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This photograph taken 26 August 2009, two days after my sixty-ninth birthday, shows the corner of my layout containing the lumber camp finished the previous day. The scenery uses two forms of styrofoam — the pink sheet kind used for home insulation and Great Stuff expanding foam used to plug air leaks and the like. I used a utility knife, hacksaw blade, and hot wire to cut and shape the 1 3/4 inch thick pink styrofoam. Using a hand-held hacksaw blade or a powered jigsaw allows great control but produces lots and lots of those nasty pink bits that stick to one's clothes, tools, skin — everything — so I fially spent the money for a hot wire, which certainly makes much less of a mess but can only be used for certain kinds of cuts.

After test fitting the pieces, I glued some in place with panel cement and worked on others away from the layout. At this point, I painted the styrofoam with custom-mixed earth acryllic interior housepaint bought at Home Depot. This thick paint has the great advantage that it covers so well you do not need to apply gesso on the styrofoam. After brushing on the paint, trying to make sure it made it into all the cracks and crevices, I covered it with dirt from my back yard. Next, I added grass, bushes, scrap twigs, and logs. Both while the paint was drying and afterward, I used a medicine dropper to place a mixture of matte medium and alcohol and then dropped more soil and vegetation on the wet areas.

Since cutting and fitting the foam left some gaps, I decided to fill them with expandng foam. Great Stuff was applied in steps, allowing the first application to set for 20-30 minutes before applying a second or third. Great Stuff exapands to at least twice the volume it has when it cmes out of the nozzle. When dry it can be painted or first shaped with a hacksaw blade (the hot wire didn't work very well on this material). I used panel cement to attach resin and hydrocal rock castings.

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