Static grass basing – how to make static grass bases for miniatures

grass miniature bases
Give your miniatures a lush green based with this 5-step techniques.

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 battle field.

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 walk through 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, its first primed.

For miniature priming I use one stock primers (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 Ive done here, grind up some cork or dried clay (the air drying clay found in craft shops works wonders). These 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

how to apply static grass to miniature bases

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 the 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 the 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 paint work dry first.

For large areas on my model railway, I use a cheap applicator I got from eBay but is one of the best I’ve used. But for the precision placement needed for miniature bases, the World War Scenics applicator is my chosen weapon.

This has a good charge and makes each fibre stand up right.

Static Grass Applicator Box

World War Scenics static grass applicator box, tidier and less wasteful.

Alternatively, and designed just for small areas such as bases that need static grass, there’s the World War Scenics Static Grass box applicator. This works upside down to usual applicator. Rather than shaking grass over the area, you hold the base over the box attach 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 doesn’t spill over. Personally, I’m not too worried about this, but if you’re a perfectionist its 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.

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