I 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.