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Posted by nuffbitfish, on 2006-10-11 00:19:05

Skaters on Frozen Pond

Does anyone have any advice on building frozen water? Plan to animate several 4" wire armature puppets skating on a frozen pond. Will be about 36 inches across. Will also need to animate skate marks behind puppets which will be tied down with #4 or #6 screws. Was thinking of using rippled ("Flair") plexiglass, but would like something more realistic. Was considering something like a painted 1/4" MDF surface with polyester resin might be acceptable. Anyone have experience with Woodland Scenics brand "Realistic Water" , "Water Effects" or "EZ Water"? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

Posted by Strider, on 2006-10-11 00:44:27

I bought all 3 of those products a while back to try them out, but I haven't actually tested anything yet except for the Water Effects - that's the one in the squeeze bottle with the nozzle tip. And I can almost swear it's basically just Elmer's Glue-all, maybe a little thicker is all. It smells just like it, it goes on as a thickish white goo and dries clear. You can't put it on very thick, it needs to be in contact with the air to dry. But it should work nicely for pond ripples.

Posted by Nick H, on 2006-10-11 01:58:20

I'd probably start with a sheet of clear perspex (plexiglass, acrylic), just the plain surface, over painted particle board. Then a layer of clear casting resin or 2-part floor varnish to just take off the perfect flatness if it looks bad. Probably Elmer's Glue would work too. Maybe a little tranlucent whitish spray and some hints of greenish colour on the underside... The colour variation might take off the perfection enough to make it real, without coating the whole surface. Perspex is not hard to scratch, so you could add the skid marks as you go. There would be no tie-downs, since they would show through the clear stuff, you'd have to balance on the ice skates, or use a jumping rig for some moves. This is all speculation. I've done snow, and little perspex icicles, but not a frozen pond.

Posted by catizone, on 2006-10-11 05:27:13

Skate marks...White pencil...china marker or something else that works on glass could be drawn behind the skaters...I did that once. I believe the set just had a piece of heavy acetate for the surface (over whatever the base was). Do a test first to make sure it wipes off, so you can reuse for different takes or scenes. Best, Rick

Posted by Nick H, on 2006-10-12 01:12:11

A white grease pencil/china marker sounds perfect!

Posted by nuffbitfish, on 2006-10-12 21:17:02

thanks for the advice guys. I picked up some supplies and will be doing a materials test this weekend. Order of assembly: plywood, paint (dark), Plexiglass (matte on one side), maybe Envirotex surface (maybe tinted white), various snow (epsom salt, cornstarch, sugar, poly snow, etc). Puppets are going back for fly rigs. Like the grease pencil idea. will post some pix when I can. Any other ideas still welcomed.

Posted by catizone, on 2006-10-13 06:09:13

Here's one. How about some salt (added a frame-at-atime)if they turn to stop themsleves? (Like ice flake buildup)? And if there is "spray", you could cut some small pieces of heavy acetate and clear glue some salt to that,in appropriate stages,for about 6 frames or so. (or you could speckle paint there) Best, Rick