Painting the Wounded City Game Mat

Late last year I picked up not one, but two Zuzzy terrain mats: the Ruined Land mat, which I painted immediately to use for Song of Blades & Heroes, and the Wounded City mat, which has been rolled up in a corner for many months ... until now!

I painted it up last weekend in anticipation of some upcoming post-apocalyptic and sci-fi gaming. My painting method was quite a bit different this time. Instead of a solid color base coat (my typical approach for the other 4+ Zuzzy mats I've painted), I went with a different technique, inspired by this blog post.

Yes, that's right, I used a high-density foam paint roller (!) as a sort of super-drybrush to hit most of the raised bits of the mat with regular white latex house paint. This is the type of roller I used -- you don't want to use a typical fuzzy roller, as that will put way too much paint onto the mat.

My house paint was a little dried up and tacky, which was even better because even less of it stuck to the roller. Really, you don't want a lot of paint on your roller. Here's the mat after the initial dry-roll-brush.

Yep, that's straight white -- I was trusting that the final wash would dull it down considerably. The cracked pavement got straight black paint. I also painted the exposed bricks with reds, browns and dark greens.

With the first couple of rolls, it was clear that the roller was leaving marks on the mat. Thankfully, I was able to use this to my advantage and create a rough city grid using the occasional roller marks, which fit with the existing cracks and foundation details that were built into the mat itself. You can probably see the roller marks in this photo, but the final wash dulled them down considerably.

I made a wash that was mostly black paint, with a few healthy dollops of burnt umber mixed in, all watered down to a fairly thin wash consistency. Here's a look after it dried.

Everything is nice and dull, and the worst of the paint roller marks have been sort of absorbed into the overall design of the mat. I used a grey drybrush on a few spots, just to add some variety, and I highlighted the exposed bricks just a little bit, but otherwise I didn't have to do much to the mat once the wash dried. Here are a few detail shots of the cracked pavement.


And here's an action shot showing some of my existing terrain pieces alongside some newly painted figures (Kolony Militia from Pig Iron).

I have a ton of rubble and broken concrete terrain pieces (made from
bits of packing foam) that will look just perfect on this mat.Using the high-density roller was fun and saved me a lot of time and effort. I probably spent 3 hours total working on this mat last weekend, and most of that was just waiting for various layers to dry. I'm really excited to get this terrain mat onto the table for a game!

-- Patrick, Chicago Skirmish Wargames club member

0 responses to “Painting the Wounded City Game Mat

  1. Cheers, Simon! I'm loving your Across the Dead Earth posts, by the way. Very, very inspirational!

  2. That's a great idea, Pat. I'm going to have to give that a try on my canvas mat, which I've been dreading trying to drybrush.

  3. Great looking mat. Nice work.

  4. Interesting. I'm about to try my hand at some terrain mats using the back of lino. Having recently played a zombie game on a bright green board, there is a need for a wounded city mat.

  5. I'm glad that you found the blog post about how I painted my Broken Blacktop useful.

    I have been tempted to go back to that mat and do something with it to make it look just a little less monochrome, but may never get around to it I suspect. Once it is covered in terrain it seems less necessary.

    Thanks for the shout out.

  6. Thanks for blazing the trail for me! I would never have thought to use a paint roller!

  7. Very nice. I'm lucky to own a 4 x 4 and it's nowhere near as good. Now more pics!

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