Building Your Own Model Train Scenery From Insulation Foam

Modeling railroading doesn’t end with crafting and building beautiful and elaborate train sets. A huge part of this hobby is building and designing the environment that surrounds your model train. Many modelers like to use foam insulation as a base for their model railroad scenery. It is generally the most cost effective and easiest way to achieve mountain or hill landscapes.

For mountain ranges or hills, layer sheets of insulation foam on top of each other to the desire height of the hill or mountain you want to create. Carve irregular shapes and notches and divots with a serrated knife or small saw. Use your craft knives to get smaller details. Even using the edge of a metal ruler can be a handy carving tool. You can carve out valleys, riverbeds, etc. into your terrains.

There really isn’t a way to mess this part up, since every rocky landscape is unique. One tip is to use a landscape photo or image as inspiration when planning out your vision for your model train environment.

You can then cover finished carved foam with a plaster cloth and paint it a dirt color. Either sprinkle on real sand over wet paint or use super-adhesive spray glue and then place real sand on top to give it a realistic texture. Attach moss and other small details for brush or grass.

Carving insulation foam is messy work, but it is a really satisfying way to create your own miniature world for your model railroading adventures.