Matsubara dynamics is the quantum-Boltzmann-conserving classical dynamics which remains when real-time coherences are taken out of the exact quantum Liouvillian [T. J. H. Hele et al., J. Chem. Phys. 142, 134103 (2015)]; because of a phase-term, it cannot be used as a practical method without further approximation. Recently, Smith et al. [J. Chem. Phys. 142, 244112 (2015)] developed a “planetary” model dynamics which conserves the Feynman-Kleinert (FK) approximation to the quantum-Boltzmann distribution. Here, we show that for moderately anharmonic potentials, the planetary dynamics gives a good approximation to Matsubara trajectories on the FK potential surface by decoupling the centroid trajectory from the locally harmonic Matsubara fluctuations, which reduce to a single phase-less fluctuation particle (the “planet”). We also show that the FK effective frequency can be approximated by a direct integral over these fluctuations, obviating the need to solve iterative equations. This modification, together with use of thermostatted ring-polymer molecular dynamics, allows us to test the planetary model on water (gas-phase, liquid, and ice) using the q-TIP4P/F potential surface. The “planetary” fluctuations give a poor approximation to the rotational/librational bands in the infrared spectrum, but a good approximation to the bend and stretch bands, where the fluctuation lineshape is found to be motionally narrowed by the vibrations of the centroid.