A journal following the history, design, construction and operation of Bernard Kempinski's O Scale model railroad depicting the U. S. Military Railroad (USMRR) Aquia-Falmouth line in 1863, and other model railroad projects.
©Bernard Kempinski All text and images, except as noted, on this blog are copyrighted by the author and may not be used without permission.

April 29, 2012

Static Grass Experiment - a Success!

I bought a Heki static grass machine a year or so ago, but just decided to try using it this weekend. I was very pleased with how the grass turned out. I used a mix of Heki and Woodland Scenic Static Grass fiber. I used diluted white glue to secure the fibers.

For a voltage supply, I turned on my DCC system and clipped the power leads from the unit to the rail using alligator clips. Before adding the fibers I lightly sprayed the overall area with wet water to allow for an electrical path for the static charge.

The static fibers are quite secure once dry. It's really amazing.
The device worked great. The longer fibers seemed to work the best. They really stand on end. And once the glue is dry, they are permanently mounted. I could actually use my shop vacuum to pick up the loose fibers without removing the glued down ones. That was pretty amazing.

To avoid the manicured lawn look, I added the grass in splotches. I also added finely sifted dirt and ground leaves to the area while the glue was still wet. Then I applied another shot of dilute white glue to the overall area. That worked well as it did not disturb the erect fibers, but allowed the loose material to be secured in place. In the end, they grass looks great. I'll be doing more of this for sure.

The camp image on the backdrop is a new one from Brian Kammerer.


  1. I'm just back from the NMRA MCR convention in Pittsburgh, and Jim Elster's static grass clinic. He recommends Elmer's Student Glue over other white glues, because it doesn't skim over as fast as Elmer's white glue or matte medium, etc.

    1. I used dilute white glue (50-50 water and glue, and a shot of alcohol) with no problems.

  2. Hi Bernie:
    We're thinking alike. I've been adding static grass to my layout too...
    I use a 50/50 mix of WeldBond and water. I find that if I use a kitchen pump sprayer - the kind sold for olive oil - I can use water to pre-wet the ground before adding glue.
    I must go back and airbrush some variety into the grass color.
    Your grass looks great!

    1. Trevor, I made a blend of colors and lengths of static grass to use. I am modeling late winter/early spring so some of the grass has started greening up.

      Instead of airbrushing, you can add additional layers of colors on top of what you already applied. I know that Lance Mindheim did this for his Florida scenery.

  3. AnonymousMay 01, 2012

    Looks very authentic, Bernie.

  4. That looks great! I've used static grass on my layout, but without an applicator. Since I'm modeling late fall/winter, I wanted the look of droopy dead weeds. Without an applicator, the static grass just falls over, looking just like dead growth.