Help finding pink foam

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by thumsup, May 26, 2007.

  1. thumsup

    thumsup Member

    Thanks Don, I tried some local building centers, no one could/would help. Must be a California thing, no time for customer service.

    Hey Doctorwayne, thanks for the reply. I'll look into the plaster on screen method sounds better than dealing with the mess.

    Joe :wave:
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    That seems a contradiction in terms...! ;) :D More like trading one mess for another... sign1

  3. thumsup

    thumsup Member

    :rolleyes: I'm thinking plaster gotta be more fun. :eek:

    :wave: Joe
  4. nscaler711

    nscaler711 Member

    move to a different state man jk jk anyways its your darn Govinator that writes those silly bills off......i mean come one Pink foam is heck of alot safer (ecosytem) than white snow!
  5. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    I didn't find plaster scenery to be a mess at all. The most difficult part is putting the screen in and making sure that it's properly supported. I used aluminum window screen: it cuts easily with scissors, can be shaped somewhat, and will support itself better than fibreglass screening. Watch out for the pointy ends, though. Fibreglass screen will work too, but requires more support. I didn't try it, but I've read that wadded-up balls of newspaper will work well for this task. Simply remove them (or not) after the plaster has set. Steel screen will work, too, but you'll end up looking like you were attacked by a flock of irate chickens (lots of sharp and pointy bits) and the little bits can be attracted to the locomotives' motors.
    For plaster, I used a product called Durabond 90, a patching compound the is very strong and hard. While it's made by Canada Gypsum, U.S. Gypsum has a similar product. This stuff has a catalyst in it, and the "90" part of the name refers to the setting time, in minutes. There are other times available, but, for this kind of work, longer is usually better. I use a large plastic tub to mix it in: I think mine was sold as a cat litterbox. Follow the mixing directions on the package. It comes in 5 or 10 lb. boxes or in more economical 35 lb. bags. Don't mix more than you can use in the allotted time, as this stuff will set regardless of how thin you make it. I use a wide scraper or putty knife to mix and apply it, and before it sets, use a cheap nylon paintbrush, dipped in water, to smooth out any trowelling marks. Depending on how thick you apply it, it may take several days to cure completely: if you need to carve in any type of rock detail, do it promptly, as once cured, this stuff is hard!
    The excess material that dries in the mixing pan before it can be applied is useful as rip-rap for fill along the tracks, or as loose stone rubble at the base of a cliff. After it's put in place, spray it with a wash made from water-based paints, then fasten in place as you would ballast. I paint the plaster landforms with flat latex interior housepaint, thinned at least 50% with water, which soaks in better, is faster to apply, and makes the paint go farther, too. Don't thin the paint if you plan to apply ground cover while the paint is still wet, as the thinned paint soaks in almost immediately.
    If your layout is on a plywood tabletop, spread some newspapers on the floor around the area where you're working. If your layout is on open benchwork, like most of mine, spread newspapers under the area where you'll be working, too.
    And you're right about it being more fun, too!! :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  6. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    I was just kidding...! ;)

    Plaster vs foam -- this is like the debate between DC and DCC. Pros and cons on both sides, and even different methods/systems/etc within each can cause debate.

    The foam method of landscaping is not a single method, and there are ways to minimize mess, or maximize the amount of work done within a certain time, etc. It's all about trade-offs.

    The reason we (Welcome to the HOTRAK website) do not go for plaster (or plywood benchwork) is that it's heavy and the modules are supposed to be easily transportable.


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