There’s no shortage of people producing MDF terrain right now; for anyone new to make their mark it’s going to take something a bit different. Enter Brutal Cities, a relatively new company who are creating some impressive laser cut kits, themed to a cyberpunk style.
We’ve got a selection of buildings from their Neo-Brutalist bundle. This is a hefty pack of four buildings, designed primarily for gaming in Corvus Belli’s Infinity, but suitable for use in pretty much any 28mm to 32mm sci-fi gaming.
Before we dive into specifics, we should mention that Brutal Cities is based in Australia. That’s great news for the folks living there, who can offset the threat of killer spiders, devastating heat, and surly koala bears, with an in-country terrain producer. We know that wargame loving Australians often get gouged on prices, especially with the extra shipping costs they pay to import hobby products. Brutal Cities offers some home-grown options, so that’s the ‘something a bit different’ box ticked!
Owner and creative Ryan is an architecture graduate with five years of experience in the business, but, the draw of minis led to him creating Brutal Cities.
So, are they any good? Yup! They’re not only good, they’re really splendid! The quality is clear the moment the shrink wrap comes off. Some companies seem to use lower quality raw material and it can splinter around the edges when popping it from the cut sheets, or get damaged quite easily, but this is solid, high-quality MDF and we encountered no problems at all. The cuts are accurate too, lots of detail to a depth that leaves things easily popping out where they should and staying fixed together when they are supposed to!
There’s little of the burnt wood smell, or the finger staining black edges, that are common in laser cut offerings from other companies. We were surprised and more than happy with the excellent quality of the material.
But what about the buildings themselves? Four are included in the pack and it’s worth knowing that they can all be purchased individually too:
Infinity Systems Data Centre
We’ll start with this kit, the first that we unpacked and the only one we had time to build fully so far (but we plan to finish the rest to add to our office scenery collection). The Data Centre is a seriously cool building that mixes practical lines, cover options, ladders and stairs (all making it great for gaming) with a cool looking futuristic ‘shard’ tech-tower. There’s even a sliding door leading to the upper interior.
You may want to know how we found the building experience. Well, it was actually pretty good, but there are no proper instructions with the model (or online) so it could have been better. There’s an online video, showing the Data Centre being constructed, but that’s just not quite the same as a step-by-step process on paper in front of you.
It’s testament to how well-designed the parts are that the build was still quite quick and easy. There’s some very smart thinking in the way that levels are supported, and elements fit together well, creating a stable, robust final model. Instructions would have been the icing on a rather sweet cyberpunk cake though.
The Data Centre is a sizable 220 x 220 x 348mm and despite the lack of instructions (our only major complaint with the range as a whole to be honest) we feel it’d be a brilliant addition to the collection of anyone who plays sci-fi games.
A bulky, monolith-esque, block type building with a cool cutaway staircase in its side, the Institute is in a brutalist architectural style that, while perfect for near-future or science-fiction gaming, would be a possible option for weird war or even modern combat. Not yet built, but next to do on our hobby desk, again the parts popped out without any difficulty and quality is truly excellent. The design includes a stairway wide enough for 40mm bases and has an accessible upper story interior. Dimensions are 183 x 250 x 262mm.
Vantann Office Building
Another cool building here – what looks like a quite basic (though still extremely stylish in its brutalist way) structure has a removable back wall, so you can access the interior and bring more options to combat. There’s a lift for vertical access and the style would fit into modern wargames rather nicely. The dimensions are 251 x 96 x 270mm.
This is a really nice design – a concrete hab structure that has been built on the top of a ‘heritage listed grocery store’. Elements of history, the mixing of the old and the new, is not something that is seen too often in other ranges of futuristic terrain. This is another building that’ll fit into modern gaming rather nicely, we reckon, and it is a good size at 156 x 210 x 173mm.
Once these buildings are brought together they look genuinely stylish. These aren’t just practical and basic buildings to game around, they really do look architecturally smart and ‘grown up’ – making a cyberpunk location that anyone would be proud to do battle over.
The set certainly weighs in at the higher price point for MDF models but you’re certainly paying for quality.