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Re: water for a diorama
In addition to Leo's thoughts above, let me ad some color thoughts.
I use a palette to mix blobs of acrylic white, phthalocyanine blue, hooker's green and small amounts of burnt sienna.
Those shades of blue and green work together best for me, out of the five or six different blue or green colors available in the craft store. And I picked up the idea from burnt sienna from a beginner art book as a way to add depth, either to a sky or to a seascape. I've heard all the silly comments about having brown in the water, but I have been happy with the results I have gotten.
As Darian suggested, I would use CLEAR GLOSS acrylic gel medium - it's white in the jar but dries clear. This is not the cheapest method, but there are cheaper brands than Liquitex, especially if your local artist's supply store has a store brand. Paint the surface of the base an appropriate blue (or green) color, then apply the acrylic gel -DON'T PAINT OVER THE ACRYLIC - it will look much more realistic if you don't. Since you are doing a harbor scene the water will be fairly flat and still, so not much depth will be needed. Only a couple of millimeters is necessary. Apply with a wide soft brush. Place your ship models before the gel sets up - the gel acts as an excellent glue! Try it out with a single ship base first.
Depend the scale, I have used aluminum foil for 1/700 and Liquitex Gel Medium for 1/350. To go really cheap plaster can be used.
what is the most effect and cheapest way to lay down water for a 4x4 harbor diorama
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