Sunday 29 July 2018

Terrain Workshop: Sprucing Up My Imperial Buildings

As I have been playing a few more games of 40k recently I decided to take the opportunity to spruce up my terrain collection in order to make it more fun and evocative to fight over.

The first piece that I decided to revisit was the original Sanctum Imperialis ‘cathedral-type’ structure that I bought and painted when it first came out about ten years ago.

As you can see from the above photos I initially painted it with a basic grey basecoat that was heavily drybrushed with a lighter grey whilst the floors were done in an orange/brown colour. 

Now to be fair this is perfectly serviceable and it has done the job for the last decade. However I felt that it was starting to look a little worn and really didn’t make the most of all the lovely details on the model. 

So I broke out my paintbrushes and went to work...

The first thing I did was paint the giant Imperial eagle gold (as per the original box art). This took ages and many layers of different golds and assorted washes to achieve the effect I wanted.

I also picked out all of the additional features on the external walls; making sure that the skulls/skeletons were painted an appropriate colour. You’ll also notice that I weathered the bottom of the building to represent the dust that would inevitably be thrown up over the course of continuous warfare.

The window frames were all individually painted in a
silver metal colour before being washed and highlighted appropriately.

I spent a lot of time picking out all the individual lights including the giant wall mounted lanterns. These were then given three layers of highlights to really make them pop.

I re-highlighted the internal floors with a gentle drybrush of metal which gave them a much more realistic and visually pleasing appearance.

I also took extra time to paint and highlight the internal ladders; air vents and pipes.

Because I can be slightly obsessive I then painted all of the individual buttons; switches, screens and bulbs on the internal door mechanisms! Now I know that nobody will ever see these details... but it pleases me to know that all these bits are appropriately coloured!

Overall I am very pleased with how this piece of terrain now looks and it shows that through a few hours work you can make something with even the most basic paint job into a much more impressive piece of scenery to fight battles over. 

Over the next few months I plan to go through all of my older terrain bits and show them a bit of love!!


  1. Nice work squire. Nothing like a good looking piece of terrain.

    1. Cheers mate! I agree, battles are more fun when fought across good looking terrain!

  2. Looks great! Are you planning to buy any of the new scenery?

    1. Thanks dude! Yeah; I’ve just bought the new KILLTEAM box set at it has some absolutely lovely new cathedral like terrain inside it!

  3. That's the way to do it! Don't you feel like you had a full new piece? :D I love what you did here.

    1. Cheers Suber!! Yeah it definitely feels like a whole new piece of scenery now!!