Saturday, 16 June 2018

Community Question: I need to make large bricks. Help!

Hi all. 

So, I am now at a stage where I need to make some large Siege Wall scale bricks for the collapsed/ destroyed sections. 

They need to be 54mm long x 37mm tall and 27mm wide.

I have considered using pink styrofoam or even mdf. As I will need to distress and make a large amount of them I am leaning towards pink styrofoam. 

I am struggling with: where to buy it from, what tool to cut it with? Is there a place I should go to for value for money? Obviously I’m based in UK. 

Any help or advice would be appreciated. 



  1. You could try the 4D Modelshop in London, they do new grey foam as well.
    They have all the kit you will need for the job

    1. Hey Greiffer 42, thanks for the recommendation. I have purchased a load of Grey foam from 4D Modelshop and a hot wire cutter with frame from eBay. I will put a post up as I get to it.

  2. The best tools for cutting pyrofoam is a "hot wire bow cutter" (not sure of the name in English but in french it is called pyroscie). Should be easy to find tutos online.

    You will be able to cut the foam in bulk if it is big enough.

  3. Thermocut by proxxon.

    Problem solved ;-)

    1. Thanks Marcus. I found something similar to that on eBay after seeing your recommendation. I am Looking forward to using it.

  4. Assuming that you are in the Milton Keynes area, I have a couple of pink styrofoam insulation boards I got from B&Q a few years ago taking up space in my garage I want to get rid of. I'm guessing they are about 1200x450x50 (seems to be the normal size for these things). Free if you want them.

    1. Hi Valdahaz, drop me an email and we can discuss :)

  5. Hot wire cutter is best from what I've seen.

  6. I work with a range of Styrofoam's regularly in the context of modelling.

    As a note, the blue foam is the top notch for detail. While pink/yellow is the mid range, but will work fine for what your planned use is.

    As far as suppliers go, the best price will be a balance between the volume you buy and their delivery cost.

    Here's three supplier's pages off the cuff:

    As far as cutting goes:

    Hot wire cutter is good for working at an industries rate! Is reasonably accurate once you get a feel for it and is the cleanest/tidiest method for any foam ( no flaking or dust and stops your working are looking like you've had a fight unpacking a new fridge!).

    But bear in mind omly use this method in a well ventilated or air extracted environment. The fumes from hot cutting any foam REALLY aren't good for you. Seriously!

    If a well ventilated work space is not available, and you don't mind a bit of mess then some standard hand tools work fine for both rough cutting and finer accuracy:

    #1 A bog standard carpenters wood saw will fly through the stuff, leaving a rough finish (may be desirable). Good for cutting thick sheets. Will make a lot of mess and the static generated will mean you'll get covered in the stuff!

    #2 A craft knife of the extendable snap off variety works well for deep finer cuts when used overextended. works well for full depth cuts on sheets just under the blade length.

    #3 Standard Scalpel free hand or with a rule. Maximum accuracy on thinner sheet.

    Cutting aside, texturing can be done with any grade of abrasive paper ( sand paper / wet or dry etc.). Choose your grade to suit courser or finer finishes. Be aware that when sanding foam, abrasive paper does have a tendency to 'snatch'. It can be east to completely snap small pieces of foam you've spent time cutting. Practice will suffice and yo'll get a feel for it.

    Feel free to ask anything else in a reply for more info on working/painting etc.

    1. Hi Sanguis. Thanks for the recommendation. I have bought some foam and am ready to hit it (when all is delivered). How quick can I use the hot wire cutter? Is it fairly rapid or still slow?
      Also I need advice on sealing it for painting,and suggestions?

  7. Hiya Drake,

    I recently picked up one of these:

    It's amazing for getting into awkward places that you cannot reach with a wire cutter and you have more freedom to shape larger sections too!

    As for coating it, the cheapest option by far is pva / wood glue. Mixing it with some coarse plaster will give you some really nice texture as well.

    Good luck - I look forward to seeing the results! :)