Friday, February 22, 2013

Spreading Static Grass

When my wife a few weeks ago asked if I wanted anything in particular for my upcoming birthday, I said "Yes, a Noch Grassmaster". Although that did not immediately ring a bell, with a few hints from yours truly regarding the nature of this thing and possible vendors, she actually bought one. And now I have even tried it out.

I don't think I had the easiest possible layout patch for this first attempt. Only a narrow stretch between the main line and the fascia. I also tried to a few small isolated spots along the drill and team tracks. Here is the result.

Although it eventually turned out alright, nothing is as easy as advertised. I started out using some Woodland Scenics static grass flock. I have had a few jars of that stuff for several years, spreading it by hand. The problem is that over the years, and my handling I suppose, it had started to form clumps. This made it difficult to produce the desired "drizzle" of fibers from the Grassmaster. Instead I got clumps falling out. I tried to resolve the problem by tossing in couple of marbles, assuming that would help breaking up the clumps. That made things better, although not perfect. Vigorous shaking of the Grassmaster was the best approach, but that produced a true downfall of static grass rather than a more controllable drizzle. I think I just need to practise more.

I also figured out that you really need to mix different shades of grass. Otherwise you get a way to uniform look. Fortunately the Grassmaster came with three small bags of Noch grass, of different shades. And no clumps! The green tones were a little to bright, at least for my taste. I think subdued colors give a more realistic appearance. But the Noch grass was alright, as long as used sparingly.