Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Building a ‘better’ Splash

Back when I was making the base for Gutrot Spume I created my wave and splash effects using a foundation of clear plastic. These pieces of plastic had been partly melted and distorted over the heat of a candle. While the finished result was very effective it was also quite a bit of fuss and bother to achieve!

For my Abyssal Warlord I decided to try a slightly simpler method of creating dynamic splash effects for the base. This involved a similar technique to the one used before of building up layers of water effects but, in this instance, I would be using cotton wool as a foundation material.

I’ve used cotton wool previously to create candle flames and seaweed and while I was adding a wet weedy fringe to the Warlord’s cloak, I had the idea to use it for splashes. The technique is very straight forward but it is best done slowly, allowing each stage to dry before adding the next. I’d recommend making up a load of these splashes as a side project fitted in between other jobs.

Materials and Equipment. 

Cotton wool – I used cotton buds as only a very small quantity is needed.
Water effects - I used two types of water effects Transparent Water and Still Water, both by Vallejo. Transparent Water is thick and has some body to it, the Still Water is fluid.
Paintbrush size 1 or 2
A plastic tray/ palette – I used an old blister pack

Step 1

Pick off a tiny amount of cotton wool from a cotton bud. Give the cotton wool a coating of the Transparent Water. Take the piece of, now soggy, cotton wool and attach it to the edge of your tray/palette. Gently draw your brush along the length of the cotton wool to pull it out into a longer shape. Now leave the cotton wool alone until the water effects have dried.

Step 2

Trim off any stray or straggling ‘hairs’ with a pair of scissors. Build up the splash using Still Water applied in several successive layers. I found three to four layers gave me the look I wanted. Let each layer dry before you add the next one. As you build up the effect form rounded droplets at the ends of the splashes. The droplets may need a few extra layers of water effects.

Step 3

Once you are happy with the splashes let them dry thoroughly over night. This is an important step as the water effects will shrink somewhat and go totally clear as it dries. The next day you can assess the fully dried splashes to see if they are done, or if you wish to add a little more of the Still Water.

Step 4

When you are satisfied with the splashes and they are totally dry you can cut them from the tray/ palette using scissors. The splashes can then be fixed to your model using a small blob of the Transparent Water. When this has dried you can add further layers of both types of water effects to incorporate the splashes into your base/model.

To finish the splash effects on the Warlord’s base I added a few microbeads (of course) and some slimy seaweed, using more cotton wool, but with less layers of water effects. For a final touch I’ve used a little green pigment powder to tint the last layers of water effects.


  1. The end effect is amazing, and very realistic! Will definitely like to give this a try, thanks for sharing!

  2. Well, the effect is clear - perfection!

    Puns for the pun God.

  3. An awesome result!
    I doubt I have the skill to do this, but thanks a lot for the tutorial!

  4. Very cool! Thanks for the tutorial, I'll have to try that soon.