Friday, April 28, 2023

X is for XPS Foam

XPS Foam, or extruded polystyrene foam, is a type of rigid foam board usually used as insulation. It's very useful in construction as it's water resistant, easy to cut and work with, and very effective at insulating from heat and cold.

It comes in thicknesses between ½ to 2 inches, and convenient sizes from 2x2 up to 4x8 feet.

For our purposes, XPS is also incredibly useful in model building. It has numerous uses for making buildings, furniture, terrain, and countless other props and objects. It's very light but rigid, and easy to cut, carve and glue.

The Army Painter actually sells terrain-building kits that come with sheets of XPS Foam.

There are other types of foam out there, like Styrofoam and foamcore (the kind that has paper covering both sides, often used for presentation boards in kids science fairs) that have their uses, but none are as versatile as XPS. Personally I've used it to create dungeon walls and floors, houses and brick walls, forests floors and rocks.

See? I've got more happy little trees. And cute little cottages, too!

My walls are all carved, but I've also seen people with better tools and more patience cut thousands of individual bricks out of foam to create masterpieces like this: 

I had to include the picture with the finger to prove it's actually a scale model and not the real thing.

Lately I've actually been spending almost more time with models and "dioramas" than I have just painting miniatures. I'm turning into a bigger nerd all the time. Someone please stop me before I start building model trains. ;-)

Hugs & kisses,


PT Dilloway said...

Fun Fact: I grew up near Midland, Michigan which is home to Dow Chemical and Dow Corning. I don't know which foams they "invented" but they made some of that stuff. I think "styrofoam" is their thing. Of course a lot of the actual production has moved out of there.

Yay for happy little trees! And no way would I ever sit around making thousands of little blocks with foam.

Kristin said...

Those little blocks did look like the real thing! We had a model train that my uncle Henry passed on to us but my husband kept filling up the table with his "stuff". Sad. I gave it to my daughter for her son but I don't think they've ever set it up.

Joy said...

That's some realistic building material for models! Good X post!

Chrys Fey said...

Model building looks like a lot of fun. Hard and time-consuming, but fun.

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