How to Paint Alien Planet Bases - From Our Pioneer Collection

The tutorial has been painted for and written by our resident miniature painter, Marc. 

This tutorial has quite few steps, but don't worry, they're all simple to follow and produce great results. You can use the techniques with all the scenic bases in our Pioneer collection, as well as other scenic bases in your own collection. A great base can really help to bring a miniature to life, so it's always worth investing some time in painting it 🙂

For this tutorial, we're using Kaitlin's base with the large alien flower - she's the Scientist of the group.

I will mention the paints I use by colour name and will include a full list with brand names at the end of the tutorial. I also mention thinning ratios for those paints, but bear in mind your own might vary if you use a different paint.

Let's get started!

Painting The Ground


1. To paint the ground, start with an even brown coat over the whole surface; I used 3 drops of Burnt Umber thinned with 1 drop of water. Apply two coats if necessary. Don't worry about avoiding the vegetation as this will be painted at a later stage.

2. I painted the large flower & stone grey to make them stand out for the photography, but you can also paint these brown. For this task I used 3 drops of Cool Grey 3 thinned with 1 drop of water.

3. Then apply a liberal wash using Agrax Earthshade. Use this over the rocks as well as the earth. This will take a while to dry, but be patient with it.

4. To add texture to the soil, mix 1 drop of Burnt Umber with 1 drop of Off White. I didn't thin the paint. Sponge this onto the base to make the soil appear textured and rough using any sponge that you can find in your house - foam from a miniature's packet or a fresh kitchen sponge will both work. 


5. To finish the texture, take 2 drops of Off White thinned with 1 drop of water, and stippled this onto the ground. In particular, focus this application to the edges of the raised areas to add highlights. You could sponge on this layer too, but I do recommend using stippling with a paint brush instead as it gives you more control as to which aspects of the base you highlight.

6. For the rock, stipple on 1 drop of WarColours Cool Grey 3 mixed with 1 drop of Off White thinned with one drop of water.

7. Finish of the texture by stippling on the raised areas using 2 drops of Off White thinned with one drop of water.

8. I applied an oil wash to the soil area to add realism. Mix 1 drop of Raw Umber with 3 drops of Oil Expert Enhancing Medium by VMS. This gives the soil a natural finish.

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Painting The Vegetation


9. For the green plants, apply a foundation cover over the whole area using 2 drops of Olive Green thinned with 1 drop of water.

10. Wait for this to dry before adding a wash to create shadows. This was done by mixing 1 drop of Olive Green with 1 drop of Dark Violet, and thinning with 6 drops of water. It creates a very dark shadow, but I like the contrast that creates when adding highlights.


11. Once the wash is, edge highlight the leaves, first using Light Moss Green, 2 drops thinned with 1 drop of water.

12. Apply a second highlight, focusing on just the tips, using 1 drop of Light Moss Green mixed with 1 drop of Off White and thinned with 1 drop of water. This creates nice, bright vegetation.

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13. To paint the flower, start by applying a smooth even coat Dark Violet - 3 drops thinned with 1 drop of water. I applied 3 coats, waiting for the previous coat to have fully dried before applying the next, to create a smooth and even finish.

14. Next, stipple on Pastel Violet - 3 drops thinned with 1 drop of water. Use the miniature as a guide, targeting the raised details of the petals.


15. Keep developing the texture of the petals. Mix 1 drop of Pastel Violet with 1 drop of Off White, and thin with 1 drop of water and apply more stippled dots.

16. To make the petals appear truly alien take 3 drops of Surfer Orc Flesh and thin with 1 drop of water. Stipple this into the recesses of each petal, making the shaded area appear brighter and bolder than the outer aspects.

17. Take the mix from above and paint the stamen. Edge highlight the stamen using 1 drop of Surfer Orc Flesh mixed with 1 drop of Off White, and thinned with 1 drop of water.

Finishing off the Base


18. If there are mushrooms present on your base, like there are on the Scientist's base, paint them a selection of vibrant and magical colours. Add texture by stippling on lighter tones of those colours. Let your imagination run wild doing this and experiment with colours to see which ones work together!

The other scenic bases in the collection have more small mushrooms and other alien flowers you can have fun with 🙂 Check out the painted Pugmanders from our Pugmander Painting Tutorial at the end of this post - the bases were painted with the exact same techniques as we discuss here.

19. Paint the rim of the base in black for a clean finish. Use a flat headed brush for speed and to produce an even coat. I thinned 3 drops of black paint with 1 drop of water and applied two coats.

20. Finally, apply a satin varnish to protect your hard work while using your base on the table top!

Below you can see the Scientist from February's Pioneer collection, Kaitlin Goodhope, painted and attached to her scenic base 🙂

Make sure to share your printed and painted bases with us on Instagram using #printminis!

The Paints I Used

  • Burnt Umber, ScaleColor Artist
  • Cool Grey 3, WarColours
  • Agrax Earthshade, Citadel Paints
  • Off White, ScaleColor Artist
  • Raw Umber, Abeteilung;
  • Olive Green, ScaleColor Artist
  • Dark Violet, ScaleColor Artist
  • Light Moss Green, ScaleColor Artist
  • Violet Pastel, ScaleColor Artist
  • Surfer Orc Flesh, ScaleColor
  • Orcish Dermis, ScaleColor
  • Oil Expert Enhancing Medium, Vantage Modelling Solutions
  • Matte Back, The Army Painter Warpaints

You can check out our other 3D miniature collections here.