Monastery Diorama V – Grass, Flowers and a Tree!

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I finally had some time to work on the monastery diorama again. I spent a couple of hours on this beautiful sunday to sow a lot of grass, plant flowers and even a tree, all in 1:48 scale.

I began by making a mix of five different kinds of static grasses. Static grass is often quite monochrome when used straight from the bag, so by mixing a number of different colors and brands I hope to achieve some more variety.

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When I wrote about the diorama over at Armorma, one of the friendly forum participants, Brad from Australia, adviced me to make a number of paths through the ruins.

That was a great idea, so I followed his advice and made the ground look as if people in the area often walked around the ruins to enjoy the place.

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In order to make sure the static grass was planted upright, I used a Flockstar from Heki. It’s hideously expensive, but does a great job producing realistically looking grass. I’ve heard it should be quite easy to build a similar machine yourself, but I’ve never had the time to try. :-(

After cleaning up the excess grass, I weathered the paths with some dry chalk color to give some color variation.

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When the grass was complete, it was time to plant some flowers!

When visiting my local model railroad shop I noticed a product that reminded my of what I once saw in a real monastery ruin in Belgium. The flowering grass tufts come from Noch and weren’t that expensive.

It would be pretty easy to make such tufts yourself, but it is quite easy just buying a package of a hundred tufts ready to place on a diorama, so I didn’t resist too much in the shop. :-)

Some years ago I enjoyed the sight of this beautiful flower in the ruined monastery of Orval in Wallonia in Belgium and thought that perhaps one day, I’d model it.

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Here’s my version of the flower. :-)

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Then it was time to plant a tree, which I had also found in the same model railroad shop. It’s actually meant to be used in HO scale, so it is quite small in O scale, but I thinks it fits, composition-wise.

I forgot to paint the trunk of the tree before gluing it to the base, but there’s still time. :-)

From this angle the lines between the layers of fieldstone are very visible, but that is due to the light coming in pretty straight on. In other kinds of light, it is much less noticeable.

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Then I added some ivy to the wall and the tower to break the monotony. Here I used coarse turf from Woodland Scenics which gave a great feeling of depth to the ivy.

It looked much better than I thought, so I might add a lot more to give that overgrown-Indiana Jones-like feeling to the ruins. :-)

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This is as far as I got by this Sunday. The diorama is nearing completion, but still needs a few finishing touches. More flowers would look nice, as would a number of bushes. Some more ivy would give a great feeling, the tree trunk needs to be painted and finally the edge around the base needs some work.

Any ideas or suggestions so far? :-)

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