Geeking Out – Brutal Cities

This time on Geeking Out, we’re looking at new terrain company Brutal Cities, and have a chat with the company about the products – plus, of course, a HUGE contest to win some scenery! And we’ll announce the winner of our recent Gotham in Lockdown Bat-Contest also! We’re awfully good to you.

Tl; dr – You will NEVER build easier buildings than these.

Got your attention yet? I hope so. Brutal Cities ( is game-changing MDF scenery – and right now they have a sale on. Designed as Brutalist Architecture for near-future and sci-fi gaming – everything from Dredd to Infinity, 40k to Spectre Ops, Star Breach to Superheroes – these kits look and feel like professional architectural models (which is essentially what they are) with accessible interiors and modular components.

Now my life as dad is pretty busy, but I thought I’d take a quick look at one kit, the “basic” Vantann Building (top right in the above image), having scanned over the instructions online. 5 minutes later:

I have NEVER had a kit got together so fast. Popped off sprue, no scalpel required. Everything lines up. No clean-up. No glue except for the vents and other exterior details. Of course you DO glue it for rigidity, but the fact that it holds together as you construct (as opposed, say, to needing 3 extra pairs of hands) is invaluable.

The Elevator and back of building are completely removable for access and gameplay.

I have built an awful lot of MDF buildings in my time but this is astonishing. It’s one of the very best kits I’ve ever encountered – it even comes with extra pipes and A/C units for detailing this or other buildings.

Given how little time I have juggling the kids and real life, a kit like this is a big win in my book. I sprayed the inside with black primer (I like Kobra Black spray, it has good coverage, is cheap and readily available from Amazon), the AC pipe with some Silver car alloy spray I found in the garage (?!) and the exterior with two coats of Kobra Platform Grey.

And for quick weathering, you can’t beat dirty paint water. It’s a free resource that we’ve all got.

Not including drying time, by this point the kit had taken me under half an hour and wouldn’t look out of place on a gaming table. $AUS 69 is about £35, and honestly, it’s an absolute bargain at that price, though there is a smaller version available for $AUS 49 also.

The fantastic laser-cut acrylic signs are a separate release, and they’re ever so lovely.

So next I tried the Easy-Aug shop, which has video instructions – however, having looked at the picture, I thought how hard can this be? A foolish brag, right?

Spoiler alert: I didn’t need the instructions.

Whilst this kit is more complex, it’s not too fiddly and everything goes together logically. No cleanup, but took about half an hour to build (an hour with drying time), all told. Again, solid, but this one very much needs to be stuck together.

Once again, all comes apart. And those stairs were a breeze to build – a rare treat. If you’re very observant, you may notice some damage to one section of one wall of the kit – this was deliberate on my part, I wanted to make mine look even more tatty.

Personally, I’m really looking forward to build The Institute next:

At 26cm high this beast of a kit looks like a true feat of engineering, but apparently is as easy to build as Vantann – I’ll let you know, gentle readers. I’m also very excited by the modular pods that stack like Lego:

And they can even be combined with scaffolding:

Now obviously we’re impressed; but where did all this start out? Well, we’ve got Mr Brutal Cities, aka Ryan – the laser-wielding brains of the outfit – to tell us more:

BCP: So Ryan, thanks for talking with us!

BC: Hi! Thanks for reaching out and giving me the opportunity to have a chat!

BCP: So tell us a bit about how Brutal Cities came about.

BC: So I’ve been playing miniature wargames since I was 12. I made a detailed post apocalyptic model for high school ‘art’ (a good excuse to make Warhammer 40k terrain) and enjoyed it so much I started a career in architecture. I graduated from uni and worked for 5 years in architecture in Sydney and Newcastle, Australia. But while I was working a friend introduced me to Infinity by Corvus Belli. If you don’t know about it, it’s a really great well balanced sci-fi skirmish game. It’s just so dynamic, but for me a big factor for the game was the terrain! You need pretty dense tables for the game, because whenever a trooper walks into LOS of the enemy they get a chance to shoot back! I bought a bunch of MDF terrain from different producers to create a diverse city, but apart from a few kits there wasn’t much available that I was interested in. So hoping that other people would like the style I wanted to see available, I went all in and left my architecture job to start Brutal Cities. I think the skills from my old job translate pretty well into terrain design. And the response from gamers has been pretty great so far!

BCP: What can we expect from the style of the buildings generally?

BC: Stylistically, you can expect a more minimalist style of architecture. I suppose it’s a mix of contemporary minimalist design and Brutalist architecture. Brutalism was a movement within modernism from the 1950s to the 1980’s. The word comes from the French Béton Brut – meaning raw concrete. (I thought the similarity to the word Brutal and obviously the wargaming connection was a fun name for the business.) Brutalist architecture was about the truthful expression of materials and structure – that is, don’t paint your concrete! I find the textures and colours and stains of raw concrete visually interesting – So you’ll often see a lot of oil paint weathering on studio paint-jobs to bring out the textures in the MDF.

So other terrain producers cater to different sorts of gamer needs. You have other raw MDF laser cut businesses, lots of pre-painted producers, you have 3D printer companies that sell STL files or you can buy their prints, and you have the larger companies that can afford injection moulded plastics. Brutal Cities caters to hobbyists who love working on terrain – many people have commented on our social media saying they love that the buildings are like a blank canvass, that can easily be modified if they want. One great thing about the kits is that they can be used from modern games to far future sci fi. If you’ve watched the Expanse you might have seen that the Brutalist Martian Embassy was the University of Toronto Andrews Building finished in 1964! (Cool pics here )

It might seem strange to start a business in 2020 with the relatively old technology of laser cut MDF – But I haven’t gone with 3D printing because it takes so long to print large buildings. You can often see the contour lines of the print too, but the main reason is that the type of design we’re doing really doesn’t require the geometries of 3D printing. Maybe one day we will try it out though.

As for painting… All you need to do is spray paint plain MDF grey and you’re sorted! We’ve done an oil weathering basics video and are actually going to do some more tutorials soon for oil paint weathering – one for a more detailed realistic method using an airbrush, oil paint washes and then grime streaks. And another super quick method with just rattle cans and an oil wash. You can tell I’m obsessed with oils! You just have so much control and you can get amazing results with just a quick oil wash.

BCP: Thanks Ryan.


And as for the future? Well we’ve got a contest and a half for you.

What do you need to do? Well it’s a bit different this time:

– Like the Big Comic Page on Facebook.

– Like Brutal Cities on Facebook

– Share THIS FB post

– Comment on the post with a name for the NEW, as yet only a prototype building:

The winner will get not only the honour of naming the kit but their own copy of the new Residential block above – Cabbage Palms (not Peach Trees, Cabbage Palms) AND a 15% discount voucher – plus a 10% off voucher for the runner up!

Don’t forget to head over to before midnight Sunday to take advantage of the sale!

And before we forget, the winner of our last contest was… Jamie Gemmell! Contact the team within 30 days to claim your prize!

SAMDAVThe Writer of this piece was: Sam Graven
Article Archive: Geeking Out
You can follow Sam on Twitter

2 Comments on Geeking Out – Brutal Cities

  1. I would call it Orchard Grove or Angel beach apartments

  2. I would call it ‘Sutter McGuire,’ after two of my favorite game designers working today.

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