How to Paint Hills for Miniature Wargaming

Hello all,

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!  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 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

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 Hills - Flock

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 hills…

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?

  • 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.

    • Yeah, the airbrush was great for this. It should make relatively short work of the rest of those hills.

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

    • Thanks! I hope to get the rest of them painted this week. My next post will probably be a status report on that.

  • Pingback: Hill Terrain painted at last!()

  • Looks just likes real one.

    • They are pretty convincing.

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