Track Studies 5 – Grass

Time for some grass. The secret is layers – short grass first then longer grass later. I’ve stopped using grass right out of the box and now mix different colors, lengths and brands (Heki, Silflor, Noch and more) to create a range of grass types.

It’s good to have a selection of different colors, makes and lengths. The ability to take a scene and be able to match the grass exactly is the goal. I’m always adding to the collection. Silflor is my favorite as the grass has a nice texture and weight to it. The Silflor colors are flat but often I’ll add other brands such as Heki or Noch to the mix to make the grass pop. One can also spray the grass to vary the colors.

I like to start with short burnt or summer grass and use it as the base. I used various mixes of 2mm grass – Silflor, Heki and Woodland Scenics. I’ll also throw in a little green to reduce the color contrast with the next green grass layer (coming next). Close up photography shows the variety of grass types very clearly even though they are mixed together.
The mix of grass shows more clearly on closeups. It’s a subtle but important effect.
Love my Peco grass applicator thingy, It’s worth investing in a good one such as this. The only issue is that the grate at the top has a mesh with too wide gaps. I need to add a finer mesh for short grass such as this.
I applied glue only to where I wanted the next green layer to stick (obviously). The secret is to go slow and don’t over do it. You can always add more later.
So I added the green grass invasion on the track. My only observation was that the contrast between the green grass and burnt grass layer was too sharp. I was going to have to soften the transition somehow.
Just a quick side note. I added some ground up leaves and twigs around the track. Its adds contrast and color and helps the track ‘pop’ a little. My only mistake was to not add a finer layer. This layer has grains that were quite large and I think a finer layer would have been better.
This next step is very subtle but really makes a difference. I cut the green grass to make it less dense and then I stuck down another layer of transitional grass (somewhere between burnt and green) to reduce the contrast of the darker green. You can barely notice it but I think it really helped the overall look of the grass.
I left gaps in the short burnt grass in order to add patches of longer slightly more colorful grass.
Using 6mm grass I started with the flat Silflor and then added the more colorful Noch and Peco grass to create a more orange colored grass layer.
Down goes the Mod Podge glue in the various spaces I had left ungrassed.
Looking much better but needing a bit of a haircut.
You can see the different lengths of grass more easily here. It’s a little bit too wild for my tastes.
After the grass was cut. Looking much tidier.
In conclusion.

These little studies are useful in gathering information and testing out ideas and methods. I consider them to be the ‘concept car’ of modeling:  great for developing ideas and pushing the envelope a little but not necessarily for production on a layout (actually there is no reason you can’t do this work on a full layout). There are infinite ways to landscape track – this was just one free-styled idea – not wedded to any particular picture or scene I was trying to replicate.  But it does show that there are options when modelling track – ballasted track doesn’t have to be the only option. I’m going to make good use of these studies on my next layout.

Final pics of this study:

and pics of some earlier studies using a variety of different methods.