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"Making Cornfields in 25/28mm" Topic

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firstvarty197930 Nov 2011 8:35 a.m. PST

I found this link on how to make cornfields for railroad layouts and I'm going to give it a try: link


I'll probably spread them out a bit, and put them on multiple small bases, but I like the look of the cornstalks a little bit more than what I've seen elsewhere. Has anyone tried this approach?

Angel Barracks30 Nov 2011 9:00 a.m. PST

That does look good, but what a lot of hard work.
Still does look nice.

bgbboogie30 Nov 2011 9:20 a.m. PST

Hi I have seen this done, my pal did it a few years ago as well, he did though use two for height, he hollowed out the bottom ones centre with foam and placed the other on top.

I was wondering how to do this myself….?????

We thought of putting cocktaill sticks in, peeled back slightly to look like the tops and leaves. A lot of work though.


Chris Palmer30 Nov 2011 9:55 a.m. PST

They're not that hard to make. Below is a picture of the ones I did. The bases are 6"x6" squares of foamcore, and the stalks are craft pine stems cut into approximately 2.5 inch lengths and glued into the foamcore. I then drybrushed some yelllow onto the tops.

Pine craft stems:


My fields:


firstvarty197930 Nov 2011 10:02 a.m. PST

If the Confederates had only had a few of those walking things with giant Gatling Guns on them, they wouldn't have lost so many men in the Miller's Cornfield at Antietam!

The spread out cornstalks work fine for skirmish games, but what do you do when you have multiple figures on a base moving through a model cornfield? I'm still thinking about how to resolve that one.

FireZouave30 Nov 2011 10:14 a.m. PST

I'm still not that impressed with this material or technique. If only one of these artificial plastic plant companies would produce them, it would be perfect. They make just about anything else with fine branches and shapes.

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP30 Nov 2011 10:18 a.m. PST


I can't quite make out who produced the Pine craft stems. Oh and where did you purchase them?



Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP30 Nov 2011 10:33 a.m. PST

TMP link

The above link takes you to some pix of my cornfields that were made by Herb Gundt. I believe that he uses the Pine Craft stems too and attaches them to 2" square bases. Thus when a battalion is moving throught the cornfield, you simply remove sections of the cornfield and place your figure stands in the open areas.

A Twiningham30 Nov 2011 10:45 a.m. PST


Some model train companies do make very nice corn stalks. Be prepared to pay for them though. About a buck a stalk for HO. link

Mikhail Lerementov30 Nov 2011 10:55 a.m. PST


A bit expensive if you are going to do a large field. Plus I don't really like the looks of fat corn. I saw a package of these at Hobby Lobby and the photo does them justice.


And another method albeit work intensive.

Mikhail Lerementov30 Nov 2011 11:07 a.m. PST

A Twiningham, you actually get 400 stalks for that price. About 4 cents a stalk. On the other hand they probably aren't that sturdy as far as playing a game with them. Likewise the JTT stalks I referenced earlier. They appeared to be made of silk. Hobby Lobby also had flowering plants and trees from the same company.

firstvarty197930 Nov 2011 11:21 a.m. PST

I've seen the plastic HO scale cornfield, and the problems for me are that they are only an inch tall, and to cover a significant area with them would require a vast number of them. I think they'd work fine for a 15mm regimental or brigade game, but not so well for 28mm games where the ground scale and figure scale is so much bigger.

I'm hoping to take some time this coming weekend to try out the technique I found, and posted up top. I'll see if I can't get some pictures when I am done with the trial run.

A Twiningham30 Nov 2011 11:35 a.m. PST

My mistake. Maybe I misread the description. I thought it said 20 plants for $18. one inch rows are a bit short for fully-grown corn, but battles don't always take place at harvest time.

ScoutII30 Nov 2011 11:49 a.m. PST

Regarding the model railroad corn which has been linked to:


Lots of close up pictures and information. One thing he skipped though is that the plastic is like that used with the Woodland Scenics trees. You are supposed to twist the stalks in order to give them 3 dimensional interest as opposed to leaving them as flats.

Still, for a smaller field – it isn't a bad idea. Also, keep in mind that the corn of today isn't the corn of yesteryear. The little patch of sweet corn we grew this year topped out at almost 8 feet tall. The "indian corn" that my wife planted for feeding birds in the winter only got to about 4-5 feet tall. It also is a bit more scraggly looking when compared to modern corn (for which the initial post would work well to represent).

Anywho – as far as saving work on the linked tutorial…the time consuming aspect is really with cutting the length of the "leaves" down. As opposed to cutting the stalks to length, then trimming those each individually – try this.

Grab a chunk of scrap sheet good (plywood, MDF – a 2x6 would work as well I guess…though you would need to repeat the setup more often).

Staple one end of the garland to the board and pull it across to the other side. Staple that end. Cut the extra garland off. Repeat, spacing your garland strips an inch or two apart from each other. Don't make them longer than your longest steel ruler.

Once you have filled your board with garland strips, grab your steel ruler and a sharp knife. Place the ruler straight down over the center of the garland and then lay it flat with the edge still at the center point. Slide it away from the center your desired distance. The action of putting the ruler down, laying it flat and then sliding should split and straighten the little fiber things. Cut along the straight edge. Repeat for the other side of the garland. Repeat for all the garland strands.

Vacuum up the mess.

After that – follow along with the rest of the tutorial.

Chris Palmer30 Nov 2011 12:49 p.m. PST

Wiiliam Stewart-
I got them at either Michaels or JoAnns. It was a few years ago that I made mine so I don't remember specifically which one.

KSmyth30 Nov 2011 1:51 p.m. PST

Bill, I'm looking to make some cornfields for one of my projects too. I've got a few of the Pine Stems from an ancient purchase, and haven't been able to find them at any local craft stores. However I located this on the 'net. They look similar to what Chris posted.


Chris Palmer30 Nov 2011 2:15 p.m. PST

If those are 20mm in diameter they seem awfully big. The ones I used couldn't be more that 10mm in diameter.

These folks have some that are listed as 12mm, and may be closer to what I used:


Big Red Supporting Member of TMP30 Nov 2011 3:35 p.m. PST

Thanks Chris and Kevin. The quest begins!

skinkmasterreturns30 Nov 2011 5:25 p.m. PST

I made several small cornfields.I bought 8' of pine garland after Christmas at the Dollar Tree for .50 cents.It took me 3 hours to trim down,paint the tossle and base 72 individual corn stalks on 2 50mmx50mm bases.Needless to say,I havent made any more.

Barry S30 Nov 2011 5:38 p.m. PST

Thanks for the link firstvarty1979.

Pretty much the same way I've made mine, but I never considered using the heatgun. I quite like the effect.
My corn sections are based much like those of Der Alte Fritz's.

AB, as Chris pointed out it isn't that hard. I found it just messy as I had to trim the garland, or in my case the old Christmas tree.

I did buy a pack of the Busch to replace my homemade corn, but sold it off as it looked out of place along side the rest of my terrain. It looked too good :o)

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