Saturday, 26 June 2010

Micro-Review: Zuzzy Gaming Mat

Tom from the Miniaturereview.com asked me what my backdrop was for the photos I've been posting.  The answer is a latex "terra-flex" mat from zuzzy.com.

I chose the 2x2 sulfur fields gaming mat, for a very reasonable $15.97 plus shipping. The mat made it over to the UK quickly and packed in a sturdy box.

The mat is unpainted latex rubber, and is grey in colour.



I painted mine using inexpensive artist's acrylics from the art supply shop.
I first painted the whole mat with diluted Burnt Umber. It took a while, but wasn't difficult.
The website has a good tutorial, which explains drybrushing and scumbling techniques. The key is to keep the layers as thin as possible to reduce the risk of cracking when rolling up the mat.



After that I did a thinned down black paint wash, before allowing to dry and beginning drybrushing with mixes of burnt umber and yellow ochre.
A few times some areas became too bright and I had to wash them back with black or black-brown mixes of heavily diluted paint. It worked though.
Doing the final highlights, I mixed in some regular citadel paint for final highlights.. Probably just skull white or buff.. I don't exactly remember.
Because of using thin coats of paint (and relatively thin paint itself) you have to do LOTS of passes. I was watching TV while mindlessly brushing away, thinking it would not take long, but I got through a few episodes and was only halfway done. It was a couple hours work to get it right.


Overall, I'm very pleased with the resulting game surface. Here is a short list of huge pros:
  •  Looks Great. Plenty of detail and the scale works fine for 15mm (The other mats they sell may not, depending on your tolerance for big bits of tree.)
  • Figure protection. The surface is rubber! Laying a figure on it's face or knocking it over is relatively stress-free. A huge plus in my book.
  • Rolls up for storage. This is much better than a solid battle-board for my uses. It is thin and weighs next to nothing. Excellent.
  • Because you paint it yourself, it will definitely match your basing finish.
And one very small con:
  • You have to paint it yourself. Personally I prefer this anyway.
I was considering getting 4 of the GW plastic battle boards, or a bunch of big Kallistra hexes (and for a while, using Heroscape tiles) but in the end the Zuzzy was the best option for me.
Compared to flocked boards, cloth boards, textured painted boards or no board.. The Zuzzy mat beats them all hands-down for looks, value for money, storage and portability.

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