Posts Tagged ‘static grass’

Following on from completing the basic ground and the inset concrete trackwork areas on Canute Road Quay as detailed on my post here, I have now in addition to adding some ballast in around the point work and also the headshunt,  started to add the next stage of the ground cover and colouration of the concrete inset track.

Earth and Static Grass areas

A vew of the backscene looking to the LH corner. the still to be completed ground cover is evident

Green Scenes texture paint has been used to give the base colour to the earth and concrete areas

Once I was happy with the air drying clay used to form the basic formation of the ground cover, I used earth coloured textured paint from Green Scenes to act as the base and have now applied a couple of initial layers of static grass.

Static grass uses fibres to represent individual blades and strands of grasses etc. that is applied via an applicator. The applicators are usually battery powered,  that charge the fibres with an electrical charge. The applicator is also connected to the layout, near to the area being applied via a lead either using a crocodile clip attached to one of the rails (as in this case on Canute Road Quay), or to a small nail temporary inserted locally into the scenery to provide the opposite charge. This results in the fibres when shaken out of the applicator standing up, just like grass, with they land on the thin layer of rapid drying conducting PVA style glue on the scenic area. I prefer to use the excellent static grass applicator and fibres from W W Secnics. Their ‘Pro Grass applicator is made in the UK is lightweight, powered by a 9V battery, an illuminated on-off switch and has interchangeable sieve heads to handle a range of fibre lengths from 2 to 12mm.

The initial couple of layers of static grass have been applied

The initial couple of layers of static grass have been applied

Static grass comes in multiple lengths, and colours ranging from springs to summer  / autumn more yellowish colours, the reason for this is that you build the grass up to achieve a realistic looking grass and varity of tines to suit the location and time of year you wish to represent. I find that a lot of the available fibres are often a far to bright green, which is one of the reasons why I like the fibres from W W Secnics and even then I then to use their more muted summer and autumn colours.

Looking the other way to show the grassed area between the loop tracks

Looking the other way to show the grassed area between the loop tracks

Now that I have stated with the initial build up of the grass I will add further layers, where appropriate and also additional textures using some Woodland Scenics materials in due course for further complete the scene and the effect that I am looking for. I will also add some discolouration / dirt / oil stains etc. on some the grass where it has grown up between the sleepers on the track itself.

Concrete Inset Track

The expansion joints have been added to the concrete inset track area

The expansion joints have been added to the concrete inset track area

The Inset track area, having been initially built up with layers of cork has now also been a coating of textured paint from Green Scenes this time their concrete colour.
For such a large area of concrete, in real life it would soon crack due to expansion and so in practice it would be laid as slabs with a bitumen based expansion joint between to allow for any movement of each slab.  I have therefore added such expansion joints to the concrete area in the foreground of the layout leading up to the dock edge. IN practice the distance between expansion joints is dictated bu the thickness of the concrete slab and in this instance I have gone with joints set at 15ft intervals which would be appropriate for slabs up to and around 8″ thick.

Another view of the concrete inset track area and the expansion joints

Another view of the concrete inset track area and the expansion joints

To create the impression of the joints I initially scribed the joint lines into the surface of the concrete with the edge of a small screwdriver blade before running a soft pencil down the scribed line to give the weathered grayish look to the jointing bitumen. Some of the joints towards the edges of the slabs, i.e. those areas not seeing much vehicular traffic, will also get some fine turf Woodland Scenic material added in due course as I further detail the scene.

The overall view of Canute Rod Quay as it current stands is below, more updates to follow soon…


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I am about as far from a horticulturalist as one can get, my own green space outside my home is more of a nature reserve and home to local wildlife than a garden! The nearest I get to green fingers is when the Woodland Scenics scatter material has stuck to my fingers. This post is an attempt to describe how I undertook some of the flora on Fisherton Sarum, although perhaps the photographs speak more than the actual words. Specific flora, especially when flowering, of course will vary depending on the time of year and as with many layouts I have set Fisherton Sarum somewhere between the spring and the end of summer so it is possible that certain plants should not be in flower together, but hey if I can model a time period of 1946 to 1949, a few months here and there flora wise are not really going to matter. As with most areas of modelling whether it is rolling stock, buildings or scenery referring to the real thing is always the best starting point.

Try to focus on the embankment and its textures rather than the T14 passing by

Try to focus on the embankment, its textures and flora  rather than the T14 passing by

Firstly; Embankments, railway embankments are rarely just green grass and certainly never all of the same colour and height. If you look at many roadside verges and embankments the longer grass can be in excess of 3 to 4 foot tall. I have attempted to include a variety of colours and textures accordingly. Once the general form of the embankment was made using Modroc plaster bandage over a lattice card former that painted brown I glued, using PVA, teddy bear fur (no actual teddy bear was harmed during the making of Fisherton Sarum) fur side down with the backing uppermost. Once the glued dried I cut / tore / trimmed the backing off leaving random lengths of the fur sticking up to represent the yellowed / dried longer grass. I then added different textures and colours of other grasses / ground cover plants using a mix of grades and colour tones of Woodlands Scenics ‘Grass’ and ‘turf’ scatter materials.

The embanks and ground cover can bee seen between Maunsell's finest

The embanks and ground cover can bee seen between Maunsell’s finest

An alternative to the teddy bear fur these days would be to build up layers of ‘static grass’ (but please go for the more yellow colours rather than the bright greens) to give variations in height before adding the other textures which are still required as I feel that static grass alone is too uniform in texture. There are various applicators and static grasses on the market such as the applicator and grasses that I now use from War World Scenics.

A further view of the embankment and its flora along with some of the tress on Fisherton Sarum

A further view of the embankment and its flora along with some of the tress on Fisherton Sarum

Once I was happy with the overall effect of the embankment flora I turned my attention to adding a few more specific plants specific plants.
I made Foxgloves simply from individual strands of sisal string dipped in PVA glue then fine green scatter material, followed by some fine purple scatter material to represent the flowers.
Lady’s bedstraw is the commonly seen yellow plant on verges and embankments was planted in clumps, I cheated here and used readymade and coloured plants from the MiniNatur range that is available from a number of UK retailers.
For brambles I used rubberised horsehair teased out dipped in PVA glue followed by once again fine green scatter material. As a material it has been around longer than I can remember and was often used as the basis for hedges etc., but I still think it makes the best brambles.

The tress (including the dead one) at the rear of Fiosheron Sarum

The tress (including the dead one) at the rear of Fisheron Sarum positioned to appear to tower over the terraced houses

Finally; Trees, I made these using wire armatures that I then covered in Woodlands Scenics foliage teases out over the branches, although I have left one tree devoid of foliage to represent an unfortunately dead tree. I used this method for all the trees on Fisherton Sarum as they were all generally individual trees, for denser wooded areas then less complicated armatures can be used or alternatives such as sea moss, or actual twigs the basis for the application of the foliage materials.

The house nestles amongst carefully positioned tress

The house nestles amongst carefully positioned tress of various shapes and sizes. Brambles can bee seen to the right hand side

Pretty basic stuff really but there are few things to note with trees (take a look at the real things when you are next away from your computer screen reading this): a) the bark is rarely brown and is usually more of a grey colour, especially so when viewed from a distance, b) the shape of the tree and density of the foliage does of vary between species and c) a lot of trees are quite tall and mature trees are more often than not taller than houses.
I have tried even with a relatively small number of trees to include a variety of shapes and sizes and careful positioning so give the trees the prominence they deserve.

As flora and fauna is usually associated together I have not forgotten the various fauna that is also on Fisherton Sarum and will be the subject of a future post.

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