Let’s now get into the most intriguing part: adding grass to your airfield!
First of all, you should decide which zones you will apply the grass on and the amount of vegetation you desire to reproduce. This is important to properly mask the frame of your model, in case you had already framed it. To do so, simply apply some paper tape along the frame edges next to which you are going to glue the grass. If needed, you can mask some portions of the airfield as well. Once done, your model is safe from unwanted weeds.
Depending on the season your diorama is set in, you may choose different hues and lengths for your grass. Moreover, length depends on the scale as well, since larger scales, clearly, need longer grass blades in order to get a realistic effect. That said, you can choose among a wide range of synthetic “static” grass, that can be bought either online or in a hobby shop. Static grass is composed, essentially, by thin, colored plastic fibres, that can be electrically charged in orther to dispose them along a static field while being dropped on a model, so that each fibre will stand approximately vertically, better resembling real grass blades. In addition, mixing various types can lead to great results, provided that each type of grass do not differ excessively from the other ones in terms of colour.
How to Apply It
Once you have made up you mind about grass colour and length, you can finally apply it to your model! To begin with, spread some white glue with a large brush on the portion of the model you want to apply grass on. During this phase, it is important to apply a considerable amount of glue, since in case you were not satisfied with the first result, applying a second layer of grass in the same position would be almost impossible.
Without an Applicator
Once done, if you do not posses a static grass applicator, you can simply put your grass in a small strainer and gently drop it on the model in the same manner you would do with icing sugar. On the contrary, in case you do have an applicator, first you have to proper set it in order to achieve the best result.
With an Applicator
Please, bear in mind that, although such devices might appear quite harmless, they can instead be very dangerous. Always take proper precautions while using a static grass applicator.
Generally speaking, your device should be composed, among other components, by a small tank and an external electrode. The latter has to be connected to the surface that you have previously covered in glue by attaching it to a needle. You can otherwise connect the electrode to a sheet of aluminium foil and place the latter below your diorama. Notice that, depending on the power of your applicator, the vertical distance between the aluminium foil and the surface you would like to apply the grass on has to be very limited (no more than 1-2 cm).
Now, just drop the grass as described above: you should notice that fibres arrange themselves vertically while touching the surface. If they do not, try to keep the applicator closer to the surface of your model. Anyway, I suggest you always rely on the instruction provided with your own device: these are general guidelines, but they might differ considering different applicators.
Tufts of Grass
If you still find your airfield a bit “flat”, you might consider adding some small bushes or grass tufts to it. The process to create them is rather similar to the one desribed above, however in this case you can choose between two different approaches.
The first one consists in dropping some white glue drops on an aluminium foil connected to your applicator electrode and then applying some static grass on it. You will obtain some small tufts of grass that, once the glue is dry, you can gently remove with a scalpel and place them wherever you want on your diorama. In order to facilitate the removal, you could put a sheet of parchment paper above the aluminium foil and drop the glue on it instead of directly on the metal sheet. Both these methods result in nice and defined tufts.
Conversely, you could drop some glue drops on the diorama itself. However, in this case, you would have to place an aluminium foil below your airfield and connect it to the electrode of your applicator. The effectiveness of this technique, as mentioned before, depends therefore on the the thickness of your model base (no more than 1-2 cm). In this case, simply drop some static grass above the glue drops with your applicator, and you will obtain some nice tufts right where you wanted.
Continue on next page…