I am involved in equipment painting for couple of years. It started with curiosity, what can be done with such paints and what effect could I get with various combinations. And there was of course a question - for what and for whom is this? In my opinion, painting itself does not serve for adding some "fashion points" to your replica or webbing with some spraying over them, but it is designed to do the proper job - in this particular case - the camouflage.
If someone paints the replica according to the pattern spotted somewhere, without care about environment one will operate in (for instance - the reenactment), well, it's everyone's right to do so. Nonetheless, it's worth to gain knowledge or at least remind and utilize some basic rules about camouflage work like:
- shape deformation - painting should be effectinve both from distant and close look (micro and makro pattern),
- appropriate colors selection - paint job should be adjusted to the color of surrounding environment
- elimination of shining and reflexions.
Currently there is plenty of weapon paints on the market and even more for replicas. Year by year on IWA trades another producers and distributors present their proposals. Paints differ just slightly. It's worth to remember though, that not all of them are designed for firearms (high temperature resistance is the key). Visible differences are spottable in available range of colors, stream and pressure of the paint, covering properties and drying time.
WMASG redaction has been recently provided with Nuprol UFP (Ultra Fla Print Range) paints from WE Europe company to conduct the test of them. I have been using Krylon, Fosco and NFM paints for replicas and webbing, so I have a comparison with these brands.
According to the producer, Nuprol UFP paints are fully capable for covering the metal surfaces, polymers (includnig PVC and vinyl), wood, glass and ceramic. We checked them for typical usage for us - with airsoft replica.
Paints are available in following colors: Flat Earth Tan, Flat Earth OD (Green), Flat Earth Brown i Flat Black. What is interesting, on the bottom of the can, you may forund a different color marking.
Before I decided to use the paints, I have made typical test to check their real color - I have painted caps. As you can see on the pictures below - it was worth - dry, flaking off paint reveals the plastic. In the case of green, the actual color is lighter than cap suggests, in the case of tan it's a warmer shade. Black and brown match perfectly.
It is worth to mind the width of paint stream. Below you got a test done on the wall from the same distance (approximately 30 cm)
From the left: Krylon, Fosco, Nuprol
That's all for initial insight. Paint can be tested only one way - with painting. So let's start!
Stage 1 - Degreasing of painting surface.
Stage 2- Applying the first color (in this case Flat Earth Tan).
Stage 2 - Applying the second color (Flat Earth Brown) with obtaining the desired pattern.
Stage 4 (final) - "dating" or giving the "tatty" effect to the replica.
Using the rag and solvent to polish the paint with places being naturally prone or in (grip, trigger, mag release button surroundings, "safety finger", stock, all outstanding pieces, et cetera)
Observations and conclusions
Paints got really simple palette, close to Krylon, already legendary in Poland, they vary with the shades though. The exceptionally high pressure of a paint is really visible and considering it, one must be careful during applying layers to prevent damp patches. Moreover, very wide stream may demand experienced hand, so painting would be economically reasonable.
Unfortunately, despite precise degreasing of the surface (considering metal, polymer and duct tape) after applying the first layer, I have spotted strange effect of uneven paint coverage. I have excluded the potential problem of inexact stirred paint. After first trial cans were shaked longer than paints made by other producers I used so far. Effect remained and seems pretty peculiar - it makes covering the surface evenly absolutely impossible for the first time. However, it creates on painted object interesting effect of "usage". I mean the paint does not "catch" places being unplain for some reason (like scratches or indentations) or with different texture. It was especially visible after painting AR magazines. Nonetheless this feature is not evenly present with all the colors I have tested.
Drying time is similar, maybe little longer than in the case of Fosco (comparing to Krylon, drying very fast).
This paints are fine in my opinion, although they are not the universal solution with regard to uneven coverage of plain surfaces with single layer. Nevertheless, creating the majority patterns with them is not problematic, what - I hope - have presented above.
We would like to thank WE Europe company for delivering us tested paints.
Paints have been tested bny Miłosz"DBR" Grabski from DBR Custom Gear
Author thanks Kuba Z. for leting the replica used for painting.