Painting Great Looking Planets

Introduction: Painting Great Looking Planets

CorSec Engineering make great kits for making planets for tabletop gaming or science fair project. They can be found here. This planet was painted in less the 30 minutes and is really easy to do.


This planet has an abundance of water but it is a little cold and most of it is frozen. Very little vegetation grows and it would not be a very pleasant place to visit.

What you need:

What you need:

2.5" Acrylic Planet Kit

Sandy Paste by Vallejo

Burnt Sienna, White, and Tan craft acrylic paints.

Magic Wash


Acrylic Glue (ProWeld)

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Step 1: Assembly

The kit is easy to put together. Mix a bit of epoxy and liberally apply it to one end of the rod. Then insert that all the way to the top of the sphere. Center the sphere and hold it together till the epoxy gets a good hold. You need a lot to fill the gap between the top of the sphere and the rod. After that cures it will be a really strong joint.

It is best to put the base on after you paint it. Sometimes it gets in the way. However assembling it is easy. Insert the rod into the hole and apply some ProWeld or other glue that will work on acrylic. Do not use super glue as it has a tenancy to cloud acrylic. If your epoxy dies clear you can use that.

Step 2: Texturing

At this point you can prime the sphere or just clean the surface really well. Once your primer is dry you can start adding the texture. Sandy Paste works great to give the planet a subtle rocky look. This helps differentiate them from a gas giant. You only want a thin coat. If you want to add more and try to get more definition for craters or other features that will work but isn't necessary. The idea is to add texture but not to much surface detail. Your seeing them from space after all and you can't see every hill and river bed from space. You can build up a few areas to look like mountain ranges but just a dab of extra paste will work fine. After your satisfied with the texture then let it dry completely before painting it.

Step 3: Painting

For this planet we used burnt sienna as a base coat. Once you have the entire planet covered you can start wet blending in the other colors. Do not let the paint dry between coats. What you want is to blend the various colors together so that you don't have any hard lines. Have fun with it and if you don't like an area just paint over it. This isn't some high detail miniature where details can be lost with to much paint. Work the colors together till you have something you like. A lot of the detail will be covered with a dry brush so this stage is only important for the overall undertones of the planet surface. Again we need to pause in this step to let it dry completely.

Step 4: Dry Brushing

Dry brushing is just that painting with a dry brush. You don't want a lot of paint for this step. If you have to much then wipe it off on a towel. It is better to have not enough paint then to much in this stage. The video might show it but I made a mistake at this point and got a large glob of white in the middle of the planet. I just blended that into the rest of the planet to try and make it look like a big storm happened or something at that point. This step dries really fast so you can move to the next step after only a few minutes.

Step 5: Magic Wash

What is magic wash? Well it is a combination of water, paint (or ink), and Future Floor wax. The floor wax lowers the viscosity of the water and allows it to flow into areas that water normally would not lay. You can also just use a normal wash at this stage but I found the best results came from brushing on the magic wash.

Magic wash is made by mixing 50% water, 50% Future Floor Wax, and a few drops of acrylic paint. Play with the mix a bit adding more or less water or paint till you get something that looks right. Try it on something generic at first or a small section of the planet. The magic wash tones down the colors and makes everything blend together more from a distance. It might not be a necessary step but if you finish and find it still lacks that look you wanted try the wash.

Step 6: Video

A short video to help show the process.

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    2 Discussions


    8 years ago on Step 2

    Skip this step if you want your planets to look real. Even the tallest mountains and deepest crags are only a fraction of a sheet of paper's thickness at that scale. Use 2d shading and specularity tricks instead.

    Texturing your planets gives them a full-on "Duck Dodgers" level of cartoony-ness. Which is certainly appropriate for some games (like maybe BFG, or the Edger Rice Burroughs and other early pulp adventure inspired stuff), but for stuff like SFB, Full Thrust, Traveler, or any of the Bab5, ST, SW, Yamato, BSG, etc. inspired stuff it's out of character.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Cool planet, it looks great. You're right though it definitely wouldn't be nice to visit.