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It's been a Looooong time since I posted, but I've been working on the layout, unfortunately at a snails pace.  I wanted to post some pictures of the foam mountains I am attempting to create and share some of the methods I have used so far.  They are not complete, but my goal is to have them painted by Thanksgiving (Family comes over then).

The first set of mountains I constructed were built using wooden bases, cardboard, brown rolled paper (Found at any hardware store), and hydrocal (in molds & brushed on).  After I got the structure to my liking then I used dyes to add color to the mountain.  When that phase was completed I used Scenic Cement and placed the ground cover and other scenery items on the area.  I initially used hot glue for the trees but some have taken a few hits (this will happen with three boys at home) so I need to come up with a new method for those.

Now onto the second set of mountains.  I decided to try using foam after seeing the results several people have achieved.  I went with 2" foam board, 4 x 8 sheets.  I cut the foam with a retractable knife into 4' sections, approx. 6-10" wide, shaped to the desired landscape.  I also had to place some pieces vertically due to the curves.  I then used liquid nail, low expanding foam, and screws to secure the foam into place.  Note:  I also purchased (1) 1" 4 x 8 foam sheet for fill areas.  Once I got the foam secured I used a hot wire carving/knife tool set that I got on Amazon (This works wonders).  Afterwards I used a nail puller/cats paw tool to beat up the foam.  This is as far as I've gotten.  My plans are to fill some odds & ends areas, shape them, beat up a few sections, then use quilted batting on the sections that are not rock faced.  I purchased a power sprayer last year and will use it, along with brushes, to paint the foam and batting a dark brown.

Any comments, questions or suggestions are welcome, I hope this helps anyone looking to start the scenery part of their layout.  I know that the pictures others have posted on this forum have greatly aided me and I'm hoping to repay by inspiring someone else.



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Last edited by Darren Caruso
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Thank you for the positive comments, can't find too many of those these days, and thank you for the ideas.  I forgot to mention that my final shaping step for the foam is to use a angle grinder with different size discs, but I plan to try the wire brush.

The foam cutter I bought off of amazon is listed as:  Winon Hot knife foam cutter, retails for $22.  I also got the quilted batting there.  I found a video on Youtube.  The individual uses a glue called "Modge Podge" on the foam, then places the quilted batting on.  After the glue dries he hand paints the batting.  The end results are impressive.  I plan to use the batting on the tops of the foam formations.

I used a total of 6 sheets of foam.

The layout is "L" shaped, approximately 28' x 30', varying widths.  It is all one connected loop with the trains travelling from top to bottom then back up.


Impressive work Darren.  One of the great things about rigid foam is its light weight.  I made this corner mountain with foam modules so it can be taken apart if I need access to the track inside the tunnels.

A hot wire doesn’t make enough mess for me.  I used a keyhole saw or steak knife for the cuts and a wood rasp/60 grit sandpaper for shaping. I used mold-a-scene/sculptamold for final shaping.



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