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Give Your Airsoft Gun A Worn Look

Having a custom paint job on your airsoft gun isn’t to everyone’s liking. Many prefer to leave their guns with the standard finish that they bought them in. For those that do decide on a custom paint job, taking it one step further and wearing down that paint job to make it look used attracts even less people. But for those that do like the battle worn look of a rifle, here is the method I use.

If don’t want to read all of this you can simply watch the YouTube video at the bottom of the page which explains it all in about 4.5 minutes. 

What You Need To Wear Down Your Paint

  • A stiff bristled tooth brush or rifle cleaning brush (I actually use an M4/M16 real steel cleaning brush)
  • An allen key
  • A rag
  • A small bowl
  • Heavy duty BBQ grill cleaning spray

The first thing you’re probably thinking is “BBQ cleaning spray….. really?!” And yes it is not a typo. I can’t remember now what led me to try out BBQ cleaning spray when I first attempted this but it works, and it works better than white spirit/paint thinner and nail polish remover. The reason is that the BBQ spray breaks down the paint slowly, where as paint thinner and nail polish remover break down the paint very quickly. By using them on guns with more than one colour in the paint scheme you can end up with a muddied edge to the area you’re trying to wear down, and I don’t mean muddied like real mud. I mean muddied in the sense that the paint essentially liquefies and the two colours blend together. With the BBQ spray this doesn’t happen. You may also notice that I don’t use wire wool, sanding blocks or brillo pads, and that is because they are abrasive materials that work by essentially scratching the paint away leaving the edges of your worn area with tiny little scratches. It does work, and you can get good results with those materials but, in my opinion, they just don’t look realistic enough. Using a brush and the cleaning spray makes the paint wear down slowly and unevenly. As you can see in the pictures the effect is more realistic. The red circle highlights the scratches that can be left when using an abrasive material.

Realistic Worn Paint Effect on Gun

You can see that this paint looks like it has been worn through natural usage of the gun.

Non Realistic Worn Paint Effect On Gun

As you can see here, the sanding pad has left scratches in the paint and looks artificial.


The Method

This is the fun part. A point to note though. Because the BBQ cleaning spray removes the paint gently, it’s ideal to do this within a few days of painting your gun. Any longer and the paint starts to harden too much which means it can take hours and hours to wear it down. Start off by handling the gun the way you would in game. Placing your hands in all the different positions that you would while manipulating your airsoft gun and take note of all these places. Start off by spraying the BBQ spray into your little bowl and then take your brush and dab it in the fluid. Start to rub it into the areas you want to wear down like you’re brushing teeth in all directions. The pistol grip for example would be a good place to start as this is where the most friction happens. A point to note about the pistol grip is that one side of the grip will be worn more than the other. Take a look at how your hand wraps around the pistol grip and you will see what I mean. Areas such as the magazine release, the outside of the magazine housing, pistol grip and the fore sight and barrel areas will all be worn a little. Use your rag to wipe away any excess fluid and paint. Once you are happy with that it’s time to use the allen key. Take your allen key and, using the side edge of it, start to lightly rub down any small raised areas. On an M4 for example, the dust cover, as seen below, has small raised contours. Lightly rub these with the edge of the allen key until you reach your desired effect. Don’t rub to hard with this, we only want to take off a small amount of paint, and use it sparingly. Too much and it will look forced!

M4 Airsoft Gun Dust Cover Worn Paint

Notice the small amount of paint removed from the raised edges of the dust cover.

Job Done!

That’s it! It is a really simple method but creates a great effect and the key thing to remember with this is that less is more. Don’t go too crazy otherwise it may look artificial. Having said that, go as crazy as you like! The beauty about airsofting and things like this is that you can do whatever it is that YOU want to do. Also bare in mind that this is just my method. Is it the best?! I don’t know, it is just the way that I prefer to do it because I don’t like the little scratches that abrasive materials leave behind. Just have fun with it, and comment below with any questions or with your results. Oh and if you watch the YouTube tutorial don’t forget to like and subscribe!!

Watch the YouTube tutorial below

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Michael Perridge
About the Author
Mike is an ex British soldier who now works full time as a private security contractor. He has carried out numerous tasks within the military and within the private sector that involve similar tactics to which can be used in airsoft. He started playing airsoft in 2012 and has since launched this website to share his knowledge with the airsofting community. To find out more about Mike, visit the About Templar Airsoft Page.

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