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One problem many of us come across in our modeling is how to simulate rough
or skid-resistant surfaces. There are several old tried but true methods, but
most tend to be a bit nasty or messy.
Standby method one is simply thinning putty with liquid cement (e.g. Squadron
Shop White or Dr. Microtools with Testors Liquid Cement) and painting it on the
surface, stippling once it is in place with a short bristled brush. That works,
but is messy and requires good ventilation. A more sophisticated method is the
use of Gunze Sangyo Mr. Surfacer 500 or 1000 grain, but since this has all the
joys of old-fashion butyl airplane dope, it requires even more ventilation!
The Small Shop now has a third way using acrylic powders and liquids to create a
more subtle but convincing surface. The new product, "Cast-a-Coat", was debuted
for most of us at AMPS 2003. I am not sure of the final price; contact The Small
Shop for current details.
The product consists of four 10 ml plastic bottles similar to modern acrylic
miniature paints like those from Vallejo. They contain a fine-grain ("72-35")
powder, a coarser grained powder ("35-16"), a pink setting solution, and a grey
thickening solution. When used per the instructions, the result is a scale
thickness rough surface without any smell or hassle.
The procedure, demonstrated at AMPS by Alasdair from The Small Shop, is to pour
a small bit of the pink solution into a cup and then paint it on the object to
be coated. It dries to a tacky finish in about 30 seconds. The powder of choice
is then tapped onto this area and allowed to set up. Once it is dry (2-3 hours),
the rest is tapped off for reuse or as a surfacer in any ground cover around the
If the modeler wants a thick, paste surface such as zimmerit, they suggest using
the thickener over the setting coat and then the final powder selection. Once
this in place, they recommend letting it set up for 2-5 minutes and then
removing the excess powder. Once that is done, they recommend using a tool to
imprint the desired pattern in the paste.
The Small Shop recommends application to parts before installation. They also
indicate while the materials are non-toxic acrylic, the user should wear a
mask/filter to avoid that wonderful "concrete nasal passage" feeling many of us
have had when not thinking ahead!
Overall this shows itself to be a good product, and can be used for many
different situations and creations – weld beads, fine cast surfaces, heavy
Soviet-style castings, tire tread, the list goes on and on. It should be
well-received by many, especially those modelers who are concerned about how
toxic some products have become or are now known to be, as it is benign and
should also fit in with acrylic paints as well.
Thanks to Pete Forrest of The Small Shop for the review samples. The Small Shop
can be reached at
http://www.thesmallshop.com , e-mail
email@example.com . Their "snail" address is PO Box 2701, Battle Ground,
Washington, 98604, telephone (360) 686-3181. They note that there is state sales
tax in Washington only, and $5.50-7.50 for postage and handling in the US and
Also, The Small Shop EU can be reached for European sales at
their "snail" address of Honeysuckle Cottage, Pound Lane, Gillingham, Dorset SP8
4NP, UK, telephone 44 (0) 1747 825 646. Contact Alasdair about prices in Euros
Review Copyright © 2003 by Cookie
Page Created 15 April, 2003
Last updated 24 August, 2003
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