Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Experimenting with Foam Granite

Although I highly recommend New England Brownstone plaster products, there are times when you need a “quick and dirty” stone retaining wall or abutment. In this case, I needed abutments and a short stretch of retaining wall for a street overpass.  Since these components will be obscured by other buildings when the scene is completed, they didn't need to be detailed or foreground models. 

I was figuring this was going to be a long evening of trying to kit bash a Chooch abutment or casting my own out of plaster when Paul Dolkos mentioned he’s had some success carving them out of pink foam board. 

The photo shows my first attempt (this is an experiment on some scrap foam) after about 10 minutes of effort. 

Simply cut out the basic shape and then use a dull pencil or some similar instrument (I used a pencil and the blunt end of a fine paintbrush) to “carve” the stones into the Styrofoam surface. I found I could create the look of the face of the stones by pushing in on the foam with the pencil tip and dragging it. It’s important to avoid “breaking” the surface.  I went ahead and used an X Acto to carve some deeper crevices in an attempt to highlight the individual stones. 

Some black and white paint, blended together to make a base gray, and some lighter gray and tan highlights, and finally a dry brushing of white, produced a pretty decent cut stone retaining wall. While I wouldn't consider this a "foreground" model, it's a quick and easy way to get the effect. And, considering how much Styrofoam I have laying around, the price can’t be beat!

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