I have spent the past several evenings making lengths of model bocage for our scenarios in Normandy. It was a bit of trial and error but I am quite happy with the end result.
I started with DAS air-drying modelling clay, some wooden skewers, green pan scourers, Icelandic moss in various shades and some clump foliage by Woodland Scenics.
The steps I followed were:
1. Make sausages of DAS, mould them into a Toblerone shape and stick lengths of skewer into them to provide a purchase for the foliage. Collect twigs from the garden and stick a few of these in to add height. From the options in our garden, I found that Thyme twigs look the most like miniature trees. Texture the sides with the point of another skewer. Leave to dry for at least three days.
2. Paint the dry DAS with earth coloured emulsion (I use Dulux Chalky Downs 1, a close match to GW steel legion drab).
3. Coat the sides of the DAS with PVA and apply green flock.
4. Tear up the pan scourers into ragged shapes. I discovered that the secret is to use the cheapest scourers you can find: my first purchase from a supermarket wouldn't tear up sufficiently. Pound shop scourers are much cheaper and better for this purpose.
5. Dab PVA glue onto the top of the DAS sausages and press down pieces of torn scourer, alternating with clumps of Icelandic moss. Dry overnight.
6. Dry brush the pieces of scourer with different shades of green acrylic paint, from darker to lighter.
7. Dry brush selected pieces of scourer with white, yellow or pink paint to represent blossom. This works for Normandy in June but if you're being picky, it wouldn't suit high summer!
8. When all the bushes have been coloured, apply clump foliage to the Thyme twigs with super glue.
9. Finally, titivate the bases with random bits of foliage.
Lessons for future projects: DAS warps! Pieces longer than 6" tend to twist as they dry so don't make them too long. Don't bother to texture the DAS as it doesn't show through. Sticking clump foliage to twigs is a messy nightmare: PVA won't hold it and superglue gets everywhere. I'm sure Woodland Scenics must make a specialist glue for this. I wondered whether to use just Icelandic moss as it looks more realistic than scourer, but scourer is much more rigid so I think a combination will be more hard wearing. And at gaming distance, it looks pretty convincing I hope.
Overall, this has been a fun project but very messy. I'm looking forward to seeing my bocage in action.