Sunday, December 2, 2007

Applying the first layer of ground cover: problems with pock marks

Your terrain is in place, you have your diluted glue, matte medium, or scenic cement (hereafter referred to as “bonding agent”) and you’re ready to apply your first layer of dirt, sand, or ground foam. You sprinkle on some ground cover, then use an eyedropper or spritzer to soak with the bonding agent. You come back a little later, after it’s started to dry, and lo and behold, your soil or grass looks like the surface of the moon.

When the ground cover is dry, it is very sensitive to movement, and the drops from the spritzer or eyedropper create pock marks. Making the bonding agent “wetter” using a drop of dish detergent or a little rubbing alcohol helps to even the flow, but doesn’t do much for the pock marks.

The classic “solution” for this is to forego the bonding agent for the first layer, and instead to paint the terrain first with a mixture of earth-colored latex or acrylic paint and undiluted glue or matte medium, then sprinkle the ground cover over this while it’s still wet. The problem is, even after this dries, not all of the ground cover will have been “gripped” by the paint/glue mixture, leaving you with loose “topsoil” that still needs to be soaked with bonding agent, which can still leave pock marks.

The way I’ve coped with this so far: with or without the underlayer of paint/glue, after the ground cover has been soaked and has been drying for about half an hour (still very wet), I search out every pock mark and carefully “fill in” by sprinkling very small amounts of additional ground cover. This works, but it’s really tedious and I’d like to find a better way. Feel free to comment …

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