|(Original Link Broke) My Paradigm Post Painting|
How about that paint job, eh? Do you like it? What!? You don't!? Well for those people reading who do like this paint job and are interested in painting their guns in a similar fashion I'm going to tell you how I did it, which was incorrectly, then tell you what you need to know to do a camo job like this proper.
I've used spray paints to do camo jobs on guns on several occasions before but always found they needed more preparation than I liked to do, they smelled bad during the process and you would get best results if you painted on a warm sunny day, not a cold northern winter day like I was planning to do this on, so I opted to do a hand painted camo job which was something I'd never done before but thought would allow me some finer control over my work. For this job I rounded up the following:
Cheap paintbrushes since sometimes I need to stab at a crevices to get paint in them and you don't want to spend big on brushes that aren't going to survive the painting process
Cheap acrylic paint which I planned to use preservative on so no harm done there, right? (Wrong, find a proper base paint)
Masking tape to shield parts I did not want paint on such as the part beneath the Milsig name-plate and the serial number, trigger guard, safety etc., since I like highlights
Polyurethane to put over my paint once it has dried to harden and preserve it
A toothbrush to brush the polyurethane 3 hours after application to buff out some of the shine it produces, can't have a shiny gun in the bush after all
|Streak and blend Your Bases!|
Keep in mind while reading now that is the incorrect way of painting a gun, I'll explain what a better way would have been in two paragraphs. After disassembling the gun to it's most basic parts and masking what I didn't want to get paint on (brackets, sights) I was ready to paint the beast. First, I brushed on staggered strips of chocolate brown that were about 3-4 inches wide and ran at the same 45 degree angle along the gun. These strips also has 3-4 inch wide gaps in between for my next base color. Second, I mixed a vanilla espresso color using white and brown and did the same thing in the gaps I'd left. When my brush was low on paint, I added some streaks into the chocolate brown parts of my base by lightly dragging the brush back and forth across some of the angled surfaces, the picatinny rails for example. This blended the colors and added a neat weathering effect to the dark, bold areas. Then I created a dark gray color with my black and white paints, put some on the tip of my smaller brush and sort of gobbed it at random. I didn't add more paint to these gobs but spread them about until they were very thin and started to blend into the existing colors. The next part was overkill: I made a dark brown and made some bold streaks with it, I don't think this part was necessary. The very last thing I did to make it all blend together was I grabbed a sponge, dipped it in black paint and then lightly dabbed it all over the gun, adding a burnt effect.
To try and preserve it, I decided to use polyurethane. I'd been using this on things all summer and was impressed with how well it helped various things bond and harden. I'd also used it on my cheap acrylic before and was impressed with how hard and well it bonded, so I figured putting it on my gun's paint job would work equally well. Two coats of this stuff were carefully applied, and 3 hours after allowing the second coat to dry, I buffed it with a toothbrush to reduce shine produced from the glossy finish which even 'satin' polyurethane seems to produce. Though I didn't mention this in the materials needed section, I also applied a coat of Testor's Dull Coat for good measure.
So what is is that went wrong with my paint job? The cheap acrylic paint as a base is the biggest problem. You need to purchase paint you plan to use as a base special for the material it's going to be applied to, in this case I should have purchased a special metal paint instead of craft paint. It would have been ok to use craft of paint on top of a well applied base for detailing but it just didn't bond well. Thankfully, the polyurethane soaked into the porous acrylic and and any paint that peels off my gun is coming off in small, clean strips leaving no residue behind, a bit like a snake shedding it's skin. Where is it peeling the most, you ask? Areas where screws make contact and are tightened, picatinny rails, most other areas that get more metal on metal contact. This paint job will last a year or two I suspect but at the end of that period I think there will only be a few spots of paint left to gently peel away with a dental pick and then with a little luck, my gun will look like new beneath it all.
Aside from a proper base coat what can be done to get the most out of your paintball gun paint job? Prepare the surface you're going to be painting. In my case the gun was new and had no gunk on the surface, I painted right on but if you've been using a gun for awhile, odds are it's got oily residue from ball breaks, and maybe some dust a dirt in small deposits all over the surface of the gun. So clean it up! And if it's plastic you plan to paint, I find sanding it just a little to add texture to the surface helps the base coat bond to it nicely.
Fine detailing you plan to do after cleaning, masking, and putting on a base coat needs to be done in a paint of similar composition to your base coat. Get water based paint if your gun's base coat was water based, and the same thing goes for oil. Paints of different bases won't apply to each other very well. In my case of using acrylics, I should have applied a water base coat formulated for bonding to metal, let that dry over night, and then done detailing with the cheap stuff.
For preserving your paint job I recommend Testor's Dull Coat which I mentioned earlier. I've used this in the past on a metal front rail for a Milsig K-Series and has very good luck, I'm not totally sure why I didn't use it this time around but it likely has something to do with wanting to use the materials I already had on hand. This stuff can be found at your local hobby and model store, perhaps even at Michael's craft shop. I don't recommend this to be used on plastic though as it doesn't bond quite as well. Polyurethane I've found bonds quite well to plastic but the MinWax brand product I've used is optimized for wood.
If you take your time, you can get pretty good results from doing a job wrong like I did, but for lasting results, make sure to do a paint job right the first time or maintaining it will be nightmarish. Happy painting, everyone.