The Process of Making a Waterfall for Barry’s Model Railroad Layout from Start to Finish

Well lets get started first off we need to cut out some of your hill so we can add the base board for the waterfall and a bit out of the top so that we can make that into a river. So with a marker pen I drew out the main line of the river banks down the hill and out under the bridge after it was removed with a section of rail. It went out to the edge of the table supporting his layout.

We also need to cut a piece out of your base board so that the river can be lower than the table. I used a jigsaw to cut out the river taking the marker lines out as well. We then cut another couple of pieces of the 1/2 ply to form the river banks and cut out another piece to form part of the river bed. Barry glued and crewed the pieces in place making sure that the screw heads were countersunk in a bit to hide the screws. Next we tackled the mountain and using a piece of 1/4 inch ply. Barry plastered it in place along with the river bed at the top of the mountain.

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Making the Rocks and Boulders

I returned home to collect a few supplies and my rock molds then I was able to make the rocks that would be glued on to form the basis of the waterfall using the plaster that Barry had left over from the mix for the river banks. Once they had set and dried completely we would be able to put them in place. I used sculpture mold to form the river bed using my little dentist spatula to form deep and shallow places for the water.

Seeing as Barry did not have any piles under the bridge I cut some plastic trestles down to size that I had in my junk box and Barry glued them in the river bed. I suggested we continue in a couple of days once the plaster was dry.

Painting the Riverbed and Adding Detail

A couple of days later I returned and we painted the river bed base with water based acrylic paint painting the deep water places with a dark blue and a few bits of green to represent river weed. The shallow places I glued in some light grey gravel. I removed the rocks from the mold and glued them in place on the waterfall with a light coat of plaster then I painted them with a black wash and once dried painted them grey leaving the cracks black and dry brushed a green over the rocks to represent fungus.

Adding Scenic Water Effects

I filled the river with a thin layer of “Water Effects” a liquid that is white when first applied but dries clear in a couple of days. You could use epoxy resin or one of the many craft products available for creating artificial water. I drew the water for the water fall on a sheet of glass and applied Water Effects and streaked it with an old comb.

Once dry I can lift it off the glass I can paint it with white acrylic paint applied with a stiff brush so that it is streaked on the back and put it in place on the water fall gluing it in place with more Water Effects.

More Detailing Added

Against the bridge piles I glued some small pieces of green lichen wrapped round the first pile. Barry had bought some fly fishermen and he glued these down stream from the bridge inserting them in the Water Effect before it dried.

I showed Barry how to make willow trees using florist wire and brown wrap for the trunks and green scatter material glued to the branches and draped them over to hang down to the water and these were glued into holes drilled along the banks. Then we applied ground cover to the river banks and small rocks from Woodland Scenic’s and clump foliage.

The second coat of Water Effects we put in the river. I streaked the fast flowing sections with a very stiff artist paint brush adding white acrylic paint and this dried as white water with clear water in the deeper areas showing as a deep blue.