Last month I took on a major project of building realistic bocage. I wanted to make enormous bocage that would completely block line-of-sight and look the part. While some folks scale down their bocage models so they don’t overpower the board, I wanted a realistic looking hedgerow country scenery. I found a superb example of what I was trying to achieve at this site:
I would recommend reading through Mr. Marshall’s tutorial and looking over his pictures. I modified his technique to suit my materials and skills.
I decided I would try this method out to make 12 ft of realistic bocage for my table.
I also used this site from Mr. Marshall’s tutorial for measurements:
The supplies I used are as follows:
1 inch thick sheet of styrofoam (any type/density will do) – I cut it into 1.75-2 inch thick segments 6-12 inches in length to create the bases/mounds the hedge grow up on. These also help simulate the actual height with the sunken nature of the lanes between the hedges.
2 lightweight Filler to help shape the mounds
3 fine earth-blend flock from woodland scenics to flock the bases
4 static grass flock (color to your individual requirements-( I used medium green)
5 clump flock of varying colors
6 lichen of varying colors
7 hot glue gun with plenty of glue
8 PVA glue
9 Scenic Cement
10 tree armatures
11 metal washers for weight
12 Spray paint (earth colors for bases, brown for furnace filter and tan to highlight the filters)
13 Michael’s blend from craft store of dried moss
15 small rocks from the yard and twigs, other scatter material to add realism to the bases
Here are some shots of the furnace filter I used.
And the white styrofoam I used (it is 1 inch thick)
Below is the step-by step process:
1. The first step is to shape the furnace filter. I wanted hedges that are 6-12 inches in length for ease of storage. and I wanted the bases to be roughly 2 inches wide. Once I had these basic cuts to add up to 12 ft I started to carve out chunks and shape the bases to reduce square edges and make the bases look more realistic. I used a serrated knife and sandpaper to achieve the shapes of the mounds. I tried to make a lot of little culverts and areas to hide.
2. The next step is to cut the furnace filter to match with the bases that are already made. I cut lengths of filter from 1.5-3+ inches and contoured them to the tops of the mounds made of styrofoam. This is really hard to create a seamless look which I eventually used the dried moss to cover the gaps that occur between the mounds and the furnace filter. At this stage I make sure to keep the mounds and filter sections together so they are not mixed up later when you will connect the two parts.
3. Next you shape the filter by teasing out the top portion to the desired shape. The bottom which attaches to the bases will likely stay compacted more tightly, but this is totally your call.
4. After the filter is shaped you thoroughly spray them with the brown spray paint. Once this is dry lightly spray with the tan to create a highlighted effect similar to dray brushing.
5. After this I return to the bases….. I used the filler/spackle to cover the entire top of the mounds. This step helps to strengthen the styrofoam and creates texture for the earth. If you are attaching woodland scenics armatures I glue them to the styrofoam with the corresponding weighted pieces (i.e. washers) before spreading the filler. Once each mound is completely covered and texturized you must wait until each segment is completely dry.
6. The following day (I allowed the bases to dry overnight), I sprayed the bases an earth color. Once this coat is dry I flocked the bases and glued any scatter materials to the bases. After flocking with earth blend, and static grasses, and adding any other scatter (i.e. small rocks, kitty litter, pebbles, and twigs) I spray liberally with scenic cement to lock it all together. Allow this to dry rock hard, then proceed to attach the furnace filter.
7. I use toothpicks and hot glue to attach the filters to the bases. below are two pictures of the furnace filter uppers painted and highlighted and the drying bases which have just been coated with the filler in the 3rd picture.
8. The next stage is to flock the filter. I used a hot glue gun to attach the dried moss as seen below. I use lichen, dried moss, and clump foliage on the top of the hedge leaving some of the filter bare to look like a brambling mess. I interspersed trees in several lengths of the hedge.
Below is one of two boxes that I store the bocage— this box hold approx. 6 feet.
Hope you enjoy!