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Sandcasting Foam Terrain

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Not trying to toot my own horn, but I've been wanting to share my new terrain technique with you guys for a while, but I wanted to wait until the Craft Article went out, and here it is:

 

Making Sand-cast Foam Terrain

 

Let me know what you think. I'd also be interesting in hearing if any of you try it.

 

Andy

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That's a very good article. I have linked to it from one of my other forums. The final results are quite impressive and I imagine its very sturdy.

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Yeah, they are sturdy and extremely light. The only issue I have with them is that about a week after making a piece, it tends to shrink on the inside and then puckers the bottom. After sitting for a month or so, this then relaxes and the model regains it's original shape.

 

We just played 10 hours of CAV on these this past Saturday, and they worked great.

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More importantly, how many pieces of terrain do you get out of a can?

 

I would think it would matter how high you would want your hills. Not all hills are the same.

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More importantly, how many pieces of terrain do you get out of a can?

 

I would think it would matter how high you would want your hills. Not all hills are the same.

 

 

Granted, but with an avg sized hill, you can get a basic idea...

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More importantly, how many pieces of terrain do you get out of a can?

 

5 to 10, depending on how big the pieces are and how good you get at judging the right amount to spray in the mold. That's using the big cans of Great Stuff, which cost around $6 (at least they did the last time I bought some a year ago).

 

Andy

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That's an awesome idea. I wish you had thought of it and posted this several years ago when I had access to a commercial foam packaging machine - we always had to clean the nozzles after use by shooting it into a 5 gallon bucket - could have made tons of these with that "waste" foam.

 

Have you tried embedding anything in the sand so that the foam "grabs" it and causes it to become a permanent part of the terrain piece? Like a large rock, or Hirst arts block?

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Have you tried embedding anything in the sand so that the foam "grabs" it and causes it to become a permanent part of the terrain piece? Like a large rock, or Hirst arts block?

 

No, but it is a great idea. I thought of burying trees in the sand so just the bases show and the foam molds around them to make a forest, but I don't currently have any trees.

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Back when there were still companies making vacu-formed models, spray foam was used as a reinforcing agent in the kit voids, and I experimented with using it to reinforce a model RR building I made for wargaming purposes. Unfortunately I must've used too much foam, because the building exploded....

 

Damon.

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This is freakin' sweet!

 

I take it the foam does not adhere during curing to the wax paper? If that's the case, you can line the sand mold with wax paper to get smoother sides...potentially a way of making square or round building-like terrain. As another tack, have you tried sanding or otherwise removing the adhered sand?

 

Not that I don't like the sandy/pebbly texture; I'm just thinking of other potential textures.

 

Now I'm thinking about how this might work with clay...

 

Very awesome trick, this. Thanks for sharing it with us!

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This is no swipe at the OP, but there was a company using similar techniques a number of years back. I don't know if they were local to my area, or not. But they didn't last long.

 

A FLGS stocked some of their stuff for a time. As far as I can tell, they were using molds of some kind - not the best quality sculpts, truly - which they would fill with the foam and then paint rather poorly. I bought one piece, but to be honest with you, I was never 100% sure what it was supposed to be because either the sculpt was bad or the material did not take to casting well.

 

The thing worth noting is that the piece couldn't take a lot of handling and fell apart pretty quickly. But having it did introduce my wife and I (both hobby nuts) to the idea of using Great Stuff to make terrains. Since we can't get pink or blue foam in our area and Great Stuff is sort of related to it (in a spray-on sort of way), it did seem to present an alternative. We never pursued it because it seemed too messy, and because the one we purchased disintegrated pretty quickly.

 

Again, no slight against the OP. The technique here looks pretty cool and is well executed. Just wondering if the same short lifespan is a factor/fear here? Any word on how this stuff handles once painted, etc?

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