Scenery scratch pads

On a trip to the UK over the holidays I finally managed to purchase some Gordon Gravett books on grass and trees. I’ll say more about Gordon Gravett another time but in the meantime I’ve been wanting to get hold of these books for a while now. Unfortunately to have them sent to the States puts them in the $70 a piece range whereas I got them for about $30 a piece in the UK – affordable and well worth the price.

The first one I read was on grass: “Modelling Grassland, and Landscape Detailing.” My use of static grass has been limited and I wanted to broaden both my knowledge and experience in its use. The book provides a layman’s description of how and why static grass applicators work and also describes the different types of applicators. He provides lots of examples and techniques of how to use static grass. The book has quickly gone to the top my list of best how-to-books. As mentioned on a previous post I was going to buy the British-made Flockit applicator mentioned in his book until I came across the Peco version and instead purchased that last week. All good so far.

I decided that I wanted to test out some of his methods as well as methods from Kathy Millat. She has posted a bunch of YouTube videos on static grass methods. I’m a recent subscriber to her videos – all of which are well worth watching. Rather than experiment on the diorama I decided to make a scenery scratch pad to test ideas on. Very easy to make, I eventually made four and now use them to experiment.

I took some Elmers foam board and cut it to about 10 inches square. I then added edges of about 1/4 wide made from foam board off cuts and stuck it all down with PVA glue. I gave it a base of plaster bandages to help the soil layer grip – but that turned out to be not essential.
I then used my soil method to create a soil base. It is made from Celluclay paper maché, sawdust, real sifted soil, Woodland Scenics earth paint, PVA glue, and water with a splash of Lysol to kill germs. Once mixed it looks very unpleasant but covers the surface very nicely.
I spread the mixture on the board and then let it dry for three days.
Now I can just throw materials down and see how they look before committing myself via glue. This was a test of the creek bed materials.
The scratch pad has been especially helpful with testing out Gordon Gravett’s and Kathy Millat’s static grass methods.

Anyway the scratch pads have take alot of the stress away from trying new things. Unlike a computer where control-delete will back me out of any problems, modeling doesn’t allow any easy retracing of steps: paints have to be scraped off, solder removed and scenery sanded out. At least I can now get some practice on a new method before committing to the glue!

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