Modelling Grassland and Landscape Detailing
Published by Wild Swan Publications 2013
ISBN : 978 1 908763 068
Written by Gordon Gravett
This book written by Gordon Gravett, is the third dealing specifically with the techniques he and his wife Maggie use in capturing the landscape in model format. The first two books covered trees, both deciduous and coniferous and this volume looks at grassland and detailing the model landscape. The book is typical Wild Swan format, very well printed, illustrated with quality color images throughout and laid out in an easy to read and follow format. Picture captions are adjacent to images, relevant and concise.
The contents cover the techniques used by the author rather than a discussion of various methods and works well with a logical flow from basic scenery structure construction to the final detailing of plant life The book also covers changes through the seasons and the elements which are key to capture when modeling a specific season. The illustrations are primarily of scales larger than 4mm scale but the techniques shown work well in smaller scales too. The use of the larger scale is helpful for the reader when used to illustrate the layering of static grass for example. The reviewer primarily works in 4mm scale, with this in mind I chose to replicate one of the static grass methods shown using a puffer bottle. I had no prior concerns about the method described, but testing one of the methods is an excellent way of trying the book out as well as just reading it. I’m pleased to report that the technique worked as described and illustrated in the text, and is a new skill learnt!
The majority of the text and illustrations deal with grassland, this emphasis initially seemed a little odd, but the more the book was read the better the understanding was gained on how to get the best from the materials used, and how ‘grassland’ forms the base for much of the UK’s scenery. This is illustrated particularly when making a hedgerow, getting a realistic join between the land and the hedge and its immediate environment. This includes elements such as grass length, weeds and foliage coloring and getting the balance correct. When discussing the ground textures, sections are devoted to modeling road and pavement surfaces . Here there are notes and illustrations of making tarmac and unmetalled roads both urban and rural, which leads into modeling lanes, gateways and puddles effectively.
Water modeling is covered with an emphasis on quieter waterways rather than waterfalls or the sea, the author noting his reservations of the difficulties involved in making effective fast flowing and moving water. The technique illustrated for the river scene used in the book clearly works very well as anyone whom has seen the Gravett’s layout ‘Pempoul’ will know. The chapter on modeling water is one of the shortest in the book, as a reviewer I‘d personally liked to have seen more water examples covered, however this doesn’t detract from that section or the book as a whole.
The book is recommended as a worthwhile addition to a modelers library. The techniques are well described and illustrated with easy to read text, and makes those same techniques accessible for a beginner as well as those with more experience. It’s re-assuring having tried one of the examples myself, that it is easily replicated, and gives good results. That for me is the making of an excellent guide, and encourages the reader to try out or adapt skills and materials to work for themselves.