Modeling Track In The Street: An Evaluation
With more work on the sample, this is what I came up with. Some things worked and many others didn’t and I’ll say from the start I’m not happy with this outcome.
The foam board is lightweight, which is a plus, however, I don’t like the way it carves. The cracks are too big for my taste. On an actual street there are a few large cracks but many smaller ones and it was hard to produce the finer cracks. I found it frustrating and I may have used the wrong tools and methods. The foam is too soft and wants to tear instead of break like a coat of plaster would. I also went crazy with the volume of the cracking as you can see and it looks contrived to my eyes, more like a cartoon than a natural process. I need to study my references more.
Not what I want to see. The cracks are too wide, the texture looks off to my eyes and the surface is too fragile as evidenced by the white spot where I tore the foam. Back to proven and more familiar methods.
I was surprised at how well the foam took the color washes. I used denatured alcohol as a thinner and had concerns about it affecting the foam. My fears were groundless. The color went on nicely and I was able to vary the depth quite a bit. I built up washes and dry brushing in my usual manner and was pleased with the area in the center of the track. I’m also happy with the mud around the buried joint bar.
As an experiment, nothing was lost. The idea was to learn the working qualities of a different material. I think the foam would work better as a well-maintained surface rather than a worn one. As you can see in the photo above, it’s very fragile and easy to damage. I tore a chunk out just from cleaning the railhead with a wooden strip. I would hesitate to use the material in a foreground application.
The bottom line is that foam doesn’t have the working properties that will give me the results I want. I will scrape the top layer of foam off and trowel on a thin coat of drywall compound to the depth of the rails. The bottom layer of foam will reduce the volume of mud needed and that should decrease the overall weight. For a small sample like this, weight isn’t a concern, however on a larger cameo or layout situation, it might be. The experiment continues.
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