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Guinness' Weathering Guide

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Guinness's Guide to Weathering and Aging

Part I





Right then,

I have been threatening to write this up for a while now and weekend after weekend comes and goes and I seem to find something else more exciting to do than sit down and write a 'How-To weather your rifle' article.

Its my own fault of course, if I didn't have this selfish obsession with photographing my guns and plastering them all over the interwebs, no one would ask how to do it......

Oh well I dont see myself stopping the photography anytime soon, so I'd better get this article behind me.


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We're here today to talk about how to turn this:

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and this:

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...Into this:

GarandPorch4_med.png


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For this tutorial I will be adding on to to articles already written here:

and here:

Basically this process involves a bit of sanding, a bit of painting, a bit of abuse, and a fair bit of imagination.

You have to be able to step out of the "I just spent how much on this beautiful wooden rifle and your seriously suggesting I take a hammer and the handel of a screwdriver to it??...are you mad??" mindset of the weapons owner, and imagine your that battle-weary soldier in the Hurtgen Forest in 1944 and as your ammo runs out, you may just have to use this Garand as a club to survive....

Thats the use and abuse that real weapons of war see, so why not bring that level of immersion and 'milsim' to your Airosoft impression and give your gun the battle-hardened appearance of a real veteran? Don't worry, it's easy to do, and this guide will show you how.



WWIIVets5_med.png




Preparation

-Materials:

Here is a list of items to pick up form your local arts & crafts store (Michaels, Hobby Lobby) and your local hardware store.

Arts & Crafts Store:
Acrylic Paints- Generally around $2 bucks a bottle. Good because they are water-soluble, mistakes can be easily fixed.
-Black For getting a rich, dark effect on any color wood
-White For rack number stencils or to mix with other colors
-Off-White or Tan For aged stencil painting
-Assorted Browns, Nutmeg, Dark Brown, Coffee For darkening or changing the wood color of gun stock

Hardware Store:
Sanding Block Foam sanding blocks make sanding the stock a little easier on the hands. Usually around $3.50 Get one medium grit and one fine grit.

Steel Wool Comes in bags with a bunch of steel wool pads, I think thats like $5 bucks. This is for fine sanding and buffing of metal edges to show wear. Works great on M16's or metal magazines.

Linseed Oil For any wood furniture gun you are working on, after you complete the sanding, distressing and final application of the acrylic paints and wipe-off, it is important to apply linseed oil to protect the wood as well as give the gun that authentic luster that a real steel weapon would have. Get the smallest container they have, about $4 dollars.

Foam corner brushes The black foam brushes for painting corners, get a few 1" inch, and 2" inch brushes, shouldn't be more than .50 cents each.

Optional Stuff:
Stencils Can be found in hardware store or Arts & Crafts, I found better ones at the crafts store, but if you have maybe an M1 Carbine or M2 or even an M16 or M14, you could add a rack number to the stock.

Tools Needed:
Hammer
Big, Plastic handled Screwdriver
Standard weapon disassembly tools, screwdrivers, allen wrences, etc.
Cloth Hand Towels or Shop Rags


PaintandSupplies2.png



Step One- Work area Prep

Clear off a large area of a desk, or better yet, one car bay in the garage. You are going to be dealing with sanding dust, paints, water, linseed oil, all kinds of things that generally aren't 'inside project friendly' so the best place to do this is in the garage.

As with any project of this type, lay down plenty of newspaper as a blotter for the paint and to protect the pieces to be worked on as well.

If possible I like to be close to the ground, not standing at a workbench, that way parts have less distance to fall and get buggered up I think, but to each his own. I just use a cooler as a table and another cooler to sit on.

As shown in the Garand article, it is always best to field strip the weapon down to its three groups to perform this work.


Step Two- Sanding

Here is where you will thank me for the foam sanding block suggestion. On any Airsoft replica that has wood furniture, there is a clearcoat layer that is the outermost layer of the finish, this gives the wood a shiny luster. This must be sanded down first of all to allow the acrylic paint to get into the grain of the wood and work, and to allow you to remove the original dark brown or maybe red color that was origianlly applied to the stock.

