05 September, 2013

Wrapping a gun in A-TACS camo

I was asked by a friend and fellow airsoft fabricator for some pointers on using a camo wrap to cover an airsoft rifle. So here is a mini-post with a couple of points that might be useful. I hadn't intended to do a post at all, so apologies for the lack of useful photos.

A wrap is a vinyl cover that transforms a plain coloured rifle (usually black) by wrapping it in a contour compliant tape. So it transforms this...

To this...

Obviously I have added a few other bits to this rifle in addition to the wrap including the A-TACS logo which I cut from black vinyl and applied over the wrap for a finishing touch.

The wrap itself comes in a roll that is 50mm (2 inches) wide. Here is what is left of a roll that I have on hand (literally) ;).

Here is the same fragment against a rule...

To partially wrap the Steyr (above) I used 2.9 rolls of A-TACS AU wrap, to almost fully wrap my TM VSR-10 (below) in A-TACS FG wrap I used exactly 3 rolls.

I bought the wraps from US Night Vision for $9.95 per roll. They even do an LE wrap. Since I wrapped the VSR they have also started supplying a pre cut rifle wrap in addition to the tape wrap that looks like it would fit a hunting rifle quite well. Even though this might be the case, if I were to do this over again I think I would still prefer to use the tape and not the pre-cut wrap. The reason for my preference for the tape is that putting the wrap on is not easy, and with the larger pieces of wrap in the pre cut wrap as opposed to the tape I imagine this would be an extra fiddly job. I am open to being convinced otherwise.

Imagine if you will, trying to wrap a rifle in Christmas gift wrap, now imagine if that gift wrap were extremely sticky. I just cannot see how you can achieve a good finish with the larger pieces of the pre cut wrap given that you need to wrap this sticky stuff around some extremely tight compound curves and awkward shapes.

I found that the technique that worked for me was to start by wrapping the the most difficult shapes first and leaving the bigger flatter areas to the end. With the Steyr I started with the handguard and magwell and finished at the top of the receiver. The tape is a little stretchy and conforms quite well if you keep an even pressure and work it around the curves carefully and evenly with your fingers.

Fingers are your primary tool for this job. I also used the little scissors from my multi-tool to cut the tape. It is essential that your fingers, hands and work area are dry, grease and dust free.

In the event that you have small trapped air pockets under your wrap, it is surprisingly easy to work the bubble to the edge and release it by careful rubbing. The wrap is easy to partially lift and re-lay.

I do have a couple of criticisms of the wrap itself. Whilst I feel it has the correct amount of flexibility and stickiness, it is not matt, more of a satin finish really. My other criticism is in the colour of the printing. Under incandescent light both wraps look great, however under daylight both have a very slight blueish hue. This might put off some really picky people, but even though I mention it here I am perfectly happy with the results and would use the same product on another weapon.

If you have any comments or would like me to post pictures of your own wrap, please contact me here. I do read all your messages and try to personally respond to as many as possible. Please do not leave comments below this post. The blogger comments system is a pain in the butt and I don't use it.

Thanks for reading! :D


Tokyo Marui

US Nightvision