Creating River Waves with Bill Aldrige

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Duration: 7:32

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Modeler of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Bill Aldrige’s approach to modeling the Mystic River and all the river and water scenes is something that Allen Keller has never seen. Bill has created unusual depth using an idea from the Smithsonian Institute. A number of years ago he was looking at the military naval displays there and saw a model of a minesweeping operation in World War I. They had cutaways so viewers could see the minesweeper going underneath the water. The water is open inside of Bill’s model as well, showing waves on a flat river bed of the Mystic River.

To create the water, Bill uses a mixture made from envirotex resin and hardener combined in two equal parts. The mixture has to be mixed thoroughly for three minutes. After pouring the resin onto the plastic surface, Bill spreads it out into a uniform thin film. As it thickens and dries, Bill stiples it to create a wave appearance. As this sets up, he begins to create breakers using Quick Grab crystal clear acrylic.

After the envirotex has dried for about an hour and a half, he pushes the material up against the backside of the wave. He tries to mimic the appearance of a wave as it breaks upon the beach, again building up the breaker with the clear acrylic. He has found that fingers work well for working on the resin because it’s easier to pinch and release your fingers from the sticky material. He goes along and pinches the wave until it starts to dry. By using an acetone solvent, the resin sets up quickly and holds its shape. After thoroughly dried, Bill goes on to highlight the edges of the waves. To learn how he does so, watch the full video.