I’ve previously built and filmed the making of a great static grass applicator however over time I have seen the opportunity for improvement.
Portability and reliable power are two areas I’ve been looking into as well as size and durability. When it comes to tools and equipment we often think that small should mean cheaper and less effective however, what I’m after is a smaller stronger and more effective tool.
Thus the static grass applicator mark 2 was born…
It’s certainly not the cheapest method for building an applicator but I can bet you it will last a lot longer and give you fantastic results wherever you decide to make your scenery.
These results shown are specifically using the 9 Volt battery only. When using the external power you will get slightly better results although the difference is not immediately noticeable however you will notice that when using the external power and a 12 Volt supply you can hold the applicator further away from the surface and are still able to have the grass fibers easily stand on end.
If you are planning on building one of these applicators just be aware that the heart of the applicator is the Negative Ion Generator and this will determine your results! There are some cheap generators available on eBay however just be warned that these are cheap for a reason… mainly due to the fact they have a much lower output voltage and that is what determines the effectiveness of the static grass applicator.
Most cheap generators have a nominal voltage between 4-6kV however the applicator I’m using has a nominal voltage of 15kV when powered with a 12 Volt power supply so the results will naturally be a lot better.
I purchased mine from Oatley Electronics or you can order from eBay
I’m currently in the process of writing an eBook on making and operating this static grass applicator and I’ll keep you updated once it’s finished. If you’re serious about scenery then making or purchasing a static grass applicator is a must!
Every time I film a tutorial I’m always trying/looking for ways to improve, if I’ve learnt anything so far it is that it takes time, patience and practice… just like building scale models.
As part of my goal of continued improvement with my YouTube channel and website I’ve decided to spend a few dollars to improve the environment I film in.
So it looks like I'm going to have another busy year building models and filming tutorials for 2017.... And I'm really looking forward to it :)
Also, if you made it this far, I want to thank everyone who is subscribed to my YouTube channel and a very special thank you to my supporters on Patreon! Without your help and support I wouldn't be able to make these videos.
Just like every other serious modeler out there, I continue to strive to make the ultimate model.
I feel like I'm getting close and my latest diorama is certainly a step in the right direction for me, my ultimate goal is not only to improve my own modeling standards but to share my techniques and methods with everyone.
Sometimes it takes a fresh pair of hands trying an age old technique to put a new spin on the method which may result in an even better technique being developed. So when others try the techniques I use they may just stumble upon an even better way of doing something, then hopefully they will share their newly developed technique and we can all collectively get better as time goes on.
If there is one thing to do on any scenery project... It's most certainly to 'Use Static Grass', this has been a game changer when it comes to creating realistic scenery so if you only make one change to the way you make model scenery it should definitely be to use a static grass applicator.
On this model I used a combination of home made 6mm static grass tufts as well as using regular 6mm static grass applied directly to the diorama and on the outer edges of the grassed areas I applied 2mm static grass using the applicator. Using varying colors and lengths makes a big difference to the overall realistic look of the scene.
TREES TREES TREES
Too often I see great looking scenery that would look so much better with just a few more trees! I've always found I add more trees than I need, then I'll go take a few away only to realise it actually looked better with all those extra trees and I'll end up adding more!
Trees can be expensive so I usually just make my own and they only cost about a $1 to make, all up this diorama has 22 trees not including the small shrub type sapling trees.
For a while I’d been trying to get a good textured effect for modelling paved roads. I’d tried and failed many times until eventually I found a simple and effective method that was easy to do albeit time consuming.
Basically it’s a two step process
Just be sure to mask any areas where you don’t want paint to go as the spray is quite intense and it can float a long way from the intended area of application.
Also due to the can being held about 50cm away from the surface while misting the paint, some paint will have dried prior to landing on the intended surface, once I've left everything to dry for a while I'll lightly brush a dry cloth across the surface to dust away any dried paint that did not stick.
To add detail I simply cut a square out of some paper and sprayed the flat grey through the template to show road repairs, the cracks are made using a .5mm permanent marker and the lines were applied by using masking tape to mask out the road lines then sprayed with the Ivory Satin (I would have used white but I had run out).
It’s that easy, this little test piece too all of about 1 minute to go from white plaster road to a nice textured road with even coverage (Drying time included), the rest of the details took another few minutes and I was left with a great, easy fast to make road.
As can be seen in the above photo, this is where I used the sponge technique in Realistic Scenery Vol 5, the overall coverage is much less uniform and the texture is also more course when compared to the new technique using spray cans. In some cases this may be the desired outcome but for most roads you'll most likely want a finer more uniform appearance.
The reason for doing the new road was part of the experimenting that I’m doing for my next video which will be on making a road crossing train track. I’m pretty excited to show this technique to you on YouTube.
Stay tuned for more updates
I've recently finished the paper buildings tutorial and I will be starting on the next video very soon. I get quite a number of requests to make a tutorial about paving a bitumen road across train tracks so that's what I'll be working on next.
So stay tuned and feel free to ask any questions.
So far I've built one and I have 7 more to go, the good news is they go together quite easily however the first one took a while due to the vague instructions. Nevertheless it went together very well.
