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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I have started to (or rahter started to try to) sculpt the hills in my attic railway out of polystrene. Just looking for tips really, should I cut out a basic shape, sand it so it is the final shape then glue it down, or should i glue a big block down and sand it back to the hill side shape?

what is the best way to cut it? what glues should i use to stick the polystrene down with?

Thanks for any help,

Pete.
 

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You could cut the general shape before positioning it on your layout and then make fine adjustments when you have it in its final position.

I use PVA to keep it in position and it works ok. I also cover it with either paper mache or plaster soaked rag to give it a final smooth finish which is better for a grass slope. If your doing a rocky slope you can place your rocky outcrops in position on the polystyrene and then fix them with the plaster cloth or paper mache.

I use a knife with a serrated edge to cut it. I use a leatherman which has a good strong serrated edged blade. I have seen many people advocate some kind of heated wire set up but that's a lot of fannying around for nothing really. I wouldn't recommend using a thin blade as they snap too easy. Something with a strong serrated edge.

Oh make sure you have vacuum cleaner on stand by, you'll need it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
yeah, i have done some special effects models with polystrene before, just never something so small and never something attached to a table like that.

I noticed all the mess, the house is slowly getting filled :-D

The hot wire cutter works really nicely, it gets such a smooth cut and the mess is dramaticaly reduced. I used a hot wire to cut my poly for the sfx stuff but i have mis layed the nichrome element wire so im stuck with a bread knife....



is it not advised to sand the surface smooth with wet n' dry then paint and scatter, or should i use plaster or gummed paper/papier mache first?
 

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QUOTE is it not advised to sand the surface smooth with wet n' dry then paint and scatter, or should i use plaster or gummed paper/papier mache first?

Why would you want to sand it? I just paint and scatter on top of the paper mache or plaster cloth. If I'm using plaster cloth I just stain it if I want a rock effect.
 

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The issue I have with making a hill and then plunking it down on my layout is that it looks as if i have done exactly that. I much prefer the technique of using balls of crunched up newspapers taped together on the table in a kind of web and then laying plaster gauze (Woodland Scenics) over it. To save money you could also dip heavy duty towels in plaser as well. No need to sand at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ok, well i have just bodged up a hot wire cutter to cut the larger sheets up. I have also mocked up a hill by gluging down blocks of foam and then sanded it back into a hill shape which seems to ave worked.... i plan on coating it with pva then painting it....
 

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QUOTE I much prefer the technique of using balls of crunched up newspapers taped together on the table in a kind of web and then laying plaster gauze (Woodland Scenics) over it.

Thats what I did with my first layout. The reason I would use polystyrene blocks now is to give some structural integrity for tunnels. I would also go with the plaster cloth. I used paper mache before which was tedious and laborious.
 

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A much better material is styrene sheet (it's like the stuff flowerist's use). Sure you get dust but not those horrid bits of polystyrene that get everywhere & causes hearing damage.

If you are lucky there will be an insulating materials supplier near to you (good old yellow pages) that will almost certainly be glad to give you sections with damaged corners/broken bits. It costs them serious money to dispose of it in these environmently concious times.

It,s just as light, probably stronger & takes all the adhesives that polystyrene does.

BTW - an excellent material for scenic work & especially rock faces is "Hydrofibre" easy to use & reuseable even after months/years. Anyone interested in this - send me a PM.
 

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QUOTE (dbclass50 @ 20 Dec 2006, 07:27) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>A much better material is styrene sheet (it's like the stuff flowerist's use).
BTW - an excellent material for scenic work & especially rock faces is "Hydrofibre" easy to use & reuseable even after months/years. Anyone interested in this - send me a PM.

I have to agree on this one, the styrene foam is far easier to use than polystyrene, and additionally a much smoother contour can be obtained-even roads can be worked in by using a Surform or similar. The stuff used by florists is called oasis and is incredibly expensive for what it is.

Another method to use, is to use heavy card (often available from superstores etc. when promotions have finished in store, this is frequently binned after so shouldn't cost anything!) as a framework on which to build up height. It's also handy for building in tunnels etc.

I personally would do final contouring with a modelling compound of your own choice.

I would also advise doing a few sketches based on measurements BEFORE you start building anything of a scenic nature, also ensuring anything like tunnel mouths, bridges etc. are in position.

Hope this helps.

Regards

John
 
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