|Trying out the culvert for size in December 2007|
Lightweight materials extend beyond the scenic base, I also used corrugated card and foamboard in addition of the more usual ply and stripwood for the main carcase, all of which has resulted in a very light layout indeed! And whilst I wouldn't recommend such an approach for a large club layout that gets thrown about, stood on, leant on and packed away every Tuesday night at 10pm in a huge rush, it's perfect for a personal lightweight portable layout which will be treated with reasonable of care. For key areas like the outer shell, backscene and ends plywood has still been used because it's far better at taking impacts. 5 years on, and the layout still looks fresh, both the outside and inside and I don't break by back popping it in and out of the car or packing it up at home or on the road after playing trains.
I think this confirms that foamboard is ok for a layout which is treated carefully and doesn't get exposed to excessive temperatures or moisture, but if it's to be used for anything bigger than a tea tray it must be mixed with more traditional materials. But now for the crunch; would I use such for a layout the size of Catcott again (5 foot scenic)? Probably not, if only for the fact that I occasionally catch one of the foam board cross members underneath from time to time and invariably need to replace them.
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