There are very few scenery techniques that, once mastered, will improve the look of your layout more than effectively modeling grass. It should be at the top of your list as far as investing the time to learn. With real grass you can just build a custom reel mower to look after it, but with modeling grass it’s a little trickier. If that isn’t time you have, you could hire a garden care service that ensures in the grasses health and appearance, companies such as Coloroda trugreen offer many garden services all over the US.
Before you get started you’ll need a few supplies:
- Static grass applicator such as the Noch Gras Master. This tool isn’t cheap but is necessary and mine has lasted quite some time.
- Spray bottles
- Hair spray (pump bottle style)
- Heki “Prairie Grass” #3363 (carried by Scenic Express)
- 2mm green static grass (Silflor is a good brand)
- Dilute matte medium. (Scenic Express #EX0020)
- Respirator (not a dust mask, a respirator like you use for airbrushing solvents)
Let’s get started:
- Put on your respirator. The 2mm static grass, once electrified, becomes air born and you don’t want it in you lungs.
- Begin by masking off the area where you want to apply grass. I’ve found paper towels with the edges torn to the desired shape produce a quick mask without leaving overly straight edges. Mist the towels with water to get them to lay flatter.
- Load the Heki Prairie Grass in the applicator and turn it on.
- Stick the applicator probe in the soil area and moisten the entire area with water from your spray bottle.
- Shake the Prairie Grass/static grass on misting every few seconds with hairspray. The grass will lay flat initially but subsequent layers will build up and stand up quickly.
- With your beige Prairie Grass base down, LIGHTLY dust some green on top as a follow up layer. If the grass is rail side, keep the green away from the area near the track as you want the deader, brown grass look near the track.
- When your grass is done, put dilute matte medium in your spray bottle, mist it on the grass and let it dry
- (Optional) Come back the day and roughen up the edges of the batch by lightly dragging a wire brush over them
As you gain experience you can experiment with the longer 4mm and 6mm grasses. Silflor makes a 6mm lighter blended called autumn that is a good look. I’d like to emphasize again the importance of putting the beige base down first and blending your colors or else you’ll end up with an overly uniform, park like look.