I have been slowly adding more pink Styrofoam around the layout to get a feel for the basic concepts and how it is all going to fit together. Static foam waste is entertaining stuff, so I am trying to get all the major pieces installed across the whole layout before moving forward on any other level of scenery. Still need to configure the foam closer to natural curvatures, but at least now I can see how this is all coming together. For some reason I don't' mind white plaster unfinished sections laying dormant for years at a time, but I think the pink foam will be a good motivator to hurry up and get er' done. I am already eager to get all this painted a brown earth color asap, but will have to revisit each section for final shaping before that ever happens. Maybe that can be the next phase of the project...
I am using mostly 2" foam board, but thanks again to Chip for helping to acquire some 1" foam, which has helped to speed up installation in many areas. Some foam sections have still been too thick to lay flush with the needed finish height due to framework, so slots have been carved out in the foam. This maintains a sturdy sub base for planting of vegetation, with significantly less carving on the topside. I just cut along each side of the groove with a big disposable knife, and rock a chisel bit through to clean out the cross-member grooves:
One example of where I needed the foam to lay down low:
I am running a highway along the backdrop here with a couple of highway overpasses to conceal the tracks where they dive into the backdrop. Tree foliage is my friend all over the layout to hide all these transitions. It has been time consuming fitting all the irregular shapes in, but still have more trimming and shaping to get it right. I take cardboard and make templates so that I can overlay it on the foam board, then trace around them to make best use of each sheet. A number of labor hours still needed here to get the contours right, but its nice to see the basic idea finally taking shape:
I need to cut in the truss bridges here so I can envision better on how the riverbank is going to take shape:
Hoping to get all the sections pre-shaped before gluing into place, as I'm not too excited about trying to reshape in confined ares after the fact. Most of the foam is cut and carved with a 3" knife that uses disposable blades. I will follow up with more carving to get as close as possible adjacent to track sections and multiple layering, then follow up with rasps to blend the overall contours. Just shooting from the hip on it all, as this foam stuff is a new concept for me. One thing for others to note, make sure you build your layout with a bunch of right angles to work with instead of abstract.... :)