Making Gator Foam Buildings with Ken McCorry

Premium Video Preview: Log in or become a member to get full access.
Duration: 7:14

Membership Options

Premium

Sign up for premium membership and get access to our best model railroad videos and step-by-step instructional projects. Learn new techniques and tips from friendly experts. Anytime. Anywhere.
Monthly $8.00
Annually $59.00

Gold

Upgrade to GOLD membership and get unlimited access to our entire library of premium model railroad videos, receive discounts on DVDs, video downloads, and classes in the shop. In addition, you’ll receive nine video downloads, access to GOLD member LIVE events, and so much more!
Annually $124.00

Ken McCorry uses gator foam for structures on his Conrail railroad. He uses gator foam in three sixteenths of an inch thick sheets available at framer shops where pictures are framed. There are two layers of craft paper on either side with a high density foam in the center, similar to foam board, but gator foam is stronger. Ken has used this material to build an arch bridge as well as some of the large steel mill structures on his railroad.

In order to keep structures from flexing, he adds bracing on the inside. This is all assembled with hot glue which makes for a very fast and strong construction. The easy way to assemble a building is by holding the side of the building onto the back, and hot gluing the inside edge of the corner. In order to keep the building square, Ken cuts triangular stiffeners to place in the corners, affixing them in the same fashion. This basic box structure Ken completed is very light and strong.

Next Ken demonstrates how he simulates a concrete surface on his gator board. He starts with Sakrete, which is cement, sand and small stones mixed together. He sieves the Sakrete until he ends up with just the cement material. He then applies a tan color acrylic paint to the gator foam. An even coat of this paint will be the adhesive for the concrete. To learn more about building better buildings and scene components or to learn about Beadboard foam for creating landscape, visit the Model Railroad Academy archives.