I liked the way the new diorama was coming along, highlighted by the Fast Tracks #8 turnout and supported with an array of soils and multiple static grass colors applied. Since I’m not using any rock castings on this scene I wanted to add something else, maybe some bushes or general scrub around the tracks but still keeping it somewhat open and airy.
I haven’t used my black poly fiber in awhile and thought this might be a good opportunity to create my bushes. Several manufacturers make poly fiber sheets pre-flocked but they generally use green, not black poly fiber as their base, and the sheets are often heavily flocked. This is fine but I wanted to go with a lighter, more airy looking bush / scrub so I’ll make my own. Also I like to mix my own flocking colors generally a bit more muted than the commercial sheets.
When you use black ploy fiber you really need to stretch it out, almost to the point of completely pulling it apart. I use a few dabs of glue to adhere it right on top on my static grass and soil. Once the glue is dry I go over the top with a pair of scissors to knock down some of the high, loose strands.
I used an inexpensive small spray bottle to mist the fiber with matte medium to prepare for flocking but I found that the poly fiber is so thin that the matte medium would from little droplets on the individual fibers. Not a huge problem, but these droplets showed up in the close-up photos. If you were creating some kind of berry bush, adding a little color to the medium prior to spraying might be a cool idea! Not doing berries here so I instead used my airbrush to lay on a very fine mist of the matte medium to the fiber and then applied my flocking. Once dry I hit the flocking material with another fine mist from the airbrush to lock it in place.
Some modelers use hairspray here but it just stays too tacky for my taste and can become a dust magnet. The matte medium dries dead-flat and dry, a better option I think.
I’m still working on this little scene; I want to bring in some new (but simple) elements to enhance the look in a subtle way. One other trick I went with was to go over the soil edges and some of the exposed poly fiber roots with a little brown paint, thinned quite a bit, with the airbrush. It gives a nice sense of some dead bush roots and blends my colors together just a bit. Again it’s very subtle but a good extra step to take.