- Arsey looking plastic trees that look like foamy green poofs impaled on brown sticks
- Expensive arsey looking plastic trees that look like foamy conical green poofs impaled on brown sticks
- Really expensive arsey looking plastic trees that look like squiggly shaped green poofs impaled on brown sticks
- Arsey looking DIY tree kits that are basically identical to #1-#3, except YOU put them together yourself, and the instructions give you the distinct impression that 6 hours from opening the package, you’ll end up curled under your desk in a fetal position looking like the illegitimate lovechild of Oscar the Grouch and a porcupine
- Oh, and all of the above are in the wrong scale
- Overpriced injection molded trees from Games Workshop that look like evil refugees from a Disney cartoon or the baby-eating tree in Poltergeist
- Really nice looking and frighteningly expensive trees that look like they will break or fall apart the second Greasy McCheetofingers looks at them funny
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.)
- Vallejo Game Color Charred Brown
- Vallejo Game Color Earth
- Vallejo Game Color Black
- Vallejo Game Color Cold Grey
- 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.
- Next, the mat was drybrushed gently with a 1:1 mix of Earth and water.
- Another drybrushing pass, with a bit more pressure, on random areas of the mat.
- A final heavy drybrushing pass on random areas of the mat, with special attention paid to the rocks and areas of dried/cracked soil.
- The burnt tree limbs and areas of charred undergrowth were painted with thinned-down Black.
- 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.