Ruin Painting Style – Brick or Black?

I made up some ruined buildings for Crossfire. Initially I painted the ground quite dark but a feature of Stalingrad was the brick dust, making everything pink. So I tried one of those. Which do you think is better? Pink or black?

The first photo has a side view of a pink ruin and a black ruin. Which do you prefer? Why?

Ruin painting styles - Brick v Black - Side
Ruin painting styles – Brick v Black – Side

Here are the same features but from the top? Again, which do you prefer? Why?

Ruin painting styles - Brick v Black - Top
Ruin painting styles – Brick v Black – Top

Update 14 October

I experimented by adding earth shades to patches of the ground of the “Pink” building. Making it “Pink-Earth”. What do you think of this?

Ruin painting styles - Pink-Earth v Black - Side
Ruin painting styles – Pink-Earth v Black – Side
Ruin painting styles - Pink-Earth v Black - Top
Ruin painting styles – Pink-Earth v Black – Top

18 thoughts on “Ruin Painting Style – Brick or Black?”

  1. Hi the link IMO looks better and more realistic IMO. If you had time adding a slightly different ground colour would help. As to why I just think black is an in natural colour and really only occurs with extreme fires and even then would not cover all that area. Just my 2p

    • Good point about the ground colour. My wife made the same comment last night. So it would be a brown and pink look. 🙂

      • It depends on how much time you have and want you want to do. The black is Ok and quick to do, so it passes the test of looking OK.

        But the question was what looks best / prefer. So yes perhaps spay the bases with a light or dark brown and then highlight with pink / brick colour. Then a wash of black to pick out highlights.

        All depends on how much time you want to put into it, for something that will ultimately blend into the background as players eyes focus on the action.


        Your blog is as ever very good and I enjoyed the Tiger Scenario article. I need to kick start my Xfire gaming again….

        • Actually the “black” wasn’t terribly quick to do. There are about six different colours in the “black” rubble/ground. Including my earth shade, so the black is not actually very black if you look closely.

          The pink option would also have about six colours. There are already, I believe, 4 colours in the pink photos above. More Earth would be five. And I’d probably add a light sand highlight. So six seems to be the pattern.

          So about the same work when starting from scratch. Although, if I go pink, I’d probably redo the black ones. So double the work. 🙁 Am I crazy?

        • re “Your blog is as ever very good and I enjoyed the Tiger Scenario article. I need to kick start my Xfire gaming again….”
          Thanks. And yes, if you desire table top adrenaline pumping action, then start Crossfire again.

  2. I like the black base best. Somehow it is more realistic to me. I sometimes add some green “weeds” to something like this to indicate a period of time has passed since the bulding was destroyed.

    • Dick, I think the black looks good but I’m not sure it is realistic. Maybe just after fire burnt out the building but certainly not even a week later. Good suggestion about the weeds.

  3. I think a mix of both would be best. The pink is too covered and the black not enough. Perhaps leave patches around the edges in the natural ground color. It would help break up the colors a bit

    • Matt, I suspect you’re right. More of a mix. Some recently burnt out buildings and some that have been ruins for a while. And some that look a bit in-between.

    • My normal earth is a brown/gray look.

      The original “Brick” photos are actually more Pink than the real model. My brick colour is actually three shades of Dulux: Monarch then Brick Red then Toasted Terracotta. Monarch is a bit violent but after dry brushing with the other two, which are more “red-brown” the colour is quite subdued. More like the pink bits in the Pink-Earth photos.

  4. I’ve added another set of photos with a “Pink-Earth” earth option. Although it looks more earth than pink in the photos.

  5. I’ve just re-read my own notes and “The dust of the ruins was a dun (pale brown) colour – the colour of the bricks used (Beevor, 1999)”. So pink, whether cotton candy or otherwise, it definitely out. The “Pink-Earth” option might be a goer.

  6. bottom left is definitely best (pink earth). The black looks v unrealistic to me. Can’t imagine that except in small patches. Colour photos of destroyed buildings almost always look pale and dusty. I think people also tend to paint stone a basic grey. In reality it’s almost always some shade of brown.

    • I find myself torn between realism and wargaming convention. Wargaming convention tends to be grey for stone, buildings, and ruins. That is what influence my generic building sectors, the “Black” ruins above, and some of my stone walls. But, as you say, where convention has grey the real colour is brown. For example, most of my kit is Spanish/Portuguese and stone in the peninsular is brown. So I have a beautifully painted stone church in brown. Everybody else paints the same church grey.

  7. I’ve had the same observation in mind for some time now, that wargaming convention is gray, even when something earthier is more appropriate. It’s kind of a cartoony visual shorthand, like the way kids symbolize things in drawings when learning to draw.

    Anyway, both look good, but I’d lean to more of the earthier one with a few patches, freshly burned out, more like the right.


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