The Regreening of South Yard
Things have been pretty quiet over the winter season modelling-wise. The building work on the house has taken up a lot of my attention, even though it was being done by someone else. We are still progressing with the aftermath (painting, light fittings, yada yada) but I'm finding that I now have a bit more time for the important things in life.
Anyway, with the intention of giving myself some impetus to do dome actual modelling I promised John Aldrick that I would take South Yard to the 2mm Supermeet in Tutbury on June 25th. Not exactly a very risky proposition compared to some people's exhibition promises but there are a few jobs that I want to get done before then.
The biggest job is to re-work the greenery. This was originally done by gluing dyed lint furry side down and then tearing off the backing. Unfortunately as others have observed, lint aint what it used to be. In particular it lacks the thickness of 'pile' that the old stuff had. I've always sort of tolerated the result rather than being happy with it. The snowstorm before Christmas 2014 probably left some white residue too which hasn't helped the colour at all.
Sort of like this...
The plan is to re-do things with static grass, attempting to follow the guidance in Mr Gravett's book. I picked up various packs of fibres from the Green Scene stand at the Nottingham show in March... and forgot to buy glue. I've now stolen John's pot of Flock Cement so it's time to get started.
An electric fly swat and a tea strainer were forcibly mated together (I have to say that the fly swat was utterly useless for its intended purpose). First off was a test using the various fibres which went pretty well. So, I've now learned that to do realistic grass, you should make your landscape substrate from Morissons cardboard ice cream boxes.
I then decided to just get on with the job rather than agonizing over further off-layout tests, starting with the front edge which in spite of being closest to the viewer is fairly nondescript and (I hope) unobtrusive. Naturally, it turns out to be more tricky on the actual layout with all sorts of sticky up bits to get in the way and difficult to reach corners.
South Yard did already have a tiny patch of static grass. This was done a few years ago using (I think) Noch fibres. The fibres are a mix of various colours... and looked awful...
Some of the tests came out a bit too uniform - rather like a crew-cut so I've been working by putting pinches of different fibres into the tea strainer one by one - mainly short summer grass with some short straw and longer spring grass mixed in as the mood takes me. I also have some 'lush green' which probably needs caution.
The first bit (in the corner) was done by gluing straight over the lint grass (and old static grass). This looked fine but I wanted to try a browner substrate so for the next bit I tried painting over the lint with various things - two different watercolours (burnt & raw sienna) and some raw sienna acrylic... which comes in a much bigger tube. I'm not sure if it makes much difference but I like the idea of soil showing through thin grass so I think I'll probably continue like this, but maybe tone it down a bit.
The latest efforts...
The join between the two days' work is too obvious. I think this is down to my mixing colours on the fly rather than the painted ground... and rashly putting some lush green into the later mix. I need to be more careful to stick to known colour mixes at the edges of each area being done.
I can also see the joins between each patch done on the same day - these show up as lines where the fibres are more thickly applied. I'm not sure how to get around this problem. Maybe I'll pluck some fibres out or disguise the joins with more planting. Anyway, I need to figure out the answer before I do the embankment at the back of the platform.
I've also tried out putting some foam foliage into the glue before applying the grass. I'm not sure about this. It's definitely a bad idea to try to clump the foliage after putting it in place because then glue gets onto the upper side and you end up with grass fibres sticking out of the top which looks very odd.
Another conundrum is how to deal with the join between the yard surface and the grass. I'm trying Mr Gravett's technique of using various yard-coloured powders while the glue is wet. The best so far seems to be collected from the ashpan of my 16mm scale coal fired loco. I also tried the stuff that collected in the smokebox. This is a sort of darker grey colour and I thought it would be OK but it looked horribly out of place. I hadn't realised how muted some of my greys were until I did this.
So... just need to do the rest of the layout now.