Friday, 4 March 2016

Terrain Building: Static Grass Clumps

Back in the 80's and 90's railway flock was the thing to use on your bases. I'm not sure when static grass first started to come in, but when I discovered it it made a big difference to my basing. At it's simplest it can be added just the same as sawdust flock, splodge some PVA glue on the bases then dip it in the flock/static grass, pull it out, shake it (as the actress said to the Bishop) and Bob's your uncle.

Above is a hobbit based with just such a method, and there is nothing wrong with it. But when you are working at 28mm the devil is always in the detail. A small change can really make a big difference, and can help the miniature come alive.
This halfling was based with static grass and flower clumps, I don't know about you but I think the extra detail makes him seem far more finished.
The easiest way to get static grass and flower tufts is to buy them. At a few quid a box this is probably also the cheaper option unless you are going to be using lots. I do use a lot, plus I am a glutton for punishment so I decided to have a go at making them.

The most important thing you will need is a Pro Grass Box. This is the little green box in the centre of the above picture. You will also need the following:
  • Static Grass: I use a mixture of 2mm and 4mm in a variety of colours.
  • Glue: I shall be mostly using the little pot of glue sent with the Pro Grass Box but I am also going to try some Tacky Glue I bought off ebau.
  • Silicon sheet: A small piece was sent with the box, but I lost this so I bought some more. Several large sheets were only a few pounds, I cut one sheet into 6 smaller pieces. Also this way I can make several sheets at once.
  • Coloured Scatter/Sand: I am using both. These are only needed if you are making flowers. 

 Oh yes: you will also need:
  • Newspaper.
This is a messy process and I recommend covering your whole working area in newspaper. I also find it helps to do this at lunch time, when my wife is out.

Start by dabbing lots of blobs of glue over the silicon sheet. I try and make them a little irregular so all my tufts are no perfectly round.
Place a good pile of static grass on the Pro Grass Box. A mixture of length and colours will give a more natural look. Then clip the crocodile clip onto the silicone sheet.

Turn the box on and (being careful not to touch the metal) hold your sheet over the top of the box. The grass will fly up onto the sheet and will stand on end, where the glue will hold it in place. Move the sheet around a bit to make sure everywhere gets covered, the edges especially can need a little extra time.
If you are making grass then you are done. As soon as the glue is dry you can peal the tufts off (a pair of tweezers works best I find) and apply them to your bases.
However if you are making flower tufts there are a couple more stages to go. For flowers I used just 4mm static grass, and in a nice bright green.

After the tufts were made I put some more glue on top, just dabbed here and there, not too heavy handed but making sure every clump got some.

Then I dipped the sheet upside down in some coloured scatter. I have seen a method for making this by grating coloured sponges. I may try this in the future but for now I just bought some off t'internet.

These are my daffodils, made with yellow scatter.

The flowers on the left were made with coloured sand, those on the right with scatter. You can't see this too well in this picture, but the sand gives a finer, more intricate finish: it depends what type of flower you are making I suppose.

These tufts were made with the Tacky Glue from ebay. It isn't tacky. I'll have to do some more research on what glue to use, as the pot that came with the Pro Grass Box is running out. The idea with these was to make long thin tufts that could be used between flagstones etc.

These were made with just 2mm grass, and give a more lawn-like appearance, mixed in with other more irregular clumps they work well though. 

And these are the main clumps.

Coming Next Week:
Playtesting: Kaiju Rampage


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