Monday, October 1, 2018

Rice Paddy Tutorial

This is my third version of rice paddies and the most traditional looking version.  This is a newly planted rice paddy.  I was not overly impressed by what I saw online from other wargamers, so I worked on trying to create something more realistic.  Probably still not as good as what model railroaders would make, but certainly better than what I've done in the past.  Mine are not perfect and I welcome better versions than mine and please share how you make it (TMP, Facebook or your blog).  This is not a fast technique, but maybe better paddies takes more time.

I have a fallow, newly planted and fully grown rice paddies.  These are the three I'll be using in an upcoming wargame.  They will be seen together in a future post on this blog.

  • Pre-Mixed Grout (sandstone)
  • Woodland Scenics Realistic Water
  • 1/8" hardboard (from old poster frame back)
  • 1/2" square dowels dowels
  • Masking tape
  • Sharp scissors
  • Liquitex Acrylic Color: Burnt Umber
  • Amsterdam: Permanent Green Light
  • JTT Field Grass (Light Green), item 95086
  • Optional: Some sort of green flock for the berm

  1. Assemble all the material. Make sure you have enough of the material to finish the project.
  2. Cut the hardboard into a 10" x 10" square. I choose the square shape because I wanted to have multiple rice paddies beside one another.
  3. Using the grout mix, build up the berms around the outside of the square hardboard. I went  1/2" high and flattened the top to give the impression that people can walk along the berm.
  1. When the berms are dry (1-2 days), paint the berms and the inside of the rice paddy a dark brown. 
  2. Cut the wood dowels to the width of the rice paddy (10").
  3. Cut grooves in the dowels every 1 cm along two opposite sides of the dowel.  I made 19 notches on either side.  This is where the grass will fit into.
  4. Bunch up a bit of grass together and place it into each groove, and cover with a piece of masking tape.  Try to pack the grass together as tight as you can and straight.
The gaps between dowels allows the Realistic Water dry better.
  1. When all grooves have grass in them in the dowel, trim the bottom of the grass so when you place the dowel over the rice paddy on the berms, the grass touches the bottom of the rice paddy.
  2. Repeat steps 5-8 until you have full coverage of rows.
  1. Make sure the base is level before you pour the Realistic Water.
  2. Pour the Realistic Water into the rice paddy.  I think something slightly over 1/8" deep will work.
  3. Arrange the dowels over the rice paddy.  Make sure all the grass are embedded in the Realistic Water.
  1. Let dry three days (not sure why it took me three days).  Make sure the rice paddy is fully dry before moving to the next step.
  2. Cut the grass with scissors near the bottom of the dowel, not near the water.
  3. The grass will not be perfect, and there may be missing rice or issues.  I fixed these by drilling a hole in the water and placing grass in the hole with the same process as 5-8 and then just poured a small amount of Realistic Water filling in and slightly around the hole.  Cut the grass like in step 14.
  4. When fully dry and happy with the outcome, trim the grass closer to the water.  Height is completely up to you.
  5. Paint the rice a Light Green.  The JTT Field Grass is a bit too dark.
  1. The berm can be left without flock if you want, but I chose to glue small green flock on the berms.  I did not glue much flock on the inside of the berm.

I welcome any comments/suggestions.  If things are still a unclear, I can certainly expand further in my tutorial.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks. I bet there is an easier way, but going with this process for now.

  2. Excellent article

    Take care


    1. Thanks. In the future, I'll probably have to make up paddies for my 10mm Vietnam.

  3. Clever, creative and very nicely done!

  4. Thanks, Eric. Really nic looking piece and well written article. Thanks for sharing!