How to work with high-density polystyrene: Part 3

Hi to everyone

Here we are on the 3rd part of “how to work with high-density polystyrene”.

For us modelers, this material is a real boon … everything can be done with it, as long as you know what to do.

Working with the polystyrene is neither complex nor simple, you just need a minimum of technique but once learned, your fantasy will be the only limit to the potential applications for this material.

This is an example of what you can get with the high-density polystyrene.

This beautiful diorama has been realized from scratch  all in polystyrene, but from some small parts in resin, like the roofs which are too thin for this material, the floors, and a token wall superficies.

The diorama is in 54mm scale, so it is big, and what better material could have been used for its realization ? To my knowledge, none.

The final result is a high realism with less weight overall (than with other materials), and the speed of work is also something to be considered.

In the next 2 pictures, you can see an advanced phase of the step-by-step of this work, that I will present soon in this section.

As you can see, the quality of the engraving is very high.

Also, another nice advantage of this material is the possibility to connect and disconnect hundreds of time the different parts built with just the use of some needles.

Now that you saw what you can obtain with this material, let’s start speaking about how to work with it, and the different tools at disposal for this task.

Tools of the trade:

A square, a HB pencil, a ruler and a polystyrene sheet where to reproduce the wall you want to create, a cutter, and a flat burin.

The cutter must have a big enough blade so that you can make a clean and vertical cut without deviating from your cutting line.

Once the shape of the wall has been cut, the final result must be clean and smooth, without irregularities on your cut.

It’s time now to use a pen and the pencil to draw some horizontal lines which will serve as jig to recreate the stones and stonework.

Not all lines drawn should be complete: this way you can leave some room for irregular stones or some plaster.

Now let’s continue with the most delicate work: reproducing stones and stonework.

The pencil must not be pointy but round (use some sandpaper if needed to work on its extremity), and, while following the horizontal lines, use it to engrave the polystyrene, creating this way, stone after stone, your wall.

Do not hesitate to get inspiration from some real wall pictures to get the patterns you wish.

This part of the work is long and tedious, but, if done carefully, gives a lot of satisfaction in the next steps.

When the wall is full with stones, use the flat burin (you can find one in most utensils shops at a very low cost) and start applying pressure with it to flatten part of the stones.

The polystyrene will be pressed in a permanent manner this way, thus giving a much more realistic look to your wall, with the near illusion that some stones  are missing.

This step, too, should be done with care and by getting your inspiration from real walls.

The final result is a small wall of stones with a very realistic look.

Once assembled to the rest of your pieces, and painted, it will be difficult to recognize what did you do start with to get such an amazing work.

Until next, Lorenzo “Maniachouse”

4 Responses to How to work with high-density polystyrene: Part 3

  1. Complimenti Lorenzo!
    Sarebbe possibile avere questi articoli anche in formato PDF da scaricare?
    Sono molto interessanti, ciao!


  2. LB says:

    Ciao Lorenzo,
    Ottimo tutorial! Credi che sia possibile usare un modello realizzato in polistirolo ad alta densita (come quello che hai fatto tu) come master in modo da creare stampi e poterlo riprodurre? Sono preoccupato che la gomma prima di indurirsi faccia reazione con il polistirolo e finisca per scioglierlo o comunque rovinarlo…


    • ciao, grazie per i complimenti.

      io uso abbastanza spesso il polistirolo per realizzare i masters dei miei kit.
      ma devi assicurarti che non ci siano tracce di solvente nel silicone.
      per sicurezza cmq. passo un fondo acrilico su tutto il pezzo prima di fare la colata di silicone.
      stai attento a tracce di colla cianoacrilica, potrebbe reagire con il silicone.

      a presto, Lorenzo


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