Painting Tutorials

Dreadfleet – Painting Water

I have begun work on the Games Workshop release of Dreadfleet. I intend to start on the ships before moving to the great scenery and sea monsters.

With so many pieces to paint, in can get sometimes rather overwhelming. In such cases I like to start with something that I can roll out like a production line. The pieces to have to be similar so that i can paint all the items a layer at the time.

With Dreadfleet the parts are so wildly different (what drew me to want to paint them in the first place), the only ship parts that I can mass paint like this is the water. So the water it is. This will give me my quick feel of accomplishment which will drive me to finish the ships (yes I have motivation problems some times).

The most important thing in painting the sea is so that it matches the deep blue of the play mat. I want it to camouflage as best as it can and thus allow the ships to stand out.


To begin I primed all the bases in a mat black undercoat. Once dry I then painted the surface area in a coat of GW (games Workshop) Regal Blue. Its important not to paint the middle area where the ship is to be based as some of the ships have open tops that can see the base, and its better for gluing.

Once this coat was dry, I followed up with a heavy dry brush of GW Enchanted Blue. I wanted to ensure that most of the ridges was caught in the dry brush so I left a little more paint on the brush then I would normally. Go over the area multiple times with the dry brush.

The next step is to dry brush a 1 part mix of of GW Enchanted Blue with a 1 part of GW Ice Blue. We’re going to be building up the crest of the waves so the more gradient colours the better. Gently dry brush this over the wave peaks and ensure that both sides of the wave are captured.

Take a 2:1 of GW Ice Blue and GW Enchanted Blue and repeat as above but this time ensure you dry brush a little lighter on the crest so that more of the peak then the body is captured in the dry brush.

Finally take straight GW Ice Blude and dry brush the very peaks of the waves. Ensure that you really take as much of the paint off as possible as the Ice Blue really stands out.

Dreadfleet Painting Water

Now that we have some nice gradients on the waves and they stand out nicely, we need to take care of the wave troughs and ensure that the base matches up with the playing mat. Take a even 1:1 part mix of GW Badab Black and GW Thraka Green washes and heavly layer the entire base. Don’t get stingy here, the green will give the gradients we painted a nice blue/green hue like an ocean and the black will darken the trough blue to be more in line with the mat.

Once this is dry, the finally is painting the crests of the high waves. Little note here. Find the highest waves on the base, this wave with have a watered down white ridge line, all other waves will have a gentle mix of GW Ice Blue and White. Generally the wave ridge will be a line and wont take too many curves. Some people say to dab the crest line with white, but i find that just using the watered down white is sufficient (and it lets a little of the blue through too).

Dreadfleet painted base

I have just completed all the bases for the ships, and liked the effect so much I had to continue it on to  the other island and wrekage pieces straight away.

Next up is one of the ships, but which one to choose…


I am currently focusing my commission work around Dreadfleet at the moment, so if you want your box set or individual ships painted please use the contact form to receive a quote.


Tags: , ,


  1. Pingback: Dreadfleet Islands « Centerpiece Miniatures

  2. Tom McDowall says:

    Nice tutorial, found it really helpful for my dreadfleet bases


    Better late than never, just got my set today! I’ll be using your tutes!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.