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PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT - Gaugemaster Static Grass System

James Hickman

JAMES HICKMAN looks at how to use the Gaugemaster static grass range.

The term 'Static Grass' is used a lot in the model railway press, but what it is? Well, as with many of the products in the hobby it isn't actually what the name suggests. It isn't grass at all and is in fact short, coloured nylon fibres. But what about the 'Static' part? Well the static element is something that is unique to this type of scatter, and is caused by it being made from the aforementioned material, however I will cover exactly what the static element refers to later in this article.

So what products are available?

There are a number of products in our static grass range;

1. You have the Static Grass itself;

Gaugemaster Static Grass

2. You have the Static Grass Applicator Puffer Bottle;

Gaugemaster Puffer Bottle

3. And you have the Static Grass Glue to stick it down with;

Gaugemaster Static Grass Glue

4. finally, if you are new to the world of 'Static Grass', we also produce a starter pack with plenty of the Spring Grass Flock/Static Grass (GM170), the Puffer Bottle Applicator (GM193) and our Static Grass Glue (GM169) in one handy starter pack (GM196).

Gaugemaster Static Grass Starter Set

How does it all work?

Although this all can sound complicated, in reality it is actually easy. To start with, all you need to do, as with laying any ground cover material is prep the surface. I would recommend painting the surface with either an earth brown or dark green colour to start. The reason for doing this is to save the headache of having less grass covered areas being noticeable if the grass is laid slightly too thinly in an area. On a personal level I prefer to paint the base brown rather than green, as it would represent earth where the grass hasn't grown, rather than being simply a plain shade of 'flat' grass.

Top Tip: Although you can use paints from model manufacturers such as Humbrol or Revell, as this layer won't for the most part be seen cheep acrylic paint from craft shops works perfectly.

The next stage after priming your surface is to lay the glue down, using an old paint brush or spatula. You only need a thin layer of this glue as it is only going to be bonding the tiniest part of each fibre to the layout.

Now that we have a surface to work on, the magic can begin. Fill the puffer bottle with your desired colour, or random mix of colours for that patchy grass look, and replace the cap. It's here that we will cover the 'Static' element. All this refers to is the simple fact that a static charge that builds up in the bottle allows the strands to fall vertically and stand up in the glue. The benefit of doing this is to allow that extra depth to the grass rather than having a field of blades of grass all laying on their sides.

To build the static charge in the bottle all that is required is for you to rub the bottle against your t-shirt a few times. This rubbing and shaking action allows the charge to build up, before you come to release it. Once you have built up the charge, simply remove the cap, and 'Puff' the grass onto the wet glue, it couldn’t be easier. Then just let the glue dry over night and admire your handy work.

Gaugemaster Static Grass

The finished effect.

Top Tip: When covering slightly larger areas, mix one or two colours of grass together to give it more of a realistic look. The main thing to do here is not to fully mix the colours as a more random effect of colours can be obtained by just randomly pouring it into the applicator.

Can this technique be taken further?

Yes it can. There are a variety of static grasses beyond those in our range, the largest producer being Noch. Noch produce varying lengths of fibres from a well trimmed lawn to the wild and overgrown garden, and in a large range of colours from the bleached grass of the summer sun, through to the sweet fresh smelling tips of those new shoots in spring.

A nice pack to give you a large variation of colours would be Noch N07066 Short Grass Fibres Assortment.

For those large jobs, Noch produce an electric applicator which can be used instead of the puffer bottle. It works in the same way, statically charging the grass, while allowing you to cover a lot larger areas more quickly, perfect for use on a club layout too. This is called the Grass Master;

Noch Grass Master

With this technique, you will be off planting the grass seeds everywhere you can. But for those who like small tufts, there are the preformed tufts also available in the Gaugemaster range to compliment the laid grass.

Gaugemaster Tufts
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