Secret Weapon Wash Review

Secret Weapon Miniatures has a new line of washes. Well priced at $2.99 for a 20ml bottle, I picked up four bottles for a test run. Ideally, I would hope to find an inexpensive replacement for Delvan Mud by GW, but I would be satisfied with a product that could “dip” without the caustic side effects of wood stain.

The four washes purchased are:

  • Armour Wash – best candidate for the “dip”
  • Dark Sepia – possible flesh wash
  • Baby Poop – who can turn down a product with a name like that!
  • Stone – a soft color for terrain work

Secret Weapon Wash test

The test case is a unit of Romans. The figures start with a simple base coat & each had a liberal amount of wash applied by brush.

Results:

  • Devlan Mud – smooth as silk.  The gold standard for washes.
  • Armour Wash – heavy black lines created.  Pools left a hard edge after drying.  The shield shows off the large grain of the wash.
  • Dark Sepia – The heavy brown does a good job of a medium weight wash.
  • Sepia/Armour mix:  a 50/50 mix.  The result is still mostly black, I may try such a mix again at 1 part armour wash and 2 (or 3) parts Sepia.
  • Baby Poop:  the green color of the wash really shows on the shield.  Not what I’m looking for, but a good option for a green/yellow shades.
  • Stone:  a very mild color.  Needs to be based on whites.

Conclusions:

The washes tend to separate in the bottle & require a vigorous shaking before use.  None of these washes will challenge Devlan Mud as the champion of washes, but the Secret Weapon products will provide a better option to stains for volume army painting.

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  1. #1 by misterjustin on April 19, 2011 - 10:22 pm

    Hey mate, thanks for the review! The Secret Weapon Washes have a *MUCH* heavier pigment count than the current generation of GW washes. The original GW washes came close but have since been dramatically thinned. “Armor Wash” can actually be thinned to compete with “Devlin Mud” and you’ll get that nice brown/black colour from it. Straight from the pot it still gives good coverage for both body and recesses but if you’re trying to avoid pooling you have to be a bit more controlled with it than you would with a much thinner wash. That extra pigment will pool up if you’re not telling it where to go.

    Always happy to answer any questions too – especially since the product is only just back to the market after Les stopped making the originals.

  2. #2 by xenite on April 20, 2011 - 2:22 pm

    Interesting stuff. I would love to find a replacement for Devlan Mud. The stuff is great, but is stupid pricey. Tamiya smoke is pretty great, but is super shiny when it dries (not an issue for matte varnish).

  3. #3 by chicagoterrainfactory on April 20, 2011 - 2:50 pm

    I’ll keep working with the product to see if I can figure out the right application methods. I did finish the rest of the unit using 1 part Armour Wash and 2 parts Dark Sepia. The effect was more or less the same as 100% Armour wash. Maybe I need to mix Flesh wash with the Armour Wash to get a slight brown with the black. The one up side, the Secret Weapon washes are mostly matte.

    @MisterJustin – I don’t mind the pooling. The problem with the Secret Weapon washes is the hard line that develops after drying – sort of like a coffee stain. To their credit, GW washes have a super smooth finish without boarders. I could try adding more medium to the wash – but that sort of defeats the purpose of buying a pre-made wash.

  4. #4 by misterjustin on April 20, 2011 - 7:32 pm

    You’d actually just want to add more water. The GW washes have a super low pigment count and a very high water content. This makes for a very smooth, somewhat translucent finish. The nice thing about the higher pigment count is that you can dilute it like mad. Folks that want heavy coverage can get a “dip” effect out of the bottle — but if you put it on the palette and add some water it’ll flow a lot more smoothly and cut down on the sharp edges. The edge is created by the pigment being pulled to the edge of the water and drying there.

    I hope this help 🙂

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