Applying static grass using ‘puffing Billy’

Allan asked how I applied the static grass on the Total Battle Miniatures’ well I recently painted up, so I thought I’d provide a very quick guide to outline the method used. 

I’m relatively new to static grass having preferred flock in the past.  I’d found flock more than adequate, but I was liking the effects I was seeing on some of the bases on the FoW forums.  Mine were a kind of flat by comparison.  I liked the fine, relatively upright covering the static grass gave.  Trouble was I’d read that it could be abit of a bugger to achieve the desired erect effect without recourse to a static generator!  That’s when I found out about the Noch Streugras-Dose (Static Grass Applicator) or ‘puffing Billy’ as I prefer to call him.

So, without further ado, here’s what I used to apply static grass to my models last weekend:

  • Noch Static Grass applicator
  • Army Painter Steppe static grass, in a 50:50 mix with
  • GaleForce 9 Green static grass,
  • PVA, in about a 3:1 mix with water stirred up in an old
  • yoghurt pot. 

Oh, and don’t forget an old brush, you’ll need it for the glue.

All you do is mix the PVA up with a spot of water in the yoghurt pot and paint it onto the areas where you want the grass to go.  Aim to get the consistency like milk, you don’t want it too thick or your grass will clump.  In the 2 examples above, I painted the ground around the well and the edges of the bogged down markers with watered down PVA to help them blend into the table.  Don’t go overboard.  A light coat of glue that doesn’t pool should be sufficient.  You don’t want to be soaking the fibres or they won’t stand upright.  You can always go back and add more grass later if you feel the need.

I then put a 50;50 mix of my 2 different coloured static grasess into my static grass applicator and gave it a shake.  You can see that the applicator is really just a posh plastic pepper pot.  The black inner lid pulls off and the grass inserted.  Give it a shake and you’re ready to go.

Gently squeezing the bottle blows the grass out of the applicator and onto the glued areas whilst – if you believe the hype – filling it full of a mild electrostatic charge which will help it stand upright. Personally, I like to think it’s the huff and the puff that really matters:

The effect of any electrostatic charge can, hopefully, be judged by close inspection of the images above and below:

I like the effect.  Coverage is light and suitably erect with the minimum of effort. It’s also quite fun to do. 

Using ‘puffing Billy’ certainly beats dropping a whole load of static grass through your fingers and at around £3.50 it’s hardly going to break the bank.  The last time I saw one was in ModelZone so they shouldn’t be too difficult to find either.

Hope it helps Allan.

11 Responses to “Applying static grass using ‘puffing Billy’

  • Good article as applying static grass well is not easy. I started with the Noch applicator, and it’s actually pretty good. Your results look pretty good to me.

    This may make you laugh, but one of the cheapest ways of getting the grass to stand up more is to rub a balloon on your cotton T-shirt and then hold that just above the model – you’d be surprised on how much that can help! 🙂

    I moved on from that due to the amount of scenery I was making so I bought a static grass applicator from ebay – looks like an electric fly swat with a metal t-strainer attached (which is exactly what it is). You can get a pretty realistic grass effect with one of those – here’s some terrain I made a year or so ago using one of these:
    Grass field in twilight

    • Interesting feedback Harvey, thanks. I’d wondered what that static grass applicator could do after reading the model railway piece I linked to.

      The photo is fantastic.

  • Looks wonderful Harvey, I’m loving that lighting 🙂

  • First I apply the glue using an bit of blister foam it soaks the glue up nicely, i find using an old brush to be a pain, it dries out and needs a clean and application time to be longer. For want of a better term, i sprinkle the grass on, whip her over (the base that is), give her bottom a few taps and it stands up nicely.
    I’ll provide some documentary evidence soon, i’ve gotta get some better pics of the m.g. nests i did at the weekend.

  • Allan Traise
    7 years ago

    G’day Justin,

    An article just for me? I must be special 😛

    Thanks for the pointers. I am off to do a bit of research with a balloon 🙂



  • In regards to “puffing billy” has anyone noticed a small talcum powder bottle with a removable cap? I just thought i could use this and drill it out (antenocitis didn’t have any in stock when i placed my order).

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