Static grass again!

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My first attempt at using static grass together with the Noch applicator brought mixed results: the stuff looked great, the fibres all stood up nicely and the method of application was quick, an important point with my large US outline N scale layout to consider. What I did which appeared to be wrong was to use fibres that were too long for an attempt at a late winter scene on Dudley Heath Yard,  my EM gauge portable exhibition layout. I chose the wrong colours and applied the grass fibres way too heavily in an effort to achieve a good colour, effectively masking out the ground contours. The yard area of the layout is being finished to provide a photo stage for my next book on wagons to be published by Warner’s Group Publications. The photograph above is a sneak preview of the photography being prepared for the book and shows my second go at static grass.

I cleaned off the first attempt with a broad filler knife before trying again. This time, I chose Silflor ‘Late Fall’ grass fibres at 2mm in length. If I need additional depth of grass, I could apply a second swathe of fibre onto the first application, making the process much more flexible than using longer fibres. The first application was made with the Late Fall colour which is a nice dry grass colour with a trace of faded green in it. Still not right for dry winter grass; so I added a drift of Late Fall mixed 60:40 with Woodland Scenics ‘Wild Honey’. I have learned that not all grass is dry and brown in winter, some green does peak through in places. I sprinkled small patches of light green to break up the uniform appearance of the grass whilst the glue was still wet. This created some highlights which proved to be very effective. Here’s the process…

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A glue and ground colour paint mix was applied to the bare landscape surface. The glue could be PVA adhesive or even Matt Medium which was used in this demo shot. The colours used in the glue mix will depend on your terrain.

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Quickly, before the paint/glue mix dries, lay paper towels over those areas you do not want grass fibres to go such as buildings, track and previously applied scenery.

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Press the grounding pin into the wet surface (blue arrow), switch the applicator on and watch the fibres fall out with a ticking sound.They stand up with the static as the applicator is waved over the area being treated. Don’t over do it; as I have learned, less can be more! The excess can be collected and returned to the packet, especially that caught on the paper towel.

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A second application can be made to lengthen the grass if required and to change the colour mix too to introduce some variation I have successfully use dilute matt medium and firm hold hairspray to glue the second layer of fibres in place. Don’t use an aerosol hairspray but choose the pump action bottles instead for greater control. The picture above shows the sprinkling of a tiny amount of light green onto the wet matt medium following a second light application of fibres. This kills the unwanted colour uniformity of grass which can look a little unnatural. When it’s all dry, I introduced long grass fibres by hand to represent longer but dead weeds and grass together with dark brown spikes to represent dead dock weed. A further spray of hair spray or dilute matt medium will secure any loose material. Matt medium will matt down the rest of the scenery too, which is fine, whereas hairspray may leave a shiny trace. So when using the latter, protect those areas which would be otherwise spoiled by a shiny finish such as road ways.

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The grass attempt in the picture above looks far better than my first attempt (below) where the green turned out to be more late summer and the grass was too heavy and thick. Above, the colour is more subtly of dried grass with a hint of dark green at the margins from short grasses and mosses.

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