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Painting Wargaming Hills Quickly and Easily for Terrain

Last week I showed how I made a set of hill terrain that fits into a single box for easy storage.  But, building terrain is only half the job; it still needs to be painted! So, here’s my technique on painting wargaming hills.

I picked up some new paints to use on terrain, so I painted up a single hill as a test model before doing the whole set.


The first step to painting wargaming hills is to add a textured base to the hill.  I used a mixture of 4 parts drywall joint compound to one part random left over paint, and added a bit of beach sand for extra texture.

The paint I used looked like a dark brown, but after I mixed it with the joint compound it was a bit purple.  No big deal as I am going to paint over it.

I mix paint with the joint compound, so it won’t be as chalky when it dries.  It is a lot like painting with mud, so I use a cheap plastic bristled brush that can take a beating.  I put on one coat and allowed it to dry overnight before adding a second coat.

Painting Hills - Texture

Painting the Hill

After letting the second coat dry, I used an airbrush to do the rest of the painting.

For paints I am using Behr paint samples from Home Depot.  These come in a huge variety of standard colors, and can even be custom mixed for much less per ounce than model paints.  I happened to catch these on sale for $2 per jar, so I picked up a few different colors.  If you thin them properly they work well through an airbrush too.  The first layer is Burley Wood.

Painting Hills - Base Coat

Next I used a 50/50 mix of Burley Wood and Cathedral Grey to add some highlights.

Painting Hills - Highlights
Then straight Cathedral Grey as a final highlight.

Painting Hills - More Highlights

Then I added some more Burley Wood from the bottom to strengthen the shadows a bit.  I also darkened the top where the grass will go.

Painting Hills - Shading


I want these to be grassy on the top so I finish them off with some flock.

I put on a layer of thinned Modge Podge glue, and add clumps of static grass here and there.

Painting Hills - Static Grass

Immediately after putting on the static grass I fill in the rest with some green flock.

Painting Wargaming Hills - Flock

Wargaming Hills Done

And there you have it!  It’s fairly simple, but I’m happy with the final result.  Now I just need to repeat the process with the rest of the wargaming hills…

Also, I have a tutorial on cheap DIY wargaming table that these would look great on. I also have a tutorial on making DIY barbed wire for wargaming terrain, as well as cheap and easy tank traps and miniature trees.

That’s my approach to painting hills.  It’s simple but I think it’s effective, what do you think?  Do you have a method you prefer?

Wargaming Terrain & Scenery Tutorials

Tutorials to help you create a great wargaming table.

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7 years ago

Nice job.

I was thinking at the start of this that an airbrush would be great for doing hills and sure enough it’s what you did.

7 years ago

Nice terrain tutorials! It’s cool to see them come together!

Sprech India
6 years ago

Looks just likes real one.

6 years ago
Reply to  Sprech India

They are pretty convincing.