Need help for Diorama: What is a good source for Styrofoam?

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by Kuma Style, Nov 24, 2011.

  1. Kuma Style

    Kuma Style Toy Photography TFW2005 Supporter

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    Yea, this is TF related, because it's for a toy project I'm working on, but for the diorama I'm building, I **really** need a good amount of styrofoam, and was wondering if anyone knows a good and cheap source of it?

    My first thought was all my old MMPR megazord boxes, but they got ruined in a flippin' flood. And, I don't have any other toy boxes containing it.

    Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!
     
  2. x BlackMagnus x

    x BlackMagnus x Is not impressed

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    Are you trying to paint the foam at all?
     
  3. brr-icy

    brr-icy G1 Collector

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    insulation styrofoam is harder if they still have it
     
  4. Kuma Style

    Kuma Style Toy Photography TFW2005 Supporter

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    Yea. I am actually going to paint it.
     
  5. x BlackMagnus x

    x BlackMagnus x Is not impressed

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  6. Kuma Style

    Kuma Style Toy Photography TFW2005 Supporter

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    Hey thanks. I didn't even know that it had that effect!
     
  7. Yaujta

    Yaujta De-Headmasterizator TFW2005 Supporter

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    For dioramas I've built, I use pink (or blue) insulation foam from any DIY store like Lowes or Home Depot. It comes in large sheets, and usually runs between $10 - 30, depending on the thickness. As for that, it ranges from an inch thick to 2-inches for contractor-grade.
    This foam is so much better than packing foam as it doesn't pop into tiny balls when it's cut, and is easily sculpted with sandpaper.

    To create rock formations and interesting patterning, I use a wood burner with a spade tip and just run it over the surface of the foam.

    Bonding two pieces together can be either with wood glue, hot glue or liquid nails.

    For painting any foam, a good trick is to water down a common glue like Elmer's white glue and coat the foam thoroughly. It sometimes takes several coats, but it's worth it if you're spray painting the project. Any exposed foam will dissintegrate as soon as aerosol contacts it.
     
  8. Kuma Style

    Kuma Style Toy Photography TFW2005 Supporter

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    Wow... I'm seriously glad I posted this thread, because I would've spraypainted it straight away and wondered what the FUCK just happened.
     
  9. Jedi Kermit

    Jedi Kermit Jedi Master

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    Just a thought but maybe a can of GREAT STUFF?
     
  10. Yaujta

    Yaujta De-Headmasterizator TFW2005 Supporter

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    Yeah, foam and spray paint are a bad combination. It also creates some harmful fumes, too.
    For some projects I've done, I painted the foam with a gesso primer, giving it some texture by mixing in a bit of brick dust or railroad ballast as the paint's wet. Makes for convincing rubble and such, with more applied over top of the base paint for layering.

    Cutting the foam can be tricky unless you have either a really long, very sharp utility razor or an actual foam cutter (hot wire). I prefer the blade, as the foam cutter is usually not cheap.

    Great Stuff - I've tried that, but if it's the same as what I used, it expands almost too much.
    Although, it is good for scenic explosions, if the puff-balls it forms are painted correctly.
     
  11. FakeEyes22

    FakeEyes22 Well-Known Member

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    I've only done one project with foam, which wasn't a dio, and it was the blue stuff that Yaujta mentioned. Guessing by how much foam you'd get from a bunch of Megazord boxes, I imagine strolling into one of the DIY stores and picking up a couple of sheets will do just fine.

    And thanks to Yaujita, I learned something for if I try using this stuff again! I built a gaint upscaled model of some sort of precision medical measuring device that is shaped like a syringe. Someone needed it for a seminar or something. Gluing it together was a tough process and it probably didn't last long since it was designed to be handled. Now I know what kinds of adhesives to use.

    The material itself was much easier to work with than I had imagined. It still took some hard work carving and sanding since most of the thing was smooth and rounded shapes meant to match a plastic instrument that's designed to fit in your hand, but I can see now how useful this would be for all kinds of projects. Be prepared for a mess of blue flakes!

