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Blog- TomE's N Gauge Modelling - Ropley - No bears were harmed in the making of..

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A green and pleasant land.

Greetings all, Happy new year!

Well progress on Ropley rumbles on at glacial speed, but there has been some in recent weeks.

For a while now I've been looking at methods for recreating the overgrown grass on the embankment along the rear of the main running line and station. This varies from quite dense overgrowth to very thin cover where the platform extension was built several years ago. My original plan was to use static grass, but having produced a few test pieces, which have been seen in many of the photos here, I found myself thinking it didn't really capture the uneven nature of the real thing, and was a perhaps too uniform in appearance. So, after looking around the internet for ideas, I found myself back at Treemendus, the same suppliers who produced the earth powders used for the ballast. Now I should say there is absolutely no connection here, other than being a satisfied customer, but I decided to order a piece of their raw grass to see if it was possible to get the kind of look I wanted this way rather than using static grass.

Raw Grass, it turns out, is a posh name for teddy bear fabric. It arrives as an A4 size sheet looking like this:

A strip slightly larger than required was cut of the main piece and the fur brushed so it was at its full height. At this point it is far to tall for 2mm/N gauge so required trimming down quite a bit to better suit my needs. This was done initially with electric trimmers, then again roughly with scissors to give an uneven look.



The next stage was to add some colour to the fur. Treemendus recommend applying acrylic green paint to the top of the fur, rubbing it in as you go to add the colour. I felt this was the wrong way to do this though, since new growth appears from the ground so the colour should start from the backing fabric. To try and give this impression I watered down some Sap Green acrylic paint on a flat-ish plate:

Pea soup, anyone?

The strip of trimmed fur was then placed into the paint and left for a few seconds to soak up the paint through the backing fabric. It's important to let enough paint to absorb to hide the white backing fur, but not to leave it in the paint so long it dyes the piece entirely green:

Waiter, theres a hair in my soup.

The section of fur after removal from the paint.

Once enough paint has been soaked up, the piece of fur is left to dry out overnight. Initially the green seemed quite bright, but once it has dried out it darkens down to a much better colour. I also gave it a very quick blast over with some green spray paint to help blend it all in. It will also need a spray with some matt varnish to take off any residual shine from the teddy fur:

This will need some further foliage adding to represent brambles and other growth but overall I'm quite pleased with the result of this trial. Here are the test pieces produced to date rested in place on the layout to get an idea of how they would look:

Cheers all!


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