Saturday, 2 May 2015

Fields and Other Terrain

have been in a state of self-imposed austerity while we save our cash for a major overseas trip later in the year. So there were no gaming purchases in March and April. I haven’t been completely idle though and have completed a number items from the lead pile that have been around for years – some Franco-Prussian artillery, Italian Bersagleri and a few WSS command figures.


I have also been busy on a few items of terrain. Later in the year we will hold our annual wargames weekend away (actually it is almost a week away now), and I am running a Russo-Japanese War game. I was looking around for some ideas for the terrain for that game, wanting to make it as visually appealing as early-WWI the game I did last year (below).


I wanted to run the game based loosely around the fighting in the Yalu Valley in 1904, so I set about some research on the web. First I looked at Google Earth, but today the whole area is heavily industrialised, so apart from showing that the Yalu meanders through a wide valley that rises abruptly to mountains, this was of little use. Google images turned up a number of historical images that showed some agricultural activity in a largely unpopulated area.


Then I remembered that when we had travelled in China in 2009 and 2010 I noted that most of the farming activity, the large communal farms excepted, were small subsistence level operations, with a few home field of mixed crops. Although our travelling had been well to the south of Manchiria, it gave me food for thought. So I started searching on Google for images of rural China. I found this great image, showing a farm with lots of small fields with diverse crops. The surrounding hills give the type of terrain I want to achieve.


This got me thinking and I quickly decided that I needed some small fields, some cropped, some not, and some partly harvested. Between the fields would be som rough, scrubby terrain. I also decided to make a few paddy fields, even though I don’t know that rice was a particularly big crop in that area,


Here is what I came up with. First is a plain haystack.


Then a party harvested wheat field

Then a ploughed field

Finally the first of three paddy fields in its various states of construction:


The basic form

The basic form painted

With some rice planted. 

The  empty area to the right will be where I will put some water, but since there will be several paddy fields, I want to do all of the water in a single hit.

What I haven't managed to resolve is how to create the fields of what was the primary crop of the region, Kaoliang - a millet like crop that grows to ten or twelve feet tall. 


  1. Very handsome terrain work. Each will make a great addition to your gaming table.

    1. Thanks Jonathan. Much mor to come. I have been enjoying your own articles of the War of 1859...a period I have had an interest in for many years. One day...

  2. Very nice work, something I need to think about too.

    1. Thanks. I seem to get greater satisfaction frm making scenery than from painting figures.

  3. Great post Mark.
    Did spot this when doing my own research.

    1. Yes I have seen this and may attempt it, but it seems very fiddly. I have yet to visit the pet shop to find out what they have in the way of fish tank "vegitation" that may suit.