There are certain items that every terrain painter needs to have in their arsenal to help paint terrain quicker and with a wider range of details and effects. Below are our top tools for painting tabletop terrain.
Brushes for tabletop terrain
You’ll need a range of brushes for painting tabletop terrain. As scenery is a lot bigger than miniatures, you’ll need some larger brushes in additional to fine detail brushes. You can also get away with a lot cheaper brushes for painting scenery.
- Fine detail miniature brushes
- Cheap Makeup brushes for drybrushing
- Cheap(ish) brushes for painting terrain features – Check out something like the ‘Golden Maple’ brush set
- Old brushed for oil paint washes and streaks
Acrylic Paints for scenery
Small bottles and pots of miniature paints such as Citadel, Vallejo or Army Painter won’t go far on terrain projects, so it’s worth grabbing a selection of cheap craft paints in squeezy tubes. These can be diluted for extra coverage and even mixed into large dropper bottles to suit your needs. Some p;eopel also recommend using sample pots of indoor, waterbased house paint for painting terrain.
Airbrush for tabletop gaming
An airbrush is a great tool for painting terrain quickly and efficiently. Airbrushing allows you to create smooth gradients and textures on large surfaces, making it ideal for painting large terrain pieces – You can even use airbrush stencils to add details. It is also useful for creating weathering effects and adding subtle details to your terrain. While an airbrush can be expensive, it is a worthwhile investment if you plan to create a lot of terrain.
A small spray bottle can be used for several handy things such as flushing out an airbrush in-between colour changes, filling with paint / PVA water mixes to prime basic terrain projects, and of course, cleaning up!
Sponges for weathering
The foam that often comes in blister packs or model kits… keep that! It’s great for ripping up and using to stipple grime, rust or paint flakes onto the edges of terrain.
Washes for adding grime
You can use pre-mixed pots of inks or washes such as Agrax Earthsade or Vallejo Model wash, but mixing oil paints and a solvent thinner such as artist turps is a great way to weather your terrain, add dirt to the recesses and add nasty streaks.
- Brown / Umber
3D Printer for accessories and extra terrain
3D printers are an incredibly useful tool to have around for terrain projects.
How can 3D printers help your terrain painting projects?
- 3D print accessories for your paint set-up or studio
- 3D print greebles or terrain parts
Pigments for rust and grime
Artist pastels, pigments and comemrcial rust mixtures are usually set with solvent such as isoproply alchohol and are great for adding grime, rust or other weathering. It can be applied as-is, or set and painted over for added texture.
Spray Paint for base coating
Rattle cans are quick and easy ways to lay down paint if you don’t have access to an airbrush. You can apply base coats or spray from above or 45 degrees to apply zenithal highlights and surface colours.
Airbrush Stencils for tabletop gaming
Airbrush stencils are an easy way to add decals, lettering and other marking to your projects.
Think about using stencils to add:
- Hazard marking
- Icons or logos
- Lines and shapes
- Thematic symbols
For protecting certain areas from paint or colour, you can use masking tape. It also allows you to mask simple straight lines for crisp edges and stripes.
A good sharp knife is always good to have around for cutting off unwanted parts of your terrain project or even adding damage such as cuts, missing chunks or scratches.
Paint Pallete & Mixing Pots
We’ve mentioned various paints, glues, pigments and oils above, so so’ll want to make sure you’ve got a selection of (ideally reusable) mixing surfaces and containers.
Glue for tabletop gaming
PVA glue and superglue are another essential item to have close at hand. Use the right glue on the right material to repair, add stuff or apply texturing.
Flock, Sand & Static Grass
Organic textures can be added to your terrain sets with any number of grass flocks, sand, modelling flock or even sawdust! It’s worth trying different mixtures of these and getting an understanding of what can be painted over. EG, sand and PVA, when set looks great when drybrushed
Turntable (Lazy Suzan)
A spinning platform or turntable means you can have your terrain piece in front of you, at the right height and be able to spin it around without having to touch it! It’s a simple thought but an absolute game-changer!