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Why Precision Ice and Snow?

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Why we developed the range of Precision Ice and Snow Products

As a modeller I was faced with a problem. How to realistically depict heavy frost and packed Ice onto the hull of an Eastern Front Panther. I’d always modelled and this project was an un-finished Academy 1/24th number which I had started at a previous time. So I sought inspiration and materials to carry out this new direction of finishing. Winter Warfare!



There were a number of commercial choices available but none seemed to be able to give a solution that was realistic. One snow effect had a good colour came but unfortunately, even at 1/24th the particles of snow were too large and resembled desiccated coconut. Also, when applied the coconut particles grew end on end, rather than interlocking which produced an un-realistic growth of snow!

The accompanying bottle of 'sparkle effects to give the snow glitter, were reflective spheres which reflected light indiscriminately and in an exaggerated way. A Cree torch found this out spectacularly as the surfaces coated with the stuff glared back at me like a road-sign.



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Then, there were hollow glass spheres, (Fumed Silica) which had an exaggerated bluey-white colour. This resisted any attempt to position it as a realistic frost coating and it seemed to have a life of its own. Also it did not sparkle convincingly. The effects where like using soap suds and too see through and did not meet my modelling expectations

I considered using Bicarbonate of Soda too but again it was too bluey-white, sparkled indifferently and had a puffy, aerated pneumatic appearance when heaped. I was also loathe to use a product that would degrade from contact with moisture, absorb moisture and possibly change colour. I had gone to a lot of trouble of ‘fixing’ all of the paintwork and detailing. Errant ice and Snow was not part of the equation.

Ground glass had a brief excursion too but it was either too gritty, like salt or piled indifferently, also the colour was wrong again and it is not safe. The powdered variety did not develop well with adhesives, to make piled snow or to make other ice and snow effects with resins.

It seemed to me that the existing effects for ice and Snow were not really suitable for precision Scale Models and were really ‘toy’ effects and had not been really developed specifically for precision scale models. The two main contenders were a really an additive for the plastic fabrication industry and chopped PVC particles with industrial reflective spheres.

For inspiration I thought I would have a look at how these materials had fared on other completed models. There were relatively few examples about and the snow and ice was quite often placed around the Diorama, rather than being an integral part of it. Also the artillery pieces, tanks and all the other hardware of war were magically free of the ice and snow deposits which lay all around though.

Altogether, the percentage of arctic or sub-zero and winter ice and snow conditions represented in modelling was somewhat absent and at odds with reality therefore. I felt that this was because of the materials available and their scope for use. I could see that there was little enthusiasm for obscuring detail and paintwork.

The reality of warfare is that an awful lot of it was conducted in winter conditions, whether because of season, or location.

It was then that I was compelled to develop Krycell and to produce something which would tick a number of boxes and address all of these issues.






SCALE There was the question of scale snowflakes. It reasoned that depending on what adhesive was used, different rates of build and different sizes of snow could be achieved. This is why I decided to aim for a crystalline structured medium which would respond to different rates and types of adhesive to produce realistic builds of snow at any scale up to 1/16th


COLOUR The colour had to be right. It had to reflect the environment it was in and not be too white. In other words, the whiteness had to be in scale.



TRANSLUCENCY The material had to be translucent and see through in fine coverings. This quality had to be achievable at all scales.

This quality had to be apparent whether it was ice or snow that was being depicted. It is important if you have laboured over the creation of a modelling masterpiece not to obscure built details and paintwork with un-realistic coatings. As in Nature it should be possible to apply a product which is completely see through and subtle.



SPARKLE The material would have to have a natural sparkle and reflectivity. I hoped I could achieve a sparkle which was correct in colour too, which we did. I wanted to create a material which could be applied at one particle thicknesses which would be invisible until a light falls across the surface from a specific direction and then it would sparkle realistically Also, with the introduction of Krycell EXTRA, the sparkle effect was enhanced for larger scales 1/35th up to 1/16th .


BUILD I wanted a build that interlocked rather than stacked, the crystalline structure of Krycell does just that. A material that is easy to apply in a single particle thicknesses if required and then all the way up to thick snow with everything in between



WEIGHT I wanted a material which had some ‘heft’ and ‘weight ‘to it so that it would be capable of bending fine diorama details realistically. I also did not want to use a powder that did not fall vertically and that would blow around unrealistically whilst being used.

IN DETAIL I wanted to push out the envelope on what could be expected in super-fine detail. I wanted the material to match-up to the level of my mine and anybody else’s modelling. I wanted to be able to photograph the results at super macro levels and to see the material behaving in exactly the same way as Natural Ice and Snow.

After some trial and error we finally developed our product. Krycell. It took not an inconsiderable amount of tests and test strips to ensure we had created the material for the job. We photographed it in stupidly close detail, compared the results to real snow fall and frost and saw how closely we could achieve. We asked the opinions of some of the finest modellers across the world and the feedback was universally positive.



Some found the shake and bake methods of applying Krycell at odds with their traditional methods of application, which were controlled and measured.

This is understandable when you consider what a controlled process precision modelling is. However, we were suggesting nothing more than a more freestyle approach which reflected the turbulence and nuances of natural snowfall and blizzard. By applying a directional adhesive, it would be possible to achieve completely natural directional snowfall and blizzard therefore.

This does not mean that Krycell powders cannot be applied to hand-glued surfaces, they can and the powders can be combined with any medium to achieve piled, shovelled residual snows.

One aspect of Krycell powders is that they combine well with the finest, thinnest, clearest adhesives, PVA tends to obscure that property however. The Krycell powders can be mixed with a plethora of resins thought to create frozen ice sheets and other details.



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quite impressive - will keep this in mind as it is the first scale snow which really looks like snow


Yeah, its great stuff. You just change the adhesive to change it for the scale you are using it for. It works for 'N' gauge railways really well. It's not toy stuff!


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Looks like a fantastic Product!!

Can you tell us if it is distributed here in the U.S.?


Johnny B.

Yes it is...Here and sorry for the awsomely late reply! http://www.thescenicfactory.com/

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