    I painted it with a large brush and some acrylic paint, and it was a lot of surface area to cover. It also takes up a lot of paint this way, of course. This is probably obvious, but the fact that this stuff isn't made up of tiny foam pellets is really great for painting, in addition to sculpting. No matter how much you paint regular styrofoam, you can still see the texture of all those pellets, even on flat surfaces.

    I think I'm going to try something new with this stuff now that I'm thinking about it.
     
  12. Yaujta

    Yaujta De-Headmasterizator TFW2005 Supporter

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    Glad I could help!

    Building pieces together sometimes works better when you add a 'pin'. I use toothpicks. Basically, poke a hole into one side, pour a little bit of glue in, then push the toothpick in and let dry. Line up the pieces to be assembled, poke holes into the new piece, put in some glue, and also glue the edge to be pushed into place. That way, you have the double bond of the glue as well as the pins. Basic principals for model and miniature building, but on a much larger scale.

    For sanding rounded areas of bonded pieces, it isn't always best to glue the very outer edge that will be sanded. Glue doesn't sand as well as the foam, and WILL give you a ridge if sanded over.

    What else...

    Depending on the project, you may want to make panel lines or create a kind of field stone effect. This is easy. Simply cut a very shallow V in the foam with a pointed Exacto blade, then pull the V out. If you did it right, the entire cut piece should just lif tright out. It's best to use a very fine grade sandpaper over the entire area. This gives a less harsh edge to the panels. To use this method for stonework, push a hard rounded object against the cut edges (I use a ball bearing, sculpting tools and paintbrush handle), then sand as needed.

    Maybe this should be in the creative discussion?

    EDIT- The paneling and woodburner are how I did the wall and base. I think the entire piece took me about 10 minutes, the longest part being the 'writing' with the woodburner.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. knobbycon

    knobbycon logorrheic egghead

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    Glad others got in on not spray painting styrofoam or using petroleum based paint, though water based spray paint would fine, as would treating the surface with heavy coats of water based primer as others have mentioned.

    If you could make a form out of clay and cast it, Great Stuff/spray insulation works absolutely wonderful for your more organic shapes, as it carves/shapes wonderfully, I've actually used it in the sculpting classes I taught. I actually have quite a few cans lying about, so I could send one if needed (in the spirit of the season and all).

    It it absolutely has to be styrofoam, then anywhere that receives lots of delicate items like your local college science dept. or any knick knack store should have it in spades, all you have to do is ask.
     
  14. Big Dawg

    Big Dawg Well-Known Member

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    TJ, your best bet is to look at some warhammer terrain building websites. I've made alot of terrain for warhammer (great game, not 40K but fantasy) and really, I could make a laundry list of tips and tricks but it would be easier to look there. One excellent site I found was terra genesis (I'm not affiliated with it but it's an excellent resource with tutorials etc):

    TerraGenesis: Forum Index

    have a look, although as others have said, don't spray paint foam as it will melt lol.
     
  15. Big Dawg

    Big Dawg Well-Known Member

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    Shouldn't that sentence have a question mark at the end?
     
  16. Yaujta

    Yaujta De-Headmasterizator TFW2005 Supporter

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    Mordheim rules.
    I learned a lot from Warhammer terrain websites, but nothing beats practice and experimentation.

    Not really. The original comic cover had "The Transformers", followed by "Are All Dead".
     
  17. 2ndSndWve

    2ndSndWve Hen... Shin!

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    yep. I have some for that very reason. It makes really cool battle damaged dioramas.
     
  18. Alucard77

    Alucard77 Kaon Gladiator Champion

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    The one way I have seen people cut high quality foam is with an electronic carver, believe it or not. So you can cut the turkey, then the foam. Lol.

    Just curious, whatcha making?
     
  19. megatronatlas

    megatronatlas Well-Known Member

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    this thread has helped me as well, info i didnt even know
     
  20. G.I.EDDIE

    G.I.EDDIE Purple treads suck!

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