Give your miniatures a lush green based with this 5-step technique.
Realistic lush grass makes a world of difference to miniatures and war gaming figures. It makes your models stand out and gives them an extra edge when on the battlefield.
Of course, I’ve written about static grass numerous times before here, including this article on making your own static grass, as it’s heavily used on model railways but is still relatively rare on miniature bases.
However, the techniques are the same so here’s a quick walkthrough of how to apply static grass to a miniature or war game figure base and what not to do.
1. Prepare the base
In most cases, the static grass will cover a lot of your typical Warhammer 28mm, 32mm and 40mm bases, but you’ll still be able to see the underlying material that the grass sits on so it’s worth colouring and decorating the base first.
For this, it’s first primed.
For miniature priming, I use one stock primer (Citadel, Army Painter or Tamiya), the colour of which – grey, black or white – depends on the subsequent colour.
2. Apply an earth colour
For the earth colours, a dark muddy brown is used, typically Citadel Steel Legion Drab or Vallejo Earth or Army Painter Leather Brown rattle can.
Leaving the base Black can make the grass layer look much darker and spoil the overall look.
If you want rocks and rubble amongst your grass, as I’ve done here, grind up some cork or dried clay (the air-drying clay found in craft shops works wonders). I painted these with Vallejo Cold Grey or Citadel Rakarth Flesh and then fixed them to the bases with good old-fashioned PVA wood glue. Green shades can be dabbled on for moss and a dark wash applied to darken the recesses before finally dry brushing highlights and raised edges in White.
3. Choose the grass
Static grass is short fibres that when applied with a static charge stand vertically upright and so have a more realistic appearance. They’re available in different lengths to match the scale of the model and shades to represent seasons and even types of grass.
In scenery modelling on railways, the best practice is to use a mixture of lengths to create a natural look and for miniatures, I’d recommend using static grass in 2mm and 4mm. Real grass rarely grows beyond knee height so for the average miniature anything longer than 4mm will look artificial and spoil the look.
For colour, use a variety of colours and mix them together. Again, natural grass is rarely all one consistent colour so a base of grass all the same colour will look artificial
The World War Scenics Static Grass starter kit contains grass of different lengths and shades and is thus ideal for creating an appropriately sized and coloured mix. I use a combination of 2mm and 4mm in a proportion of 4:1 with a mixture of Spring and Summer colours.
Just pour some of each into a pot and give it a good shake.
4. Apply the grass
Now paint on a thin coating of PVA to the base, avoiding the cork rocks if you’ve got them and load the static grass applicator.
On a regular basis, impatience gets the better of me and I apply the glue before the paint from the previous steps has dried and the grass ends up discoloured and goes a sun-dried brown colour. Take a tip from me and always let the earlier paintwork dry first.
This has a good charge and makes each fibre stand upright.
But for miniature bases, the World War Scenics Static Grass box applicator is my chosen weapon. This works upside down to the usual applicator. Rather than shaking grass over the area, you hold the base over the box and attach the clip which draws the static grass up to it. It’s an elegant, much neater, solution for basing that results in less wastage as the static grass doesn’t get scattered around.
For a perfect look, it’s also worth masking the sides of the base so any glue, paint and grass don’t spill over. Personally, I’m not too worried about this, but if you’re a perfectionist it’s worth wrapping tape, I use cheap decorators tape which is just as good but a lot cheaper than the model-making masking variant, around the side first.
5. Glue on the miniature
And that’s it. The miniature can then be glued onto this in the normal way using poly cement or your preferred glue and you’ve got a verdant grassy base and miniature to go to war with.
As a footnote, you could have a base of rubble or debris with grass tuffs dotted around it. I make my bushes and grass tuffs from clothes brush bristles but you can also buy them.
> 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. Affiliate notice: If you plan to buy the products on this page or similiar, please use the links here. These will take you to carefully selected businesses, including Hornby, Rapid Online, Amazon, eBay, Scale Model Scenery and Element Games, through which you can buy products mentioned. These links are made under their affiliate schemes which means that although the price to you does not change I receive a small commission on the orders you place which helps me maintain this site and allows me to create more articles like this. Please see my disclaimer for more information. Thank you for your support, Andy.