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"What does a tobacco field look like?" Topic

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1,223 hits since 6 Sep 2017
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Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP06 Sep 2017 8:08 p.m. PST

I'm planning an AWI scenario featuring a raid by Lord Dunmore's Ethiopians on a Whig plantation, to burn his mansion and his barn full of tobacco.
Everything is coming along nicely, except the tobacco field. How should I model that?

GROSSMAN Supporting Member of TMP06 Sep 2017 8:15 p.m. PST


I would look to the plastic fish tanks stuff at Micheal's etc.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP06 Sep 2017 8:19 p.m. PST

Check Hobby Lobby or Michaels for broad-leaf plant stalks? You can probably find something that can be painted green and re-purposed as a tobacco plant.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP06 Sep 2017 8:22 p.m. PST

It's one of my more politically incorrect scenarios…..

Oberlindes Sol LIC06 Sep 2017 8:39 p.m. PST


Here is a picture of a man in a tobacco field from the internet. It will give you some sense of the size of tobacco leaves and plants, at least at the time of year of the picture.

poiter5006 Sep 2017 8:54 p.m. PST

One of the model railway companies make tobacco plants for scenery. check those out and find a similar fish tank ornament.

myxemail Supporting Member of TMP06 Sep 2017 9:09 p.m. PST

That picture that Oberlindes linked to is how I remember the tobacco fields in the Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts in the late 70s and early 80s. The tobacco barns are pretty unique too, with the movable vertical slats in the outside walls.
You use 25mm figures, so I would spend some time in a big box craft store looking at the fake foliage, trying to find something close in leaf shape that can be cut apart and glued into rows for your terrain. Especially if you have one of those 40% off koopins


Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP06 Sep 2017 9:38 p.m. PST

This is a reproduction colonial tobacco farm.

Bill N07 Sep 2017 4:43 a.m. PST

Only company I am aware of that made model rr tobacco plants dropped the product several years ago.

Schogun07 Sep 2017 5:08 a.m. PST

JTT Scenery Products 95587 O-Scale Tobacco Plants, 1-1/2" High (Pack of 10)


(and other stores)

Pan Marek Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2017 5:22 a.m. PST

I second Michaels. They often have green plastic plants with small leaves, which can be pulled apart to give you small
groupings of leaves that when "planted" in terrain would to the job. Look in the aisle with ferns and vines, not the area
with fake flowers.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2017 5:49 a.m. PST

Winston, if the idea is to burn the tobacco barn, the

What's left in the fields would be stalks, unless the
planter has already harrowed them under to provide
fertilizer for next year's crop.

Worked on tobacco farm as a 13 to 15 YO in the mid 1950's
and that's some HARD, HOT labor !

BTW, the edge of your field should include what's called
a 'tieing shed' (tobacco-filled sleds are dragged here
and bundles of leaves are tied to sticks to be hung in
the curing barn, usually also right next to the field or
located centrally to several fields in a large farm).

Tieing sheds were usually just a lean-to sort of affair
sometimes built as extending from the side of the curing
barn. Of course, today's process doesn't have any of
those things, the 'bulk barn' process does away with the
need for them.

Extrabio1947 Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2017 6:23 a.m. PST

Many tobacco barns are already burning.

A number of tobacco farmers produce dark fired tobacco that is produced by hanging tobacco from rafters in a barn and building a slow fire – usually out of sawdust- below, and letting the smoke cure it. If you drive through Southern Kentucky these days, you will see smoke wafting out of a number of barns.

And Ed is right. Growing tobacco is a hot, hard, completely manual process that is heavily dependent on migrant labor.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2017 7:02 a.m. PST

That simplifies the terrain a bit!

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2017 8:16 a.m. PST

The entire crop is not going to be harvested in a single day. There is no reason you can't burn the barn and the fields.

Bill N07 Sep 2017 8:27 a.m. PST

Thanks Schogun. Was not aware they had come out with this.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2017 12:42 p.m. PST

79thPA, a COLONIAL tobacco field COULD be harvested in
a single day. The fields were small enough in the late
18th C. and the plants small enough (about 3 feet back
then as opposed to 5 or 5 1/2 feet today) that taking
the ripe leaves was not that difficult.

However, it could be argued that not all the leaves ripen
at the same time, which is true, so that 'priming' (the
act of taking the 'prime' or ripe leaves) had to be done
over a few days' time.

Hence, Winston could show his field as totally harvested
or invest the time and $ to make a partially harvested

Bad Painter07 Sep 2017 3:08 p.m. PST

This scenario sounds like a real "Barn Burner". OK, I'm leaving now.

Twoball Cane07 Sep 2017 3:44 p.m. PST

Googlefu enfield, somers, and suffield ct. they have many hundreds of red or grey tobacco barns and this time of year they are hanging in the barn….the fields are bunched together and hip high bushes I think uniform in color. I live in longmeadow mass…. right on the border of Connecticut….heart of this regions tobacco country…it's a site to see.


Twoball Cane07 Sep 2017 3:46 p.m. PST
79thPA Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2017 5:29 p.m. PST

Ed, interesting. I was thinking of ACW era tobacco farming. I suppose colonial tobacco farms were much smaller.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2017 5:52 p.m. PST

And this is what it looked like when my Dad's grandmother worked the fields in Puerto Rico (photo circa 1900). Back when a workday was 12 hours long and the workweek was 6 or 6 1/2 days long.

After she got too old to be in the field, she was put to roll, and she rolled leaves until the day she died.

PS. She died at 99 years of age. Every evening she would smoke a huge cigar and sip on a couple of shots of rum while sitting on her rocking chair on the porch.


historygamer08 Sep 2017 5:41 a.m. PST

Destroying crops in the field is a lot of work. Burning a barn is easier, but most tobacco raids I have read about (Just finished Mike Cecere's new book on the VA raids of 1780 and 1781) have the British either capturing it on ships, burning warehouses (not individual barns) and/or capturing the Hogsheads (very large barrels) of tobacco.

Virginia Tory08 Sep 2017 9:58 a.m. PST

Bonus points for capturing any cured tobacco and smoking it.

Normal Guy08 Sep 2017 3:11 p.m. PST

Seems appropriate that Winston would be working on a tobacco field.

Twoball Cane08 Sep 2017 4:22 p.m. PST

Thanks for posting CC

I was married in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. Love that place. Flan, red beans and rice w pork, mufungo, and ciccarones* are my most fav PR foods. My brother is married to a Puerto Rican woman….great people.

You great grandmother sounds amazing…. thanks for posting your history alil.


Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2017 5:04 p.m. PST

Thanks for the information guys, but the terrain and building construction seems to be getting out of hand!
I haven't even sat down yet to do conversions of the Seminole Maroons yet!

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART10 Sep 2017 5:04 a.m. PST

Be careful about using the Pioneer Valley as a reference. Prior to the 19th century it was a crop for private use and a minor cash crop. After that it became a massive industry that was visually different from the 18th century look.

Rawdon11 Sep 2017 1:00 p.m. PST

I've investigated the JTT product. I concluded that it is too delicate for a wargame table. Also, even if spaced out, a field big enough to look realistic would become a serious investment of funds.

I second the observations that 18th century tobacco plants were smaller, less full, andplanted further apart than modern plants and farming techniques.

However, by the time of the AWI tobacco was a serious export product, especially for Virginia.

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