Home Projects M4 Camopaintjob TM M4A1 – Full Camo Paint Job

TM M4A1 – Full Camo Paint Job

by Arnie


M4- Finished - Left side
M4A1 – Full Camo Paint Job

31, 2003 – Dave B (dmbone@shaw.ca).


Project Time:
4 hrs
Actual Painting Time: 2 hrs
Material Costs: $40.00 CAD – Airbrush/Compressor not

Last month I purchased a TM M4A1 from ‘Vash the Stampede’ on
the ASC forum. After initially fixing and replacing the piston
and gear set (big thanks to Vash for being VERY helpful and
understanding of the situation!) and slapping on a RIS system,
I decided to embark on giving it a makeover. I wanted to give
it a full camo paint job and keeping with the Woodland style
design that is well suited for the West Coast.

following is an overview of the process I used as well as the
results of my efforts.

and Prep:
There wasn’t much to remove as I wanted the entire
gun to be camo’d. I did remove the flash hider, and rear sights,
RIS Plates and Stock. I masked the hand grip as well (no point
painting that as your hand should be on it at all times!). I
gave the gun a wipe down with alcohol and made sure it was free
of dirt, no sanding required. Since I was already applying a
metallic paint finish to the slide of my WA SV Infinity 4.3″
, I decided to paint the upper and lower receiver of the M4
this metallic colour as well. Hey why not, then any body showing
through the camo painting will look metallic.

M4 - Metalic Finish M4 - Carry Handle

Once the metallic finish was dry, I was ready to start applying
the camo pattern. I did some research on the web about camo
patterns and gun painting just to get an idea of what I wanted.
As I began painting however, the camo “forms” and “shapes” kinda
just started to flow and I ended up not using any of my pic’s
and notes. To each his own.

My choice
of paint used was my old, trusty water based TAMIYA Acrylic
Enamel. These paints can be found at any hobby store and being
water based they are easy to clean up and fast to cure. And
NO, they will not ‘wash off in the rain’. Once they are cured
you cannot wash it off. I used the following paint colour’s
to achieve the camo pattern.

Shades of Green:

  1. XF-26
    Deep Green
  2. XF-27
    Black Green

Shades of Brown:

  1. XF-64
    Red Brown
  2. XF-59
    Desert Yellow


  1. XF-5
  2. XF-26
    Deep Green

started with applying the green colour. By mixing the above
listed green paints, I came up with a colour that I was satisfied
with. I began applying it to the Stock and RIS Hand Plates to
get the ‘feel’ of how it was going to apply and look. If worse
came to worse and I screwed up badly, or the colour was wrong,
I could easily apply a coat of satin black to them.

I knew the colour and technique were right, I applied it to
the M4 itself. When painting the M4, be sure to paint it form
all angles! Painting an AEG is a 3 dimensional process. If you
just spray from one angle, you will miss areas and your finished
result will look poor. Apply your paint from all sides. The
beauty of using an airbrush is that you can ‘feather’ your spray,
resulting in control over shading areas darker or lighter.

M4 - Main BodyM4 - Stock and PlatesM4 - Stock

the green was applied , I darkened the green more and applied
another coat, this time applying the green to the inside of
the green I already applied.

gives it a shaded look as well as adding some depth to your
paint job. It’s hard to tell in these pictures, but there is
a darker green applied.

M4 - Stock and PlatesM4 - Main BodyM4 - Main Body

it was time for some brown. Using a combination of the brown
paints listed above, I mixed up a medium brown colour. I applied
it like the first coat of the green; again starting with the
Stock and RIS Hand Plates.
randomly applied the brown and created almost a cross-hatching
effect over the green by applying the brown in opposite directions
to the green pattern.

M4 - Stock and PlatesM4 - Main Body - LeftM4 - Main Body - Right

again created a darker shade of brown, and repeated the same
process as with the dark green. Adding these different shades
on top of eachother creates an almost 3D camo pattern. Yes,
it is subtle and the pictures don’t always do it justice, but
the shades are there.

M4 - Rear ViewM4 - Main Body - LeftM4 - Main Body

M4 - Fern Pattern on BodyNow, you could stop there, grab
the batteries and BB’s and rock and roll, but I wanted
to go another step further. In my research travels on
the web, I came across many hunting web sites showing
painted shot guns.

common theme among these guns was the presence of stenciled
leaf and foliage patterns. I decided that doing a native
plant pattern might just kick this baby up a notch!

created a stencil of a Fern. I simply printed off a picture
of a Fern, and using an X-Acto knife, carefully cut out
the pattern. I then mixed up a batch of even a darker,
more rich green for the fern pattern. Then it was just
a matter of placing the stencil over the area that I wanted
to place a fern, and spray it with the airbrush.

M4 - Fern pattern on StockM4 - Close-up of Fern Pattern

placing on all the Fern’s that I wanted, I decided to apply
one coat of a satin (not gloss or flat!) clear coat. You can
choose not to do this, but a careful and light application will
help prolong the life of the paint job and prevent excessive
scratching and paint wear. The clear coat applied to the M4
looks a bit glossy in the pictures below, but that is only due
to the fact that it was just applied and had not dried yet.
As you will see in the finished results, it dried to a nice,
low sheen satin finish.

M4 - Clear CoatedM4 - Clear CoatedM4 - Clear Coated

Added June 3rd

received and painted my ICS PEQ2 on June 2. I used the same
materials and technique on it as I did on the M4. Here are a
few pics. I also applied a plastic model techniques to enhance
the molded lines and grooves. To do this you thin down some
flat black so it is the consistency of water. Then using a fine
brush, dip it into the thinned paint and simply “touch” the
brush to a groove and the thinned paint will run into and all
around the groove. Look closely at the picture on the right.
Yeah ok, maybe I’m getting a little to artsie-fartsie,
but what can I say, it’s the plastic modeler in me!


Now I felt I was finished. The end result was very
pleasing and looked very professional. I would STRONGLY recommend
NOT using spray paints for doing this type of painting. Yea,
I am a bit bias to my airbrush, but you do not have the control
and ability to reach every crevasse with a spray can….even
with one of those plastic handles on you spray can that “turns
it into a spray gun
“. Spray paint also goes on too thick
and you can easily cover up and clog fine details on your gun.

M4 - Finished M4 - Finished M4 - Finished

Outdoor pics!
Added June 2nd, 2003

M4- Finished - Left side Can you find the M4? M4- Finished - Right side

If you have the right tools, you will get the right results!
I am extremely pleased with the way the M4 turned out. Not to
toot my own horn, but damn I’m good sometimes! One of the main
factors that it turned out so well is that I do have years of
airbrushing experience behind me. If you are thinking of doing
a camo pattern and you don’t have an airbrush, borrow or buy
one! If you still can’t get your hands on one and are going
to use spray paints, buy a plastic water gun or some other cheap
gun toy to practice on! People often ask “well how exactly
do you paint the patter on
“. The answer is – there is no
exact way to do it. I just went with the flow; no stencils (other
than the Fern), no tape lines, no drawn on lines, nothing. I
just relied on my experience and artistic skill and went for

you have any questions or comments about this project, please
feel free to send them to me at dmbone@shaw.ca. Until the next project…

Dave B.

on this project in the forums

Sunday, June 15, 2003 5:41 PM
Copyright 2003 ArniesAirsoft



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