M1A1OrigWood1.png

CAW wood kit original finish and color


This is a time consuming, manual process and the sanding blocks simply make it easier to get ino the nooks and crannies that conventional sand paper will not. Plus they generally fit your hand better so you avoid strain or cramps.

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CAW Wood kit for TM Thompson after first sanding-



So sanding is really to accomplish two things, to remove the clear coat finish so that the paint will be able to get into the wood and stick, and secondly to remove whatever previous stain or paint color may exist on the wood. As stated this takes time, and effort, so be prepared to go through a couple of passes before your ready for the next step.

Best thing to do is sand an area, wipe it down, see if the clear coat luster is gone or the color from the stain is reduced or whatever effect you are looking for. Be careful not to sand too much and cause un-even areas or patches on the stock.




Continued....

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Guinness's Guide to Weathering and Aging

Part II





Step Three- 'Distressing'

Here is where you get to take your frustrations out on a defenseless, inantimate object......

This is where you are going to literally beat the S*%# out of the stock, handguard, whatever the piece of furniture maybe to give it that 'worn' used look.


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For this you will want your trusty hammer and plastic-handled screwdriver. Personally I use the screwdriver more than the hammer, but a good hammer-claw gouge in a stock always adds that war veteran look, haha!

Grab the screwdriver by the shaft and swing away at the stock. Imagine that every dent, scrape and nick is a rock, pillbox or Nazi helmet that is adding that 'character' to your weapon.


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Thompson furniture after 'distressing' with screwdriver and hammer



After the 'beat-down' give the wood another sanding to remove any rough edges casued by the abuse.

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After distressing, after second sanding



Step Four- Painting

Now comes the real fun part. The part where you can really use your creativity and imagination, because it is here htat you decide just exactly how dark the wood is going to be, and how 'aged' the appearance will end up.


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TM M-14 with ACM Wood kit 'Before'-



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M-14 'After' process


Get yourself a little paper plate to mix up your paints in, its less messy. but the newspaper also works in a pinch. Dilute with water as you feel necessary, the more the color is diluted, the less the effect on the wood will be. In other words, if you want the new color dark, use more paint, less water.

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The painting process is as follows:

Paint an area, wait 10 to 20 seconds, wipe off paint.

You are simply 'washing' or brushing this color into the paint and then wiping the excess off- your not trying to completely paint the wood the black, or brown or whatever color your using- just giving it a 'stain' of the acrylic paint you are using.

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Thompson furniture with first black wash coat applied and drying


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Starting at buttstock end of Garand


Remember, you don't want to leave the paint on very long. However, also remember if you do that your using acrylic paint for this exact reason! They are water soluble, so if you dilite the brush with water and go over the paint, you can wipe it right back off.

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Here is Thompson stock after distressing and after the black acrylic paint wash and wipe


After the paint application and wipe down, you will notice that the 'flaws' or nicks and scrapes that you put in with the hammer and screwdriver now stand out due to being darkened with the balck paint. This is exactly the type of authentic beat-up appearance you are looking for! Well done!

The previous two steps can be repeated and redone to acheive the level of distress, or the paint color or darkness you desire.


Let dry..... (fortunately, acrylic paints are very fast drying :-) )




Continued...

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Guinness's Guide to Weathering and Aging

Part III




Step Five- Linseed Oil

As stated earlier, after you have sanded the cr@p out of the stock and whatever other wood pieces your working with, then beat the cr@p out of them, then painted them and wiped them down, the wood is need of some treatment to keep it from getting all chalky from the acrylic paint.

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Closeup of linseed oiled stocks


I'm an impatient cuss (probably the adult ADD kicking in ;-) ) so I only let them sit and soak in the linseed oil for like 30 minutes or so- the longer the better, the wood they use is very thirsty.

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Thompson, M2 Carbine and M1A1 Paratrooper Carbine after linseed oiling





Conclusion

So, well yeah...that's pretty much it- Here's something that everybody can do and with a little practice and imagination you can take your weapon up to the level of realisim that you may have only had in your kit and clothing impression before!




