landscape materials? foam or plaster?

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by littlekahuna23, Jun 21, 2006.

  1. littlekahuna23

    littlekahuna23 New Member

    I am trying to build some mountains, hills and general landscape around my track. I'm just getting started and having lots of fun. I have heard of others using plaster for their mountains and tunnels. BUt I'm looking for something lighter, like styrafoam. Where do I buy flat sheets of styragoam? Or do I need to go looking in dumpsters? What other materials and techniques are used to build dynamic landscapes?
  2. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    First of all, welcome to the Gauge. Secondly, I moved your thread here because it was in the "Product review" section and wouldn't have gotten the replies it should being there.

    You can get the blue or pink extruded foam in most home centers like Lowe's or Home Depot, that is dependent on where you live. Try to avoid the white beaded foam at all costs since it is messy and difficult to work with. The little beads become attracted to everything, and it really doesn't cut well either.
  3. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member

    To add to what Don said, after you create the form or shape, then smear, paint, or glob plaster on top of that to give you a hard shell. Then carve rock faces.

  4. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    :wave: welcome to the gauge :wave: I have used both on my next layout(under construction) I'm going to use both foam for the low hills and hard shell for high the way hard shell is not that heavy:)
  5. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    I'm just reading the book"N scale model railroading getting started in the hobby" the author ( Marty McGuirk ) uses extruded styrene for carving the hills, BUT on top of that he applies a thin layer of Sculptamold ( papier maché like stuff )
    I built the Woodland Scenics diorama, it uses paper wads covered with plaster cloths but I took the initiative to add a very thin coat of sculptamold and was very satisfied with the result ( very gentle rolling hills ).
    You didn't tell us where you live, so suggesting a store where to buy extruded styrene is difficult.Here in Quebec ( Canada ) it is available without any problem at sores such as Home-depot and Rona.
    I understand that in some US states ( California ) the building code prohibit it.

    And welcome to the gauge. A bunch of nice , polite , knowledgeable people ready to answer your questions.
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Another method that is very strong, but light is to make a 50/50 mix of shredded newsprint and cement with water to make a paper mache type paste. You want cement, not ready mix concrete. It is apparantly the sand and aggregates in ready mix that makes concrete so heavy. A mix of cement and paper is very light weight.
  7. Relic

    Relic Member

    I personally use the white beaded sfoam and cover it with cheesecloth painted with a couple of coats of thin plaster.
    good luck
    have fun
  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I think it was Dave Frary who advocated this method. He used the white "beadboard" type styrofoam with the expanding spray foam ("Great Stuff"?) for his landforms. The spray foam can be carved when set. Just be sure to protect any areas you don't want it to go, as it is virtually impossible to remove, and sticks to everything!

    The white styrofoam is not really strong enough for decking/sub-sub roadbed, but is cheap and easy for landforms. Carve it with a really sharp knife or a hot wire tool (ventilate!) to minimize the mess.

  9. jasbourre

    jasbourre Member

    Building mountains is what I'm doing this weekend, I'm using wadded newspaper and masking tape, then covering it with plaster cloth.
  10. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member

    I do it like Jasbourre... Followed with a final coat of stucco patch.


    What do you think?
  11. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    you want to know how to make mountains?

    i just found out about these products from my local hobby/train shop. i love it!

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