Everyone needs a river. I'm constantly drawn to the fine examples displayed on other people's tables and offered for sale on various sites around the net. I have an S&A Scenics river that is functional, it even has some custom sections I had made specially. I'm not entirely happy with it though, I don't like the colours and the painting is too basic.
However I have been reluctant to part with money unless the river is exactly what I want. I don't mind compromise if I'm making something but I don't like to feel unsure about something I've bought, it means I never end up using it.
The initial plan then was to make my own river.
I dithered about deciding what I wanted and how much to make and then planning the actual materials and cutting etc. There's quite a bit of effort involved in creating even a simple river and it's a lot of bother unless you're set up to make loads either for yourself or to sell on.
Finally, as time was getting short and I needed a river for a game I was staging, I had one of those flashes of inspiration that hit occasionally.
I already had a river. It was almost identical to what I planned to build except for the colours. I could just repaint it.
Here is the S&A Scenics river, as you can see it's sturdy and functional but not very attractive.
I sent the bridge away to S&A and he kindly made a river section to fit it, the river junction was also a custom piece.
I need a river for my Afghanistan terrain to begin with so I'm doing desert colours first. Later on I'll need a jungle river and I plan to buy another basic S&A set which is very cheap, 5ft for £20.00, and a much better option than buying materials and doing my own cutting. I'll repaint it to match my jungle stuff.
I started with the banks, painting them in the three shades of my figure bases.
Next the water. Muddy brown water might be accurate but I want a blue river. I began with a dark blue as a base before moving on to the three shades of lighter blue that would be the final colours.
Finally three coats of gloss varnish for the water to complete the transformation. Here's the complete set. I have a large pond somewhere that will also get changed once I find it, it will make a great oasis.
Here's an 'action shot' with a 28mm Land Rover and some rock bases I also repainted recently. I'm going to add some static grass to the bridge base but decided against adding it to the banks as they're not really wide enough and it would look very bitty and unnatural (I know it's a cartoon river anyway but even I have some standards of 'realism').
Incidentally, my rocks are just stones attached to plasticard bases with basing compound and grit added.
I bought most of a set of S&A's standard river for a bargain price off eBay so I bought a full set from S&A themselves so I had enough and painted a brown river.
Here's a comparison with the blue, wider river.