Eastern wrote:Quick question Dave - how do you apply your static grass? I have seen that the Noch grassmaster is quite spendy. In between are DIY applicators as well as the Noch 'puff-bottle'-not forgetting the static balloon trick Just really impressed at the results you are getting.
Your wish is my command. This is most definitely a case of "how I did it" rather than a definitive guide to how static grass should be used. I haven't used much of this stuff myself so I'm still experimenting/learning.
Those that know what they are doing would probably say you should use some kind of electrical device like the super effective and super expensive Noch Grassmaster or a cheapo ebay equivalent. The Grassmaster does do the absolute business and is the only way to do it if you want large areas of long meadow grass or crops. I'm working in 2mm here and only want some basic rough grass effect so I'll do it on the cheap.
Here's the starting point. The structure in this case is a very thin papier mache shell made from kitchen roll and diluted PVA. It has had a coat of neat PVA painted on top and bottom when dry to give it a plastic-like hard shell. The bright white has rather confused the camera here!
Doesn't really matter what the surface is of course but here you can see my starting point. This is then given a good gloop of dark chocolate coating i.e. artists acrylics Burnt Umber or Raw Umber. This dries very quickly.
Here are the tools I'm using, a Noch "puffer" bottle and an old caramel sauce bottle. The Noch bottle works extremely well and is not expensive. The sauce bottle has only one hole in the cap and works less well. I may try drilling more holes. I also use my fingers. You can get a reasonable effect by pinching the grass between finger and thumb and sprinkling it on. Doesn't get much cheaper than that!
In my case I have the MiniNatur 4.5mm "winter" grass in the Noch bottle and MiniNatur 4.5mm "Spring" grass in the sauce bottle. The latter is very green!
Slop on a copious quantity of your favourite PVA glue.
Give the puffer bottle a good shake, the stuff loves to clump together so you have to encourage it to separate out. Upend the bottle and "puff" gently by squeezing and inch or two away from the glue surface. The fibres will be forced into the glue even though you only squeeze gently. You can give it a good hefty squeeze but it doesn't seem to speed things up any.
Initially it will look as though the fibres are all laying down in the glue but keep going building up the layers and you will start to see them standing up. If you look around the edges you will see they try to get away from the glue and naturally stick end on. Weird!
Keep on going until you have covered they glue area and built up a reasonable depth. With the winter colour it is so pale that it doesn't seem to give a real coverage at all. It doesn't matter as you can always add to it later after it has dried by adding more glue and repeating. Also you will find the stuff goes everywhere! Sweep it up with a dry paintbrush or the like and flick or sprinkle it onto your glued area, all techniques are valid and it helps build up the depth.
Here's the area covered with the winter grass. I haven't attempted to completely cover the glue.
Time to add some other colours, grassy areas are rarely all one colour. Out with the trusty sauce bottle and a few squirts of "spring" grass.
More sweeping up ensues. I then tend to use my fingers to pat the grass down into the glue. This sounds like totally the wrong thing to do given that you have just gone to all this effort to get the stuff to stand up but when did you see an area of grass that was all the same length? I want an uneven finish and this stuff is pretty long for N gauge, a scale 2 1/2 feet in fact. Even after you have prodded it around there will still be grass standing up, honest.
When the PVA is completely dry you can then give your new turf a gentle head massage with your finger tips then blow or sweep away any unstuck excess. You should find the grass is standing tall. Bare patches can be filled in and extra textures added. This is how the section looks close-up after the glue has dried and without any further work. Not too shabby really.
Dave (still sneezing grass fibres)