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How to paint jungle bases for wargames

Miniature bases are a key part of the painting job. They enhance the models and make the figures more impressive. Most of people don’t paint the bases as good as they can, generally due to the extra time involved in the task. In the following tutorial, we want to share how to make a detailed jungle base quickly and easily.

One of the projects that I had always in my mind is to paint a regiment of Astra Militarum, particularly from Catachan. For those of you who don’t know Warhammer 40k Lore, Catachan is a dangerous planet, totally wild and deadly. The miserable inhabitants of this place, must face every day with threats of all kinds. That provides them formidable qualities and aptitudes (for example they have Schwarzenegger arms). To faithfully represent the background of the Jungle Fighters of Catachan, it’s mandatory to prepare lush jungle bases.

To make the jungle bases we will mainly need acrylic paints, AK-Interactive products and some extra materials.

How to paint jungle bases


The jungle floor is not homogeneous at all. It is usually dark brown with different types of vegetation and foliage around. Most commonly, plants with large green, reddish or orange leaves grow.

Let’s start applying a layer of Muddy ground over the base. It’s a perfect texture to simulate muddy, but not very wet, ground, similar to the previous photo of tropical ground. We will spread homogeneously, giving texture to all the base.

In order to achieve variety of colours and not just dark brown, we will apply Track rust pigment.

We will fix the pigments to the base using White Spirit.

Textura peana selvática

The usage is very simple, just put a drop on the base. The White Spirit will spread itself over the surface, wetting the pigments. Although they appear to be very dark, after drying they will be exactly the same as at the beginning.

Time to start with the vegetation. We want to simulate a realistic substrate, with the typical mosses and foliage of the jungle. We are going to use the product Moss texture , composed of a very fine-grained verdine.

This texture will allow us to simulate mosses in an amazing way. To apply it, first give a layer of white glue diluted in water over the surface of the base. The second step is to sprinkle the “green dust”, which will be attached to the base.

Moss texture para peana selvática

The great trick for foliage is to take a spice jars and add the spices to the diorama. For example, you can use Basil. It is perfect for imitating small leaves of different shades.

Hojaresca de peana de jungla

If you have a leaf punching machine, you can also use it and generate some extra leaves. Unlike autumn bases, in the jungle isn’t common to find leaves fallen from the tree, but instead substrate full of plant rests (including rotting leaves). Personally I think it’s more realistic to use spices.

We recommend adding a lighter colored artificial grass to complement the base and give even more variety of vegetation. Here are some interesting samples. It is important not to overload the base. A good way to add them is to put drops of white glue and with a pincer place bits of grass distributed all over the base.

Finally, before moving on to the next point, note that it is very important to let the base properly dry. Don’t be impatient, because you can ruin the whole job by not waiting long enough.

Peana de jungla

The miniatures

This figure is composed of two soldiers and a mortar, that you can see below.

Mortero de catachan

At this point we’ll stick the miniatures to the base. You can use cyanoacrylate, but it’s important to fix them, as we won’t touch them anymore. Always look for realistic poses and a centered placement of the figures, if possible.

Jungle leaves

There comes the part that many of you would be waiting for. For the vegetation of the jungle we have used artificial aquarium plants. These plants have a big problem, the colour usually is semitransparent green, so we will have to handle them to achieve the maximum realism.

Plantas de acuario para wargames

We will cut small pieces of plant to adapt them to the size of our base, because in general this type of aquarium complement is quite large.

Using a pincer, glue the fragments of plants to the base of the jungle base.

Distribute the leaves in a realist way. It has to be quite random, but covering all areas.

Peana selvática de catachan

As you can see, the green is very bright and does not fit well with the rest of the figure. To solve this problem, we will paint the leaves with acrylic paints. Remember that we are trying to paint an army, so it is not necessary to get some perfect gradientst, but apply the lights, shadows and tones of the vegetation correctly.

We will start by giving a wash of Abyssal blue and Black jungle green (a very appropriate color 🙂 ). All the paints are from Scale75.

We will use Lime green mixed with Black jungle green to give light to the plants.

We will outline the plants with Yellow tenere.

We will give a touch of color with orange tones using Mars orange. You can paint some plants with red tones so they stand out and make the base more varied.

Final Result

After this long journey through the jungle we will have finished our base.

Mortero de catachan
catachan jungle mortar

Of course, these same tricks can be applied to individual miniatures. You can follow the tutorial of how to paint jungle bases.

We hope you find very useful this tutorial of how to paint jungle bases. It applies to many wargames, fantasy, science fiction and even historical: Lizardmen, WW2 Japan, Catachan Imperial Guard, etc. There is no excuse for not having our army with some cool bases!

And if you liked the Catachans… Wait and see what we are preparing! Check our Gallery for updates!


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