Dec 11, 2012

Modelling water on ship bases

PhotobucketSooo, I got the request to make a little tutorial about how I model the water on my ship bases.

Its actually not that hard, but putting things in pictures makes stuff much easier to learn and ofcourse its much more pleasing to the eye!

So while finishing my King George V battleship I used the opportunity to take some pictures while modelling the water effects. Read on for the secret of how to make an awesome ship base!

So, basics first...

You'll need a base, which can be anything from wood to clear acrilics (even paper or cardboard if you dont have anything else. I use clear acrilics myself because a transparant base will blend in with the table color (usually blue) better.

Furthermore you'll need a bottle of watereffects. I use Woodland Scenics Water Effects but there are many different modelling companies that also make a similar product.

Lastly you'll need some modelling tool and a bit of blue and white paint with a small drybrush.

So on to modelling your base:

First you'll need to clean the base and make sure that the bottom of your model is watertight. With that I mean that if you have movable turrets make sure the bottem is sealed by a piece of plasticcard, paper or cardboard so you wont get any of the water-effects into the movable pieces, since it hardens just like glue so you will fix the turrets into place if you dont seal them off.

Next grab your base and cover it with the water effects.

Now use an old brush and 'dip' the water effects so its gets spread out a bit on the base. This breaks up the water effects because it can be quite solid when coming fresh from the bottle.

Next step is brushing out the water-effects on the base. Use long strokes crossing the base, ideally at a bit tilted angle to the horizontal. This way you will make a nice amount of pristine waves that will be suited for our ship to cleave through.

Now place the ship on the base with about 2/3 of the ship on the base.

Now gently apply a bit of pressure on the ship and slide it forward into its final position. This way you will break up the waves you just made and the water effects will form a little bow wave and wake alongside your ship.
At this point you can do a minimal bit of moddeling with a modelling tool or a toothpick to pick out the bow waves and rear wake. Let the model dry clear before the next step.

Water effects will 'deflate' a bit when drying, so the little bow wave that we got at the last step will probably not be visible enough for your (or my) taste. So after letting the base dry we add a little more water-effects to the places we want to emphasise: The bow, the wake and a little on the sides.


Now let the model dry again and we can move on to the final step, giving the water a bit of color. I like the effect that my clear base lets a little color through of the playing surface I'm playing on, so I usually dont put to much color into my base. If you have a solid base you might want to use a different approach to painting your base.

For my bases I start out with a light drybrush of blue. I use a white background so I can make sure I don't put on to much paint (if you paint on a coloured surface you will barely notice the blue paint)

After that  I give the base a light drybrush with white paint, and after that has dried I pick out the bow wave and the wake with a little extra white.

If you now place the ship on a proper playing surface you will notice the awesome effect these bases create for your model.

Finally here are some pictures of my models with the water modelled on:





Ubique Matt said...

Great tutorial. Love the effect pushing the ship through the waves/glue, good tip.


carojon said...

Thanks for sharing the ship bases. I'll look at trying this with my GHQ models.

Phil R said...

Nicely done, great tuto!

Eric Elder said...

Well done!

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Anonymous said...

That is the best effect for ship bases I have ever seen. I have been sitting on my Tsushima fleets for years wondering the best way to achieve what I want and your method is it. Thanks. By the way, what method do you use to label your bases.

Ecclesiastes said...

The bases that I used in this tutorial were premade and pre-inscribed by Reacher from the Forumini. You can see his work here and order your own:

Note that I ordered clear acrilic bases, since a colored acrilic bases would lessen the effect of the water effects IMO. I also asked him to leave off the stats and country symbol so just the name of the ship would be shown, that way you can max out on the water.

In case of existing bases, I just laminated little labels which had the same background color as the base. Then just integrated them with the water effects. You can check my post about the mongoose miniatures, I used that technique there...

Thanks all for your kind comments!