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"Little Bighorn Diorama vegetation coloration" Topic

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19th Century

840 hits since 11 Mar 2018
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Stephen Miller11 Mar 2018 5:45 p.m. PST

I'm in the process of doing a Battle of the Little Bighorn diorama. I've carved my terrain (from Calhoun Hill to Last Stand Hill) and placed my 400 figures and 250 horses, and am now ready to apply the vegetation (grasses and brush). I've read about how dusty things were that June day in 1876, but the fact that 2500 or so horses were moving around there then may have had a bit to do with the dust. You look at photos of the LBH battlefield today and in some of them, the grass appears really, really green (almost like a golf course) and in others it is gold or brown. Of course, it would always be gold or brown from October through March due to cold weather, but in June I would think it could be either green or gold/brown depending on how dry it was that year.
For those who have been there often in June around the anniversary of the battle, could you comment on if it is usually/almost always/ almost never in late June?

Personal logo TheWhiteDog Supporting Member of TMP11 Mar 2018 6:03 p.m. PST

I've been there in October and May, several times, so take this for what it's worth;

I would do "straw-brown" or "straw-gold", with streaks of pale green. Greener in the troughs of the coulees, and browner near the ridge-peaks. The dirt has a subtle red quality to it, if that is useful as well.

I've spent lots of time driving through Wyoming, Montana, and the Dakota's, so I know the dust fairly intimately!

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP11 Mar 2018 6:51 p.m. PST


Been to the anniversary of the battle several times. Whitedog is right about the dirt color. The grass is a little greener but it starting to turn brown by late June.

JimSelzer Supporting Member of TMP11 Mar 2018 6:58 p.m. PST

+2 to TheWhiteDog

Matches what I recall from my 2 trips there as well

Ryan T11 Mar 2018 7:43 p.m. PST

Go to Google Earth and click the "Show Historical Imagery" button. Several of the past images are from June and pretty well bear out what TheWhiteDog said.

Stephen Miller11 Mar 2018 9:14 p.m. PST

Thanks, everyone. I found some pictures I took when I was at LBH with the Terry Johnson "Northern Plains Indian Wars" tour back in July of 1999 and what you've said jives pretty well with what I'm seeing in those photos. Tomorrow I'm off to Hobby Lobby to see what they might have in the way of straw gold and pale green foliage.

mildbill12 Mar 2018 3:06 a.m. PST

Sometimes it is better to have the terrain board be a little brighter than actual terrain .Just like using brighter colors on the figures due to the scale. Good luck.

Piquet Rules Inactive Member12 Mar 2018 4:05 a.m. PST

It just depends on how much moisture the area had through the winter, as well as how much rain in spring. It isn't a brown desert, as most wargames seem to show all western themed games.

It has always looked green to me.

Garryowen Supporting Member of TMP12 Mar 2018 5:29 a.m. PST

Piquet Rules has hit the nail on the head. It all depends on moisture.

I have been out there in June over forty times. Other times of year too. Some Junes it has been yellow and many it has been green.

Then Lieutenant (later Brigadier General) Godfrey who commanded K Company was there of course. I don't really have time to look it up now, but I am nearly certain he used the term brown to describe the grass.

I have never seen it look brown in June. I have seen it brown as late as March. I have seen it look Yellow in June.

While it has nothing to do with your question, but that country has yellow grass very commonly in mid July and almost always in August and September. The legendary Henry Weibert who lived on Reno Creek for over sixty years as a rancher said it was really more nutritious then than when it was green earlier in the summer. He said that grass cures on the stem, so it is like eating hay.


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