29 February 2016

Sugarfields: A Terrain Tutorial

Sugar fields ablaze on Tinian
by Mike

One of the major features of the Battles of Saipan and Tinian were sugar cane fields and the refinery facility. Plantations such as these are common in the Pacific islands and on the Asian mainland.

The fields are wide, square and open, rather reminiscent of Normandy fields. They are even edged by hedges, so you could look into using hedgerow terrain pieces to frame your fields.

Furthermore, one iconic photo stick in my mind. It’s of a 75mm SPG half-track. I’m fairly confident that this photo was the genesis of my desire to play the PTO on the table top....

The vehicle is fully loaded with gear, extra machine-guns, a floppy radio antennae, and it sat in the middle of a sugar field. It’s a great shot and as such I wanted to make sure I had a sugarcane field for my battlefield.

Building the thing...

Anyway, building a sugarcane field all begins with a cheap welcome mat.

I found this one for $10 NZD at Bunnings. It’s plain with no lettering. Finding a welcome mat that actually doesn't welcome anyone was the hardest thing to accomplish! So if you see one, snap it up!

Using my sharpest knife, I cut into the field and made sure that there were trails, tracks, open areas, and irregular edges. The bristles are set in a rubber base, so as you cut in, the rubber will be exposed. I was happy with the color, actually as it looks like dark soil, so I left it as-is.

I spent a bit of time going over the areas I wasn't intending to clear completely, just to give the crops some irregularity to the height.

I thought it only appropriate that I test it a lot with a 75mm GMC.

In the end you’ll end up with a crazy amount of this stuff…

In a future tutorial. I’ll show you some ways to use it to build more scatter terrain.

Also, as I cut into it, several of these bunches of bristles came out. I set them aside for potential basing purposes. I'll have more on whether that was a successful experiment as soon as I give it a whirl! Until then, keep your eyes peeled for unwelcoming welcome mats... Thanks for reading!

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