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CYMA Thompson project



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AGM MP40 project





Feel free to contact me through the forums with any questions or comments!




Slainte!


-G

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That's brilliant, mate. I look forward to trying it out sometime.

 

One question about the water-solubility of the paints. Does it not get a little messy during rainy skirmishes, ordoes the linseed oil protect against that as well as just removing the chalky rough texture?

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That's brilliant, mate.  I look forward to trying it out sometime.

 

One question about the water-solubility of the paints.  Does it not get a little messy during rainy skirmishes, ordoes the linseed oil protect against that as well as just removing the chalky rough texture?

 

 

Thanks everybody!

 

 

Once the acrylic paints have dried well, say over night, they are pretty durable. I haven't had any running or smearing.

 

The linseed oil does keep the wood from going chalky from the acrylics, but its a fine line because too much linseed and the stock will end up being too shiney.

 

Real stocks are soaked in oil for days I think, so there is probably little chance of oversaturating the wood on your Airsoft replica, just be careful.

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Guinness's Guide To Weathering and Aging

Part IV




Rack Numbers

Here is something that can add a little bit of extra authenticity and feel to your weapon. Rack or 'arsenal' numbers were stencils that were painted on to inventory rifles and have been around forever. You don't see them much on WWII era weapons just because G.I.s kept their Garands and Carbines close by for the duration, However by the Korean Conflict and then Vietnam the practice of keeping track of rifles with painted on numbers is more common. Soldiers began turning their weapons into the weapons cache when they weren't carrying them, hence the need to assign numbers for inventory.






Application

I bought a set of kids arts and crafts stencils at the local Michaels that had typeface and also a set that had a military look to them. I think that cost around $8 bucks

I chose an off-white acrylic paint to fill in the stencil number to show age. The paint was $1.50


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And I globbed the paint on because this would have been done by someone that probably didnt care how messy it was going to look.

I let it dry for a couple of minutes, then I went over the numbers and letters with the fine sand paper to rough it and remove just a bit.


RackNumbers3.png



The cool thing about rack numbers is, there is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to do it- they were painted different colors, they were painted verticle or horizontal, there is no real standard, so do some research by looking at photographs, but also use your creativity!



RackNumbers2.png

ECHO 1 SOCOM M14 with rack number 15 and the initials of the fictional Newlin County Sheriffs Office, Marushin M2 Carbine showing a worn 23








Slainte!


-G

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Me 2!

I have just got a CYMA AK74SU and its a lovely piece of kit but the metal is all matt black (which is nice) but its just too blocky and new and wood like to do a worn affect like your MP40 and am curious how you do it? and what you used?

As at the moement i think if i tried it it wood just have scratch marks all over it from sand paper.

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Very, very impressive.

 

The only tiny thing I'd add is that you should always think about WHERE you're putting marks on a rifle stock.

For example, as in the above picture, the only way a rifle will receive damage to the pistol grip will be if you fall over it while drunk. :P

 

Also, consider the orientation of the dents. Look at what bits of the gun are in the way when you're using the rifle BUT also look at what parts of it rub against your kit when the rifle is slung etc.

You often find that military rifles will all have similar wear patterns because they all get used the same way.

 

Smoothness is as much a sign of aging as dents as well.

Rather than distressing areas such as the pistol grip and foregrip, you might want to rub them smooth to simulate wear.

 

The weathering you've done looks amazing though. :)

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Very, very impressive.

 

The only tiny thing I'd add is that you should always think about WHERE you're putting marks on a rifle stock.

For example, as in the above picture, the only way a rifle will receive damage to the pistol grip will be if you fall over it while drunk. :P

 

Also, consider the orientation of the dents. Look at what bits of the gun are in the way when you're using the rifle BUT also look at what parts of it rub against your kit when the rifle is slung etc.

You often find that military rifles will all have similar wear patterns because they all get used the same way.

 

Smoothness is as much a sign of aging as dents as well.

Rather than distressing areas such as the pistol grip and foregrip, you might want to rub them smooth to simulate wear.

