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"Best material to prevent warping" Topic

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captaincold6915 Mar 2019 7:54 a.m. PST

What do you all use to prevent warping?

I'm trying to make some rivers using either cloth or a rubbery craft foam I found at Hobby Lobby. I'll be using acrylic caulk for my base along with paint and some sort of gloss to get a water effect.

I've read somewhere that duck tape works, but I'd be interested to see if there are better alternatives out there.


Simo Hayha15 Mar 2019 8:04 a.m. PST

why not just use latex caulk?

captaincold6915 Mar 2019 9:13 a.m. PST

A little too messy on just one side, but something to consider if I can't find another way.

I want to say I read somewhere that packaging tape also works as it's not stretchy like duck tape.

Yellow Admiral15 Mar 2019 10:33 a.m. PST

Warping is why I don't like cloth or foam, or even chipboard or MDF or other wood products.

I make fields and forest floors out of cloth, because I need them to conform to elevation changes like hills and valleys, but sheet styrene or sheet metal make better bases for water bodies, because they don't warp and lie flat on the lowest part of the table.

FWIW, the cheapest rivers I ever made were elongated blobs of acetate painted on the underside. They look awful standing alone, but when properly worked into a table full of terrain pieces with bushy scatter terrain lining the banks, they look pretty good, and reflect light like water should.

22ndFoot15 Mar 2019 10:46 a.m. PST

If you're looking for cheap rivers, Yellow Admiral's acetate blobs are hard to beat. The hardest part is finding everhead projector slides nowadays.

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2019 10:57 a.m. PST

To solve warping just clap it down or weight it down with bags of sand.

dragon615 Mar 2019 11:14 a.m. PST

Monday Knight miniatures make some nice cheap latex rivers. The ones I have are about 2 inches across, lay flat. Can't recall off hand but at least 2 feet long

Yellow Admiral15 Mar 2019 12:23 p.m. PST

The Monday Knight rivers are expensive, look awful, and are cast in a latex that doesn't hold paint, so you can't improve them. I recommend against them.

I'd buy some if I could alter the color of the banks and water to look less cartoonish, but my experiments to paint and glue on Monday Knight roads have all failed, so I gave up on that idea. I can make better looking rivers for a lot less money.

I have some old Scenic Effects latex rivers that I've been using for about 20+ years which were made from the exact same molds as the Monday Knight rivers. They look reasonably nice because they were made with multiple colors of latex (sandy banks, murky/muddy clear water) and are paintable with latex paint. I wish I could buy more.

ChrisBrantley15 Mar 2019 1:09 p.m. PST

This scratch-made method using acrylic caulk hot glued to felt seems to work reasonably well, at least for 6mm scale boards.

YouTube link

Here is a larger scale version using caulk and paint on canvas, YouTube link

For my table, I created a decent set of rivers out of inch wide strips of blue felt painted with cheap acrylics to create the illusion of a flowing river and banks, and finished with Modge Podge on the water portions to make it glossy and wet looking.

ChrisBrantley15 Mar 2019 1:17 p.m. PST

For 25mm scale, I bought a nice set of urethane rubber rivers from Novus Design Studios:


The catalog currently only shows their toxic (green) river, but they also do blue and frequently offer sets on Ebay.

captaincold6915 Mar 2019 2:46 p.m. PST

Thanks Chris….I think I might just go with the blue rubbery foam I bought and use mod podge. It looks like it won't warp from the paint or the mod podge.

Thank you all for your comments

John Leahy15 Mar 2019 5:30 p.m. PST

Red Beard Baron on Youtube has a video on this. Great terrain guy! Latex caulk on canvas. Then Duct tape on bottom of canvas to prevent warping. Best I have seen!

Arlecchino572704 Apr 2019 12:09 p.m. PST

Sorry I am a bit late to the party….I made a huge set of nice looking rivers that have never warped using styrene as the base material.

I then cut up and glued down wooden coffee stir sticks along the "banks" in two layers on both sides (two layers are better than one for rigidity). I then used artists medium to cover over the stir sticks, forming nicely shaped riverbanks, then paint and Mod Podge for the river itself.

The stir sticks give the styrene real rigidity, and I've never has any issues with warping. I did a bunch of roads in a similar fashion, though of course they don't conform to terrain very well :-)

ScoutJock04 Apr 2019 12:55 p.m. PST

I have a set of Monday Knight Production latex rivers and they work just fine.


Starting with their basic blue latex river, I sprayed a thin coat of Vallejo black primer down the center, then sprayed Vallejo dirt along the banks and blended it into the black. I drybrushed the banks a bit with some Ceramcoat trail tan and once dry I finished it with Modge Podge Gloss.

No problems at all.

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