Painting - Blue Foam and Track

I am building a 4x8 layout on top of 2" blue foam that I got from my
local building supply store. It is basically insulating foam. My
question is, what kind of paint can I put on the foam without "eating"
away the foam or having it not stick?
I've got my roadbed laid out so I need to paint the main canvas green
or brown then come back over top of my track and roadbed with a dark
grey or dirty black.
It would be easiest for me to spray paint it; especially when I do the
track. That brings up another question, what color should I paint the
track and ties? I was going to come back and add ballast and clean
the rail heads after I painted. That a good idea or should I just
leave the track unpainted? I'm using all Atlas Code 55 flex track and
switches. The brown ties don't bother me too much.
I don't have an airbrush so I will have to use something in a can that
I can get from the store.
Thanks for any advice!
-Lee
Nashville, TN
Z, N, HO - Norfolk Southern / Southern Railway
Reply to
Lee Poplin
Loading thread data ...
LP> I am building a 4x8 layout on top of 2" blue foam that I got from my LP> local building supply store. It is basically insulating foam. My LP> question is, what kind of paint can I put on the foam without "eating" LP> away the foam or having it not stick? LP> LP> I've got my roadbed laid out so I need to paint the main canvas green LP> or brown then come back over top of my track and roadbed with a dark LP> grey or dirty black. LP> LP> It would be easiest for me to spray paint it; especially when I do the LP> track. That brings up another question, what color should I paint the LP> track and ties? I was going to come back and add ballast and clean LP> the rail heads after I painted. That a good idea or should I just LP> leave the track unpainted? I'm using all Atlas Code 55 flex track and LP> switches. The brown ties don't bother me too much. LP> LP> I don't have an airbrush so I will have to use something in a can that LP> I can get from the store. LP> LP> Thanks for any advice!
What *I've* done is smear a thin layer of Hydrocal on the foam. This does several things:
1) Creates a nice surface to paint.
2) Seals the foam (and I guess provides a small level of fireproofing).
3) The Hydrocal can be 'sculpted' some to give the 'ground' a realistic surface shape. The Foam is really, *exactly* flat. Real ground is not really, *exactly* flat.
Oh, put down the roadbed first. If the track goes over hills, etc. rough sculpt blocks of foam for this. Carve out stream beds, gullys, etc. Pour and *level* the Hydrocal for the stream beds (water does have a flat and levelness, not counting waves/ripples (added later with clear latex caulk or something similar) and for roads, parking lots, etc. Elsewhere just sort of smear it on. For 'rougher' areas, some sort of 'grit' (like sand or really fine gravel or some such) can be added to the Hydrocal for extra texture. You want to protect the roadbed with masking tape. You should roughen (lightly apply a SureForm tool to the surface) and then 'wet' the foam before applying the Hydrocal -- spray on some 'wet' water, using a plant watering sprayer. This will help the Hydrocal stick to the foam.
Paint the 'ground' 'Earth Brown'. Paint stream beds dark blue. Paint roads and parking lots an asphalt color (black with a few drops of blue added in). Woodland Scenics makes some nice water-based colors. 'Plant' grass and bushes -- shades of green ground foam in various grades of coarseness on the 'ground'. Use latex caulk for 'water' area.
LP> LP> -Lee LP> Nashville, TN LP> LP> Z, N, HO - Norfolk Southern / Southern Railway LP>
\/
Robert Heller ||InterNet: snipped-for-privacy@cs.umass.edu
formatting link
|| snipped-for-privacy@deepsoft.com
formatting link
/\FidoNet: 1:321/153
Reply to
Robert Heller
=>I am building a 4x8 layout on top of 2" blue foam that I got from my =>local building supply store. It is basically insulating foam. My =>question is, what kind of paint can I put on the foam without "eating" =>away the foam or having it not stick? ..snip...
