"This place far excels in beauty any in the western country, and believed equalled by none in the Atlantic States. Here are vegetables of every kind in abundance, and we have marched four or five miles in cornfields down the Oglaize, and there is not less than one thousand acres of corn around the town.(sic) "
Lt. John Bowyer described these conditions at the Miami town of Auglaize on the march to Fallen Timbers in 1794. The luxuriant cornfields he observed were typical of most large woodland Indian settlements encountered during campaigns on the frontier in the late 18th century. Maize in the fields were resource targets for Americans fighting those Indians. General John Sullivan devastated the Iroquois in his summer campaign of 1779, burning thousands of acres of corn and forcing elements of the Six Nations across the Niagara and upon the kindnesses of the British for sustenance.
I decided that if I was going to do a hypothetical campaign on the Western frontier in the 1790's, I needed a big bunch of cornfields. I didn't want to build just a big ol' cornfield to just plop down on the table and then store with difficulty. Rather I wanted something I could morph into different shapes or scatter around, and remove bits of as it was destroyed. I'd seen the very cool cornfields from BTC and reasoned I could make something like that for myself at a more affordable price.
I started with Litko bases. I ordered fifty 40mm square bases. These are heavy enough to hold the "corn" and not move around on the table top. $6.99, plus the ridiculous Litko shipping fee. I also ordered ten packs of 12mm pine stems from This and That 4 Crafts. Those are holiday craft items that look sort of cornish if you fiddle with them. Ten packs of 15 pine stems was just over ten bucks with shipping.
|12mm pine stems from This and That 4 Crafts. They were cheap, and the size was about right. Also available in 20mm (refers to circumference) which seemed too large. There would be lots of trimming.|
|Litko bases and trimmed pine stem ready to go. 40mm worked for me. That's the width of two individually mounted figures or one Regimental Fire and Fury base.|
|I've used Liquitex modeling paste as basing material in the past. It's easy to work with, dries fast, but isn't particularly cheap. However, I thought it was the best material for this project.|
|My first base ready to receive corn stalks.|
|Voila, a close up of corn fields. There's more I could do if I wanted. Paint some of the leaves yellow to look like corn ears, or finish the base edges with Woodland Scenics material. I haven't decided.|
Step four, finally, glue your pine stems into the holes. I make sure to remove some of the very bottom leaves to expose the wire and put a tiny drop of CA glue in the hole. It usually sets up right away and you can move along.
I finished six squares of corn in a couple of hours of not very intense work. I hope to have about forty squares or so which takes up a LOT of space on the board. This is the first of my terrain projects for Chickasaw Bluffs.