Wargaming Tradecraft: Reflective Water with Mirrors

Reflective Water with Mirrors

Craft stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby sell small mirrors for various projects. I could definitely see some use for them on terrain, could be kind of cool to see reflections of the battle on buildings and such that decorate it.

Today, I'm going to look at using mirrors as another form of creating fake water effects. The cool thing is that you actually get a reflection.

For other water tutorials, take a look at Bottomless and Animated, Transparent and Tranquil or Waterfalls.


Now, puddles aren't square and even filling around the edges, this is a little too big to fit on a base.

First though, SAFETY. There's going to be glass flying in a few seconds. Put on some safety goggles, Best are the ones that press against your face completely. (Which also fit over normal glasses.) You can also cut the glass inside a plastic / zip lock bag so shards don't fly around. The best way to pick up all the little pieces is to use thick tape and gently push it against the glass. To make sure you find all the bits, shine a flashlight around and look for reflective bits.

Taking a pair of my wider side cutters, I clip up one of my mirrors.

Next I fit the mirror where I want on the base and trace it so I know roughly where it's going to be.

Then, without having to worry about the mirror being in the way, I start putting terrain on the base and until my mini.

Now, just a mirror is too clear to be believable as water, unless maybe you were going for a magical / super tranquil pond.

So, I take some of my heavy gel and spread it over the surface. This is similar to how I made animated waves and it's up to you how wavy you want to make it. Alternatively you could create clear water.

As the gel dries you can see that the mirror is beginning to look more like water.

When it's done drying, just look at that water! The ripples, the bubbles, great stuff!

Now that the water's done, I'll build up terrain around the mirror. First, paint the border black so you don't see terrain through the edges of the mirror. Then, glue whatever bits you want around it.

 Since mirrors have a certain thickness to them and you're not building them up to create water, it's trickier to put things in the water... like, you can't just glue this "log" on the water.

You could build a bunch of gel up around the log, but the reflection would be "in" the water, not on the surface, so it'd probably still look funny.
 For the front of the base, I've used green stuff to build up the edge of the puddle. Then, I add flock and other terrain details around it to pull it all together.

Worth noting, fumes from super glue can fog clear stuff like glass and gels. You can see the progression as I glue more stuff around the water, the water gets foggier and foggier. I'd tested the mirror but not my gel... in retrospect, I could have gelled after gluing.

To solve the fogging, I put a thin layer of super glue over the water and presto! The shine is brought back.

And here the water is in the final photos:

I've used mirrors before on the bases of my Harlequins but cut the mirrors much smaller. The great effect here was seeing the bright colours of the Harlies reflected back from different angles.

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