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Layout In A Box – Demo Micro Layout Project (part 13) Adding Vegetation

Scale Model Scenery Demo Micro Layout Project

Part Thirteen 

Following on from part twelve of this series in which we looked at making the landform for the embankment. We now move on to the adding of the grasses & bushes & other vegetation to the embankment scene. The range of modelling vegetations, trees, plants etc is vast & ever growing larger. Just about every type of tree, bush grasses, plants & more are available in off the shelf model form, but also not forgetting the natural materials found outdoors can be used to make great nature scenes. If you haven’t seen already & to give you an idea of some of these products, check out our selection landscaping items here:–landscaping-278-c.asp

Popular makes to look at are, Noch, Woodland Scenics, Gaugemaster, Javis, Mininatur amongst many many others. There is something to suit everyone & all budgets, from economy items right through to bespoke high quality items. 

We are setting our demo layout sometime between spring & mid summer, so have choosen various scenic material/items to create a spring/summer period layout.  We’ll be using static grasses, grass/turf scatters, foilage, bushes, underbushes,  tall grass/reeds & lichen.

Lets get started…

Lets get started…

Tools you’ll need are:

  • Static Grass Tool Applicator
  • Tweezers
  • PVA Glue & also Scenic Cement Glue
  • Sissors
  • Plastic binliners or plastic sheet to act as dust sheets to protect the backscene.
  • Spray applicator bottle

We’ll start with applying a layer of coarse grass turf to the embankment. The photo right shows one of the coarse turfs we’ll be using. Woodland Scenics Coarse Turf Light Green, part number T63.

We’ll start with applying a layer of coarse grass turf to the embankment. The photo right shows one of the coarse turfs we’ll be using. Woodland Scenics Coarse Turf Light Green, part number T63. Using Woodland Scenics Scenic Cement Spray glue or you can use a 50/50 mix of pva glue mixed with water & brushed on to the embankment. Another excellent glue is this one for fixing scenic materials:

Work on small sections at a time & we start by spraing the glue mix on a small section of the embankment making sure we have an even coating of glue over the area we a working on. Then sprinkle a thin layer of turf on to the glued area. Whilst we was applying the turf scatter, we left some areas to represent just muddy earth patches. Use photos of the real thing as a reference guide to work with. 

Next we move on to adding the static grass. Choose various length static grasses, here we are using 2mm, 4mm, 6mm in various spring & summer blends. We are are also adding some area’s of patchy dead grass too!

To apply the static grass, you’ll need a static grass applicator tool like the one shown right. The battery powered type range from around £25 right up to around £142 for the pro tool versions. There are also a puffer bottle type which is a cheaper way of applying static grass as well which can be found here:

Spray a coating of scenic cement glue over the area that will be having the static grass applied to. Then with the battery powered static applicator tool, clip the grounding clip to either a nearby section of track, of insert a nail or screw temporarily into the area being worked on. 

Take a section of the shortest static grass (in our case 2mm) & mix up the selection of static grass colours & place into the strainer bowl on the applicator tool. At around 4 to 6 inches above the area you working on, switch on the applicator tool & shake over the glued area. The static grass bits will be given a static charge as it falls through the strainer, upon hitting the glued area, the grasses will land & stand upright. 

Apply more static grass if needed to thicken up any area’s of grass. Once the strainer bowl is empty on the applicator tool, switch off the applicator tool & touch the grounding clip to earth the applicator tool. This will release a small discharge from the tool. Don’t touch the strainer bowel before discharging the tool!! If you don’t discharge the tool beforehand & touch it, You’ll get a small static belt from the tool…Ouch!!

Next take the next longest size static grasses (In our case 4mm & 6mm) & as before mix up various colours & then switch on the tool to apply the grasses. As before, shake the static applicator tool over the area you are working on.

Be sure to discharge the tool every time you need to refill the applicator bowl. If the grass dosen’t appear to be standing or laying flat, move the tool nearer to the grounding clip, or move the grounding clip nearer to the area you are working on.  If neither seem to work, then replace the batteries with fresh new batteries.

Continue to build up the grass with taller length grasses as needed. Once finished applying the grasses, let the glue dry then spray another layer or cheap non sented hairspray to fix the grass in place.   

The same method applies if using the cheaper puffer bottle type applicator. This of course has no grounding clip or electrics. To use, take the topm off & also the sprinkle hole plate. Fill the bottle up with various colour static grasses, replace the sprinkle hole plate & also the bottle top.

Now shake the bottle up & now for several minutes to build up a static charge.

Spray a layer of glue mix over the area you are working on. Then remove the bottle top.

Turn the bottle so it’s pointing down towards the glued work area. Either shake the bottle or squeeze the bottle to apply the static grasses to the scene. Woork the area to build up different thicknesses & heights of static grass. The puffer bottle applicator is ideal for any tight spots where a powered grass applicator tool can’t get into.  

Bushes And tall grass clumps

For bushes, apply a blob of PVA glue on to the area you wish to have bushes on. We’ll start with adding some under bushes from woodland scenics (available in various colours). Grab a clump of under bush out the packet & place on to the glue. Add more glue & more clumps of under bush as desired to achive the look your are after. 

To create bigger bushes, we are going to use lichen as the base to help bulk up the bush & foilage. Some modellers just leave the lichen as it is, the choice is down to you but we will be hiding the lichen as you’ll see. 

Glue the clump of lichen on to the desired area of the layout, again use PVA glue for this.

Next we are applying foilage over the top of the lichen. We are using one of the Woodland Scenics Foilages, available in various colours & pack sizes. Cut a piece of foilage using sissors & then tease it out by gently pulling it apart slightly.

Apply PVA glue, or spray scenic cement glue over the lichen, then place the foilage over the glued lichen clump. Tease & pull the foilage over the lichen to create a natural looking bush.

Once the glue has dry, apply another spray of scenic cement glue or cheap non scented hair spray to fix the foilage.

For flowering bushes & foilage etc, use foilages like the ones shown on the right. These can be used to create alsorts flowering vegetation. The excess bits that have collect in the bottom of the packet can be used as scatter material for wild growing flowers. Sprinkle on to the grasses & fix in place with cheap non sented hair spray. 

Woodland Scenics also do long grasses for fields etc. The two on the right are the ones we’ll be using to create tall grass clumps & reeds. Cut to length & then place into a small blob of PVA glue. You may need to hold the grass upright whilst the glue starts to set.

Once the glue has set, if the grass still looks way to tall then trim down with scissors to the required height to suit your needs.

Once the glue has set, if the grass still looks way to tall then trim down with scissors to the required height to suit your needs.

The galley below shows a selection of images during the installaing/planting of the vegetation. You’ll notice in some of the images we’ve placed the foilage up the sides & over the top of some of the fencing to represent wild growing bushes & under grow.

In the next part we’ll look at combing a kit & brick texture sheets to scratch build a retaining wall.

Happy modelling 

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