The plan is to film a 2 part video on building and painting the models as well as methods for installing couplers and adding weight to the car to bring it up to NMRA standards.
Filming of the video will start in the next couple of days and depending on the weather (The shed gets very cold!) part one should be finished in just over a week from now.
I'll post some updates here and I'll also post a written tutorial for this build detailing all the tools and materials so should you wish to build the same Hoppers as me you'll have all the information you need.
So stay tuned for the first video :)
I'm always looking for cheap ways to get great effects on my models... and adding lights to a police car is a perfect example! This was probably one of the easiest modifications I've tried and I'd bet anyone can easily do the same.
So after posting my latest video on making hedges I found I had a bit a spare time, so I embarked on an idea I'd had for a long time which was animating a police car. It wasn't until I went to a recent model railway exhibition that I saw a guy selling blue and red alternating LEDs... Perfect! I already had the police car so this was the perfect time to have a go at adding lights.
I know it's certainly not perfect or prototypical by any means however it gives of a great effect and is very easy to do. 99% of viewers will appreciate the special effect and their imagination will begin to run wild as they contemplate they scene and why the police are there with the lights on?
I thoroughly enjoyed installing the lights and making this modification and I decided to make a video tutorial showing the basic process of adding LEDs to a police car.
The products I've used are
Basic tools used will be shown in the video tutorial.
To power the lights I used the Woodland Scenics Just Plug Light System, I had a spare plug due to cutting of an old Nano LED and I now use the spare plug to connect other lights into the system. It had a resistor already attached to the plug.
You can also use a standard 12v power supply or something similar however you'll need to remember to add a suitable sized resistor to avoid blowing the LEDs!
I demonstrate both techniques in the tutorial which should be done in the next 4 day.
Stay tuned for the video which isn't far away :)
It's been quite a while since my last video but the drought is about to end.
In the above photo you can see an old diorama, it's actually the diorama from 'Realistic Scenery Vol-3' but whats new is the hedge!
I've been experimenting with some of the Coconut Fiber Basket Liner material that I used in the 'Tall Forrest Pine Trees' video and the results have come back looking quite good. I think it will take a little more practice to get the exact results I'm after but this was attempt number one and I have to say that I'm quite happy.
As for the other materials, I basically spray the coconut fibers with a spray adhesive once I have teased the fibers out a little and achieved the basic shape I want, next I sprinkle the hedge with Javis Scenics Medium Green Scatter, then again I give the hedge a light spray with the spray adhesive and finally I coat the hedge with MP Scenery Products Falling Leaves - Medium Green.
A few different companies do the leaf material, I think Javis Scenics do some, Noch have a good range and Treemendous scenery do a good range as well.
They are a fantastic product and I'm still quite new to the leaf material but I'm finding it to be fantastic and helps really add a level of realism that's hard to get with simply ground foam.
Above is the diorama I'm building to display the house I built and the hedges that will be the focus of the next video. That big patch in the road was actually a mistake that I'm trying to cover up!
Before I sprinkled the dirt texture over the diorama I masked the road using standard 'masking tape'. Unfortunately after applying the dirt and spraying it with glue, I peeled away the tape and chunks of the road paint peeled up with it. The big patch you can see was a little to big to fix so it turned into an actual road repair patch :)
And here is the house. The diorama has a slight hill on it so the house will sit on top of the hill above the road and the hedge will surround the house. I have some fancy gates to use on the driveway so overall I'm hoping it will look quite good.
The video itself shouldn't take long however I plan to finish the diorama first so it might be a little over a week before I get the video finished.
So stay tuned :)
During the process of making the paved roads video I decided to make a complete diorama and film the entire process, similar to the previous 'Realistic Scenery' videos this one will be an all encompassing tutorial. What you see is what you get.
It took a while to finish this model for a couple of reasons!
However... if you would like to throw a helping hand you can support me through patreon, completely voluntary but I will always appreciate any assistance. www.patreon.com/luketowan
The paved road turned out fantastic, the trees and surrounding scenery fit in well and do a good job of complimenting each other. The filming of the entire process took quite some time, and I have many hours of footage to sort and edit but the good news is I'm about one third done with the editing.
Stay tuned for 'Realistic Scenery Volume 5 - A drive through Yellowstone'... the name might change? Should be finished in about a week from now :)
I'm quite a way through the filming process for the next tutorial which will be focused on paved roads. I was actually hoping to have it finished this week while I was on holidays... However, holidays as they are involve a lot of lazing around and visiting family, so progress has been a little slower than I would have preferred.
Nonetheless, I will be quite busy on Monday and Tuesday next week in an attempt to finish filming and have the video posted around Thursday or Friday at the latest.
I'm liking the look of the road so far and I'm looking forward to posting the video and sharing with you my technique. I've decided to go for the commercial option this time for making the road, there are a couple of benefits to this -
Also I have to give a big shout out to all my 'Patrons', you guys have no idea how much you motivate me and it's great to have such supportive people out there! THANK YOU :)
If your not a patron and would also like to throw a little support my way feel free to check out my support page on Patreon :) https://www.patreon.com/luketowan?ty=h
Every little bit really helps :)