The technique I'm using for the bulk of the hive couldn't be easier, and only uses a single sculpting tool (one with a small, round, flat bit, like what dentists use to push fillings in).
Basically you just build a structure out of plastic, glue some cool segmented gubbinz to it, and then start rolling out long, thin sausages of epoxy (preferably at irregular sizes). Push them onto the plastic one at a time, and with a consistent angle, push the tool repeatedly into the putty to create the ridged effect.
Repeat for a few layers, but leave some space empty between a few areas - these help break up the surface, and can be filled with whatever else you feel capable of sculpting.
For that section (based on a large Lego tile) I'm having a crack at sculpting some spinal-chord/ribcage type stuff in the gaps and actually making them more raised, but you can do anything organic (or even have some industrial stuff showing under the hived areas).
As for being intimidated by working with epoxy, don't be. The only way to learn how to use it is to play with it until you figure it out, IMO.
After years of only using it to fill gaps or sculpt capes, I got really into it a few years back just through goofing around. And an Alien hive is the perfect practise I'd reckon - it's amorphous and asymmetrical by it's very nature, will be painted dark colours and won't receive as much scrutiny as a model would. Plus, you're working at a larger scale when doing terrain.
I say go for it, get some putty and plasticard, grab some cool bitz and just f**k around until you're happy with it.