I love doing groundwork and scenery. Of course I love modeling in general, but this is one of the areas where experimentation and ingenuity really pays off. Case in point, leaf litter, moss, and fallen leaves.
First up, the leaf litter. This is basically plain dead leaves that I scavenged from my yard. It’s the end of summer so a few of the trees are starting to yellow and I always have leaves saved from past autumns for things such as this. Get a good variety of colors, but mostly brown for simulating prior years dead fall. Crush these (when dry, otherwise dry in 250 degree oven for 5-10 minutes if needed) with the back of a screwdriver as fine as you need. What I did in this case was to sponge on a mixture of Burnt Umber acrylic and Matte Acrylic Paste (a mud color similar to the basework) and sprinkled the leaves onto that. Then after a few moments I shook off the excess and repeated as needed.
Now for the moss. Moss at this scale is really fun and you can get some nice effects with only 4 materials. Fine Green Turf, Fine “Earth” Turf, White Glue and Water. That’s it! You’ll need to make two batches, the first is a mixture of mostly green with a little earth turf, plus enough glue and water (40:60 glue:water) to make it into a light squishy dough. Scoop out small bits of this and place as needed, then sprinkle a little of the green on top for the “fuzz” growth.Blow a little earth turf underneath for the roots/dead moss.
Next mix up another batch that’s mostly the Earth turf with a little green. This is for the deader portions. Add this next to the green the sprinkle green closer to the fresh moss and earth onto the dead to make for nice transitional blends between the two areas.
Finally the leaves. This part is fun and you can get some great effects. Takes some time to do, but well worth the trouble. For these I sponged some yellows and tan acrylics onto some gold copy paper. Make the back lighter than the front. Then I lightly sponged on some tan and greens for mottled portions. Use a leaf punch from the scrapbook section of your local craft store (in a close scale to your project) and punch out what you need. Next you’ll want to sponge some brown/tan acrylics around the edges for more dead leaf effects. Lastly you place the leaves onto a layer of 4 paper towels (or 1 folded into 4) and using implements emboss the front of the leaves veins and crinkles. Add some stems if you want from jute fibers. Glue onto the base with white glue as naturally and randomly as possible.
Next up » More paper greenery.