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Tool/Accessory Review:

The Small Shop
 "Cast-a-Coat" Acrylic Surfacing Materials


S u m m a r y

Description and Price The Small Shop, "Cast-a-Coat" Acrylic Surfacing Materials; introductory price USD$10
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: More precise and "user-friendly" method of roughing up plastic or resin surfaces than older methods; non-toxic
Disadvantages: Requires several steps and new learning curve for old standby users
Recommendation: Highly Recommended for all armor fans


Reviewed by Cookie Sewell

HyperScale is proudly supported by Squadron.com


F i r s t L o o k


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 object.

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 smallshop@ipns.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 Canada.

Also, The Small Shop EU can be reached for European sales at thesmallshopeu@aol.com  or 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 or Pounds.

Cookie Sewell


Review Copyright 2003 by Cookie Sewell
Page Created 15 April, 2003
Last updated 24 August, 2003

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