Saturday, January 27, 2018

Modular Cliff Terrain - Part 3

The cliffs are finally starting to take shape.  I spent the last couple of weeks cutting, sanding, and generally making a ton of foam mess.  The 6 inch high cliff modules are generally made from three separate two inch layers, while the 3 inch high modules are made from a single three inch thick block.  The photos and discussion below will walk you through the process that I used on a three inch cliff module.

The first step was to cut a seam between the strata, using the old Foam Factory hotwire engraving tool.

The top two inches of foam makes up the upper strata, while the lower strata consists of a single inch of foam.  The engraving tool melts a "v" shaped slices into the foam. 

Excess foam was then cut away from the upper strata with a hacksaw blade.

Foam was cut away to create the slight "stepped" affect in the cliffs, such that the lower strata generally extents slightly forward of the upper strata.

Fallen rocks were cut out of the upper strata with a hobby knife.

These are just roughly hacked out of the foam and cleaned up in a later step.

The angular cuts were then softened, and recesses made deeper with a Perma Grit sander.

Perma Grit sanders come in a variety of shapes, and are tremendously helpful in shaping foam and plastic such as styrene or ABS.  The sander above is a curved R200.  I also used the flat F102 a great deal on the cliffs.

Once the dust was cleared away, I cut vertical crevices in the strata with the hotwire engraving tool, and the hack saw blade.

The segments of stone were then sanded to a near final shape with the Perma-Grit sander.

Note the contrast between the sanded upper strata, and the un-sanded lower strata above.  The module was then finished by sanding the lower strata as well.

A more over-head view shows the slight stepped affect in the strata below.

The six inch high modules were completed in much the same way, except the each two inch thick strata was separate, making the strata easier to shape.

The photo above shows a six inch tall module at the start of Part 3 to the left, and a similar sanded module to the right.

The photo below demonstrates three straight modules side by side.

The next two photos show two straight modules creating a 90 degree bend, when mated to an inside corner.


The overhead view more obviously demonstrates how the modules fit together, forming the 90 degree bend.

Below is a view of all of the 3 inch high modules, and 6 inch high modules behind, lined up.

Below are views that demonstrate how the inside corners, outside corners, and straight cliff modules assemble to create the cliffs.


Again, the 3 inch high cliffs are in front, the 6 inch to the rear.

The modules still need a fine sanding, and sealed and painted, which will be addressed in Part 4.

1 comment:

  1. That's a hefty slice of terrain...hope your hoover was up to the job with all those little bits of foam!