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In-Box Review
Vallejo Model Washes
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by: Todd Michalak [ TRM5150 ]

Originally published on:


From the Vallejo Website:

For armor, vehicles, planes, ship, figures and war game figures. All surfaces exposed to sun, wind and dust, rain and snow, experience a change in color, a loss of intensity, a dulling and general fading which however is not even or overall. For the model painter, these changes in color are very difficult to reproduce, and to achieve these effects on a model, washes or filters are the perfect solution.

The washes are always needed to blend the edges of the colors on a model painted in various camouflage shades. The colors can also be mixed together to achieve further variations of shade and can be used with airbrush or brush, according to the model and the effect desired.

Model Wash can be mixed with pigments to achieve a wide range of effects such as oil and flaked rust, mud, earth, dust, moss, etc. and when mixed with acrylic colors, they further help achieve the impact of heavy wear and weathering.

The washed[s] have been formulated with a modified acrylic resin so that the superficial tension is similar to that of the traditional solvent-based washes and filters, but with the advantage of working with a water-based medium. Average drying time is around 20 minutes. If several layers of wash are to be applied, it is best to wait around 40 minutes between applications. Painting tools are cleaned with water.

Review & in use

A short while ago, I received a selection of Vallejo’s new acrylic washes from their Model Wash line. Being a huge fan of weathered vehicle modeling, I could not wait to give these new washes a run for their money. I happened to have one of Tamiya’s older Quad Tractor kits built and painted just sitting on the bench awaiting the start of the weathering process!! Time to dive right in!

First, let me explain which washes I had to start with. Each one of the new washes comes in a 35 ml (1.18fl.oz.) bottle, attractively labeled and easy to read. Each of the washes has the traditional black, snap-lock tops that have been used on their larger paints and primers. This is the list of items used for this review:

76.503 – Dark Yellow for Yellow Vehicles
76.505 – Light Rust for Rust effects
76.507 – Dark Rust for Rust Effects
76.512 - Dark Green for Green Vehicles
76.516 – Grey for Grey and Dark Vehicles

Vallejo offers 12 new washes in the Model Wash Line. Each geared to aiding color enhancement for different colors. Please stop by the Vallejo website and checkout the .pdf color chart here:

Model Wash

Getting started, I placed a couple of drops of the wash in the cups of my pallet. Next to each sample of the wash, I placed a couple of drops of water and then added two drops of wash to dilute the washes. Since these new washes are acrylic in origin, they mix extremely well with water. By adding the water to dilute these washes I will be experimenting, similar to test driving a car, I need to use all the options I can think of.

First up on the test block is the Dark Yellow Wash. Please note, since I painted the truck in acrylic paints, I did not want to disturb the paint layers by adding water based effect of it. So, I applied a quick clear coat to seal and protect my work. I first attempted to apply the wash similar to other washes I used. This particular wash went on a little heavy for my liking, but the diluted wash worked really well for this application. Blending almost like a filter, the wash brought out color tones from the paint stage and softened other harder tones. The wash dries fast, in about 10 to 15 minutes the surface was dry to the touch. The Vallejo site calls for an average drying time of about 20 minutes and suggests that you wait 40 or more minutes before applying any subsequent coats. I rarely follow the rules…at least that is what my wife says! After I let the first coat dry about 15 minutes, I applied a quick second coat to see how the next coat would darken the first and how this coat might affect the first coat while manipulating the wash, without sealing. I learned that the more light coats you add will slowly add darker tones, allowing the layers of weathering to be built up over several coats if desired.

Next, I decided to attempt some streaking effects with the washes. These are not designed for this application…but then again, I said I don’t follow the rules. Using the full strength wash and a fine tip brush, I was able to apply the fine streaks in a similar manner to other streaking products on the market. Working in sections, as not to have too much drying on the surface at one time, I laid down the streaks, waited a few minutes and then using a damp flat paintbrush I began to draw downward in the direction of the streaks I wanted to achieve slowly blending the steaks into the surface. I found this to work well. I let some sit a bit longer and the streaking dried really well and became difficult to remove with water, even after letting the water sit for a few seconds to soak in. I did find that by mixing water to isopropyl alcohol, 50/50, I was able to soften the surface tension of the fresh streaks and continue without disturbing the paint. This is one more good reason to seal the original paint work, as the paint may have been lifted or stained the color causing ill-effects to the build. Next, drying the brush quickly on a paper towel, I drew down in the same direction with the brush humid with water and this removed some of the secondary wash and blending the streaks with the wash, giving a nice streaking effect to the model.