 

The weathering you've done looks amazing though. :)

 

 

 

Gosh Stealthbomber.......I really appreciate the input :)

 

However...you do know I research these things on the interwebs....right? :unsure:

 

As well as 'real life' experience :D

 

So, in short- the nicks and scratches and dents and gouges in my guns are all because I saw real guns with exactly the same type of abuse.

 

....So I will continue to do it this way and show others the technique, thanks :P

 

The real beauty to this kind of thing is, there really is no 'right' way- Guns get abused because they are used plain and simple- they are dropped, knocked, banged around and sometimes used as a hammer or a club- the 'soft' areas, i.e. the wooden bits are going to get the sh** beat out of them over time.

 

I do agree about the 'smoothness' and I took special care to sand the Thompson front handguard down where the user would have worn it somewhat smooth from wear- the pic at the bottom of the CYMA Thompson (slightly red wood) shows a little better for that

 

 

So again, I appreciate the advice, honestly, but I think I have it just right thanks ;)

 

Another good place to see good 'worn' real-steel guns is: Deactivated-Guns.UK

 

 

 

Here is just a bit of my 'research' :D

 

 

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Guinness at 2006 .50 cal MG shoot

 

 

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2005 .50 cal MG shoot

 

 

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2005 .50 cal MG shoot

 

 

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2005 MG shoot

 

 

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Wood from deactivated Thompson @ deactivated gun.uk

 

 

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Wood from deactivated Thompson @ deactivated gun.uk

 

 

 

 

Thanks again Stealthbomber!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slainte!

 

 

 

-G

 

 

 

 

 

*Note for Mods* Real-Steel weapons included to illustrate a point, not to promote use of or abuse of lethal weapons, please allow this transgression with my humble respects :D

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....Please stay tuned for Parts V & VI, "Aging Metals and Plastics" :)

 

 

Preview pics-

 

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Metal HFC Broomhandle Mauser before weathering process....

 

 

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Broomy during weathering process...

 

 

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'Broomhandle's after distressing and aging...

 

 

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Finished veteran Mauser

 

 

...More

 

 

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Plastic 1911 grips, standard brown and black set during process...

 

AgingPlasticGrips_final.png

Finished grips

 

WA1911wAgedGrips2.png

Installed on WA 1911 Military

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I can't wait to try this out. I'm going to see if a buddy of mine will let me try this on his Tanaka Mauser. These come out beautifully and I think that any "mistakes" made only add to the effect.

 

I eagerly await parts five and six! :D

 

 

That is a lot of money for a $270 gun with a $30 set of wood.

 

I do put a lot of love and a lot of work into it. I sold it, so I have a better number to work off of if I decide to do one of these again. I wanted to try a FAL with some surplus israeli woods, but I don't know. If you ever make it to a Roundhouse Productions game let me know I'll put you on the guest list and show you mine, and if arnies member "thatguy" comes out also. I built his too.

 

This guide will prove invaluable if I do one of these again, though.....

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Guiness nice write up. Seriously it is really nice. Hey I noticed your a Mod on the ww2 airsoft forums, you don't by any chance know of a VN airsoft forums would you? :lol: BTW you have one of the new Marushin M1 garands that take GG? How is it have you DARED to see if part IIRC 45 explodes? Thanks again man.

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Guiness nice write up. Seriously it is really nice. Hey I noticed your a Mod on the ww2 airsoft forums, you don't by any chance know of a VN airsoft forums would you? :lol: BTW you have one of the new Marushin M1 garands that take GG? How is it have you DARED to see if part IIRC 45 explodes? Thanks again man.

 

 

:blush: thanks!

 

We have a small 'Nam section on our boards under the 'Off Topic' section, but I also frequent this Canadian(?) site-

 

In Country Airsoft Forum

 

 

 

Oh, On the M1 Garand, mine is one of the originals- I have not purchased one of the US export versions yet- mine has always handled GG and propane without any problems- I have a spare part 45, never needed it yet (knock on Airsoft balsa-wood stock ;) )

 

 

 

 

 

Slainte!

 

 

-G

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