To paint foam, use ordinary latex paint. I wouldn't use green, though, as you mention later in your post. Use tan or lighht earth colour. You can paint green where you think you wnat a nice lawn, and other colours for roads, streets, etc. If one coat doesn't seal the surface enough, let it dry, and paiunt on another coat or two.
Once the latex is painted on the foam, you can use solvent type paints in a spray can. Do it in a well ventlalted area or take the layout outside, and stand down wind.
Track colour: A base coat of medium gray, over-sprayed _while still wet_ with light, patchy, irregular coats of brown, and lighter and darker greys shgould give you a nice generic colour. Wipe the railheads _immediately with a lint-free cloth tacked to a small block of wood. After the paint has dried, drybrush some of the ties with various greys and browns, using acrylic paints. Dry brush a darker streak down the centre of the track, and lighte streaks on both sides of both rails at irregular intervals -- this is to represent the sand used to increase traction.
Unsolicited advice: Go take a few pictures of different kinds of track, main line, industrial, passing, etc. An overcast day mid-morning to mid-afternoon is best for good colour -- bright sun makes for harsh shadows that interfere with the information you want. Photographs are a great help when you are trying to make something look right. You will also notice all kinds of other cool details, so take alonga couple extra rolls of film. :-)
Reply to
Wolf Kirchmeir
That brings up another question, what color should I paint the track and ties? I was going to come back and add ballast and clean the rail heads after I painted. That a good idea or should I just leave the track unpainted? I'm using all Atlas Code 55 flex track and switches. The brown ties don't bother me too much. I don't have an airbrush so I will have to use something in a can that I can get from the store. --------------------------------------------------- I brush painted my N scale code 80 track with Floquil Rail Brown paint (also available in an aerosol can). Here's a pix and how I did it:
formatting link
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad:
formatting link
History of N Scale:
formatting link
Links to over 600 helpful sites:
formatting link
formatting link
Reply to
Bill
Lee See if this gives you any ideas.
formatting link
for some specifics to your original post not covered on the page above: Spray can paint is usually petroleum based, it will melt foam. Some brands of foam have a thin membrane sealing them. Peel it off before painting, gluing or working with the foam, It only will aggravate you when nothing sticks to it. Rails I would paint with a brush,they actually make a color called Rail Brown that works well, then I go over it with a thinned black wash( while its a little wet) to kind of "melt" the color that gets onto the spikes down into the ties. Keep this thought in mind. Try starting with the darker tones when scenicing. Dirt, rocks and earthtones are usually at the base of all scenery, then darker greens then lighter greens, yellows and sandy colors sprout more to the top. If it sounds like Bob Ross, thats where I learned it. Most of all, experiment and have some "happy accidents". KarlB
formatting link
Reply to
Karl Bond
Hello Lee;
I built a board for my son using styro and found that the best paint was latex. I bought 4 colours; light blue (water) pastel green light brown very light grey
It didn't seem to require any surface preparation and the paint adhered very well. I painted the area under the roadways and track roadbed with the grey, water areas with blue and the remainder with blended patches of varied amounts of all the above colours. Under the WS (3 different shades of green, 2 shades of tan) foam materials, it turned out pretty well. Photos during and after the construction are at -
formatting link
Ian Mathers Yellowknife, NT Canada
Reply to
Ian G. Mathers
Look nice and son looks happy.
"Ian G. Mathers" wrote:
Reply to
Charles Kimbrough
Hi. I enjoyed the pictures at your web site. Very nice. John Hudson. Portland, Oregon.
Reply to
HICJHH
Nice job on the layout, good pics too. I really like the expression on your son as he plays with it. One happy kid! Good Job Ian.
Cheers Jim
Reply to
JC Lewis
Hi Ian- I've seen these pictures --- I want an updated set ;-) Have you done anymore? I thought this was a great series. I was glad to see what fun your son obviously (not to mention his father) had with this layout. David
Ian G. Mathers wrote:
Reply to
David P Harris

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.