So after a few questions recently of ‘How did you paint that like that’, I decided I might as give you a heads up. Before I start waffling on about how this should be done that way, those should be done like this….yadda yadda etc… I paint my own (and customer’s orders) via my personal preference route of achieving the desired effect. I’m completely self taught and a lot of that was through error.
I keep to a simple three-phase P rule: Prep, Paint, Preen.
- Prep (preparation):
Clean the item!!! It doesnt matter if its fresh from the box or not been used in a while, there’s always muck if you look hard enough and the last thing you want is that getting mixed in with your paint. With regards to receivers, rail systems, stock tubes and accessories of the metal variety (steel. aluminium etc), I like to use clear brake cleaner and compressed air. Literally cover the items in fluid and remove it with a good blast of air making sure there’s no cleaner left afterwards. With plastics I like to use either cheap deodorant cans and a cloth, or a light mix of 1 part white spirit to 5 parts water and then compressed air. I would suggest, If you have the skills, remove the main body from the rest of the internals parts but this isn’t always possible. A standard hair dryer can always be handy here, on a cold setting preferably!
The next step I like to use is to mask up any areas you wish the paint no to land. Underneath an AR dust cover is always a must, the magwells, scope lenses, button accessories, triggers (optional), battery connectors if external etc… mostly a common sense action here. You may specifically have areas that need to stay un-painted or will be painted a different colour, the same also applies. Masking tape, tissue, cloth and foam can all be used to achieve this. Check it over, then double check it again. If you are intending on using stencils, objects to pattern with make sure they are clean and crap free as well, too many people make this mistake on YouTube with using tree branches.
Firstly, are you using the right paint? For Airsoft use I highly recommend using Krylon Camo paint as its perfect matt finish works really well on both metal and plastics whilst coming in an array of different colours. Failing that Army Painter for modelling is also great quality and FOSCO army paint also hits the nail on the head. You should always try to have a clean area to paint in that you don’t mind a small amount of over spray, like the garage or even better outdoors. Face and hand protection from fumes and spray is a must and also some cloth with paint thinner to hand for emergencies. Re-check you’ve taped up everything that should be just to be safe and pick out your first base colour. After a good shake and up-side down spray to remove any gunk in the nozzle you can start to add your basecoat/first colour. Keep the nozzle around 30cm away from the object to be painted, for a more defined line with stencils take that distance to about 10cm. The rest is up to your discretion with how you want the project to work out. Be aware that two coats are better than one and three is better than two!
Once you have achieved your design with the right amount of coats needed it now needs to dry. This will obviously be quicker outdoors but a good cheat is to have a hair-dryer on a really REALLY low and cold setting. Preferably, letting the item hang in a breezy environment is preferable.
- Preen (the little niggly bits)
Paints dried so whats next? The majority of after paint action is determined by the job. At this point you wont be looking over any nook and cranny trying to spot missed points. Keep an eye out for where the paint may have run giving that lumpy crappy finish. If it needs a roughing up or a smoothed off finish then sandpaper, wire wool or even a file can come in handy. It’s always a good idea to keep a soft bristle brush handy to wipe off any settled dust on the item. Once your happy that everything is dried, sanded and looking the way it should….then, and only then, remove your masking tape. Dust and crap can still get everywhere afterwards especially if you have two separated receivers for example. Take a look make sure its the way you want it, if not you can always repeat again. If your like me, then you’ll relish any excuse to bust out the Krylon. Happy painting!