Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Better, wetter, water

Anytime Railroad modelers do any kind of scenery these days, "wet" water is a mainstay item. The surface tension of water has to be defeated to get the water to flow onto and into the scenery materials being secured, in advance of adding the thinned matt medium or white glue.
The usual approach is to add some liquid detergent into the water, or to use "Photoflow" from Kodak. And this approach usually works very well.
But currently I'm using some groundcover products that are proving to be difficult to get the "wet" water to soak into. In particular is the "Light Cinders" from Scenic Express. There's a lot of very fine particles in the "Light Cinders " ballast and that seems to be causing the problem.
But I've found a solution.
I'm adding about 30% by volume of alcohol into the sprayer bottle along with a few drops of detergent.
And man it works gangbusters!
I'm finding that I'm spraying far less water than I used to get the texture materials ready to accept adhesive.
Give it a try!


Mark Z said...

"I've found a solution." I see what you did there. :-)

Colin 't Hart said...

Cody Grivno in Model Railroader has been using water with some added alcohol. I'd been wondering for a long time how it compared to the old mainstay of water plus a few drops of detergent. Now I know, thanks! I'll be using this mix in future.

Anonymous said...

I just use 70% right out of the container being careful not to let the mist fall into the glass of single malt nearby.



Anonymous said...

Hi Pierre, great blog. I usually spray alcohol on the roadbed first--100 per cent straight out of the bottle. That tends to get things to settle and also breaks up the surface tension. I wait about 10-15 minutes. Then I glue ballast down by applying glue with a syringe. It takes a little longer using a syringe but that way one doesn't slop glue all over the ties and everything else. Just a thought...

John Golden
Albersbach, Germany

John Campbell said...

Just got around to reading your method of adding 30% alcohol. I have been using only 70% alcohol for years on ground cover and ballast of all types with excellent results. Nothing floats to the top and dispersal of adhesive is very good.

DandHColonieMain said...

Your suggestion is great. Personally, I use straight 70% alcohol out of the sprayer for things like ballasting, and a mix (50/50) of alcohol and water for other scenery applications. I tried dish detergent "wet water" in the past but found that alcohol just works better. I buy it in the largest quantities I can find at the dollar store or Walmart. The only downside is the fumes... after a while, I need to go get some fresh air. Also, watch for any overspray on anything you Dullcoted, as it will turn hazy white.

DandHColonieMain said...

I love using pure 70% alcohol straight from the bottle. I think it works better than "wet water" with detergent added, and for me anything that makes scenery or ballasting easier is a real plus. I buy the cheapest alcohol I can find at the dollar store or Walmart. Compared to the cost of a nice engine, I can buy a lifetime supply of rubbing alcohol. Just be careful of the fumes... they build up over the course of a work session! Also, mind the overspray on anything that is Dullcoted.