09 August 2014

Painting a Zuzzy Verdant Fields Latex Mat

I have been looking for a transportable mat for some time, it really is impossible to transport styrofoam terrain pieces. There are a lot of options out there and I have already purchased 2-3 mats. When it came down to it I just did not like what I had purchased.

I had come across Zuzzy mats on TMP so I said why not. It was $52 for a 4x6' mat which I thought a pretty reasonable price. You certainly have to be patient, as the wait list is 2-3 months. But what I got was well worth waiting for, it comes in a plastic sheath wrapped around a hard cardboard tube. It is make of latex and it has some very interesting characteristics. But why not let photos do the talking. I could not find many resources or guides to painting the mat, so I just went ahead and designed my own. I was looking for a colour scheme that would jump out, less importnat was a natural look.

The mat come in a green colour, I suppose I could have started from that but I find that a Raw Umber  is an excellent choice. I use Sargent Art acrylic paint, it is quite inexpensive and it dilutes easily. I used about a 50:50 water paint mix to lay down a priming coat. I should note that you are advised only to use acrylics on these mats.

Once dry you can see it's first interesting characteristic, there are essentially two different major textures to the mat, one more upright and ridge like and the other flatter with less detail. I of course use the upright for grass and the flat for the brown patches. It does take 24 hours for the first coat to dry well.

So next up is the grass. I apply the dark green initially as a heavy dry brush I used Winsor and Newton Galeria acrylic Phthalo Green, this is a very dark green but when diluted is a little brighter. It is then diluted to fill in the crevasses. You can see the two effects here. Try not to let the dilute paint bleed into the earth parts.

Next I use a mocha coloured brown as the first highlight on the earth, I used  Americana Sable Brown as a heavy dry brush. This is followed by a light dry brush of VMC Iraqi Sand.

I found that I needed to blend the two colours together at this stage to take them down a bit. I used a  very thin wash of raw umber. And I mean very thin, I let the mat dry then for another 24 hours.

Next up is a medium dry brush of a Grumabacher Sap Green, and then a slightly lighter drybrush of a 50:50 mixture of the Sap Green and Newton and Winsor Galleria Cadmium Yellow Light.

Final dry brush with the Cadium Yellow Light on the grass and VMC Iraqi Sand on the dirt. You can also see the second interesting characteristic of these mats; the imbedded stones which I have painted black.

Well all done, the final step was a successive dry brushes on VMC Neutral Gray and Citadel Ulthuan  Gray  on the stones. I take them down then with some Citadel Nuln Oil black wash. All done! Maybe a little garish in the photo, but under natural light the colours are a little more restrained.

Close up with all the details.

With some terrain........a quiet little farm in Northern Britain around 500AD.

Tree bases and hovel from Architects of War, Houses from 4-Ground. Wattle fences fron Renedra.

Crop fields made from pieces of Zuzzy mat and cereal strips from Tamjima1. 


  1. Very cool, step by step guides help us spread so many skills.

  2. Nicely done John, looks good.

  3. Came out looking great, John. Well worth the effort and time! 4' x6' eh? I would need 2-3 mats then for a full sized table.

  4. Well done, a great looking terrain!

  5. Looks great. I hadn't heard about these mats.