How to realize real-looking bushes

Hi everyone,

After showing you how to realize real-looking grass, I will explain how to do the same with bushes.

Let’s first have an overview of the diorama, fully completed with the previous grass step, just before the work with the bushes.

Tools of the trade needed:

Like for the grass, bushes do not require a lot of material. You need at least 2 different types of green powder, one very thin and of clear color, and the other more thick and darker. The powders from Noch (used for train diorama) are a perfect choice.

Then, you need some lichens. You can find them too into the same modeling shops you can find the powder, but also in floriculture centers (where it is usually cheaper and in bigger quantity).
You’ll need of course the vinalil (glue for wood) and a half-full glass of water.

Add some latex gloves and tweezers.

Now let’s get to work: mix the two powders inside a cardboard box. Mix everything well, until you get an homogeneous result.

Then add the vinavil to the water, until you see the level of the liquid reaching 2/3 of the glass. Mix the two together. The final result should be something very fluid, still mostly water-like.

Now divide/cut the lichens into small pieces of no more than 7-8cm. The bigger they are, the more complex it is to work with them. Anyway, once treated, the bushes can still be divided into smaller pieces, as needed, to better make them fit following your needs into the diorama. The ideal dimension is the one seen in the picture.

Take then one lichen with the tweezers, and immerge it into the glass (vinavil/water), and then squeeze it with your hand (in the latex glove) to let the excess liquid drop, and put it on a sheet of newspaper.
Repeat the operation until you have some 5-6 lichens.

Immediately start, then, to put the lichens full of glue on your diorama, before they start drying.

It is important to note that you can’t really prepare more than 5-6 lichens at a time, due to the glue drying (and you want it to happen on the diorama, not on the newspaper!). 5-6 is a good number to still not have a painstakingly slow process, while not risking to waste lichens.

How to place your bush on the diorama:

First, use a brush of medium size to put some vinavil where you want your bush to be. For this process, do not use the diluted solution of water and vinavil, but straight vinavil.
Then put the bush (which is still wet with the water/vinavil solution) in place. You will see that the vinavil in place, being dense, will more or less fix the bush there.

Do not worry about the bush losing part of the powder on it, or about it being somewhat flattened, due to you pressing it in place.

Remember that bushes can grow vertically on surfaces too, so if you wish to obtain that effect, just use one or two drops of cyanoacrylic glue (superglue) on the wall or vertical surface you want the bush to “grow”, and connect the bush with it.

It will immediately stick to it, strongly, due to the humidity of lichen reacting to the superglue.
With this kind of superglue, be very attentive to your eyes and fingers while using it. And be also careful, if some of the superglue touch your gloves, as not make it touch the bushes.

Usually, I do use the tweezers to manipulate the lichen both in the water/vinavil solution, and when placing them on the diorama. The tweezers are also easier to wash and clean afterwards (any strong glue can be taken away with some cutter once dry).

Once the bush is placed, take the bottle of fine and clear powder, and let some of it rain on your vegetation. Don’t drop too much of it: you just need to cover the zones where the bush lost its color due to your positioning it in place. Due to the still wet nature of the lichen with the water/vinavil mixture, the powder will stick to it easily and permanently.

Now, repeat the process with another bush, and then another one, etc, up until all bushes are placed on your work.

You might have guessed that if you do not work a few bushes at a time, those will get dry. And bushes, once dry, can’t be really manipulated and worked on easily, making the “real-looking” process much more difficult.

When all bushes are placed and fully dried, use a fixing transparent opaque spray to fix better the powder which didn’t stick fully to the lichen.

Don’t spray too much, else you will make the bushes look too dense and compact.

To dispose of the excess powder still around, turn upside-down the diorama, and hit lightly with your hand its base, for the powder to fall naturally.

For a multi-panel diorama, of course proceed one panel at a time, allowing you to get the final result shown in those last pictures.

Unlike grass, which is in the end quite simple to realize, recreating a rich and realistic overall green area, full of bushes, is quite another matter, both due to the necessary drying time of your bushes, both due to the merging and placing of the bushes to reach a good result which fits (and heighten the beauty of) your diorama.

The example shown in those picture is a typical green area for gaming purposes: complex, but not as to compromise playability.

Of course, you can push the process even more, and getting even more realistic results … but this will be the subject of another article…

… I will however tell you that you can get some interesting new vegetation with fennel tufts and oregano ..

Until next,  Lorenzo-Maniachouse-Marchetto

3 Responses to How to realize real-looking bushes

  1. Pingback: How to: Make real looking bushes | Soulstones

  2. Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through a few of the posts I realized it’s new to me.

    Regardless, I’m certainly delighted I discovered it and I’ll be bookmarking
    it and checking back often!


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