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Thread: Making terrain with Foam-It 5 and Woodland Scenics molds?

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    Default Making terrain with Foam-It 5 and Woodland Scenics molds?

    Working on a new layout and starting to think about how I'm going to do the terrain. I know I don't want to use hydrocal or plaster because I want to keep the layoout pretty lightweight and portable and hydrocal or plaster are not very light and chip pretty easily. I watched Eric Siegel's excellent how-to series on building tunnels/mountains by using expanding polyurethane foam. His trains are O gauge but I don't see why it couldn't be done in N scale. He uses molds and foams from Bragdon Enterprises. I already have several Woodland Scenics rock molds and my local craft store sells a Foam-It 5 starter kit made by Smooth On. Far as I can tell this is the same sort of foam used in Eric's video. Has anyone used Foam-It 5 or similar foams with the Woodland Scenics molds?

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    Update on this:

    I'm using the foam to create the hardshell for my layout using the window screen technique in Eric Siegel's tunnel building videos on YouTube. So far I'd say I'm mixed on the process:
    Pros:
    -- The hardshell is very light and very solid while still having some give to it so it won't chip like plaster or stucco type coverings.
    -- It's easy to conform it to the shape you want while it's still within the curing window. It reminds me of working with Woodland Scenics Shaper Sheet but without the fuzzy surface (and need for plaster.)

    Cons:
    -- Time consuming. Each piece of material has to be made one at a time because it has a fairly limited curing window. Once it's cured it's not going to bend. You have to pour the liquid foam mix onto the screen and then wait 10-12 minutes before applying it to the layout.
    -- Getting the right consistency is pretty tricky. Too little foam and the mesh shows through. Too much and it becomes too thick (up to 1/8") and hard to work with. Often times parts will be very thin in some areas and fairly thick in others.
    -- Noticeable seams. Not an issue for areas which will be covered with rock molds. For areas where I plan to just have ground cover it might require some filler material to hide the seam.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Not familiar with the product but I use cans of foam - Great Stuff for example - on my layout. After it cures I carve it and then use sculptamold for the shell and for the rock work. Very solid and light weight, but can be time consuming to carve the rock.

    If you try it I strongly recommend taping your track first as the stuff expands a lot more than you think and can glue things similar to polyurethane glue. Also the sculptamold will not stick to the shiny cured foam surface - you have to carve the foam (serrated steak knife) to create a rough surface and then smear the sculptamold into the pores.

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    I thought about using expanding foam but I figured if I was going to do that I could just as easily stick with blue/pink foam panels which are less messy and a bit easier to carve. The only advantage I've seen with aerosol foam is that it will expand to fill gaps on bench work. I also have a pretty long tunnel so my mountain needs to be hollow so I can access the inside of the tunnel if there's a derailment. Carving foam is also pretty messy and since this is in our family room I want to avoid little bits of foam getting everywhere.

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    Wow...Great Stuff...never thought of that! Yes, definitely completely cover your track up. And it's kind of nasty stuff to work with, if you get it on your arm it will be there for days and days. I just used some to keep a squirrel from getting in our attic. That was Monday, and it's Thursday and I still have it on my arm, where it dripped. Very lightweight and easy to carve, though. Remember that less is more, it expands as it cures.

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    A thousand words twice:
    S0560224.jpgS0540214.jpg
    @P-LineSoo, I also plugged a squirrel hole with it but the tree rats chewed it out within a week. I repatched by foaming in some hardware cloth.

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    LOL... well, I foamed in the hole and screwed a piece of 1/4" plywood over the hole. Then my wife felt sorry for the squirrel, who was apparently then trapped in the attic, so I had to go back outside and remove it.

    I'm not sure how we're going to tell if the squirrel is 'in' or 'out'...he doesn't publish his office hours...

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    I put that Great Stuff in a wall behind a door knob. I was hoping there would be enough support to keep the door knob from going through the drywall again. Umm, yes it expands, I ended up with a big bulge with cracks behind the door. The wife took it away from me and banned me from using the stuff ever again. Heck I wouldn't put it past even bursting a cinder block wall if you tried.

    I would rather stick with layers of sheet foam and liquid nails than mess with that spray on stuff again.

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