Applying camouflage to replicas has as many supporters as it does opponents. One however can’t object to the fact the dark, almost black shape of a gun or rifle is easy to distinguish from natural surroundings even at long distances. If you have already invested money into buying an outfit and gear in an appropriate camo pattern, then why not consider disguising your replica as well?
There are dozens of ways to apply camouflage onto replicas. To start off, we may mention the easiest way of ‘spraying’ the rifle with a uniform colour, and move on to more advances techniques like ‘watertransfer’ or ‘cerakote’. In this tutorial however, will focus on one of the simplest – but most effective – DIY methods, that require neither large amounts of time nor money to realise: the sponge painting technique.
P90 Tactical King Arms with applied sponge painting technique.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
Before you begin your paintjob, you should make a list of all the required tools and materials that will be necessary to complete this task.
• Start with choosing paints and colours. Personally, we recommend paints provided by KRYLON, FOSCO or MONTANA GOLD. All these paints come in a wide variety of colours, shades and mattes, dry off fairly quickly and may be removed with the use of specialised cleaning products or solvents. If you happen to find a particular type of camo pattern you’d like to adorn your replica with, then try to surf the web for information about the pattern’s basic colours or at least find something with a similar shade.
• Once you’ve acquired your cans, you need to equip yourself with a sponge. We advise buying a natural sponge for this purpose, since it is a key element of the ‘sponge painting’ process.
If you do not have the possibility of obtaining a natural sponge, you may of course use an artificial one, but remember to tear it into an irregular shape before use.
• You will also require a small plate or dish (or something else that you’ll be as using a palette to spray your paint onto), disposable gloves, masking tape, a piece of cleaning cloth and a bottle of solvent. Protective masks and eye-wear are also recommended.
PREPARING THE SURFACE
When you finally get everything together you may start preparing your replica for its paintjob. It needs to be thoroughly cleaned and de-greased (please take notice that artificial materials and replica parts often come into reaction with certain solvents – to avoid damaging the replica, just make test by dabbing a drop of solvent on an each part you intend to clean beforehand). Disassembling the replica and removing all parts you don’t want to paint (levers, bolts, accessories) is ideally the best solution. If not, just cover them up with masking tape, paying special attention to sights and optics glass. Use old newspapers to stuff all the interior spaces and cover up parts you’re not going to paint.
Here are a few examples of replica elements, that were removed and patched up before applying the sponge painting technique (notice the still visible light adjustment knob on the collimator).
Before you begin spraying, make sure that the place you are working in is properly protected and ventilated. Doing it outdoors is the best solution, just avoid rain and snow.
Here’s a step-by-step guide of getting it done:
• The first layer to we use to colour the base is a dark colour (i.e. green). Do this by applying a swift, smooth jet of spray from one side of the replica to the other. Wait a few minutes and cover up all the places that need more attention, but try to use the paint as gently as possible – too much paint is definitely not a good idea. Once the base layer has dried off, apply a lighter, contrasting colour (i.e. tan) in a few places. Try to make the layers of paint as thin as possible – you can achieve this by spraying the replica from a certain distance.
• While the base colours are drying you may prepare the plate and sponge. Use the plate just as a palette and get a few colours sprayed onto it. Dab your sponge in the wet paint and off you go!
• Apply gentle touches to the replica with your sponge. Try to get the colours in contrasting patches and vary their shape from smaller to larger splashes – in order to break up the rifle’s characteristic shape.
• Wait until the paint is dry to verify your work. If the colours you used seem to be too bright you may apply a gentle layer of the dark base colour to dampen out the brightest places.
Carefully remove the masking tape from all the elements, put the parts back together and enjoy your final results! Good luck!
Tranlation by /Siemion/