A while back I wrote about a different way to construct foam bench work. (Post is linked below.) There’s a lot of potential in that design I want to explore in the future but for the extension to Mill Road, I stayed with the original form and materials. I want the new section to blend seamlessly with the original. I also want the framework to disappear into the background, so you can focus on the modeling.

Proven Methods With a Twist
There isn’t much to say about the construction of the second cameo frame. I used the same 3/16ths thick plywood and matched the design and dimensions of the original. I did reduce the amount of wood used for internal bracing, which, saved on the overall weight of the frame.

Another weight saving change was using foam core instead of aluminum flashing stock for the backdrop. The flashing stock worked but it’s clumsy to work with and is easily dinged and scratched. I did some tests to see if the large sheets of foam would curl or warp after painting and I’m satisfied they will be stable over time. I like this change, as the foam is lightweight and much easier to work with. I will have one seam that will be disguised by a stand of trees.

As mentioned I’m also installing lights in this module. They are the same LED strips used in the first cameo and in fact, I could link them all together on one supply cord if I wanted, yet disconnect them easily and quickly if I had to move the modules.

For the track, I recycled a section I made for the initial switch lead, plus the siding from the former 13th and North E. St. scene that I salvaged for this purpose. It’s a personal decision for each of us, but I believe that model railroading can do better in terms of the amount of wasted material that’s generated and impact it creates. I like recycling usable sections when I can as it saves time and it’s one less pile of debris for the landfill.

In all, the cameo format has proven its worth in terms of the design flexibility and lightweight construction. There’s simply no reason that I would go back to building with conventional methods.


Plenty of work left to do but the extension is shaping up. I need to paint the underside of the top cover with the charcoal gray before mounting the lights. I will also need to paint and add a trim strip to secure the top of the backdrop. Then I can fit the salvaged sections of track in place and proceed with scenery.