In 1998, I witnessed a layout called “Swans Crossing”.

The “SOFT ROCKS” that covered this exhibition layout were made of Foam Rubber, the type used in lounge suites. 

After a few years experimenting with the brilliant technique used by Mark & Angela Fry, I established another method, which has

 been adopted by modelers around Australia and USA.

“FRocks” - Foam Rocks

Foam rubber can be purchased from stores, however, it is freely available from Upholstery Shops. The old foam rubber, I believe to be the best.  

The newer rubber tends to be a bit more synthethic. But any type will do to get you started.

Place a quanitity of Joint Cement ( sometimes called Topping coat ) into a container and add a little water.

 Stir for a few minutes and let it sit.

 This will become a nice pancake mix.  If you put the container lid back on, the mix will not dry out and can be used at any time

This stuff is a paste and can be applied without adding water, but slightly harder to brush onto the foam rubber.

To achieve the natural look of rugged rock, I just rip / tear small and large pieces of foam rubber.

Don’t even think about where to start tearing. Just tear in different directions.

You will be amazed at the various rock profiles that are formed. Cover foam rubber with one or two thin coats of compound, using a large paint brush. 

This compound cover eliminates the sponge look and also gives a surface for painting and ground cover.  

Fix additional various shapes of foam rubber to MDF  with liquid nails. Foreground example is called “Green Ridge”

These “Frocks” took only a few minutes to create, during an exhibition clinic I conducted.That included the scenery.

Trees that have been constructed using wire can be easily inserted into “crust” of the dried “Topping coat”.

“Furlow” rock.    Strata obtained by quickly running a saw thru the foam rubber. 

Pull out bits and pieces of foam for additional contours.

Add topping coat, and while still wet, paint the whole area with highly diluted acrylic house paint.

When dry, add dirt or chalk dust. A number of these completed “FRocks” can be added to a diorama or layout at anytime.

Note the large “FRock” in the background.  See completed example below. “Green Ridge”

Rock Strata obtained using a hand saw.

Add acrylic paints, chalks, dirts for desired colour. Can you spot the early stages of the “Furlow FRock”

Special Note. If you are covering an area of the foam with dirt, woodlands scenics or any

other ground cover, only a thin coat of Joint compound is required.   

Just experiment...for the desired effect....

“Frocks” by Graham Meyer.     Graham used a small knife to cut the strata into this one piece “Frock”.

He added topping coat, let dry and sprinkled fine chalk dust over.

 “FRocks” can be made quickly and with no mess.

Actually, you make and detail enough “Frocks” for a large layout, even before you start a layout.

If at anytime you decide destroy your completed diorama, module or layout,

the “Frocks” can be recycled without too much damage.

Completed “Green Ridge” diorama in the foreground

Special thanks to Gary Kirby, for motivating me to finally complete this clinic,

for the Australian Narrow Gauge Convention, 2005.

Recycled “Enterprise”, using “FRocks” for lightweight scenery

Barry Pate

“FRock” by fellow modelers.

Geoff Nott

Furlow FRock by Big “M”

Road excavations provide fantastic coloured dirt and rocks

Collect natural ground cover, such as dirt,  TODAY, for that special project to be started tomorrow.

I find it relaxing to collect dirt, during my drives between Melbourne and Sydney

Dirt samples, “ready to go”

16th March 2005.   Getting ready for the Narrow Gauge Convention clinic.

Darren Simon is in the process of building a new layout, using Aluminium framing and Foam Rocks ( “FRocks” )

Darrren & Paula

Layout design loosely based on “Chamatiago & Southern”

Realistic rocks made using Foam Sponge rubber with a layer of Topping Coat

and a final coat of “Medium” Texture paint