How To Paint Everything: Malibu Barbie Edition

Happy Barbie release day! It’s your friend, Malibu Marcy, and I know that like me, you’re preparing to celebrate by hitting up the theater with all of your Barbies and Kens, but if you’re dreaming of a pink wonderland and just can’t get it out of your head, what better way than to help express that vibrancy with your hobbying? That’s right: This week, How to Paint Everything is here to help you make your Malibu dreams come true with guides on how to use Pink as a primary, accent, undercoating, terrain, and basing color, tips for working with the color, and various techniques on how to get the most out of the true color that goes with everything! So get your favorite colorful drink (not brush water please), get your best painting ensemble together, hit up the girlies and boys on a discord call, and get ready to dazzle the next time your miniatures hit the tables!

Pink has an oft maligned history as a color when used in painting miniatures (and, frankly, other things), being relegated to a joke color or a color “for girls”, when in reality Pink has a huge range of tones all of its own, and when combined with other complimentary or analogous colors can provide vibrant, popping displays of color. Sure, an all-pink Darth Vader is a funny gag, but there’s more to the color than that, and even further a lot more you can do with pink than painting pastels and synthwave palettes. Let’s take a look at a few ways to use pink effectively, and the ways in which the color can add to our color toolbox in ways that might not seem obvious at first!

How to Paint Everything: Pink as Primary


I’ve got a few models left in my Blackstone Fortress backlog. I’ve had the Plague Marines from the No Respite expansion sitting in my backlog for quite a while – I painted the zombies from it all the way back in 2020’s HTPE Zombies article! I’ve always been partial to pink Nurgle stuff, so I decided to give Barbie style a shot.

I went with the traditional GW pinks here. In the above photo I’ve basecoated them with Screamer Pink, then did a zenithal highlight with Pink Horror. I used an airbrush for this, but you can probably achieve a similar effect slowly building up drybrush layers.

To finish off the pink, I did a pin wash around all the recesses and joints with Sigvald Burgundy contrast. I then did an all over edge highlight with Emperor’s Children, then a more focused highlight with Fulgrim Pink at the sharpest points of the edges, or where two edges intersected. I also mixed a little bit of white in for the brightest specular highlights:

Blackstone Fortress Plague Marine by Craig “MasterSlowPoke” Sniffen

To make sure pink is the star, I made sure the rest of the colors were as low saturation as possible to enhance the contrast. The most important parts are the black (pink and black is a classic, after all) and the blue. The black started with a basecoat of Corvus Black, then edge highlights with Dark Reaper and Thunderhawk Blue. The blueish tentacles were basecoated with Two Thin Coat’s Marine Blue (GW’s Macragge Blue is probably close), then edge and volumetric highlights with Alaitoc Blue and Hoeth Blue, with a bit of Blue Horror on the sharpest bits.

Malibu Marcy: Wow, looks amazing! I love how the Pink really stands out and brings attention to various details of the model, and the clashing color of blue works great for the unnatural parts of the Plague Marine. The layerings of pink to make the base color really look amazing too and create a miniature that really stands out! Also, really nice touch of the complimentary green as a small highlight in the eye socket!

How to Paint Everything: Pink as an accent


I’ve been painting up some new tyranids this summer in the scheme of Hive Fleet Kronos. They have black skin, with red carapace and teal weapon & claws. I decided to use pink as an accent, particularly on the fleshy bits and tentacles. It also contrasts nicely with greenish blue hues elsewhere on the models.
For this tutorial I’ll go through my pink step by step on the fabulous new barbiegaunt!

  1. Top left: This is the brown primer I start my models with. It’s Stynylrez Ebony Flesh.
  2. Top right: Here is a base coat of Citadel Screamer Pink.
  3. Bottom left: Next I did a controlled wash of Druchii Violet in the recesses of the brain folds, and between the tentacles.
  4. Bottom right: A layer of Screamer Pink mixed roughly evenly with Citadel Pink Horror. This layer should cover about three quarters of the base coat layer.

(Next image)

  1. Top Left: This layer is just Pink Horror, again covering about half to three quarters of the previous layer.
  2. Top Right: A roughly even mix of Pink Horror and Citadel Emperor’s Children, covering a portion of the previous layer.
  3. Bottom Left: Just Emperor’s Children covering maybe half of previous layer.
  4. Bottom Right: Spot highlight of Citadel Fulgrim Pink. On the brain it’s mostly just a few dots on the folds in the center. On the tentacles it’s some dots along the top edge of the middle tentacles. The middle and edges of the top of the tongue.

Here is is the pink on several of the tyranids I’ve painted:

Malibu Marcy: What I love about this example is that it helps show off that pink really can go with just about anything! Pink’s complimentary colors is green, but it works really well with clashing colors like reds and blues, and also works great with black. Pink for fleshy undertones works great for things like Tyranids or Flesh Eater Courts models. 

How to Paint Everything: Pink as Undercoat


I’ve heard it shouted out in painting spaces that pink makes the best yellow. This is a technique that I’ve read about, but never tried. I did want to do my Arbites in a yellow scheme, so this was the perfect time to try it out.

