In case you missed it, here is Pt.1

Let’s get right into it, shall we?


This is me using the hot-wire foam cutter to carve out the roadway. It was indispensable for this project.

Once the carving was done, I decided to cover the roadway in plaster cloth. I felt this would give me a more durable shell on top of the foam, it would add a nice rough texture, and it would be easier for the paint to stick to.


Of course there was a lot of testing going on as I worked through this build! You can see that I left the underlying foam of the roadway pretty rough. This was intentional. It’s supposed to be for off-road trucks, rally cars and the like, so I didn’t want it too smooth.


Here I’m applying plaster cloth. You can also see some additional obstacles in the road. The one on the left is a ‘log’ and the dark one on the right is actually bark from a pine tree. Great texture!


Pardon the green monstrosity; that would be my son’s! Just doing more testing. you can see how I used the hot-wire foam cutter to sculpt the rock and give it some real character.


Here’s the log, set down into the foam.


Here the hulk thing is on the pine bark obstacle and the Ford is up on the plateau.


This is the view from the tunnel looking through to the inside of the racetrack. I thought it would be interesting to have some rough natural landscape surrounded by the pristine asphalt.


This is the view from inside the racetrack looking back through the tunnel. You can see how the plateau is a bit higher than the track. It’s a great spot to watch the races!


This image shows a big change. I decided to use plaster cloth to cover everything, not just the roadway. You can see (especially on the cliff) how this blends all the layers of foam together and hides the lines. It also protects everything with a hard shell.

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Later, I also decided to cover the sides of the dio with plaster cloth. It would have been much simpler to cover everything at once. Oh, well!

No, I wasn’t painting with ketchup and mustard. I just had issues mixing my paints. It came out looking like Carolina mud. Yuck! This worked ok for a base coat though.

You can notice a few rocks that I embedded in the foam as well, just to give it some variety.


I like how all the variation in my carved foam picks up the light and creates dramatic shadows.


All right! Here we are after many layers of paint! I bought a bottle of brown, and mixed a number of other colors to give it all some variety. I think one of the last painting steps I took was to add gray for some of the rocky areas, and to do some highlights.


It’s coming along! Still needs some greenery and stuff to work it into the ground better.


Here you can see the variety in tones that I created with paint. It’s just lots of layers and slightly different hues. I intended the roadway to feel a little dirties/sandier than the rest.


Just enough vegetation to make it feel right without being in the way of little hands driving trucks. The section under the front axle of the Quicksander is actually a bunch of little rocks covered in plaster cloth. I thought about leaving them exposed, but it was going to be difficult to get them to stick really well. I ended up just covering them.


This is a great spot for rock-crawling and three-wheeling.


This is the top of the plateau, near the edge of the cliff. I really glued those small ballast rocks down, but they’re already coming up after being driven over a number of times.


I decided to use black sandpaper for my asphalt. I cut it to fit then glued it into position. I’m not completely happy with the seams though. Next time, I might try using spackle and painting it.


Time for more books!

You can see now that the sides have been plastered and painted black.. The profile also gives you a good impression of the elevation changes going on with the road.

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Once I’d gotten the road surface done, I needed to figure out how to wall it in. I ended up cutting long thin strips from a plastic “For Sale” sign. It has a nice weight, is easy to cut, and is perfectly flexible. I superglued toothpicks to it at 4” intervals then pressed them down into the foam. You’ll see this in the next post.

I didn’t want plastic walls over the bridge though, so I cut and carved some nice old stone walls for that section.


Gray base coat going on thick.


This would be a great way to make some additional pieces for your kids’ Lego or MegaBloks figures too!

Master Chief approves.

The next post will be images from my first photo shoot on the diorama using a real camera. Look for it soon!