Generic Terrain: Hedges Part Two

Let me begin by saying a huge thank you to everyone who's liked, +1'd, hearted and commented on the first part of this project. I've been blown away by the positive response to my humble attempt to make some hedgerows.  I only hope that they live up to all the expectation that's out there! But if you have missed the first part of the project, you can read all about it here.  You may want to do that as I'm about to dive in where I left off.

This is the point where a lot of people choose to spray their hedge material a dark brown.  It's perfectly fine to do this, and probably a necessary step if you're using rubberised horse hair (which is really vulcanised coconut fibre).  However, I'm using coco liner which has a lovely natural brown colour.  I'm therefore not spray-painting it. I don't think it needs it.  But if you're making some yourself and feel it needs a different colour, this is definitely the time to do it!

With the hedge sections assembled, I began work on the bases. These are jumbo lollipop sticks which I believe are also available at Poundland.  Completely missed that bargain myself.  I'm using the same colours of flocking materials as I use on my terrain boards and on the bases of my miniatures. These are Woodland Scenics Blended Turf (both Earth Blend and Green Blend) and Noch Static Grass Spring Grass.  However, I won't be using much static grass on these, certainly not in any clumps.   I want to model the more sparse and weed-strewn ground with decaying leaves you normally see under a hedge. This means I'm mixing my blended turf colours.
It's not an exact science.  I'm using two mixes.  The first and main mix is mostly earth blend with a bit of green blend thrown in.  This will be the first and main colour that'll be going on the lollipop sticks.  The second colour I'm using is made from mostly Green Blend with a bit of Earth blend thrown in.  I've also added a small amount of static flock.  These are mixed into two small spare tubs I have.

Now, to make life easier, it's best to have a container to do this work in.  You want one that's long enough to take the hedge section.  Sadly I didn't have a posh tub available for this.  So I did the next best thing.  I had a rummage through the plastic recycling and rescued the packaging for my corned beef slices. (Budget?  What budget?!?!?!) I poured in the first mix of blended turf (the mainly Earth Blend) and set to work.

It was at this point that I realised I couldn't find my trusty large glass jar.  It's great for large brushes, and I have used the lid on countless occasions as a palette for my PVA.  So I went back to the recycling pile, found a yoghurt pot, upturned it and carried on regardless.  Necessity is the mother of invention after all!

Using an old brush, I applied the PVA glue to the top of the lollipop stick, making sure that I pushed the glue right to the edge of the coco fibre.  This also helps to bond the fibres to the base.  With that done all the way around, I then make sure that a generous coat of glue goes on the edge of the stick.  I then place the hedge section in my tray of flock and flick the flock onto it.  You want to make sure that the top and sides are covered.  Don't push the section into the flock as this can push the glue away from the edges.
I leave it there for a minute or two before carefully lifting it out and gently tapping off any excess.  Don't do this too much or you'll need to do this a second time.  Here's some before and after shots so you can see what I'm up to.

Let's not gloss over the fact.  This takes time and effort.  All the more so when you have 35 sections of hedgerow to work on.  And remember that even after all your hard work teasing the glue into the right places with your brush that there will be little bits that look patchy.  That's fine.  These will be the places where you stick the other blend of the flock.
Anyway, here's the 35 sections with their first coat on them.  It's best to leave them a few hours to let the PVA dry thoroughly. Yes, the flocking stage takes an age to complete.  To be honest, it's probably best to do over a few evenings.  Trying to do a whole lot of this on a day off as I did means that you're jumping between periods of sticking and drying.  You don't really feel that you're getting out of the bit.
Anyway, a few hours later you can go back and apply the mainly Green Blend mix to the bases.  Make sure you apply it to any areas that look patchy.  Then apply a few dabs here and there to the edges.  When you're done you'll have sections that look like this:
Next comes the spray adhesive part which puts the foliage on the hedgerows.  This is really messy and there's no way you want your messy mitts on your phone during this process, so please forgive me for not having any in-progress photos.  I'm going to be using Woodland Scenics' Coarse Turf for this.  I'm using the Dark Green colour.  

