A master class in static grass (creating slopes)

Static Grass TutorialStatic grass makes a world of difference to a model landscape but getting it right on slopes is more involved than you might think.

When applying grass fibres with a static grass applicator they often lay perpendicular to the surface. And on slopes, this means the fibres can end up lying sideways rather than upwards as they would do naturally.

Lars-Christian Uhlig, a modeller behind the stunning Walburg project explains his technique to overcome this problem and a few tips to improve the look of your static grass even further.

To start with, a basic greening from mainly short fibres is laid. He uses a length of predominantly 2mm but is interspersed with fibres with a length of 1 and 4.5 mm to vary the look.

To this, PVA is dabbed around using a size 1 or 0 brush. Slopes tend to be dry and rarely mown so a mix of beige and brown fibres with a length of up to 6 mm is then placed into these glue spots.

[Walburg is an HO layout so you might want to use shorter lengths if working in N scale, I use 1mm for starting fibres and 2mm for longer grasses on my N gauge layouts — Andy].

Once this is done, the fibres are then gently nudged upwards using the rounded tip of a camera lens cleaning sucker while a vacuum cleaner is held just above them, both acting to angle the fibres upright.

(For the removal of excess grass, Lars holds a small vacuum cleaner held just above and puffs with a camera lens sucker to dislodge rogue strands so they can be sucked up. Rather than losing and wasting material, a stocking is pulled over the vacuum nozzle so the excess can be recovered and used elsewhere).

A video of his technique is shown below.

Finally, Lars has noticed that the flowers and panicles often grow at the top of long grasses (think of oats) so he uses a wide soft brush to apply a gentle coating of glue and then sprinkles a very fine scatter or flock over them. This is shown in the video below.

The end results are some of the best model railway grass I’ve seen. From the variety of length to the flowers at the top of longer grass stems to the drier grass on slopes compared to the richer green in the meadows behind it looks stunning.

Picture reproduced here by kind permission and (c) Lars-Christian Uhlig of the Walburg Project.

> A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy.


Founder of ModelRailwayEngineer, Andy Leaning

Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of modelrailwayengineer.com. He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.

Afflliate disclosure:The links on this page may take you to carefully selected businesses, such as Hornby, Amazon, eBay and Scale Model Scenery, where you can purchase the product under affiliate programmes. This means I receive a small commission on any orders placed although the price you pay does not change. You can read my full affiliate policy here. I also sell my my own ready to use, pre-made and painted buildings and terrain features. browse the range.

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