I apologize if the title seems misleading. I’m not intending to actually build foam: I’ll leave that to more established professionals. Instead, this post is about tailoring foam for my buildings–or more accurately, for my fortifications.
This past week I had some people over for games (including my recent game with Jeff), where it became pretty obvious that I need to do somethign with my terrain (and with the crap lying around my garage in general). I have too many models lying around with no real rhyme or reason. Hence, my renewed interest in foam.
I say “renewed interest” because I’ve done some pretty extensive work on custom foam with my Tyranids, but apparently I’ve never come up with a post on that (despite taking pictures of it back in the day with the specific intent to do so). Oh well, maybe one day I’ll get around to doing such a post. For now, suffice it to say that this isn’t my first rodeo.
The first time around, I’d purchased the foam from JoAnn Fabrics (a U.S. based arts & craft store similar to Michael’s or Hobby Lobby). The foam there was green, and only marginally cheaper than pre-cut foam; however, I had a 40% off discount which made it relatively viable. I’ve since switched to “camper” foam from Fred Meyer’s (which is our local grocery store/department store chain, which just so happens to be a Kroger affiliate for those of you in the rest of the U.S.). The new foam comes in approximately 2′ x 6′ sections of 3″ foam. It doesn’t appear to come in any other sizes, but it’s reasonably good and the best part is the price: $20 for a sheet. Well, that was the sale price, but the standard price is only about 10% higher.
So, I went down to the store and picked up a couple of sheets for use with my fortifications.
For tubs, I used some plastic containers that we purchased when we moved houses a few years back that just haven’t found contents on their own. These particular totes are from Sterilite, and I believe are referred to as their 66 quart latch box. The official dimensions are 24 1/2″ L x 17 3/4″ W x 13 3/8″ H, but I cut the foam to 19″ x 14.5″ in order to fit in the tapered bottom. Come to think of it, I’m not 100% sure that this is the exact tote, but it seems pretty close.
Anywho, each tote holds four layers of foam. Unfortunately, many of the buildings (if not most) are in excess of 3″ tall, so they need to span multiple layers to be properly stored. Fortifications like the Aegis defense line, most of the Wall of Martyr pieces, and the Honoured Imperium stuff all fits nicely within a single slab of foam. Other pieces, like the Aquila Strongpoint, Firestorm Redoubt, Bastions, & Fortress of Redemption all need at least two layers (in the case of the Bastions, it’s really close to three).
While I was at it, I also cut out foam for my IG weapon platforms (why not, right?), and intend to cut out foam for the “chaos portals” used in this apoc game. I’ve also not actually gotten around to cutting foam for the Fortress of Redemption because I’m having trouble finding a way to do so without taking up four complete layers of foam for it. I have an idea that might let me squish it down to three layers that I’m hoping to try tonight.
Undoubtedly, the foam that I’m most proud of is the tray that contains the Skyshield Landing Pad & Aegis Defense Lines.
Wait, is it ok to be proud of foam? I certainly am.
Anywho, the foam worked out well because of the weird shape of the Skyshield itself. Since it sits just over 3″ off the ground, it won’t fit into a single foam tray. Likewise, the dimensions of it are slightly bigger than the 14.5″ width of the tray, so it overhands a tad (which itself, isn’t an issue because I put it on the top of the stack, and the sloped sides of the plastic tote allow for the variance). But after I cut four holes, I didn’t know what to do with the extra foam. It seemed like such a waste to leave it empty… but then it hit me: the Aegis lines were quite small and should fit inside perfectly. With minimal fiddling, I was able to stick two sets in comfortable. I think with some serious thought, I could’ve worked in a third.
I’m content with the foam as a whole. It wasn’t very expensive (mostly because I already had the totes on hand) and didn’t take all that much effort. Suffice it to say, this certainly doesn’t save space (or money really, but at least the foam was cheap). The intent is to keep things looking nice, which is true both of the garage (neatly stacked trays are far superior to piles of models), and for the models themselves, which are sure to whether my abuse/neglect far better in plastic/foam.