I’ve been working on comparing some of the varieties of static-grass out there and hope that this information proves useful to folks. I am, obviously, biased in that we are soon releasing our own static-grass mixes and as such I have tried to avoid saying much about our own products other than where it is factually based (such as cost/weight etc).
The grasses herein are “mixes” which means they are a blend of various colours designed to produce a varied overall colour, rather than a unifrom single shade.
Grass length is usually 2mm and most of the grasses appear to be nylon flock. Some of the grasses are single colour though. Grasses that are not the “standard” 2mm length are noted as such (such as some of the AW grass that is 1mm, or a mix of 2mm and 4mm grass, Silflor Grassses come in 2mm, 4mm and 6.5mm).
So far i have done 30+ types of static-grass “mix” type i.e. static-grass that consists of a blend of various colours.
I’ve mounted a patch of grass roughly 40mm x 40mm using an electro-static flock applicator to get identical coverage and to allow for the images to be compared side-by-side (once photographed). If I can find a suitable flash application I will get all of the images imported into it so that you can change around all of the images to make side-by-side comparisons.
Notes on the Images you see:
The actual colour you will see on your screen will vary depending on your individual monitor, graphics card settings, colour depth and so forth. As such it won’t necessarily be the actual colour of the static-grass. The point of this side-by-side comparison is that regardless of your settings you will be able to see the differences between one brand and another. Thus if you own one brand, saw “GW Grass”, then you know that a.n.other brand is lighter/darker/browner/greener.
These were worked out by using the average weight of the grass in a standard packet versus the RRP (Recommended Retail Price). I had to use the weight and not volume as the volume changes depending on packaging method and length of grasses in a mix. The average weight was calculated by choosing 6 random sets of packed grass from that brand where minimum weight was not given. It is worth noting that the actual amount of static-grass you receive is often higher than the average noted below f.ex. whilst GW list the minimum weight as 15g their packs often contain as much as 18g of grass (which changes their cost to around 0.28ppg). (Our own AW grasses are packed by volume (<=180ml) and vary from 18g to 27g depending on the mix of grass in them. I suspect this reflects the difference between them being packed by hand rather than by machine as all the others are; regardless I have chosen the average weight using the same method as the other brands to keep things fair.)
As such please take the following guide as a guide, you will find different weights yourself and where retailers discount the RRP the prices per gram can vary considerably.
(Please note these prices are from 2010)
Name|Weight|Cost|Cost per gram
GW – 15g – £5.00 – 0.33ppg
GF9 – 10g – £3.00 – 0.30ppg
AW – 22g – £3.75 – 0.17ppg
Fal – 35g – £4.20 – 0.12ppg
Silflor- 50g – £5.95 – 0.12ppg (6mm)
Javis – 14g – £1.39 – 0.10ppg
Noch – 20g – £2.05 – 0.10ppg
Silflor – 50g – £5.10 – 0.10ppg (2mm, 4mm)
This is my notes on the packaging considering things such as weight of packaging (for mail-order cost implications), whether the tub is any use for storing the grass and so on and so forth.
GW – re-sealable plastic tub, weight 26 grams, ~ 2/3 full, useful storage.
GF9 – packed hard-plastic tub, weight 30grams, packed full and often cannot get the grass back into the tub after opening! Annoying, messy, poor.
AW – tamper-resistant, re-sealable tub, weight 13g, useful storage.
Faller – zip-lock re-sealable plastic bag 2-5grams, OK for storage.
Noch– zip-lock re-sealable plastic bag 2-5grams, OK for storage.
Javis – heat-sealed bag 2-3grams, cannot re-seal once open, poor for storage.
Silflor – zip-lock re-sealable plastic bag 2-5grams, OK for Storage.
The bulk manufacturers of static-grass such as Noch/Faller/Silflor/Javis have the lowest prices and purely on that basis represent the best value for money. Noch and Faller also offer larger pack sizes that provide for even better value e.g. Noch 100g bags are down to £0.08ppg.
For some time (and admittedly including myself) it was thought that various of the flock “manufacturers” such as Noch produced the same grass for different brand names e.g. “GW grass was nothing more than Noch grass with the price increased a lot.”
I think that this review proves that to be inaccurate – none of the 30 odd grass mixes here are identical to any of the others and, as such, it seems more likely that each brand originates from a different source (probably in China where most flock is manufactured) and/or is made to a slightly different mix of colours even if they originate from the same factory.
Not one of the basic green-mix grasses are identical; there are 10 different colours of grass that hover around each other in similarity, but all are subtly different shades that fill the range between “GW Grass” and “GW Glade Grass”. There are NO exact matches for GW flock although, as the images will show, the differences between some other brands are virtually indistinguishable.
How you apply your flock can radically alter its appearance. In the samples here I deliberately chose a bright-white background to help highlight the colours, I then packed the flock very densely to get an even coverage that showed the flock colour best.
If you use less flock, don’t use an electrostatic applicator and paint your base brown or green, then you can alter the appearance of your flock quite considerably.
It is relatively simple to get one set of “green mix” grass to look identical to another simply by painting the base brown and scattering the flock on loosely by hand.
In such circumstances there is really no appreciable difference between GW Grass, GF9 Green Grass, Noch Summer Grass, AW Gamer Grass and Javis Summer Grass…and even possibly Noch Spring Grass (although it is a tad brighter). GW Dead Grass and AW Parched Grass are near identical; Javis Autumn and GW Scorched Grass are very similar to one another.
GF9, GW and AW grass prices include a premium for the packaging as there is no doubts that the other types of, essentially, poly-bag packaging are MUCH cheaper (as much as 1/100th of the price of a plastic tub). Whether or not the usefullness (or not) of the tub is of any importance, or relevance to you, is entirely an individual choice, but that packaging might be adding as much as £0.25-£0.55pence to the cost of ‘the product’. You can always buy empty tubs from ebay for ~ £0.50p to keep your grass in if you are not happy keeping it in zip-lock poly-bags.
In strict terms of whether or not one product is of a “better quality” the answer is “No”. All the products are either rayon or Nylon fibre, probably nylon, and to all intents and purposes identical, offering no advantages of one brand over another.
The only possible (and plausible) difference is colour consistency across the Brand from one batch to another over time. Given that all the mixes will be based from set Pantone colours this should not/will not be a significant factor and, given how you apply it is much more significant in terms of altering its colour appearance, negligible for the overwhelming majority of users.
If you are content that the differences between “GW Grass” and “Noch Summer Grass” are of no importance, then which brand offers the best value for money should be glaringly obvious: the Noch grass being 1/3rd the cost of the GW grass.
If anybody wants me to add a type of grass to the collection then please send me a smallish sample of it (a couple of grams at most). It is VERY important that all the grasses are prepared in an identical fashion and photographed in an identical fashion – otherwise you simply cannot offer a fair comparison in colouration. As such if you take you own photograph of grass applied in any different fashion then it simply will not be comparable and will, without any doubt, give you a false comparison. (Which is why doing all of this and getting the photos done together is such a PITA but of the utmost importance)