of OEP that I have and the Plastruct examples.
OCT 22, 2008 - 04:23 PM
Hi Karl My wet on wet, on my latest models, I have been doing it with acrylics - and so far, I haven't used artists oils... they surely take a long time to dry, but when I use them the effect is rewarding (mainly on decks and shadings) Thanks Rui
OCT 23, 2008 - 12:59 AM
Here are the reqeusted overhead shots. I hope that you can make out the black shadow of the under water hull.
OCT 23, 2008 - 02:21 AM
Hi Carl! Thanks for posting the "Broach" dio! It surely is convincing and a way of making a out of the ordinary dio, using just the sub tower and periscopes / antennas Thank you for indulging me Rui PS: Can we have a MOD on the "Broach"?
OCT 23, 2008 - 04:44 AM
Carl, I've found some material at Lowe's that is used to cover windows. It's about a foot wide and 9 feet long roll of think vinyl. It maybe your alternative to the OEP. Kenny
OCT 23, 2008 - 04:50 AM
Thanks for your comments, guys! This is my first attempt, so I haven't chosen my "standard method" yet (albeit that I'm rather pleased with this attempt)! I've used "easy to work with" Acrylic paints and rather big, round brushes. This evening, I've cooled down the effects a little (it is easy to go overboard!) and added more white to the wake. Now it is time to wet the hole thing down with some glossy coats. Cheers! // PolarBear!
OCT 23, 2008 - 08:16 AM
Don't forget to show us your finishing touches, Bjorn! Kenny, I'll check out the Lowe's stuff. What department will I find it in?
OCT 23, 2008 - 10:52 AM
I now have samples of PLASTRUCT's "Agitated", "Choppy", and "Stormy" water sheets. None of them, I find, have the same convincing effect as the TAMIYA OEP because they're not as thick. The PLASTRUCT sheets still just look like colored textured plastic when painted from underneath. I have even attempt painting just the base and putting the sheets over the top without painting them. Yuck! In my practice for painting atop the OEP and the Plastruct sheets, I'll post some examples. I don't know when that will be. Maybe this weekend.
OCT 23, 2008 - 10:58 AM
I'll keep you posted, Carl. I'm building the Kirov for the Cruisers campaign. I've started adding some gloss to the surface. I couldn't help doing some basic "photoshopping", just to see how it would turn out.. Cheers! // PolarBear
OCT 23, 2008 - 12:07 PM
I think it was with the blinds and window treatments. Kenny
OCT 23, 2008 - 02:42 PM