Making boulders from foam

Discussion in 'Scenics' started by Gary, Jul 21, 2018.

  1. Gary

    Gary Wants more time for modelling.... Staff Member Administrator

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    I recently had a request from Toto (our glorious leader) on how he can make boulders for his layout. I chose this simple method that really takes no time at all, say compared to making plaster casts, painting, dry brushing etc, or using Sculptamould.

    So, I raided my stash of foam (insulation) from my off cuts bin. Us model lers never through bits and pieces out, as they may be useful down the track. Finding a few odd bits and pieces, I started a very simple process.


    When cutting quickly with a serated knife, a nice rough almost rock face surface can be achieved.


    With the longer piece of foam, it was cut up to reasonable size blocks.


    Using a serrated knife (shown above), some carving was started to obtain a 'boulder' shape.


    Continue carving until the desired shape is made.


    I have looked at Paul's work on his thread 'Another Bridge too Far' and noticed that the rock faces he has produced are quite sharp and jagged in places. I took a little modelling licence from his pics and thought that a large boulder would have fracture lines through it. This can be obtained by using the knife across the face and around the corners, keeping the fracture lines with some continuity. This boulder below has been rounded in places due to the weathering process that an exposed rock would generally be exposed to.


    Another rough cut piece of foam was shaped up, although a differenent size and overall shape.


    This too had fracture lines carved into boulder no. 2.


    Another piece of foam was carved to give this thread a variety and it also allows different paint techniques to achieve a desired result.


    The completed, carved and serrated boulder, no.3.


    Part two to continue...
     
  2. Gary

    Gary Wants more time for modelling.... Staff Member Administrator

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    Continuing on...

    The three boulders side by side to show the difference between each, after all, no two boulders could possibly be the same. Boulder 1 left, boulder 3 middle, boulder 2 right.


    Now onto painting...

    Boulder no. 1 was painted with Citadel 'Mournfang Brown'


    Boulder no. 2. had had a light spray of Matt Black. Although this is enamel, fine light coats need to be applied as it does affect the foam. I would highly recommend not to use enamels, but acrylics instead. All aerosol spraying was completed outside in the open air.


    The result with the black enamel paint.


    Boulder no. 3 was painted with Citadel 'Dawnstone' (grey). Sorry, no pic of this boulder painted grey as my camera had lost the image when uploading... o_O


    Each rock was treated some light dry brushing of Citadel 'Mournfang Brown' and 'Dawnstone'. Boulder two was dry brushed with brown and boulder 1 was dry brushed with grey. Boulder 3 had a wash of grey over the top, before some dry brushing of brown


    After giving this a quick dry with a warm hair dryer, Humbrol RC410 (GWR Green ??) was applied on the lower surfaces and underneath the boulders to represent mould/moss. This was lightly applied using a wet wash mix folled by some dry brushing in the harder to reach spots where I did not need a complete greening.


    The end result is pleasing to the eye and each boulder has a different tone about it.


    Boulder 1.


    Boulder 2.


    Boulder 3.


    I would recommend playing around with the colour palette to match the area or boulders you wish to model. Best to work off photographs to obtain the best results.

    So..., this exercise took about 1 hour to complete, which included carving the foam, painting, drying time between coats of paint, and the photographs for this thread. A production line could be set up where the boulders can be carved, followed by paint, washes etc. I'd easily say 20 - 30 boulders of varying size could be carved up within an hour. On a warm day or by using a warm hair dryer, painting could be completed in approximately an hour (depending on method and paint type/brand), the dry brushing to obtain the finished look again another 45 minutes to an hour.

    Not bad really... ;)

    These boulders weigh absolutely nothing compared to making them from plaster or Scultamould and can be fixed in position with a spot of PVA or Gorilla Glue. But the best thing is, if they don't quite fit the scene, it is easy to carve out a little to make them fit.

    Cheers, Gary.
     
  3. Matt

    Matt Full Member

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    Now that is brilliant and really clever!
     
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  4. York Paul

    York Paul Staff Member Moderator

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    Gary that's a great tip and so easy to see, thanks for posting up and showing the process in a nicely defined manner. :thumbup::tophat:
     
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  5. Vinylelpea

    Vinylelpea Full Member

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    Thanks mate. Very useful, much appreciated

    Phil from Australia
     
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  6. Toto

    Toto I'm best ignored Staff Member Founder Administrator

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    Very effective. I will give that a go myself as my rock face could definately benifit from a few individual rocks being placed here and there.

    I have plenty of foam but the wrong kind, it's the expanded type which does not cut quite the same as the dense foam you have used. I'll be able to pinch some from somewhere though. I'll get on the case. ........ I could maybe raid my attic. :scratchchin: ........
     
  7. York Paul

    York Paul Staff Member Moderator

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    Have a wander down the street you may find a builder skip with off cuts of Kingspan sheeting, failing that I have a nice piece of polystyrene packer which came with a very lush kit this morning.:avatar::avatar::avatar:
     

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