Tropical Grimdark Terrain

Tropical Grimdark Terrain

Not a sentence you’d expect to hear. But that’s exactly what Alex from 52Miniatures has made: tropical grimdark terrain. 

Finally, MDF terrain that isn’t painted white for resale value!

If you’re looking for some alternative Colour schemes to paint your Sci-fi terrain, check out the video. 

If you’re making a 40k table, and you’re reading this you might agree with me that considering the vast size of the Imperium, with thousands of worlds with different geological and climatic conditions, it’s not even possible for there to be a unified architecture. Not every planet or even city would have the same gothic ruins! 

My terrain isn’t finished until it’s streaked and weathered with oil paints, as you can see in the terrain gallery. This was Alex’s take on the Brutal Cities Bruteopolis sci-fi terrain range (photos by 52Miniatures).

grimdark tropical terrain


He’s converted his MDF terrain to represent a more low-tech setting. The Infinity Systems Data Centre has all the rooftop air condensers removed, and added a porte-cochère.


He’s also added stonework and customised the sci-fi terrain to suit a tropical climate. When I saw his pics I fell in love - a pastel paint scheme never crossed my mind 

miniatures standing on modular shipping crate terrain


The bold pastels make every building unique and add some interest and character - a nice change from the usual greys we see. 


weathered brutalist sci-fi terrain


Lesser known terrain weathering Techniques


I highly recommend watching his YouTube video about how he painted and weathered these kits. As you can expect the weather has a topical touch and you can see how the moss and plants are flourishing on the buildings. 

Even if you’re an advanced terrain painter, you might learn some great techniques - Alex shows a great weathering technique called dot filtering, which tricks the eye and makes surfaces more realistic. Look forward to trying that out after I move out of the current workshop, not long now!

You can also see some efflorescence: if you walk around your city, I bet you will see some light grey or white stains from mineral salts leaching out of the mortar, brick or concrete mixes. This is due to a combination of water-soluble salts being present in masonry or concrete and the design or construction of the building allowing enough water to move the salts through the porous building material to the surface. Anyway, a nice realistic detail! I used white oil paints when I painted Cabbage Palms a few years ago.

ruined apartment scenery with brick texture

Mmm salty…

Anyway, Alex puts a lot of work into his videos and the educational content is 10/10. From chatting with him, it sounds like the YouTube algorithm makes it harder for hobby YouTubers to get their content seen so if you’re looking for something to watch please have a look. 


I like to think I have some of the best cinematic terrain photos (at least I try) and I really think 52Miniatures has some of the best shots and scripts in this niche on YouTube.


Need more terrain colour scheme inspiration?


If you tire of seeing every table painted dark grey, 

Alex’s tropical grimdark terrain colour scheme reminded me of the pastels and gradients used by my favourite photographer, whose subject is brutalism and modernist architecture.


veronica delicia brutalist photography


If you’re looking for some other inspiration for painting your terrain, definitely check out the beautiful photography of Weronika Dudka / Veronica Delicia. She sells prints too, I’ve been meaning to pick one up myself sometime. I’m going to pester Alex to accept the gift of a Vantann Office building to paint pastel pink!


Watch the 52Miniatures video.

Check out his Instagram for more pics and hobby goodness. 

If you’re feeling inspired to make some tropical MDF terrain, or want to add in some more 28mm sci-fi terrain to your table, make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter. There will be some more stock added soon - then Brutal Cities will be changing.  

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