Wherein C.F.Barrón does his thing...

Water Tutorial

Hey everyone, I know I post a lot on here about my miniatures or what have you but people keep responding to them so I'm going to keep talking about them. I thought it'd be interesting to post a tutorial regarding an effect I recently taught myself because it was one of those weird projects that was both intuitive and counterintuitive. As the title suggests, I'm talking about water effects, and how much fun they can be. So let's get started.

Aside from a cool miniature you'll need the following:


They sell small sheets of this stuff at Home Depot and Michael's for about $2

A source of heat/ tweezers

Zippos get really hot really fast so be careful. I also employed my steel sculpting tool with my tweezers

Vallejo water texture/ Vallejo still water

you can get both for $13 online, or a little more if you want to support your local hobby store.

Okay, now for the actual doing stuff portion of this tutorial...I'm excited!

Step 1

Using your significant other's favorite fabric scissors, cut out chunks of the acrylic.  The actual shapes don't matter too much but pieces with points make more interesting waves in my opinion. Consider wearing eye protection for this bit as the acrylic likes to fly off as you cut into it. The process is more like controlled snapping than actually cutting as the material is pretty brittle.

I am not responsible for any all damages caused when your s.o. finds out what you used their favorite fabric scissors for

Step 2

Using the tweezers, grab the acrylic pieces individually and expose them to your heat source. Heat will make the plastic curl and distort. If the acrylic catches fire, blow it out (obviously) but don't stress too much about the charred coloration or if pieces of the plastic adhere to something as it snaps right off the moment it cools down.  Be SMART about this. I had my zippo on a flame retardant surface and didn't touch it for a few minutes after I blew the flame out.




You can use another set of tweezers to mold the plastic while its malleable. The process is more art than science as a lot of it has to do with what part is held over the flame and just how warm the plastic is. I personally used a sculpting tool to get some fun curves in the material.


That's the same piece of acrylic we saw in the second picture. Try to keep at least one part somewhat flat as it'll make attaching the wave to the miniature base easier. Other than that, the only real advice I have sounds like I'm being condescending, but try to make it look like a wave. Even if it's just one small piece, you can be clever and put a few together to make one larger wave, but more on that later.

Step 3

The hot plastic cools off quickly so you can form them and then hot glue them to the base in ten minutes if you know what you're doing. Once you've decided which pieces you want to use and have a miniature selected, hot glue or super glue your acrylic waves to the base. Here's the bottleneck of the process. The Vallejo water effects are a type of slow-drying resin, and they recommend a full twenty-four hours for the stuff to fully cure.


Use a thin layer of the Still Water around the mini and around the waves. (this will make it look like she's both standing on water and that the water is being manipulated) Then glob some of the Water Texture onto the acrylic waves. This stuff looks like glue, but handles kind of like runny jell-o, so don't stress too much about dripping a bit here and there as it's easy to remove and dries clear anyway. The Water Texture does a great job of creating that light refraction look that real water does and is a must for this project, but like I said, the real challenge lies in waiting. Once you've loaded up on the Water Effects, leave your miniature in a cool and dry place that's out of your line of sight and let it cure for a day. I mean it, hide the thing if you must, just don't fiddle with it once you've sculpted the waves. You should end up with something like the above image.

Step 4.

You have the shape, the texture, the shimmer and the translucence of water, but it's not quite enough. Time for some color.


This will involve some wet on wet blending, which can be a little finicky, but is worth it in this case. I painted the water Deep Green, and before the paint dried I added Phthalocyanine Blue.



Again, while the paint is wet, start blending in bits of white, working from the high points down as it adds a nice gradient effect. Don't be afraid to mix in more blue or green.




Finally, wait for the paint to dry and go through with a white drybrush



By all means, use pictures of waves as a reference and do what it takes to make the water look like it's in motion, but I promise you'll almost always end up using a white dry brush for this sort of thing.

Anyway, hope you all liked the brief tutorial. I consider these both to be my first attempt as I did them together, and though I'm satisfied with the results, I'm sure someone out there can do it much better. As time goes on, I'll refine my techniques and hopefully update this thing if I come up with something else.