I went outside to apply the spray adhesive to my hedge sections. You can't get a more well-ventilated an area than that! Normal instructions tell you to hold the can 6-8" away from the item to be sprayed.  Ignore that.  You want to make sure you get the glue where you need it, and definitely not where you don't.  I was holding the can no more than 2" from the hedge.  I made sure I got a good coverage across the top of the hedges.  I made sure that I left some of the coco fibre at the bottom of the hedges free from glue. This lets the substructure show through.  It's a bit fiddly to achieve this, but the results are well worth it.  

I then returned inside and applied the coarse turf.  Be warned.  Your fingers will get messy, first with the glue, and then with the bit of flock that get stuck to the glue.  At this point, you're wanting to make sure you get a good covering so put the stuff on well and press only lightly to ensure it sticks.  You're trying to get the turf to stick to the hedge, not to make the coco fibres stick to each other so much that you make a pancake hedge!

I must confess.  I ran out of spray adhesive after 22 sections.  I don't know if that's good going with a can of spray adhesive or not.  However, I remembered that I had plenty of Hob-e-Tac adhesive in the loft, so I went up there to get it.  
 I wasn't sure how well this would work but thought I'd give it a go.  And I'm glad I did.  It's a lot less messy.  You don't need to worry about a well-ventilated area.  And I think the results are better.  Plus, applying the glue with a brush means you can put it exactly where you want it.

The instructions say you are best to leave the glue for 15 minutes after applying it when sticking foliage.  From personal experience, I prefer to wait only 5 minutes.
And this is the result!
 Here's a photo of the ones I've managed to do.

 And as you can see, I ran out of Coarse Turf.  And because this didn't happen until the evening, there was nothing I could do about it until the next day.
All that I could do was to take a very soft bristled brush and wipe away any loose bits of Coarse Turf from the bottom of the hedge.  This tidies them up a bit in preparation for the final stage.
 So the next day came and I toddled back to Hobbycraft where I purchased another bag of Dark Green Coarse Turf from Woodland Scenics.  I opened y Hob-e-Tac and set to work applying it to the sides and tops of my remaining hedge sections.  Again, I left a small amount without glue on the lower portion of the sides.
 Here's a closer look.
 And once that was done I went back to the first one and began the process of applying the Coarse Turf to the sides first and then the tops of the hedge sections.
And then I stood back to admire my handiwork.

I'm quite impressed, actually!
Obviously, it's best to leave these to dry for a few hours. 

And then it was time to rearrange my setup a little.  I placed the hedges on my trusty and unique Spongebob Squarepants Hobby Protector (yes, alright, it's an old plastic Birthday tablecloth from many years ago when my son was a lot younger than he is now.  But it works.  Brilliantly.  And it always makes me smile, so it can't be a bad thing now, can it?) And then came my secret ingredient.  Green Blend Blended Turf from Woodland Scenics. I set about sprinkling it on the tops of the hedges in much the same way as you'd see Jamie Oliver sprinkling some salt and pepper or goodness only knows what on his culinary concoctions.  The aim is to add a little contrasting colour on the tops of the hedges.   
 I then applied my Woodland Scenic Cement which I sprayed on the hedges.  My Spongebob Squarepants Hobby Protector (SSHP)made sure the dining table wasn't ruined in the process.
 And this was the point the sun came out from behind the clouds and played merry havoc with my photos.  I shouldn't complain.  It's a long time between seeing the sun in this part of Scotland. 
 The Scenic Cement will soak into the hedges and strengthen the bond between the flock and coconut fibre.  It normally stiffens whatever it soaks into.  If you haven't got any Scenic Cement, you can mix up your own version using PVA, water and a small amount of washing up liquid.  Spray it on and you'll have a similar result.  There is, however, one big difference.  Scenic Cement will dry to a matt finish.  A homebrewed mix will dry somewhere between satin and glossy.  It'll be particularly apparent in places where it pools.  I reckon Scenic Cement is worth the investment.  And that comes from someone with a ridiculously small budget. 
 As it soaks in, the cement darkens the flock a little and will make you think you haven't put enough Green Blend on top.  Don't be fooled.  Leave it alone to dry.  Preferably overnight. 

 And finally, here's a couple of photos in direct sunlight which show you the finished result.  The slight white you can see on the second hedge is the glint of the scenic cement in the sunlight.  This will soak in fully and disappear after a few hours. 
I'm really happy with the way they have turned out.  Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!
As always, thanks for stopping by!


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