Modelling short to medium lentgh grass

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by alexander, Oct 15, 2006.

  1. alexander

    alexander Member


    i am needing to know how to do shirt and medium length grass

    what should i use (grass matts dont look right to me)?


  2. What scale are you in and what sort of environment is the grass in?
    prairie, woodland, suburb, urban, industrial, agricultural, something else?
  3. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

  4. hminky

    hminky Member

    I use faux fur and fuzzy felt for grass. I have an article at:


    That is fuzzy felt fabric it will also dye green very well. The man is HO


    That is faux fur it will also dye green. The bushes are faux fur with ground foam. The man is OO scale and the woman and horse are HO>

    Thank you if you visit
  5. alexander

    alexander Member

    OK, at the moment, i'm doing, a small bit of land on the edge of town, with some medium woodlands

    hminky, i love your work, but, just as a reference point, i want grass about half as short as that (i've seen your site before and know to try that next time

    i'm in HO scale by the way

    dont have the stuff in that link in MR, seems expensive, and, unnessacary, there are eaiser methods

    whats this Ground Foami've heard about? i already have the dyed green Sawdust, which is somewhat sucessfull, but, short

    thanks everyone for your help
  6. Grass and grasses... and stuff

    Use the same faux fur and a pair of scissors! :) Or, if you're doing a large area use the Wahl trimmers they're getting the oil for.

    Here I kick into mad ideas mode...

    Even a lawn is rarely made up of just one grass. Anyone here who aims for a "perfect lawn" has probably just gone and beaten their head on the wall :cry: Sorry!
    A lot of the "green" colour of a lawn is actually moss while a chunk of it is broad leaf weeds that can grow so flat that even the best mowers miss them. Again the lawn experts will know only too well that when you put selective weed killers on your lovely green lawn it always seems like 3/4 of it promptly turns brown.:(

    What's the point I'm getting at?

    I think... I don't know because I haven't tried this yet... that part of getting really good grass is going to be the idea of building it up in layers - just like the stuff I posted on trees.

    If you are going for manicured grass it may well be more difficult... you will need to get all the elements of variation within an extremely thin layer that is all (or almost all) in direct line of sight... i.e. it's as bad as painting a varnished passenger car side... except here you want some texture.

    That word "some" is critical.

    I think, but I don't know, that what we are dealing with is the fact that when we look out of a window we briefly see a "green" lawn.
    Unless there is a lovable child, the neighbour's cat doing a poo, the dog burying a bone or a SWAT team member on it we will think no more, our brain won't engage and - the world being "normal" and non-threatening - we will carry on with no more thought on the subject.
    We don't even question the idea that grass is "green"... when we all know very well that much of the time it is yellow, buff, brown and even black.
    Okay, so then there's all those plants in it... many of which are green... of one shade or another.
    But I had wandered on to "texture". Well... what "texture" we see - if any - (on a manicured lawn) is going to be made up of three things.
    a. the numerous different plant colours.
    b. the millions of bits of plant all busily doing nothing but grow while light bounces back off of them in all sorts of
    directions - some of which come to our eyes.
    c. the variety of leaf size, shape, thickness and a whole bunch of other stuff.

    So... I would suggest two things for a manicured lawn...

    1. Whatever "medium" we are using to represent the millions of tiny bits of plant it shouldn't be uniform in either
    texture or colour. The variation in both need only be extremely small though,
    2. I suspect that part of producing the desired variation may be achieved by two things.
    a. the obvious trick of mixing components before casting or spraying them on the
    modelled surface.
    b. the less obvious trick of going over and over the area several times so that the final
    result is built up. This will tie in with what I've said about getting trees right and what
    I will come to on long grass.

    Need to go and do things.
    Is this useful?
  7. alexander

    alexander Member

    yeah, i ahve a spray bottle of green dye, i spray it on
  8. Grass, grasses and stuff 2

    Alexander... there's more truth in that than you know.

    Mown grass can be right down to <1/3" which is minute in H0 and almost nothing in N... so spraying a smooth surface green... or greens with yellows would probably actually do better than using any granular or fibrous material. At the most all one might want is to coat the surface in an extrmely fine sand... maybe use extremely fine sand paper for a flat lawn. Spraying a spatter pattern in bursts might be one way (I don't yet have a spray system). It wouldn't matter too much if layers built up, even unevenly, as one of the things grass does that we don't "see" is grow at different rates to different depths... so unless it is freshly cut, there will be more variation here.

    Okay... this you are likely to not believe...

    Back in 73 between school and college I was working for a small local building company. Back in the yard for a tea break one afternoon one of the local fly-by-night jobbing builders came in wanting... "Grass green" paint. He did want it for a lawn... for real... he'd been doing a totally different job on a big house and burnt the lawn with some chemical. the owner wouldn't pay him until he replaced the grass... so he was looking for some paint to make it "the right colour". Which proved to me early on that some people would rather cheat things with more effort than do them the right and easy way.

    So, anyway, back at grass...

    Somehow I've covered how to do lawns... give the smooth base a coat of colour, add variations to this, add any texture in coloured materials and/or go over again with more colour variation(s).

