One of my modules has a spot representing some sort of field. I was not very happy with the initial solution so I was looking for something to do with the field. I knew that I wanted a field there, so it was a matter of how to make a realistic looking field to replace the current one. Fortunately, NOCH had a product that was just what I needed.
The original field did not look much like a field, instead it looked like a vast piece of land.
NOCH produces the Natur+ series, which is a set of small fields, meadows or forest floor mats. I fell in love with NOCH #07421 "Corn Field". The product is basically a static grass mat made to look like a corn field, it is easily cut into shape and installed on the layout.
Preparing The Existing Landscape
First of all I had to remove the turf that made out the existing field. This is mostly earth coloured turf from Woodland Scenics. When I created the field in the past I glued the turf using Woodland Scenics Scenic Cement, so removing the turf is easily done by taking a Scenic Sprayer an mist water over the turf. You do not have to soak it, just a few mists of water will do.
After a minute or so, the turf comes right off. I remove the turf because I want the field mat to adhere to the plaster surface underneath. If I would simply glue the field to the turf, I risk that it might not adhere that well and breaks loose over time.
Tip: I always recommend removing existing scenery if you are going to alter your landscape. It can be tempting to just build over existing landscape, but you will eventually run into trouble because you do not take the time to do it right. Patience is the keyword. :-)
I remove the turf using a spatula tool, but you can also use a wire-brush. Just take care not to damage the plaster underneath. If you damage the plaster, you must repair it before you can proceed.
When the plaster is clear of the turf I let it dry a bit since the water may have made it a bit moist. It needs to be completely dry for the next step. I let it dry for as long as it needs, usually overnight.
When dry, I paint the plaster using Earth Undercoat from Woodland Scenics. The advantage here is that the Earth Undercoat is a liquid pigment and not a paint. Liquid pigment will colour the plaster, but not protect it like a coat of paint would. This makes it easier for the glue to bind.
I highly recommend the brown Woodland Scenics Earth Undercoat (Woodland Scenics #C1229). They make a green version as well, but my experience is that the brown colour gives me the best results. Earth Undercoat is also available from NOCH.
To blend the field into the existing landscape I applied an outline of earth coloured fine turf.
The earth coloured turf looks like the dirt that you typically find next to a corn field, road or wherever grass does not grow.
Now the time has come to install the corn field. NOCH made it easy to cut the field with a pair of scissors. So I marked the cutting lines using a marker and cut the field into shape.
I then gave the field a good coat of Scenic Glue (thinned with a small amount of water). I covered the entire bottom of the field, so no loose ends would pop up later. I then placed the field into position and let the glue dry.
Tip: You can of course use all sorts of glue to do this. I usually stick to Woodland Scenics glues, but Grass glue from NOCH or a standard carpenter's white glue would work just as fine.
Another advantage by using the glues from Woodland Scenic and NOCH is that they dry to a matte transparent finish that makes them virtually invisible. The carpenter's glue does not always do that.
Adding A Fence
I wanted to have a fence near my corn field. This prevents people (or animals) from entering the field and damage the crops. You see these types of fences around many fields all over the world.
NOCH has a range of fences in their product line, so I chose a type that I have seen on my many vacations around Southern Germany and Austria (NOCH #13030 "Field Fence").
The fences from NOCH can be bend a bit to make them fit. I hate when the poles are not touching the ground, it looks unrealistic, just like when model houses do not always touch their foundation. Not on my layout! I made sure that everything fitted before gluing the fence down.
I used t-pins to mark the spots for the blobs.
...and glued the fence in place with Scenic Glue from Woodland Scenics. When the Scenic Glue has dried it will hold the fence in place with a very strong bond.
Last, but not least, I added a few details around the fence to make it look like it has been there for quite some time. I used some of the small flowers that come with the corn field. The package contains both red and blue coloured flowers.
I also made som long grass clumps using Natural Straw from Woodland Scenics.
All in all, a very easy project. If you want to add a field to your layout, you should check out the Natur+ products from NOCH. They have several different types of fields. I think you will be happy with the result.