It was time to try out the Green Wash for Green Vehicles. I wanted to add some alternate color tones to the tarpaulin roof. Using the wash full strength, I applied a nice even coat to the entire tarpaulin roof section. I then used a dry brush (and my finger on the high points of the mold) and blended the greenish color over the khaki colored tarp roof. This blended well and gave me a nice hint of green to the surface.

Now I needed to try something a little different. I mixed two drops of Light Rust Wash with three to four drops of the Grey Wash and then a drop of water. This created an almost Burnt Sienna wash, which I used a fine tip brush and applied various pin washes throughout the model on raised details and panel lines. This work extremely well and I was even able to remove an over-washing that had occurred around some bolts and such.

Using the Grey wash, I applied a full strength wash to the medium grey painted tires. Again the Vallejo washes brought out the tire lettering and highlighted the recessed areas. I ended up adding a couple of washes to the tires to alter the coloring slightly. Then to add some interest, I used the Grey Wash as a pin wash randomly to bolt heads and some panel lines. This created a nice contrast to the coloring of the model.

I wanted to try the Rust Wash alone to check the coloring. On both the front and rear bumpers using a slightly diluted mixture of Light Rush Wash and water, I placed some wash near the corners and around select bolts. This added just the right amount of rusting to this area for me.

Finally, I attempted to add some more streaking using the Grey Wash as well as the mixture of Grey and Light Wash. This gave some great variation to the streaking tones along all of the flat panels on the truck.


The new Vallejo Model Wash Series makes a nice addition to the weathering rack on anyone’s bench. Safe, easy to use, easy to mix and easy to clean up using only water, these washes add some really nice blending and various effects to any model. Vallejo has supplied excellent various products used widely within the modeling community and the new washes stand with the long line of quality products.
Highs: These washes are safe, easy to use, easy to mix and easy to clean up using only water, along with cost and size of the product packaged makes for a really nice buy.
Lows: There is a learning curve on removing dried wash that is unwanted and can be difficult to remove without some practice.
Verdict: I feel that these new washes will make a fine compliment to anyone's toolbox at the modeling bench to help achieve some really nice weathering effects.
  Scale: 1:1
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Dec 23, 2012

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This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Todd Michalak (TRM5150)

I am building what I like, when I like and how I like it; having fun doing it. I have been building and finishing models on and off my whole life but the past ten years things really exploded. Just about anything goes when it comes to hitting the bench, but wrecked armor, rusted hulks, ships or ...

Copyright ©2021 text by Todd Michalak [ TRM5150 ]. All rights reserved.


Thank you Darren!!! And you welcome! Happy New Year!!!
DEC 27, 2012 - 04:33 PM
Very useful review... thanks for taking the time to try all the washes on your model and document the process on photos. Mario
DEC 27, 2012 - 08:46 PM
Thank you Mario!! I glad to give the a try and happy with the results as well!
DEC 27, 2012 - 09:56 PM
Any idea where to purchase these in the US? I can't seem to find them anywhere!
JAN 27, 2013 - 06:48 AM
Here's one place, scroll down towards the bottom as the top ones are the original formula: MTS
JAN 27, 2013 - 07:04 AM
Hi Jake, I can't seem to find a location the sells the product directly, however, on Vallejo's webpage there is a list of distributors within the US. These supply local hobby shops. I would have to say that if a local hobby shop carries any of the Vallejo line, then one of these distributors can obtain it. Ask you LHS and see if they can be ordered, they may have a catalog to pick from. I checked one of the distributors' website and they list these washes as an in stock item, which means that they can be ordered possibly from a LHS. Check this site LINK Typ in the required information and this should give you a list of the LHS you can get them from!!
JAN 27, 2013 - 07:07 AM
Would thinning regular Vallejos work the same? Or do these washes have something added to make them flow better? Just curious.
JAN 27, 2013 - 07:44 AM
Hi Kimmo, I can only assume the Vallejo may have some sort of binder added to the wash to aid in the flow. I do not know as to the chemical make up of these but can tell you from using them that they are not quite like thinned down Vallejo paints. I would say real close but they grab a little more. If you let them dry a few minutes you can manipulate them stile. If they dry to long, I did have a little trouble removing or moving around...not at all like some enamel based products whereas you can clean them the next day or so very easily.
JAN 27, 2013 - 10:33 AM
Good to know. Thanks
JAN 27, 2013 - 10:35 AM

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