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Modelling falling rain

Started by jim s-w, August 05, 2014, 10:46:28 AM

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jim s-w

Hi all

This is not for my main project but has anyone ever tried, seen or thought about modelling rain landing in stil water (like a canal?). Any thoughts on how this might be doable?


Jim Smith-Wright


Hi Jim

Thank you for starting this thread. I am dealing with about the same question for a some time now. Why? You can see my current modelling project in the category "Modellers at work" under the title "Steel cable transmission". The whole scene is situated in my hometown in northern Switzerland. Here rainy days are more the rule than an exception.
So I often played with the idea to finish my model as it would look under rainy conditions. What kept/keeps me from doing this is the lack of experience and therefore the fear from spoiling all work that I have done so far.
It would be a huge challenge not only on stonework, but especially in creating such a water surface.

In a German forum (http://stummiforum.de/viewtopic.php?f=51&t=50628&start=50) I saw some really good water imitation with EZ-Water from Woodland Scenics. The author took a soldering iron to create the tiny waves.

I have never tried that technique until now, but I could imagine, that something like a hot needle or a hot/warm wire brush would help to create raindrops falling in water ... just an idea!

Aggravating this situation, raindropps create often different pattern when falling on water surface!


"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" -Leonardo Da Vinci-



What about a "screen" of some sort that gives the illusion of the rain and then of course the sound played through hidden speakers??
You could use real water but the "drops" wont scale down.....

Chuck Doan

Here is someome who modeled a wet car:


Sort of related to the topic...
"They're most important to me. Most important. All the little details." -Joseph Cotten, Shadow of a Doubt


jim s-w

Hi all

I've formed an idea involving warm varnish and baking soda, time to get experimenting I think

Jim Smith-Wright


If anybody figures out how to make the hundreds of rings in puddles from falling raindrops, or how to suspend hundreds of model raindrops in the air, I will be incredibly impressed. -- Russ

jim s-w

Don't set your expectations too high Russ, it's likely I'm just going to make a gooey mess!
Jim Smith-Wright


If Chuck can create scale spider-webs he should be able to make rain as well. :P
I am an unreliable witness to my own existence.

In the corners of my mind there is a circus....


Ray Dunakin

Visit my website to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!

Ray Dunakin's World


Well, i am slow so i've just arrived to this thread eight years later.

I have been considering many times the theme of the falling drops while modeling this scene...

IMG_0024 (17) by Daniel Osvaldo Caso, on Flickr

IMG_0025 (13) by Daniel Osvaldo Caso, on Flickr

...and some others as this one...

IMG_0121 (6) by Daniel Osvaldo Caso, on Flickr

IMG_0105 (6) by Daniel Osvaldo Caso, on Flickr

and after several frustrations thought about sending the idea to Archer Transfers in the hope they would produce them. But they requiere a CAD drawing and that is far beyond my reach so i forgot.
Later the unknown threw this idea at my head: a series of brass rods (may be also steel but not necessary) in a range of different diameters from the tiniest to the biggest possible cut on the lathe with three or more (what the tool, the eyes and the diameter allow) concentric circles as if the tools would be punches.
Then laying a piece of thin aluminium or brass on a selfhealling mat and not by punching but by gently pressing as much as necessary to form the wanted impresions mixing and even superposing different sizes of 'punches' in an area of, say, A3 size.
Once done, turn upsidedown the embosed plate anmd glue it on 6mm or so MDF and make a frame arround of say 5mm or more height.
Then pouring silicone rubber into it and get the mold.
At least in theory that would be a good tool for molding a thin transparant (or coloured if you want)e or 2mm piece with the falling raindrop circles that may be cut to size as wanted simply with scissors.

I din't try with the raindrops but did with light waves taking the surface of a piece of wavy glass as pattern. It worked beautifully but the pattern was much too regular so i solved the waves issue another way. Still, here the remains of that experiment:

The piece of glass

IMG_0001 (528) by Daniel Osvaldo Caso, on Flickr

The thin silicone rubber mold

IMG_0003 (489) by Daniel Osvaldo Caso, on Flickr

and two shots of a rest piece of the flexible casting

IMG_0005 (494) by Daniel Osvaldo Caso, on Flickr

IMG_0004 (465) by Daniel Osvaldo Caso, on Flickr

I forgot this all but now , seeing this thread i've got the spark! So thank you a lot  Jim for starting it.


Bill Gill

I just found this thread.
There is a 4 part YouTube video series of modeling a small 1:35 diorama with rain falling on the corner of a pond. The water/rain effects begin in part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vx888Z2htXA
The videos show multiple positive and negative intermediate thin layers and castings made to create the final concentric rings of ripples from the raindrops hitting the pond.

Kathy Millett has a video modeling a night street scene in the rain:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FsFMHpdL6c
She describes several ways she tried modeling wet ground, puddles and raindrops. She resorted to trying different "rain" screens between the camera and diorama to look like rain falling.

On this forum a member modeled rain falling on part of a canal but not under a bridge crossing the canal.
Scroll down a way to see the rain on water.
When I tried to duplicate that I couldn't get the same effect and over time the baking soda turned yellowish.

Recently there have been a couple photos of model railroad layouts on forums with falling rain, but they were simply digital effects added to the photos.


GREAT post, Bill!!!

Have now seen the first method (parts 2 and three) and gave me a push to start. But now i want to see first the other links.
Thank you a lot for sharing.



Quote from: jim s-w on August 05, 2014, 10:46:28 AMHi all

This is not for my main project but has anyone ever tried, seen or thought about modelling rain landing in stil water (like a canal?). Any thoughts on how this might be doable?



Digitally.  I haven't done it, but I have done broadly similar things (like wood grain and embroidered flags).

In a programme like Blender you can create a realistic graphic effect of rain ripples on a pond (Google this and you'll find tutorials).  You could use a photo as a basis, but hard to avoid an oblique angle, avoid unwanted shading and deal with repeats in the pattern. There will be a means to transform this into a 3D model that can be printed (essentially converting the greyscale of an image into vertical relief).  The print will be a bit trick as this is probably the worst situation for exposing layering limitations.  But the print will be thin so thin layers are practical to minimise layering.  I would then use the print as a pattern to vac form or cast the rippled water.  A fairly heavy build primer should remove most of any visible layering.


Lawrence in NZ


Let's not forget the incredible diorama from the great French lady Lydie Queyroi, « L'orage Avant La gloire »


IMHO the best attempt in modelling falling rain so far.

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" -Leonardo Da Vinci-


Bill Gill

Thanks, Peter. I had not seen that diorama before!