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Model Railway Grass



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Method 1: Grass Mats

Method 2: Grass Scatter

Method 3: Grass Scatter Mats

Method 4: Static Grass  by Pete M


 

Method 1: Hairy Grass / Static Grass Mats.

 

Hairy Grass Mats (also called static Grass Mats) comes in sheets of 4ft X 2ft (1220mm x 610mm) and as the name suggests is made up of hundreds of green fibres creating a fury / hairy mat. It can be used as whole sheets or cut to fit any flat area of your layout with the application of a little glue to hold it down. A roll of this mat can cost from 5 to 10 but there are a few speciality versions which retail for more than 20. Its main advantage over scatter is that it allows you to cover a large area quickly with no mess and is also more resilient than using scatterings. Additionally, for most mats you can also buy additional colour matched loose scatter to fill in any gaps or uneven ground. There're currently 3 scenery brands on the market for Static Grass Mats; Javis, Noch, and Gaugemaster (Noch mats rebranded as Gaugemaster) This is what I used.

Model Railway Grass Felt

Grass cut, and glued in to place  

 Model Railway Grass Felt

Grass Sheet

 

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Method 2: Scatterings

 

They come in all shapes sizes and colours including grass. First you spread glue over the area you want to cover. Use a lot of glue as this stuff often falls off if you don't. Then spread the scatterings over the glue. It is a good idea to use a sieve to control the amount you use and/or a brush to move it in to all the gaps. Neither are essential but are useful. Once dried use a clean dustpan and brush to collect all the lose scatterings so they can be re used. Don't use a Hoover as this can pull of a lot of the glued down material. It is my advise to paint the board under the scattering the desired colour so that any fall of due to wear and tear will not show through.

 

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Method 3: Scatter Mats

 

See ballast mat laying method.

 

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Method 4: Static Grass  Author: Pete M

If you want that 3 dimensional grass effect, go for static grass, it's simple and effective. The grass is in the form of tiny synthetic fibres, in various lengths and colours. Using a simple puffer bottle* you apply it to neat PVA glue, it becomes charged with static electricity and stands on end, giving that 3D effect, the procedure is as follows:


1. Work on an area about 300mm square at a time. Paint the area you want to grass a suitable under-colour, a mix of greens and browns is best.

2. Sieve some of the grass fibres to remove any clumps, and fill the puffer bottle about half way up (don't fill it to the top the stuff just becomes a tightly bunched mass and won't come out).

3. Apply a coat of neat PVA glue to the area you want to grass, ensure the area is totally covered but don't worry about the odd blob as this just adds texture (unless your laying a bowling green in which case brush it smooth!).
 


4. Holding the puffer bottle about 100-150mm from the surface start puffing gently. Build the grass up slowly working around the area, puffing from different angles.



5. As you go along give the bottle a gentle shake every so often to loosen clumps.

6. Build the grass up to the thickness you want, don't worry if the glue still shows through, it dries transparent and you won't see it.

7. Every so often gently blow over the grass to loosen any stray particles, and to check your coverage. Some recommend passing a vacuum cleaner with a piece of cloth over the nozzle over the area, to lift the particles a bit, but take care not to suck it all off!

8. Once dry (best to be patient leave it a few hours) suck or blow off the excess.


 



That's the basic principle. The grass is available in many colours and lengths. It's best to experiment before starting on your layout. A good technique is to lay down some long grass, and then over lay with short grass. Any bald patches that appear can be touched in after, and laying one layer on top of another is good for a 'scrubby grass effect'. The key is to experiment!

*The puffer bottle is essential as it's the driving force behind the static, they are available from Noch and cost about 3.99 (they seem to last for ever too!). Powered devices that look like a small hairdryer (
Gras-Master Electrostatic Flocking Device) are available but are very expensive and probably not worth the outlay. Static grass is also available from Noch, Javis, Woodland Scenic's and other manufacturers.

(Static grass is great if you want to represent a detailed scene, or small areas, if instead your trying to achieve a sweeping landscape for your train to whiz through at speed, traditional scatter is probably best as it wont be distracting to the eye.)

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