When I was in HO scale, I built my model railroad scenery with cardboard strips, plaster cloth and plaster castings.
I read in the model railroad magazines that Styrofoam insulation board was becoming more popular for use in scenery construction. For one of the mountains, on my previous HO logging outfit, I built up a layered Styrofoam creation as an attempt to "go modern." I was using an ordinary kitchen knife to cut the board and tried to smooth the edges using the surfoam tool.
Do you remember this tool?
This turned out to be quite tedious and I ended up with bits of blue plastic everywhere.
I wanted try something completely different this go round. After cutting the panels to a manageable 14.5" X 30" I was able to take them to the workbench and using "score and snap" remove large sections using a straight edge and box cutter knife.
With this new creation "The Original Kittom Lumber Co." I wanted to use some of the newer techniques for working with foamboard. I found that the hot wire foam cutter from Woodland scenics was a much better way to carve and cut foam board
The hot wire can be adjusted to cut an angle in the foam.
As the hills of Kentucky and Tennessee are somewhat rounded I wanted to use this feature to bevel the edges of the boards and make rounded hill tops. I followed the outlines I had traced out earlier.
I was able to do this in minutes where previous work with the surfoam tool would've taken hours and caused quite a mess.
There definitely have been some improvements in the hobby of model railroading.
I first used foam many years ago and cleaning up the mess was a royal pain! I used the rasp and a seated knife. I then got a foam cutter hot knife. It works well, just be sure to use it outside or in ventilation, the gasses are pretty rough. I still seem to fall back on the rasp for "finish work."
I now use a combination of cardboard/plaster and foam. I think for the portability I would do like you and use foam straight up, as if it takes a hit, it won't break and it is light.
I can't wait to get my house fixed up so that I can have my room back and begin the new layout.
Thanks for sharing!
____________________ Steven B.
Humboldt & Toiyabe Rwy
I hope you get a layout up soon so we can all see it!!
These mini layouts are good for that. It doesn't take a lot to get them going because of their small size.
Thank you also for the reminder that burning styrofoam releases TOXIC FUMES. When burned Polystyrene (styrofoam is expanded polystyrene) produces polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (causes cancer) carbon soot (also can cause cancer) and carbon monoxide which is poisonous.
In my excitement to make the post I completely forgot this HEALTH WARNING.
In fact in cutting the foam I took it outside to do the work where there was plenty of ventilation.