Unless you are an AK owner, the concept of going at your gun with a piece of sandpaper and a metal file probably seems quite alien, but recently at Ai HQ we’ve been having a good go at weathering, distressing and otherwise making our guns look a little less box fresh, and we are pretty excited by the results.
|One of our favourite “beaten up” staff shooters
Although a weathered-in gun probably isn’t for everyone, and we can understand why you wouldn’t want to lose that new gun sheen, some load-outs need that little bit extra to look convincing. This often comes in the form of a few nicks, scratches and scrapes on your rifle. With a metal bodied gun, it can be a simple case of artfully sanding or lightly filing some edges to give it a worn look, but it’s also possible with a plastic or ABS gun. Check out our top tips for getting that war-torn look no matter what gun you have.
Technique 1: A quick rub down. (Metal guns)
This is the simplest and probably the easiest way of making you gun look a bit battered and well used, in fact it happens naturally over time, but who wants to wait years for their load out to look right? Simply give your gun a once over with a piece of sandpaper to accelerate the natural wear and tear on any edges and working parts.
We found it’s actually best to use a worn piece of fine wet and dry paper to gradually build up the wear, and pay special attention to areas with bolt catches, mag wells and edges that might get scraped or knocked, like sight posts and flash hiders.
Remember to proceed with caution, once you’ve taken the paint off, you’ll have to strip the whole thing down again to repaint it if you decide the weathered look isn’t right or you’ve taken it too far. Also, be mindful of any dust particles, not only inhaling them, but them getting into the inner workings of your gun.
Technique 2: Dry brushing. (Any guns)
The second technique we’ve employed to get that battle hardened look, even on a plastic bodied gun is one used by modellers all over, called “dry brushing”. Before you start, you are going to need to source some metallic silver paint, we’ve found the range available at Games Workshop to be spot on and well priced. For less than £3 you can pick up a perfect water-based pot of “Boltgun Metal” which will be enough for about 20 guns. You’ll also need a small paintbrush, but just get a cheap one as this technique isn’t particularly kind to them, and a wad of tissue paper or kitchen roll.
This technique doesn’t require quite the commitment of the sandpaper method, but ironically will wear off over time, but it’s a great way to try out the look at least, or if you have a plastic gun, to give it a more solid appearance. Firstly, give the paint a good shake before you open it, crack it open and take a small amount onto the tip of the brush. Then, wipe it off onto your tissue paper or toilet roll. You need to work a tiny amount of paint into the brush, up until the point it barely leaves a mark on the tissue. Then lightly brush over the area you want to make look chipped, scratched or worn gradually building up a metallic looking layer on the raised edges.
Technique 3: A lick of paint. (Any guns apart from two-tone)
A hastily applied spray paint camo job is great for that “Special Forces” look, but can be a bit hit and miss on an AEG. Too much paint or the wrong sort and you’ll end up with mess. The only paint we will try this with is the real deal Krylon stuff and it sometimes takes a little thought and preparation to get that “rushed” look.
You can just go hammer and tongs and spray a few stripes here and there, after masking off any optics or hop units, and it’s probably best to do this WITHOUT cleaning your gun first. This will lead to paint not adhering to any dirty, dusty or greasy areas, and wearing off quickly, leaving you with a cool looking “in-the-field” result. To enhance this effect, we applied a little grease to the recesses of the gun before painting, but you could use vaseline or even marmite. We then sprayed out gun from a distance of about 15 inches in short, sharp bursts and always keeping the can moving. Try to avoid any thick coats and just go for a light dusting and build it up gradually. We then left the paint to dry and wiped over the whole thing with a rag, including wiping the grease out of the recesses to finish up.
The only question left now is, do you dare rough up your gun? If you do fancy having a go, take your beaten up gun along to the Ai500 where the Ai staff will be on the lookout for any particularly good weathering jobs, they might even have a few goodies to hand out…