    This sounds like a lot of work. I don't think that it should be much more than weathering a boxcar. The thing is that the grass will be in your scenes all the time.. so the more effort you put into getting it looking okay the better your scenes will look all the time.

    Just going back to the original question... I too don't think that grass mat looks right... but I think that I've indicated not just why it doesn't but why it can't... it's to "deep" and a uniform colour most of the time. I suppose that you could use it as a starting point but I suspect that it would be eaier to start on a smooth base and build up as you want rather than try to take away.

    Okay... so talking of taking away...

    Except manicured grass with "keep off" signs and white posts and chain round it most grass gets "taken away" from. People and animals go walking around on it !:curse: The animals even eat it!

    So where we don't actually put down paths of stone or whatever we get bald patches which may be dust or mud depending on the season/weather.

    Both dust and mud paths have ill defined edges and usually vary in width. Where soggy puddles are regular the trail usually widens where everyone tries to go round.

    I suspect that this will go back to spraying on the grass effect in many passes... The core of the path may be masked with tape. Then you might mask for the first few passes of colour and remove tape from the edges or spray the edges a few times then mask... either should work... the latter might pull up your work when the tape is removed... don't forget the tape edges don't want to be straight but should wander.

    Okay... so at the end of the dust/mud path the dust/mud will wander out onto the paving on peoples' shoes leaving not just a coating but some sort of indication as to the ways people most commonly go when leaving the path.

    The thing here, as with much of what I advocate, is that we are building up a picture with a history of events in it. Most things are the way they are over time, with reasons and with a pattern. When we can work out the reasons, the build up and the pattern we can make our scenery more realistic... frequently without a great deal more effort.

    Somewhere else recently someone posted a question about the lack of progress on a layout with the limits of time and not waking up the kids etc. Well... a half hour here and there of weathering cars or gradually building up scenery will often have a better effect than trying to do a whole hillside or paint a car in one concentrated session.

    Meanwhile, back at grass...

    I'll post a link when I can find it.

    They do some weird and wonderfull grass materials and reeds and stuff.

    "Teddybear" or faux fur are good materials for clumps and some of the long stuff. The range of lengths, naps and well just about any measure you have, including colour... I've even seen rainbow fur... are amazing. (I'm also into proper, old style, jointed bears like Teddy Roosevelt had... giving them their name).

    Sisal and hemp rope can both be dyed and will stand in clumps or even make a whole field of grain if you have the patience. If you can still get it the old natural fibre binder twine is also great for making straw and stubble.

    Again we go back to building up layers and all the other things that are in there with the grass whatever its length might be.

    The longer grass is the more that it can be wind blown or rain beaten. This is difficult in a big area of grass... the need is to get the bulk of it going in as much of one direction as possible... unless you've just had a twister... or you have crop circles. I've seen a HUGE set of crop circles in Wiltshire and I can assure you that I could see no way that anyone had trodden it down or got to/from it and the elements of it. However it was made it was brilliant... except for the farmer with his loss of crops.

    Again, long grass isn't usually all one type (except a monoculture crop ... which will have characteristic machine wheel tracks up and down it). So it' back to thinking out the variations and using several materials and colours.

    paths get made by big animals like humans but also small ones so that, if you look carefully, you will see pathways in the longer grasses that are very narrow or more like tunnels. These can cut across big paths or emerge at the edges of the long grass which may be your trackside. Where these paths emerge onto more managed trackside grass(es) there is quite often a fairly clear bald patch or (where there is a bank) either a skidway or a worn down track. If you're feeling gruesome there may be track-kill nearby For reasons beyond my understanding crows don't usually eat dead foxes and they really do stink. Crows and other scavengers are a real feature of busy rail tracks. To them they are a source of easy free meals. Right back in the early days when tallow was used to grease car journals there was a problem with crows and magpies lifting the journal box covers and eating the lubricant out of the boxes. This caused cars to run hot in service. During WW2 one element of the French Resistance "lubricated" a train of heavy flats carrying SS heavy armour with carborundum paste. This had a major positive effect on the D Day landings. Unfortunately the SS went beserk and wiped out the nearest village to where their train fell apart.

    Um... I tend to wander a bit.
  9. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    The Best Looking Grass modelers are using 1 of 2 things.
    Either A static applicator(which is expensive but produces phenomenal results)

    Or Silflor.............which can be purchased through Scenic Express

    Silflor is a bit on the spendy side but it is FRONT OF THE LAYOUT QUALITY.. I wouldnt use it for anything 3 feet away.............use it where it counts...Up Close!!!
    Its worth it if you want a Great Looking close in scene..............It is available in several differant seasonal shades and in differant lengths...manicured...medium...pasture etc etc

    this will take you right to the silflor page....:)
  10. alexander

    alexander Member

    actually, i was hoping to do this with as few machines and ready purcased stuff and as much "hands on" work as possible, so, thise tools arent really for me

    yep, Variation in colors is coverd, spray green dye on here and there. makes a good effect

    i've deceided to get an old blender and make Ground Foam and see how it works, also, some other methods

    Thanks all!!!!

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