For the longest time I have been meaning to make some waterways, natural and unnatural. It seemed to make sense to start with canals, as they are easier to make, being more regular in appearance, and because they're just the sort of scenery one would want for 1914 BEF games.
* Foamcard or polystyrene tiles
* Plasticard (or other suitable basing material)
* PVA glue
1. I cut some 1mm thick plasticard into 4" by 6" pieces. With it only being 1mm thick, I didn't want to make the pieces too long, lest they end up warping. The idea is for the pieces to be 4" wide with a 3/4" bank on either side, leaving a 2 1/2" waterway in the middle.
2. I then grabbed some foamcard and a few spare ceiling tiles. The foamcard I was able to superglue directly to the bases in 3/4" widths, but the ceiling tiles I glued to pieces of thin card, which I had already superglued to the bases. I reasoned that simply gluing them with PVA wouldn't provide a strong bond.
3. I cut some rectangles (and curved pieces) from the same thin card, and glued them atop the foamcard and polystyrene ceiling tiles to give the impression of stone flagstones. For the curved pieces I used an old protractor from my school days to mark out circles, then carefully cut the pieces to size with scissors (for the strips of card) or knife.
4. I undercoated everything with some artist's Prussian Blue. I then painted strips of white closest to the stonework, a medium blue strip between that and the middle, then added water and PVA to the Prussian Blue and applied that over all to bring the colours together.
5. After it dried I painted the stonework in a dark grey, and dry-brushed it progressively lighter. After that I applied washes and spots to the stonework to make it look somewhat discoloured and irregular.
6. I ended up with 4 * 90-deg corners, 4 * 45-deg, 1 * X-piece, 2 * T-junctions, and 13 * straights. So I can make a 6 1/2' long canal if need be. The plans for the river are for it to include 12' of straights. After the river/stream pieces are complete, I'll set to work on bridges. Since the canal and river will share dimensions, they will be capable of being linked together.