I had an area on my layout that I wanted to show the ravages of erosion. It represented an area that had been disturbed while the adjacent road embankment was being built. Rains had washed away the unprotected soil. It had eroded before foliage could take over again.
I sculpted the area using Structolite, a slow setting gypsum product containing perlite. I use it for my finish coat. It trowels on an dries dark grey.
I remember as a kid playing in an erosion field. There were red ditches in the field. The top soil formed a frosting. I added a contrasting greyish paint to represent top soil.
I sprayed the area with wet water to get a better blend of color.
I scrubbed the area to get a better "look". It wasn't what I wanted. There wasn't enough grey in the surrounding area. The idea might work if the whole area is topsoiled.
I textured over the "topsoil" with a mixture of base latex paint and fine sand. I stippled that over the whole field. I started adding foliage. The brown is Walmart brown faux fur. I extended the faux fur low grass by applying tufts for a faux fur pelt.
The brass rod is a future oil pipeline.
The tufting process was developed in my technique of making model grass from faux fur. Click the box at right for my March 2005 Railroad Model Craftsman article. This article will cover using the tufts in a larger area.
An example of faux fur grass. The yellow dead grass is from a large piece and the green is added as tufts, bunches of grass.
Tufting is done by twisting the fur fibers in a twirling motion. The tuft is cut off with scissors. A small area of white glue about 1/2" square is placed on the layout. Push the tuft into the white glue. It will stay in place.
I saw these plant while I was in California my wife said the were some type of succulent. I wanted to duplicate them on the layout.
I used a piece of Mendl's fur mentioned in my article for bushes. I dyed it black with a 2:1 Dye-na-flow solution. This will give a gray base. Cut out small pieces from the backing side with a new razor blade.
The pieces look like this. They can also be used as brush. I trimmed them shorter for the succulent.
I added them up the ridges of the erosion field. They would represent the survivors. The areas of gullies would represent plant damaged areas washed away by rain.
I added a patch of faux fur low grass. The long grass was faux fur dyed with a 4:1 brown Dye-Na-Flow per my faux fur article. The brown grass was placed into the adjoining grass area. Scenery should look like a struggle of nature.
I tufted in the low grass by gluing tufts around the perimeter. I put white glue down and pushed light green turf to represent lichens.
Trim the bushes with scissors into rounder shapes. After the glue has dried vacuum the field. This will stand the grass up and remove the loose faux fur. Replant where necessary.
I took red tube acrylic and dry brushed it onto the ends of the grey bushes to represent flowers.
The finished erosion field, I added some green Woodland Scenics clump foliage.