And as it so often feels, I’m starting another adventure of learning. My scenery skills have historically not been great. I have never progressed beyond ground scatter materials, put down glue, deposit, and go. They work, but there is so much more out there. One of these, is “Static Grass”, or short fibres in different lengths that are applied using a tool that provides an electrical charge to the fibre, and using a grounding wire, the opposite charge in the glue, so when you gently shake the applicator, the statically charged grass lands standing up, looking much more like real grass does.
My choice in static grass tools, the “Pro Grass Detailer” from WWScenics.com (Sold via Amazon but from them). Mine came with a case and some sample grasses.
There are a huge variety of static grass tools out there at various price points and size. I was trying hard to find a balance between the price, and meeting my needs. I am building a small layout, and one where there are not a lot of grassy areas, in fact, the largest grass area on the layout is hidden behind a 10′ tall metal security fence where the Mercer Reformatory Prison yard was adjacent to the tracks! With that in mind, I eventually settled on a tool from WWScenics in the UK, a manufacturer of scenery who markets to all sorts of modellers, railroad, military, miniature gaming. As such, they have a range of tools big and small. In looking at them, the “Pro Grass Detailer” seemed to hit the balance of being able to do large areas, but also getting in reasonably close to do detail work in small spaces as I have for static grass.
The tool itself is a 3D printed body with a grippy covering on the exterior for holding onto. The top piece screws off to reveal the battery clip for a 9v battery, and there are two hoppers, a smaller one, and a larger one that flares out to hold more material for covering larger areas. Under the cover when you remove the hopper is the electrode to charge the grass fibres.
This was my first time even trying to do static grass, so i pulled out a bit of spare pink foam, and did just a proof of concept test with the 2mm base layer material. The kit came with a small jar of their glue, which seems to just be a thick white glue. I am going to do a test as well with my usual scenery glue of thinned Weldbond to see how that works before I get to doing the layout.
My first attempt at Static Grass, using a bit of leftover foam from the subbed of the layout. Not trying to achieve anything other than can i use the tool here!
For the purposes of my test, I didn’t worry about hiding the pink foam, this was all about, does it actually work, does the grass dispense so its standing up vertical when it hits the glue, and can I actually lay static grass? The answer, seems to be yes to those questions. Frankly, I can’t stop looking at it to admire my work, it looks so much better than any grass cover I’ve ever done before, even as a little patch of green on pink foam! It has depth and texture that is just fantastic. I can’t wait to give a go with some of the longer 4mm and 6mm materials that came in the kit and grass set I also bought to see what I can do.
It’s a bit hard to see, but a 3″ x 4″ section of static grass, it is most definitely standing up off the ground.
My next steps are to continue to practice and experiment, first on the foam (I’ve got plenty to cut off more pieces), and then move onto a couple of diorama’s I have built in the past to see if the Static Grass can improve upon them. Once I am reasonably happy that I have some idea what I am doing, I can move on to look at applying grass onto the layout proper. As with everything I do, I try to practice first and take it slow, even though my natural instincts are to race ahead to get things done!