Peco, a manufacturer long known for producing track in Z, N, HO, O, and large scales and structures in N, HO, and O, recently entered the scenery market. The initial offerings in the Peco Scene line include the Pro Grass Micro Applicator, static grass fibers in four lengths and 11 colors, ready-to-plant grass tufts in four colors, basing glue (for installing the static grass fibers), and layering spray (for adding subsequent layers of static grass).
The centerpiece of the Peco static grass line is the Pro Grass Micro Applicator (item no. PSG-1). The tool features plastic construction and has an overall height of 91⁄2". The hopper for the static grass is 3" deep; the screen on the medium sieve is suitable for 2mm to 6mm static grass fibers. The handle has a slightly textured grip with an illuminated on/off rocker switch.
As with other static grass applicators, the Peco tool has a grounding clip. The device is powered by a 9V battery (not included), which is housed under the screw-top cap at the end of the handle. The applicator has a maximum current output of 15kV DC. When switched on, never touch the inside of the hopper or put items other than static grass inside the tool. In addition, do not use the applicator around flammable liquids, such as isopropyl alcohol.
The bottom of the hopper has a coating that generates a negative charge. This should not be scratched or marked. The magic happens as the fibers tumble out of the sieve. They pass through an electrical field that causes them to land vertically in the scenery glue.
Now I was ready to put the applicator to the test. Per the instructions, I brushed a layer of scenery glue onto the area I wanted to apply the static grass. The glue must conduct electricity for the fibers to stand on end.
Then I filled the hopper about half full with static grass fibers. As you can see in the photo above, some of the fibers were clumped together in our sample packages. I broke the clumps apart with my fingers before adding them to the hopper. If I’d skipped this step, the clumps of fibers would stay on the sieve instead of passing through it.
Next, I put a metal pin into the area wetted with glue (a small nail is sufficient) and attached the alligator clip to the pin. Then I turned the applicator on and applied the fibers. I worked in a back-and-forth motion, holding the applicator between 1⁄2" and 3⁄4" above the layout.
I let the scenery glue dry completely before vacuuming up the excess fibers. If you want to make the grass taller, like that found in ditches, wetlands, and the like, spray the base layer of fibers with Layering Spray and apply more static grass.
After each use, remove the battery from the Pro Grass Static Applicator and store the tool in a cool, dry place. Any static grass residue can be removed with a dry towel (again, with the tool turned off). Do not use water, liquid cleaners, and solvents to clean the applicator.
Peco partnered with WW Scenics, a U.K.-based scenery manufacturer, to produce the static grass fibers and grass tufts in its Peco Scene line. The static grass fibers are offered in 1mm, 2mm, 4mm, and 6mm lengths. There’s a color for each season, as well as specialty colors such as hay field and patchy grass.
The tufts line is a bit more limited, offered in three colors and only with 4mm fibers. The tufts are packaged 100 per box and are attached to waxed paper. Though they have an self-adhesive backing, a dot of white glue will hold them in place more securely.
If you want an easy-to-use system for adding static grass to your layout, give the Peco Scene static grass line a look. The applicator works well, and the range of fiber colors should cover most scenery needs.