DyeHard's Wargame Terrain

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Perma-Scene is a craft material that is used to build up terrain for model railroads and such.

Some notes on Perma-Scene gleaned from hobby news groups:

Permascene is nothing more than vermiculite and powdered glue. Mel Beck of PermaCraft in Cleveland was the original owner. He also owned a hobby distributing company. He bought the vermiculite in big bags and mixed it with powdered glue in a cement mixer, then repackaged it. Ken Osen and I built a trade show module display for Mel in 1990, which is what you see on the latest boxes from the company in Chicago he sold the company to. The scenery technique that Lou Sassi uses is the one he obtained from Ken and I from info he received during scenery clinics at the NMRA National convention. He has learned to use this technique very well from what I've seen in the magazines. Permascene I believe is off the market. But you can whip up your own substitute. Vermiculite is sold as an insulating material at your local "Home Center". Just add white glue and use Sassi's recipe.
Mark Olstyn

The original formula we used was to use an old 3 pound margarine tub container as a mixing bowl.

1./ Add white glue to a depth of a 1/4".
2./ Add a 3/8" squirt of burnt sienna acrylic artists paint from a tube. This gives it an earthy color.
3./ Add one cap full of liquid "Lysol" to prevent mold growth.
4./ Then add a 50/50 mixture of "Perma- scene" and "Celluclay".
5./ Keep adding water as you mix until it reaches the consistency of a bowl of hot "oatmeal". Continue to add the 50/50 mixture until you are an 1" from the rim of the container.
6./ Use an artist's spatula and a putty knife to trowel it over your base. (We always glued open cell floral Styrofoam to the benchwork that we carved to the terrain contour desired.)
7./ Any leftover recipe (oatmeal), can be covered with kitchen plastic wrap and snap on the lid and placed in the fridge. It's still good to use the next day! When the "oatmeal" is troweled down, you have about 6 hours of window to work it before you can't plant delicate scenery material in it as it stiffens up.
Mark Olstyn

Well it looks like more then "vermiculite and powdered glue", it seems to contain a fibrous material not unlike cellulose based insulation. Perhaps: vermiculite, Celluclay and powdered glue would be a better description.

For those not familiar with vermiculite, it is a mineral closely related to mica. It is commonly used to augment the water holing capacity of potting soil and was also a common insulation years ago. But it was found that some supplies of vermiculite contained a small fraction of asbestos and its use has drop off as a result of safety concerns.

Here we see a soldier working his way through a small pile of vermiculite. As you can see the shiny part of Perma-Scene is very similar, but a somewhat finer grind.

I am hoping to analyze the Perma-Scene I have on hand in order to reproduce a formula to make my own.

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I hope to be able to add more latter.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.