19 November, 2013

Vinyl spray painting templates, two colour and four colour camo patterns

I've been working on spray painting templates, mainly for spraying airsoft rifles. There are techniques which I have posted on previously which allow anybody to create a simple and effective generic camo pattern, but what if you want something specific?

What if you want a G36 in the desert variant of Flecktarn? That's not easy to achieve on the kitchen table. Cutting out all those little blobs and dots. I could have sourced somebody who can dip the gun, but I have previously attempted this and found the service to be very expensive and you have to send the items away to their workshop. Add to that, the chance of finding your desired specific camo pattern as a dip is low.

German Issue Desert Flecktarn Camo
I thought there has to be an easier, less expensive way where I could do this at home. So, I CNC cut some flecktarn spray painting stencils in specialist spray paint stencil sheet and sprayed up my G36C. This was the result, although the colour balance in this photo is a bit blue due to the lighting in my messy studio.

I also developed a two colour desert, British Army CS95 DPM stencil, which I will cover in this post. Unfortunately I was all out of desert spray colours, so I have used Black and Olive Drab in this example. The colours in this demonstration are irrelevant, the principal is the same. However for finished pieces, correct colour matching is critical to success.

For those of you not in the know, two colour desert DPM looks like this...

You will notice that it is a brown colour on top of a sand coloured background. As I said previously I will use different colours black on top of an olive background.

In all things preparation is key. Spray-paint will be prone to wear off items which receive a lot of rough treatment. If you don't prepare the surface before painting this will happen that much quicker. The key to maintaining the new finish for as long as possible is to prepare the item by cleaning it thoroughly and giving it a wipe down with a degreasing agent such as isopropanol. Then the item must be completely dry before painting.

I'm not going over how to spray paint here. I will say for the moment, don't spray outdoors, and more light coats are better than one thick coat. You need to be patient and build up a good finish.

So the first step is to spray the top colour over 100% of the item. I sprayed a magazine with my top colour (black) but of course a desert DPM's top colour would be brown, please bear in mind this is simply a demonstration of the masking technique. I first masked the feed areas with masking tape to prevent feed issues.

Protecting the moving bits with masking tape

The top colour sprayed
I then left the first coat to be touch dry, then waited another 30 minutes and sprayed a second coat.

After waiting for the second coat to be touch dry plus 30 minutes I was ready to apply the stencil decals.

The stencil vinyl has a very low tack glue, similar to the glue on a Post-It note. It will not pull off spray paint from a correctly prepared surface where that spray paint that has been allowed to dry properly.

It lifts very easily from the backing sheet with a craft knife or other thin blade, or even a needle.

I then applied the mask to the magazine that I wanted to paint, taking care to work the thin and flexible mask into all the nooks and crannies. Until the mask is worked in, it can be repositioned. It is very important to visualise the effect you are trying to emulate while placing the stencils. If I just placed the stencil masks at random, the quality of the effect would not be as good.

First positioning

Worked in to the shape of the magazine.

It is a simple case of repeating this process until the piece was fully masked. Carefully working each piece in with nothing more than very light finger pressure.

The fully masked magazine.
As you can see, one sheet would mask several magazines. Every part of the stencil can be used.

Then I sprayed two coats of the next colour, waiting until the first coat was touch dry plus 30 minutes, before applying the second.

The olive drab coat
It is imperative to be patient and wait for the paint to dry at each stage. Then comes the fun bit, carefully picking off the stencil from the completely dry magazine to reveal the actual finish.

In theory I could emulate most traditional camo patterns. Thanks for reading.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via this link.