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Custom Paint Jobs

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Little over two years ago my interest peaked in concealment mods and thus the idea of gun painting came up. I think we can all agree that nearly 95% of painted guns out there look like shite though and I HATE with a burning passion the texture of a gun that is just primed and feels like a chalkboard. Thus my requirements for the painting were

1) It needs to actually look good, not like a third grader who spent more time huffing the aerosol can than actually applying the paint

2) It needs to be functional and actually work, so no punisher camo, orange tiger stripe, etc etc "look at me," "give me attention because my parents never did" style paint jobs

3) It needs to have a proper finish so that im not getting spine chills every time my fingers contact the gun and remind me of fingernails on a chalkboard (*shudder* uggghhh!)

4) It needs to be durable but able to wear in and as such look natural.....unlike any of the Kardashians 

 

So, a bit of research, a bit of testing, and I settled on plain jane rattle cans (its what the pros use....no joke) which if properly applied, are long lasting but do wear as I was looking for. As to the finish, the secret has always been clear coat. Finish is its literal defined job. Its no secret, yet literally nobody does it. Matte clearcoat mist from 8-12" away to reduce any amount of shine while still providing the smooth finish. Now, all I needed was pattern.

 

Theres a bazillion different camo patterns out there and even more forum threads and conversations on which is best. The sheer idiocracy in much of said discussions is staggering. So abandoning that, I analyzed my specific environment (Indiana) and the camo patterns that have worked best in my experience and made my decisions from there. To no surprise, or total surprise, I dont know, but anways, I settled on Flecktarn.

 

*Note: This is not to be a debate on the effectiveness of flecktarn in the Indiana and greater central upper Midwest region, because, if you disagree with me, well, your wrong, its the greatest camo ever produced, and if you don't think so then go write your congressman to have it banned in order to spite me and make your point, to which ill call you a cotton headed ninny muggins.

 

Anyways, I discovered this company, and although it was a bit steep on price, opted to give it a shot because of requirements No. 1&2 above.

https://www.freedomstencils.com/collections/camouflage-stencils/products/flecktarn-camouflage-stencil-kit

 

Now, in a more serious light, successful painting is all about the prep work. I dismantle the guns fully and while wearing latex gloves, wiped down all surfaces in acetone to not only clean the surface, but to simultaneously strip all oils and etch the surface for primer adhesion. Yes even the plastics, just do it gently. All it takes is a good micro-fiber cloth or paper towel that wont leave any fibers behind dipped in acetone. This isn't the acetone from your mother's/wife's/sister's medicine closet either, but the proper industrial stuff from the hardware store, aka the good stuff. Also, don't huff acetone. Its a disclaimer, plus it stinks. It is vital that you wear gloves to not only protect your hands, but to handle the now clean parts to prevent any oils or impurities from getting back on the parts. Once every inch is thoroughly scrubbed, put on fresh gloves, and reassemble. Then you are ready to start.

 

These stencil kits are made specifically for duracoat which requires you to spray the color, and then bake the gun. Thus, it is a superb high quality with great edges and adhesion. This is where I differ and do it custom though. Proper flecktarn has 5 colors that move from dark to light in application layers and overlap a LOT. After the first gun I did, I modified my process because there just wasn't enough overlap or coverage of the darker colors. Also I ignore the stencil numbering and apply more darks. Don't worry, more darks make it turn out better I promise. Studying the actual camo pattern in front of me, I mimic placement and overlap and use all the stencils for my first 4 colors. Then for the final layer, I take an exact-o knife to the remaining stencil scraps (boarders, cut outs, etc on the transfer paper) and start making my final layer by custom cutting stencils. Ensure that all the hard lines and corners are on overlaps while the smooth and swooping edges are on bare gun surface. Sadly I don't have any pictures of this process....yet. Ill update the thread on my next round of painting which will happen shortly.

 

The final paint coat should be a matte clear coat. Hold the can 8-12" away and gently dust the gun. It may apply slightly shiny, but it will dull once dried, unless of course you bathe the gun from 4" away. Also, once done spraying, let the gun rest for a week. Don't touch it. The paint needs the time to fully rest and cure. Dry paint does not mean cured paint. It needs the time to become strong like Russian ox. If you find yourself wanting to touch the still curing gun, take you hands and go touch something else (*Disclaimer: I do not condone any inappropriate behavior from this statement. Said statement shall apply only to its intended use and statement provider shall be released from any legal ramifications from any misinterpretation of said statement.)

 

The best part of these stencils is that if you do the above and apply them properly, gently remove then and place them on wax paper. The stencils will still have their adhesive and can be reused to the paint mags. I don't suggest painting another gun with them as the paint buildup on the edges will cause the overlaps to not be as precise, but it is plenty precise for mags and other assorted rail furniture. I personally painted 16 mags, 8 at a time, so I got 3 uses out of the stencils, making them well worth my money. A full gun and 16 mags is worth $55 in my book.

 

Things to keep in mind:

- ALWAYS wear latex gloves when handling the gun, stencils, or placing stencils. Keep the oils from your hands off of all.

- ALWAYS cycle gloves to a new pair each round of stenciling to keep impurities from transferring and NEVER reuse gloves. Just buy a whole box of them at a time.

- Don't paint like a retard. Multiple smooth, light coats is the way to go....not heavy coats. You should still see the yellow of the stencil after your first two coats. Slow and steady buildup man.

- Hit from all directions including from below. The gun! Nothing else! Just the gun. Get your mind out of the gutter.

- Don't be afraid to blend paints as you go. For me, the flecktarn grey was achieved by applying a grey primer and then dusting it with a light forest green to give it the green hue.

- Give 24 hours of dry time between color final layer coat and next layer stencil.

- Remove stencils gently and with an exact-o knife when necessary, not your grubby fingernail. If you are using your fingernail then you already broke rule number 1 above so you might as well just throw it, and yourself, into the trash can because its were you both belong.

- WEAR GLOVES

 

So without further adieu, here is the finished product. The AK in traditional flecktarn was the first one before my modified process. As you can see, there is too much light green and the overlap doesn't look right. However, the second AK utilizing my modified process turned out phenomenal. Then I did a chopped M60 for fun and it turned out great on the traditional colors (sorry for lack of good photo, waiting on completion of her flecktarn sister). The actual hardware gun builds themselves are different stories. I can type it up if anyone wants to hear them. Each AK is a ridiculous overkill build and priced well above anything I could ever sell, so they are just permanent personals.

 

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As to effectiveness, I suppose that's an ongoing thing and up to the eye of the beholder. A few shots of in game though, which are of me very much not trying to blend in and more or less running and gunning. Still need to get the tropentarn AK out for a game still.

 

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It isn't the easiest way to paint, but by far and second only to hydro-dipping, it is one of the best. Also, the rattle cans are all Rustoliem. So, feel free to ask any questions. Hopefully this gives some ideas and insight to others wanting similar. I have at least three more projects coming up (1 airsoft 2 real steel) so Ill update this thread as I go.

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Paintjob looks beautiful.   Though I now have the urge to skip the tan paintjob I was planning on my L85 and do some sort of pink dazzle camo pattern instead.    

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Second Bear's comments! Really like the Tiger'isk stripe on the 60 too... Well done sir!

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