AMMO by Mig- Plasticator Thick and Thin
Once again, AMMO by Mig have created a fascinating new product for the modeler. Plasticator, which comes in a Thin and Thick formula, seals nearly any non-plastic surface and gives it an ideal plastic-like surface to paint and weather. It seals porous surfaces like resin, plaster, cardboard, and paper giving better paint adhesion properties to your projects, saving you time and paint amounts. Both formulas are easy to apply and are non-toxic and water soluble for easy cleanup. The Thin formula is best used for paper, wood and cardboard products such as maps, MRE boxes, or laser-cut type kits. The Thick formula is used best for plaster or resin. There is a useful how-to video on You Tube, but for an excellent PDF guide for use, you can visit the AMMO website here:
What I have done is prepare different surfaces with and without the product to give a clear overview of the effects. While researching the product before I began the review, some in the comments had mentioned that this is basically watered down PVA glue, so I tested watered down white glue as well-- there may be some similarities, but I can say in my own view that the effects were better with the AMMO product as you'll see.
The video mentions using the Thin formula to avoid filling in some of the wood grain, but I decided to try both formulas out just for reference. The Thin formula may definitely be a better choice as you will see as it doesn't obscure the wood grain detail like the Thick does. First up, we have a piece of balsa wood. I labeled each side- Tk for Thick and Tn for Thin...the backside was untreated except for a section of the water-thinned PVA. On the Plasticator side, after a base coat of Vallejo Basic Skin, I added some Oilbrusher Earth and thinned it with some Turpenoid and streaked down. As you can see, the thick side has more of the brush strokes showing and not as much of the wash soaked into the grooves. After that photo, the rear side...and you can see the oils soaked in and didn't really streak down as well. It was much more difficult to weather than it was on the Plasticator side. The little strip next to the None label was treated with watered down PVA-- absorption of the oils was less, but the grain detail is definitely better on the Plasticator side.
Untreated side with a small strip of water down PVA glue to test
Paper and Cardboard
Next up are some paper and cardboard samples-- I copied a map off the internet- in the first photo is the Thin-treated map on the left and the straight paper on the right. The left shows the map much more to scale thickness and it almost has the look of a waterproof surface. I then later treated the paper with the watered down PVA-- and it had issues with the color running through the backside of the paper and the treated surface wasn't quite the same. The Plasticator sample definitely sealed better.The cardboard is a sample from a Tamiya MRE set and it gave the cardboard a nice sheen to it as well. This was with the Thin- it seemed to be a little thick, so maybe thin down if you don't want that waterproof sheen to it?
Plasticator Thin (left) and straight paper (right)
PVA treated map-- works nearly as well from the looks of the front
But bleedthrough on the back side though
Plasticator treated MRE box
Resin and Plaster
Last up, we have a chimney in plaster on the left and resin on the right. Resin is not mentioned for use with this product, but I considered that even despite thorough cleaning, there are times paint adhesion to resin can be problematic. So why not test this out? The bottom halves of both were treated with the Plasticator Thick...and the top halves left untreated. I then treated the top shingle and the side of the chimney under the shingles with the thinned PVA. There was not a significant difference in appearance on the resin piece between treated and untreated, but who knows? The plaster on the other hand shows some definitive pitting in the untreated section that is not present on the Plasticator side so the product definitely seals nicely and gives a great surface for paint. The PVA treated section also shows some pitting.
One can see the difference in surfaces between the treated bottom and untreated top on this plaster piece
Even more evident with a paint coat- note the difference in shade on the resin piece...the shingles were treated with PVA beforehand
PVA treatment (top down to shingle edge), Untreated (middle), Plasticator (right)
Editor's Note- I decided to go back and add Foam to the samples as many folks use it to carve their buildings and diorama bits. I know the paint can soak in a bit, so I thought it might be good to check out. I labeled the different zones- U for Untreated, Tk and Tn for Thick and Thin, and PVA is obvious. I then painted all of the area in AMMO's tire color and then added an Oilbrusher wash of Dust. I cannot see any great difference between any of these zones-- although the PVA zone has some weird marks on it which I have no idea about...so maybe some further testing is needed...if anyone has done so, let me know and Ill be glad to add it in here!
While my testing may not be as thorough as some, from my I have seen- the Plasticator treatments give a much better end look to my work than the untreated or PVA-treated sections. I suppose others have a more successful PVA thinning ratio that works for them and more power to you if that is so. For me though, $4.70 for either formula is a small price to pay to make an expensive resin or plaster diorama building or structure piece take paint more effectively. I am impressed with how easy it was to use and I really like the look of the map afterwards. You can also shape the map around any surface while it is still wet to mold it to the shape of wherever you are placing it- - I have placed it in the back of my Dragon IDF M113 Zelda below. Whatever you decide, if you can grab this up, you won't be disappointed!
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.
Thanks goes out to AMMO by Mig for these review samples.
Reviewed by Michael Reeves
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