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Gordon J

Foam Base Question

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After every model show I attend I come away with a desire to build dioramas but I have little idea how to accomplish this goal.


As part of my online research I came across the AK Interactive YouTube channel (video link below) and the guy who does the videos demonstrating their diorama products uses some sort of foam as a base. It seems to be able to be cut and carved and painted and readily take their groundwork products and it has a decent depth to it. As a diorama novice I thought I might try something of this ilk to practice and to learn.

 

https://youtu.be/WWd5fIPCRuc


My question to the Britmodeller members is to ask what the foam being used in the above video is? I have looked in arts and crafts shops and B&Q but with no success.


Without knowing for certain and from my own investigations I am guessing it is an insulation foam used in house building? Do any of the diorama builders on here know what the foam is and where in the UK I might be able to buy it?


Thanks in advance for reading this thread and for any help the users can provide.

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It could be a block cut from Poly Urethane Expanding foam. Available in spray cans from BnQ, Screwfix, builders merchants, DiY stores. Cost is £4.99 and upwards for a big can. Or it could be fine grade flower arrangers 'Oasis'. Available in fine, medium and coarse, from flower shops and their suppliers.

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Thanks Black Knight for your reply.

 

How on earth would you get expanding foam into such a neat block? I have used that stuff to block up a hole in my flat and it is terribly messy stuff.

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In the texts underneath the video it says:

 

"Its called "kingspan" it is covered in a silver outer made of tin foil or silver cardboard, just peel it off, the boards are large, 5ft x2+1/2 foot or so."

 

"AK Interactive Official 7 months ago

Insulation foam :)"

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2 hours ago, Gordon J said:

Without knowing for certain and from my own investigations I am guessing it is an insulation foam used in house building? Do any of the diorama builders on here know what the foam is and where in the UK I might be able to buy it?

 

 

8 minutes ago, Murdo said:

Its called "kingspan" it is covered in a silver outer made of tin foil or silver cardboard, just peel it off, the boards are large, 5ft x2+1/2 foot or so."

 

Board size and thickness vary.   Kingspan is a brand,  there are others, eg Celotex.

they are

Quote

PIR (polyisocyanurate) Boards. Polyisocyanurate (PIR) is one of the most efficient insulation material used in construction. This product is an improvement of previously used PUR boards (polyurethane), typically produced as a foam and used as rigid thermal insulation.

@Gordon J  you won't need much, and a big sheet is quite pricey,  keep a look out for building jobs,  if you see any used  always worth asking for off cuts.  You won't need much and a foot square chunk isn't much use.

I'd also look in the skips on jobs.

technically the contents are someone's property, so best to ask,  but in reality it's waste that cost to dispose of,  so anything that makes more space in a skip is not frowned upon ;)

 

Also, if you have some thing like Freecycle or Freegle,  again, asking for offcuts.  

 

You can also use expanded polystyrene,  and there load of that about, won't carve in the same way PIR will, 

 

27 minutes ago, Gordon J said:

How on earth would you get expanding foam into such a neat block? I have used that stuff to block up a hole in my flat and it is terribly messy stuff.

squirt it into a box the size you want.  it will stick to the box but you can just cut it off. 

 

HTH

HTH

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Hi Troy,

 

Many thanks for that hugely helpful and informative reply. I have no experience of the building trade or the materials used in that field so would never have known about things like PIR boards. Can I assume it is something that builders might buy in bulk?

 

I shall set my sights on house building sites or builders merchants now and see what I can source. Hopefully I can find some and try my hand at a diorama.

 

The foam getting used in the AK Interactive video looks really good for diorama bases.

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1 hour ago, Gordon J said:

Can I assume it is something that builders might buy in bulk?

what's  the square meterage of your roof?  Mines maybe 48 square metres,  which is about 16 sheets,  so, yes, if you are insulating somewhere you will use lots of the stuff, which is why I suggest hunting for offcuts,  as a full board is 2.4x1.2 m (or 8x4 ft in old money..) but then it gets cut up to fit...

a 100 mm thick board of that size looks to be £30 to £40,   so apart from not wanting a blinkin' great sheet, it's not cheap either.   It comes in a variety of thickness's as well. 

Hence my comment about offcuts and skips...  bear in mind you can always stick bit together onto a base board as well. 

HTH

PS for the small amounts a modeller would need, @Black Knight suggestions are good.

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I had some blue insulating foam left over from finishing the basement but I don't have any now. You could go to your local building supply store and see what they might have.

 

 

Chris

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4 hours ago, Troy Smith said:

squirt it into a box the size you want.  it will stick to the box but you can just cut it off. 

Poly urethane squirty foam; line the box with a plastic bag. Foam wont stick to the plastic. Trim the shape to neaten edges, or leave the cardboard on some sides for glueing stuff on.

I used to make war-gaming hills for no.3 son by spraying the foam into a plastic bag and holding the bag down onto a table, allowing some of the bag to expand upwards and outwards, but the bottom was flat to the table.

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Thanks Black Knight and Dogsbody and Troy Smith and Murdo for your replies to this thread. All greatly appreciated and enlightening.

 

I am beginning to realise that building dioramas means you use products that aren't necessarily specific modelling products and you find things that are not always stocked in model shops.

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1 hour ago, Gordon J said:

Thanks Black Knight and Dogsbody and Troy Smith and Murdo for your replies to this thread. All greatly appreciated and enlightening.

