Saturday, July 14, 2012

Terrain - Building corn plants - Tutorial

Manufacturer:    it was me :)
Scale:   28mm

Hi all,

today I´m posting a little tutorial on building corn plants.

As I am also very interested in the American War of Independence I often have a look at several blogs dealing with that period.

On some of these blogs are not only shown very impressive paint jobs on figures but also beautiful pieces of terrain. 
The terrain I like most for the AWI is corn and I often searched for material I could use to build up a field of corn.

I´ve been to aquaristic shops to have a look at the plastic plants they sell for the aquariums. 
But these are often too tall or are looking too much like "plastic". 

Professionally I´m a sales manager and visit different customers for my company. 
So I often drive through the countryside of northern Bavaria and am able to catch a view on the current fields. 
At the moment there are a lot of fields of corn outside there. 
So the idea of making corn plants by myself was born.

Yesterday I started to follow this idea and built up two plants just to try if my thoughts would work. 
I think they did :). 
I have to apologize that his post won´t show a finished field. 
I just want to give some inspiration to other hobbyists who share thoughts.

First of all here is a photo of the material needed.
You can see some wire (which was left from shortened wired spears), caraway for the corn dolls and some adhesive labels you use for address labels etc.
That´s all apart from glue and paint.

First step:   glue some caraway on the side of the wire.

Second step:  fold the adhesive labels to give the later plant leaves more stability. 
The advantage of using adhesive labels is that you won´t have to glue the paper after folding it.

Third step:  cut the doubled label into strips of about 4-5mm.

Next:  cut the strips into two halts and give the smaller parts the look of a plant leaf.

Step five:  begin to glue the plant leaves on the wire beginning from the top to the bottom.

Fix the leaves with white glue.

Then bend the leaves a little bit to give them their characteristic look.

These steps took me about ten minutes. 
So not too much time at all.

After the glue has dried just start to paint the plants.

For painting I used the green color set of Andrea. 
I like those sets because they have six different shades of the chosen color, so setting highlights or dry brushing is no problem.

The penultimate step is to glue some grass material on the top of the plant and also on the corn dolls. 
I used the practical grass of "MiniNatur" (I think this is early summer).

The ultimate step is to set the plants into scene on the battlefield.
It could look like this.
I just leaned the plants on the fence for this photo so you can see the wire on the bottom of the plant.
I didn´t want to glue the plants onto the fence because I want to make much more of these plants to create a bigger field.

Maybe the plants are not perfect yet and maybe there is a much more effective way to produce such corn plants. 

But in my opinion the duration of making these plants (about 30 minutes including painting and the time to let the glue get dry) is not too intensive though it will take a lot of time to get a big field.

Every time I´m bored by painting the same uniform to finish whole regiments or even don´t have a quiet hand for fine painting I will make some of these corn.
Two of them each day - that´s also okay.

I like the result and what is nicer than to say that the terrain on your tabletop was built by yourself.




  1. Fine tutorial! The plants look great and very realistic, but I would go crazy building them - I'm just too lazy.

  2. They do look good and I think your idea of do a few at a time is the right way, possibly with a good burst every now and then as doing a whole field would drive me crazy. Have you thought about what to do if troops are moveing through the field?


  3. Thanks for enjoying the result. That gives me the inspiration to keep the project alive. :)

    @Thomas: I´m lazy, too. So every time I feel in good condition I will make some plants again. So the amount of plants sometimes will be great enough to build a whole field. The time this will take - I don´t know and I even don´t care too much. Painting figures has priority. :)

    @Ian: Funny. I already thought about that too. Maybe I will build the field consisting of several parts. A outer area with plants surrounding the field and some inner parts that could be taken away to place some figures in the field. This could work.

  4. Those are the most realistic looking corn stalks I've ever seen - super!
    If I were going to do this, I'd do it assembly line fashion, as there are lots of steps where you have to wait for glue or paint to dry.

    Maybe mount the finished stalks in rows and or squares so to make it easy to move the pieces around, jig-saw puzzle like, when troops are in the field.

    When I was traversing the country side of Bayern, a mere 35 years ago, the crops whose arrangement I was interested in seeing from a modeling standpoint was hops!


  5. Wow! These are fantastic, very well done and thanks for sharing!!!

  6. Excellent result!!! Very impressed indeed.