Hemp Grass: The Hair Plug Method

  • 1-Cover_Shot
Ever built a field base, painted it and then said to yourself “Something’s missing”? Often times that something has to do with the vegetation on the base. When constructing a field, we generally turn to static grass, which leaves a lot to be desired unless you are trying to represent a mowed field. Like Steven Maes has done in his article about adding flowers to a field base (here); in this tutorial I will show you how to spruce up that static grass base. Instead of flowers I will be using everyone’s favorite: hemp twine.
For this technique you will need the following;
  1. a piece of foam,
  2. hemp twine (or any fine stranded twine),
  3. white glue,
  4. a needle file or similar object for poking holes in you base and foam,
  5. and a pair of scissors.
The technique I am demonstrating in this article is for adding grass clumps after the base has been painted and detailed. This can be done before painting and detailing by following the first step on the base itself.

Step 1
Using a needle file poke holes in your foam block 1/8” – ¼” (3-5mm) deep. I found that leaving no less than ¼” around each hole makes the later steps much easier.
Fill the holes with white glue, but don’t fill too many at a time to avoid making a mess.

Step 2
Cut small pieces of twine. The length is not too important just keep in mind that you will lose the depth of the holes you poked in the length of the grass.
Place the piece of twine in the dab of glue overflowing from the hole and press the twine into the hole with your needle file.
Fuss up the clump a bit to make it look a bit more natural.
With this technique you can get into rhythm and “plant” a whole crop in a relatively short time. Since this is the most labor-intensive step of the whole process, I found doing more than you need, will give you a nice stock for later projects.

Step 3
Once you have your desired crop, let it sit for a few hours to allow the white glue “root” to dry. After it is dry, you can paint it and transplant it. To transplant it, you simply grasp the clump as close to the foam as you can and pull straight up. You may need to trim any glue that was on top of the foam that has dried as a rim around the root.
Poke a hole in your base with you needle file and press the clump in and voila! Grass clump. It’s that easy, and as I said, you can make a lot clumps in a relatively short amount of time and really spruce up that grass field. I hope you find this article useful and happy modeling.
  • 2-Materials
  • 3-Poke_Holes
  • 4-Add_Glue
  • 5-Twine_Clump
  • 6-Set_in_Glue
  • 7-Press_in
  • 8-Fussed_up
  • 9-Crop
  • 10-Painted_crop
  • 11-Pulled_clump
  • 12-Poke_hole_for_transplant
  • 13-Transplant_clump
  • 14-Transplanted

About the Author

About Branden (blouie)

Started building models after a 15 year hiatus. I decided that I would build armor because I could hide my errors with weathering. Between working with PE and tying flies I figure my eyes will be shot in no time.


In a word, Brilliant! This is one of those things that can be done while watching TV without worrying about losing small parts or messing up fine details, and by the end of the evening or two, I should have a nicely varied crop to experiment with.
NOV 05, 2007 - 05:02 PM
TV string glue and a drink of choice - great evening. One twist I did on this method was to cut down the resulting 'root' ball quite a bit so that the final destinatin hole was as large. Here are the results of using this method.
NOV 05, 2007 - 11:25 PM
Good Henry Ford mentality at work here! It can be labour intensive, but as Branden said, you can make more than needed for future projects, to compensate. Simple and cheap...
NOV 05, 2007 - 11:30 PM