Wednesday, 4 March 2015


Vash's secret scratch building weapon.

Foamex PVC.

What is it?

I have been using this material for nigh on 15 years now, ever since I found about 20 square meters of it leaning against a bin. Pretty much every project log I have posted will have some in there somewhere.
So what the hell am I on about when I say Foamex....

Most often found being used in signage in shops PVC Foam is an Economic, Versatile and Lightweight material. It has a smooth matt silk finish and high impact resistance. Foam pvc will not rot or swell like timber and can be easily Cut - Sawn or Drilled and even Carved and Sanded.
(Not to be confused with Foam Core, which is a sandwich of lightweight foam between to bits of card.)

Most commonly I have seen it in 3mm or 5mm thicknesses as signs but I have bought a 1.5mm thick sheet before and acquired 4mm sheets.
For most things I have used 3mm as it is nice and easy to work with.

Where to get it on the cheap?

It is pretty cheap to buy in the first place but the best way to get it is for free.

Watch all your local stores to see if they use seasonal signage advertising sales or particular product lines. These are the sort of signs that are quite often thrown away at the end of said promotion.

There are two ways to get yer mitts on these signs the first being ask .
This is the best way, you just go up and ask if it would be possible to collect the signs once the store is ready to throw them out.
Why is it the best way? Well it's legal no matter where you are in the world, it will be clean and if all goes well you might even be able to set up a regular supply of this brilliant material.

The second is bin skimming, skip diving, trash trawling what ever you want to call it.
Basically look around the waste of shops and see if any is about.
Be very aware of the law concerning taking waste in your part of the world and Really pay attention to any heath risks that may apply.
I'd hate to lose a hobbyist to a trash compactor, disturbed tramp attack or some nasty disease like viles.

How can you use it?

Because this material is very easy to shape it's uses are pretty much unlimited, Iv'e made things as small as a bionic eye up to big buildings you can hide Titan in, hell I have even made a Titan that used the stuff extensively.

Here is a rough guide to using it:

First thing is to make clear is Super Glue is a must, I have never found a plastics glue that bonds the stuff.
Secondly, be prepared for statically charged shavings clinging to stuff during cutting,carving and sanding.

The easiest way to cut 3mm thick or less is to use a knife and repeat score the line of cutting until you are through, although saws will cut through it easily I find that it is a messier process.

Scoring will work for greater thicknesses than 3mm but patience is the key, fine toothed saws are probably best, for curved shapes I normally use a Jigsaw or Coping saw with a blade designed for metal.

This stuff is great for whittling or carving, I normally use a scalpel.

Treat as a soft wood when sanding and you'll be grand. Coarse grade sandpaper will leave scoring marks, fine grade emery paper should be used for finishing.Will create a fair bit of dust.

Here are a selection of images showing work I have done with this material.

Much of the structure and a lot of the details of this Slaanesh Questor scout titan were made using Foamex, even the base was made from it.

Most of the internal structure of this.

A lot of the details on this

Here you can see Foamex being used to make structure to replace and re model missing tank parts.

Second hand kit rescue


Great for Building.... well er buildings.

Home made Bastion

At the tiny end of the scale The larger Banner on these Epic Orks is made from foamex as is the body work of the scratch built Weirdboy Tower and middle Battle Wagon. There is even a Gargant I made from the stuff.

Warboss size Epic Banna

Even tiny details such as the front wheel tread,

The middle Battlewagon only.

Gargants in Epic or 40K scales

Fiddly details Epic scale

Thin enough to make Epic scale Gun muzzles

Random selection of other things I have made from Foamex.

Looted Wagon

Marine Crest

Huge Chaos tower

Carved to make a Zero stylee Fighta Bomma.