Monthly Archives: February 2009

Painting The Lazy Way 2: Zuzzy Terra-Flex Mat


Several months ago, I purchased a 3×3-foot Ruined Lands terrain mat from Zuzzy Miniatures. I also posted an out-of-the-box review, but didn’t get around to actually painting the mat until yesterday. So, this post is a continuation of the review as well as an opportunity to add another painting article to Chez Ebbles.


First, a couple of photos. (Click ’em to see the full size versions.)

I only used four colors, and the mat’s surface detail does most of the work.

Paints Used

  • Vallejo Game Color Charred Brown
  • Vallejo Game Color Earth
  • Vallejo Game Color Black
  • Vallejo Game Color Cold Grey

Painting Overview

  1. The entire mat was painted with a 1:1 mix of Charred Brown and water, using a large flat paintbrush. I used a whole bottle of Charred Brown in a disposable cup.
  2. Next, the mat was drybrushed gently with a 1:1 mix of Earth and water.
  3. Another drybrushing pass, with a bit more pressure, on random areas of the mat.
  4. A final heavy drybrushing pass on random areas of the mat, with special attention paid to the rocks and areas of dried/cracked soil.
  5. The burnt tree limbs and areas of charred undergrowth were painted with thinned-down Black.
  6. The burnt tree limbs and areas of charred undergrowth were drybrushed with a 1:1 mix of Black and Cold Grey.

The most important thing to remember: thin your paint! The 1:1 paint-to-water mix goes a much longer way than unthinned paint, and because acrylic paint is transparent to varying degrees, colors blend better when really thinned out. So, that first layer of Charred Brown and water serves to tint the dark gray latex of the mat to a deep, rich soily-brown color, and the first drybrushing pass brings out the surface relief nicely. The subsequent drybrushing passes serve to give the surface a nice, uneven variation in soil color.

The mat took me about 7-8 hours to do, but it was a fairly easy and undemanding task. I used one entire bottle of Charred Brown, less than a third of a bottle of Earth, and about the same amount of Black and Cold Grey as if I were painting a couple of 28mm figures.


Unpainted, the Zuzzy mat looks nice enough. Painted, even by a lazy painter like me, a Zuzzy mat completely blows every other gaming landscape solution out of the water. I can’t go back to fighting battles on Planet Green Cloth now, so you could say that I’ve been absolutely spoiled by the Zuzzy mat. Painting one is an easy task, but requires a fair amount of time, so a large Zuzzy mat would be a fun group project, even for unskilled painters. Draft some family members or invite some gaming buddies over, give each of ’em a nice big tank brush, assign them an individual area of responsibility, and you’ll have a finished mat in no time flat.