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Making Ice and Snow

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"MSW crew-mate Augusto Martinez (rea00cy) shares his method of re-creating the look of an icy sea-scape, in this SBS (step-by-step) MSW feature!"
Scharnhorst in Icy Waters- Making Icing and Snow

Several modelers have very positively evaluated the snow and ice effects in my latest submission to MSW- DKM Scharnhorst in Icy Water- and expressed interest in a SBS article on how I made them.

In the next paragraphs I describe and illustrate the procedures, materials, tools and steps that I followed to make these effects.

Materials and Tools

First, the materials are very simple and affordable by every modeler: For the ice floats I used pieces of 1/8” and 1/4” acrylic plastic sheets. As I usually make my own display cases and bases using this material, they were readily available for me.

For the snow buildup I used acrylic sheet saw dust. I collect this dust from my table saw after cutting the sheets to make my cases and bases, and sieve it to sort the product into different particle sizes: coarse, medium and fine. For the snow build up I used the last two. Coarse particles are used for different purposes, e.g. turbulence appearance in bow waves, propeller whirlpools and stern wakes.

Commercial products: Polar silicone caulking and heavy/medium acrylic gel (Liquitex®). Acrylic paints and Elmer’s glue.

Tools: cutting pliers and paint brushes.

Creating the base for the model...
Once the model is mostly assembled and painted, I usually make the base. As I like to display my ships in their element, i.e., water, my representations are made in two formats: waterline and A/B waterline (where A/B means Above/Below). This kit (1/400 Heller) is made as a full hull model, so I selected my favorite A/B waterline base for it.

Briefly, photos 1-4 show the initial stages of making the top of the A/B WL base and attaching the model to it. For additional details on how to build an A/B WL base I would refer the reader to this link here.
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About the Author

About Jorge Augusto Martinez (rea00cy)


A very interesting and well accomplished technique Augusto! It really makes us feel freezing Congratulations and thank you for sharing this SBS technique with us Cheers, Rui
NOV 08, 2010 - 04:41 AM
Yes, thank you Augusto for this SBS. Like Rui said, it makes me feel all cold!
NOV 08, 2010 - 12:18 PM
A very well done SBS - thats great ! Thanks/Jan
NOV 08, 2010 - 08:01 PM
Thank you very much for those kind words of appreciation, mates! Augusto
NOV 09, 2010 - 10:55 PM
Well done, Augusto, that was clear and understandable with excellent photography for the visual explanation. FRIZZY WISKERS all round! Peter F
NOV 10, 2010 - 02:37 AM
Hi Augusto! A well thought-out and practical special effect technique. Your choice of employing acrylic sawdust is particularly crafty since it won't yellow over time, a crucial factor since we'd like to think our projects will be around a long time. --Karl
NOV 10, 2010 - 05:14 AM