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Realistic snow

RELATED TOPICS: DIORAMA
Q: I'm building a Plymouth Horizon as a winter car, complete with rust and snow. I'm using modeling putty and "True Snow" (a craft item) to model the clumps of snow near the wheels and on some of the horizontal surfaces, but what I really need are some freshly fallen snowflakes to represent the scattered effect of a new snowfall. I would also like it to be permanently attached to the model, but I don't want to start with [Testor's] Dullcote and sprinkles. Can you help?

- Al Germann
Irving, New York

Ken: Well, Al, as a New Yorker, you're certainly no stranger to snow, so you already know the texture and "feel" of the white stuff firsthand. That will certainly help in your quest for snow's scale equivalent.

Woodland Scenics makes a terrific product that has the look and consistency of fine snow, but the difficulty in this case is that you don't want to adhere it to the car with Dullcote. You didn't tell us why, but I suggest you reconsider.

Spraying the surface (or brush-coating selected areas) with Dullcote wouldn't do any harm to your beater. In fact, it would enhance the worn finish and would sure make attaching the snow much easier.

Another way to get snow to stick is to use a product that is water-soluble. Sifted flour comes to mind, as does powdered plaster; both of which can be attached to the car with plain water.

If you're looking to model a wetter, more "slushy" type of snow, use salt or white sugar. Brush or spray the surface with water, then wipe off the excess liquid with a rag. You may want to add a drop of liquid detergent to the water to act as a wetting agent, so water droplets won't bead on the surface.

While the surface is still moist, apply the flour or plaster by passing it through a sifter from at least a foot above the model. Sifting from that height will allow the powder to fall without clumping together. When it hits the moist (not wet) surface, it will "melt" just enough to attach itself to the car.

If it does melt too much or you're not happy with the results, wipe the powder off quickly (before it hardens) and start over. Keep in mind that the model won't hold up to intense handling, but the snow will stick enough to ensure the proper effect.

However, I still think you should reconsider the Dullcote method. For my money, it's the best and easiest way to achieve the results I think you're looking for. I also suggest that you practice on a spare, junk body before trying any of these techniques on your "good" beater.


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