Well, I managed to get some more work done on the Civil War diorama/display base with much of the scenery being done. The techniques used were learned from years of being into HO scale model railroading and they're covered pretty well by the hobby press, particularly those books published by Kalmbach. However, I've modified them somewhat based on my own experiences. Follow the photos and text to see how it's all done and - Enjoy!
Step 1: First I lay down a layer of paint in a small, workable area. Too large an area means the paint will dry too quick and we need it to remain wet for a while. Here I used a cartoony shade of green leftover from another project. Greens, browns, tans are all good candidates for this. The purpose for using earth tones is so that should any of the 'grass' be scraped off then what will hopefully show is the paint, not the white Styrofoam.
Step 2: Using a small strainer loaded with scenery material I shake it over the area just painted. I tend to use Woodland Scenics brand but will also use Faller, Life-Like or any other brand. For grassy areas, green fine blended turf goes down first followed by a variety of colors and textures; soil, coarse turf, burnt grass, soil, etc. this adds texture and depth to the base.
The shaker bottles from Woodland Scenics work quite well too if you don't have a strainer
Adding different colors/blends
Step 3: Here's a technique not mentioned in the books. The first step in controlling where the ground cover goes is painting only that area you want covered. BUT, after applying the ground cover you find it scatters everywhere outside the painted area. Using a straw (or in this case a long Plastruct tube) gently blow away the excess from the unpainted areas.
Step 4: The books will tell you to lay down the glue, then spray with a water/detergent mix. I've found that spraying the mix FIRST, helps the glue in spreading through the ground cover better. I fill a spray bottle with water and add, ohhhh, about 4 tablespoons of liquid dishwashing detergent. The books tell you only to use a few drops. The detergent makes the water 'wetter' by lowering the surface tension of the water and if I find it works better with more than just a couple of puny drops.
Step 5: Now comes the glue. The books say a 50/50 mix of water & white glue with a few drops of detergent is used. That has somehow never worked for me. Why? The mix tends to either puddle up and dry in unsightly white blotches. MY solution? A 60/40 ratio of water to glue with a few tablespoons of detergent. It disperses a whole lot better and there's still plenty of glue to bind things together.
I may add more ground cover after applying the glue.
Step 6: Follow up with a lighter misting of the water/detergent
Photos taken just after all the above steps were accomplished.
Some of the materials used for scenicking
The milky white areas show where the glue mixture has been applied. It will look like this until it sets up - usually at least in 24 hours
The day after. It looks nearly complete, but trust me, there's a long way to go before we sign off on this project.
A visitor checking out the progress. Photo by Bettina - Thanx Schatzie :-)