Pink Cops (still don’t invite them to pride)

Over a white primer, these guys got an all over coating of Emperor’s Children. I then used my airbrush to do a zenithal coating of my favorite white paint (at the moment, Pro Acryl’s Bold Titanium White, but use whatever works best for you). This can also be done with a heavy, targeted drybrush:

Finally, I sprayed Imperial Fists contrast paint all over the models. It gave the yellow a wonderful warmth. Over the next few days I would just look at the models and spin them around in my hand, as it was such a beautiful yellow. You can see the difference that the pink made by looking at that one dude’s Heavy Stubber, as it didn’t get any pink on it.

This is definitely something I am going to go back to any time I want a warm, bold yellow.

Malibu Marcy: Oh my god I love this? I’ve never heard of this tip before, but I have to agree, these are some of the nicest yellows I’ve ever seen! I love outside of the box thinking like this and also provides an easy and simple guide to painting a color that a lot of people struggle with. I guess you can say we really are all pink on the inside…!

How to Paint Everything: Cherry blossoms

Cherry blossom pink barbie Sockbert
Cherry blossoms on an Awakened Wildwood. Credit: Magos Sockbert

Japanese cherry blossoms are my second favourite flower, just behind the Australian wattle. A gorgeous soft pink with such an abundance of flowers that for some parts of its season it looks like it has no leaves at all, the cherry blossom is not only a beautiful plant with a fascinating history in Japanese culture, but also a great way to add a splash of pink to your table and terrain. Using the new Awakened Wyldwood, this guide will show you a short and very, very simple method for making your gaming table just a little less grim.

I primed these trees with White Scar as a nice bright base for the Contrast paints I use. White rattlecan sprays have a pretty awful reputation, but the new White Scar is truly a great paint, and a colossal step up from the sandpaper simulator that was Corax White. The main trunk of the tree and any logs or wood on the rest of the base are painted Wyldwood (appropriately), the mushrooms on the trunk are Gryph-Hound Orange while the mossy patches were Militarum Green. Remember, all of these are contrast, so will slip on right easy.

The bones were painted Skeleton Horde, the rocks with Space Wolf Grey for a nice little cool splotch of blue-grey, and, once that’s dry and neatened up with Corax White (there’s a lot of cracks and crevices on this model, so the Contrast can pool quite heavily), Aggaros Dunes gave me a nice sandy soil base. Now cherry blossoms typically grow well in soil which is rich in nutrients and ends up heavily grassed, but we’re not here for realism, we’re here to make things look cool, and a green base not only looks weird, but it’d draw away from the pink of the blossoms themselves.

The leaves/cherry blossoms themselves are painted Volpus Pink. Now you’re going to want to be lazy and not paint the underside of the blossoms as well, thinking that no one can see them. You absolutely can, so just go to that little bit more effort and paint the whole model. This step takes a lot of paint, so make sure you’re prepared beforehand. And then you’re done! Or at least, you can be – this is now a perfectly serviceable, Contrast painted tree. But what if you want to make it pop just that little bit more?

Cherry blossom pink barbie Sockbert
The purely contrast version of the model. Credit: Magos Sockbert

A lot of the time you want your terrain to just sort of exist as a backdrop to the real game, and may not want it to overshadow the rest of the forces. Alternatively, you may just need to get a lot done fast! Either way, if you do want to make this piece pop a little more, take some Tyrant Skull, Fulgrim Pink and a soft makeup brush or Artis Opus brush and go to town. Fulgrim Pink makes the cherry blossoms really pop, while the Tyrant Skull is drybrushed over everything else. This helps pull the whole piece together while also softening any harsh lines or pools of Contrast, while giving the whole thing a little bit more of a natural sandy look. The bones may blend in with the sand a little at this step (Aggaros Dunes and Skeleton Horde are already quite close to start with) so you might want to pick them out – or let the sandy soil embracing this happy little tree also snuggle up to the corpse of its victim. Either way, pretty tree complete!

Cherry blossom pink barbie Sockbert
Contrast and dry brushed cherry blossoms living in harmony. Credit: Magos Sockbert

Malibu Marcy: You know what they say: always be accessorizing! Pink is such a fun color to use on accent pieces like terrain, because it can help you express things like seasonal changes and flowering plants, to alien worlds and unnatural fauna, evoking a sense of the familiar and the strange at the same time.

How to Paint Everything: Pink as a basing element

Pink for basing. Credit: Magos Sockbert
Pink for basing. Credit: Magos Sockbert

This is less a tutorial and more an excuse to show off some pink. Look at how just a tuft can make a model pop, especially if it’s either a clashing or complementary colour – I personally think the tufts look best on the red, black and brass of the top two photos, rather than the white, orange and teal of the Scarabs. And don’t be afraid of using pink as a stone colour either – Reiknor there is on top of some terrain that’s just Volpus Pink with a dry brush of Praxeti White. Try it out!

Malibu Marcy: These are so fun! Basing is probably the part of the hobby I love the most, and there are so many cool designs for various colors of basing grass, effects, and powders out there that can give you a great way to spice up your models without having to go overboard. The nice thing with these examples is that they show that just a little of a color can go a long way to adding life and vibrancy to your model!


Wow! That’s some amazing collection of tutorials to help Barbie-fy your armies. But really, Pink is an amazing color that deserves more love as something more than a tired joke about femininity and girlishness; there are so many ways to use it to create awesome looking aesthetics and unique colorways that will inspire comments and compliments to your hard work bringing your hobby to life. We hope you enjoyed the guide, and be sure to show off your models to us, we’d love to see them all dolled up! Until next time, keep on painting and keep on being fabulous!