 

I am beginning to realise that building dioramas means you use products that aren't necessarily specific modelling products and you find things that are not always stocked in model shops.

 

It's quite amazing what some modellers here use that "aren't necessarily specific modelling products".

 

"We" use: Floor polish as varnish, Isopon car filler for shaping and filling ship's hulls, sewing thread as plastic saws, belt hole cutters as plastic disc cutters, Clear silicon bathroom sealant for making a sea scape... The list is endless. 


When wife and daughter are in the wimmen's make up section, I spend time, looking bored, but surreptitiously lurking for files and nail polishers etc which are perfect for modelling. I'm think of getting Daughter to buy some of the resin nail making stuff to try out on models and recently I stole (borrowed) her latest eyebrow tweezers as they're actually very delicate, VERY strong and they're the best I've ever used for handling very small parts.

 

I haunt the flower arranging section in Hobby Craft as you can pick up some superb and very thin different scales of wire there that's perfect for model tank / plane / ship bits.

 

My wife finds it highly amusing to watch me retrieve something she's thrown into the bin to add to my "Scratchbuild resources" (What she calls my rubbish pile) for possible future use. 

 

Last week she caught me dismantling one of her wee patio lights (has a wee solar panel that charges a battery thar runs a wee LED, you know the things) and asked what I was doing. I replied innocently that "the battery was U/S and I was just going to change it". "It was fine last night" she replied "and why does it now have one of your modelling candlelight LEDs attached to it? Were you thinking of putting it in that America Yacht model by any chance?  Put it back together and back in my plant pot!"     Curses! Foiled again!

 

Now I've just texted a mate whose having house renovation done to see if he has any of the insulation stuff mentioned to see if I can find a use for it... Seascapes, ship's hulls, superstructure etc...

 

I'm rather sad really...        🤪

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Always check the electrical/plumbing supply sections of your local building/automotive supply stores. I had the benefit of working in an oilsand extraction plant for 35 years and always having access to the electrical/instrumentation shop. Lots of good small stuff in there. It also helps when the various tradesmen would carelessly leave things lying around and not return them to the shop. As a plant operator, it was my job to look after my assigned area and keep an eye on all work being done. I've also taken old electronics ( VCR, Walkmans, etc ) apart and harvested anything that looked of possible use.

My youngest daughter works as a cosmetician  in the boutique section of a local national chain drugstore. I can get a lot of useful items there at her employee discount price.

 

Always look at everything as a possible source of supply.

 

 

Chris

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Posted (edited)

@Gordon J Im a big fan of using kingspan and bitchumen plaster (ready mixed cheap stuff from B&Q is great)  for sculpting rocks and ground cover. I might be able to help you out with the kingspan if there is any left at a site I past a few days ago. I'm going past the same place again tonight.

 

 I have PM`ed you.

 

Cheers Brian.

 

PS I should have made it clear, I asked and got permission before taking out of the skip, some builder can get a bit funny about such thing! 

Edited by rockpopandchips

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8 hours ago, rockpopandchips said:

bitchumen

😊

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**UPDATE**

 

After my question above about what the foam used in the video on the AK Interactive YouTube channel was it seems like AK have just released ready made and pre-cut foam sheets for modellers.

 

There are varying grades and thicknesses designed for different diorama uses. Some are meant for bases and others seem to be like balsa foam and can be used for buildings and roads.

 

I have not used these yet but here is a link;

 

https://ak-interactive.com/product-category/textures-dioramas/diorama-building-material/diorama-building-foam/

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Gordon,

 

I have found a fantastic resource with regard to tips and tricks for Dioramas.  The guy is called The Terrain Tutor and he has a YouTube site.  Most of the stuff he does is for table top gaming but I have picked up hundreds of tips a tricks from him.

 

Regards

 

Gary

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Gordon @Gordon J, have a look here:- 

                                                                                                         

This is the Blue insulation that's referred to above, or very similar. Picture's worth a thousand words!   

Stockist, type into Google "builders merchants in Ayeshire" SORTED!                                                                                       

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Hi I saw the link to my diorama project for the use of foam, don't over think it the best foam I found was first-foam that is used to protect parts in mailing packages, second was construction ridged board insulation foam. The test is to take any foam you have doesn't have to be specific and compress it with the end of an tool. Does it keep the impression with crisp detail? can you distress it without it falling apart? and finally can you paint it in one to two coats easily? Foam is porous and depending on what type will either suck up the paint or reject it. I found the rigid insulation solved both problems. I hit it with a primer coat just to cover the blue then apply my base colour. Last tip when you cutting walls and doorways use a 1/35th scale ruler to make sure your dimensions are scaled to your figures and vehicles, plan your relief if your wanting a raised window trim on a stacked block wall for example. Cut away excess material then do your depressions and distressing. Vallejo YouTube series on weathering has some stunning results and great ideas. I have used both the AK Interactive and the Vallejo on this diorama I am still working on and the Vallejo is far more versatile. Use super glue to connect your foam parts and take the time to anchor everything down because the foam is light when you go to airbrush it guess what? it wants to take off! old adage 95% prep 5% paint.

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Thanks for the helpful advice and links Flaps out and PhoenixII

 

I have been just mucking about with the builders insulation foam I was able to source and very quickly realised that to build anything with it would take a whole new way of thinking and working. Not used to just coming up with something without a set of instructions! These diorama builders must plan everything to the last detail.

 

Thanks again guys all your tips are of great benefit.

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