Review: Secret Weapon Miniatures Bases and Scenery Kits

Recently, I placed an order for some resin bases and scenery kits from Secret Weapon Miniatures after a number of positive references on the Independent Characters podcast. Being somewhat experienced with both resin bases and various bits of miniatures scenery (snow, flock, static grass, etc.), I thought I’d write a review of this particular order, specifically the “Blasted Wastelands” resin bases, and “Instant Scenery Kit: Wetlands”.

If you’ve guessed I’m working on a swamp/wetlands themed army, you’re correct.

Blasted Wastelands Resin Bases

First up is the resin bases themselves. The reason these appealed to me is because they’re a somewhat unusual offer on the basin scene – they’re somewhat hollow, allowing for the use of water effects on the bases themselves.

A comparison between the SWM Blasted Wastelands base (right) and a normal resin base from another company (left).

The “wall” of the base is thin, but seems sturdy enough, as does the rest of the base. The hollow base is however lighter, so if you’re relying on a base to provide stability to a model, that may be tricky depending on weight. Despite the lightness however, they feel solid and well made. They stand up well to drilling, without an snapping or buckling. In terms of drilling holes for flying base sticks and the like, the hollowness actually makes them way easier to set up.

The bases themselves are well made, the detail fine, requiring very little preperation beyond some filing around the edge of the base, but no more onerous than cleaning the little wounds created by seperating a plastic base from its sprue.

If I have one complaint, its that the small, gritty detailing on the bases that serves the same purpose as modeling sand on most bases leaves very little room to actually glue a model down. Adhesion is tricky, especially with a model like the Wych below, where you’re already dealing with a small surface area.

For several of them, I had to construct rather elaborate support structures to hold a model while the super glue set, more than I’d normally have to deal with.

Long story short, I’d give them a 9.5/10.

Instant Scenery Kit: Wetlands

The instant scenery kit is *clearly* meant to accompany the Blasted Wetlands bases. The package itself is fairly generous, with two kinds of modeling grass, several different sands and flocks, and a bottle each of PVA glue and the SWM water effects solution.

The moss and sand are pretty standard and straightforward, so the focus of this review is going to be on the grass, the water effects, and the intersection of the two.

Field Grass

The Field Grass, which comes in two colors, requires some prep work, being combined into bundles, glued together and trimmed to the desired length, but that also lends it flexibility – you can manage anything from low shrubs to long grass.

There is however one problem I encountered, both with the liquid superglue I used to glue the prepared bundles onto the bases, and the water effects solution – the narrow gaps between strands seems pretty friendly to capillary action causing the solution to flow *up* into the grass, gluing it together. I think the solution is to used gel-based super glue, and to apply the water effects well away from the grass and let it flow to the bunches, instead of applying at the bases, as I did for one.

Water Effects

The Water Effects are extremely easy to use – just use the eye-dropper bottle to apply a few drops to the base, let them spread, and slowly increase the amount, rotating the miniature to let the viscous liquid flow everywhere.

Easy as…something very easy.

A few caveats (beyond the capillary action issue noted above):

* The water effects shrink as they dry, which means you might have to apply a couple layers, which will take time.
* The liquid isn’t entirely self-levelling. It’ll cling to the textures on the base, the high and low points, etc. This both is and isn’t a problem – you’re not going to get a glass-smooth surface using a textured base, but I rather like the dynamic look of the water

All in all, the scenery get does exactly what it says it does on the tin, and does it well. I’d give it an 8/10, mostly because it is a little harder to prepare than common static grass, and the capillary action thing is a problem I haven’t worked out yet (out of two clumps so far, I’ve had it happen once with glue, and once with the water effects). Overall though, I’m very happy with the product.

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