A while ago our fellow Dave presented an excellent tutorial about making hedgerows out of rubberised horshair. Actually it's a stuff from upholstery business but in the days of disposable low-budget furniture and synthetic padding it's pretty unusual. Due to this I foundered on acquiring this stuff until Dave kindly and generously sent me some of his clippings. Actually a pretty large amount of horsehair so I'll be able to tart my NWF collection up with enough shrubbery for a medium sized battlefield. Many thanks again, Dave!
Finally during those holiday weeks I managed to try working with the stuff and prepared a couple of test pieces myself.
As most of us I have a pretty large amount of those green plastic bases which are supplied with the Perry plastics. Now I found a proper use for them and employed a couple of them as bases for my shubbery test pieces. For this I simply unsprued a couple of them and rounded the edges. Not perfect but sufficient for test pieces. For the real terrain pieces of course the shape should be much more irregular.
The I cut fitting strips of horsehair and glued them onto the bases with PVA white glue. To make it stick better to the surface I made some deep cuts into the green plastic. By the way I experienced that those horsehair mats are best cut with a pair of large scissors.
3.) Let the PVA glue set:
Since PVA glue needs some time to set I was afraid that the horsehair might be too light or might have not enough seating to be bond firmly enough. So I took a small weight to press it gently into the white glue.
4.) Major fault revealed:
Actually all went well. The PVA dried and the little bushes stick perfectly on top of the green bases. Unfortunately I underrated the transparency of the shrubbery. The green plastic clearly showed through the branches and I realised that I had no chance to bring sand and colours below them. Thus I decided to start a new test piece.
5.) Another attempt:
Having learned from my earlier attempt I took a larger piece of plastic and gave it a really irregular shape. Then I applied some sand and cork rocks and gave it an undercoat of Vallejo Model Color 'Green Brown' the standard base colour for my desert / sand bases.
On one part of the base I applied a small knob of rubberised horsehair. This time I used my trusted hot glue gun to stick the shrubbery onto the base and it worked even better as PVA glue. Just be careful not to use too much glue and - of course - don't touch the really, really hot glue with your fingers.
6.) Finishing touches:
As soon as the glue cooled down enough I drybrushed the sandy parts of the base with brighter colours. In this case I used Vallejo Model Colors 'Beige' and 'Pale Sand'. As last bits I added some tufts of static grass in a nice autumn colour.
After all I'm pretty satisfied with my first attempt. The base was finished in no time and overall the horsehair gives some really good looking pieces of shrubbery. Unfortunately the test pieces turned out slightly too low to function as a really useful piece of terrain. Next time I'll try to make it twice as high and much larger to have it provide a kind of light cover on the gaming table.
So that's it for now. During the next days I'll not be able to spend too much time at the painting desk because of some family business. But next week I'll have a look onto a WIP British gunboat and maybe a post featuring some conversion with Perry plastics I'm working on.