Finishing touches

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Finishing touches

Post  Fight Designer on Wed Jan 30, 2008 3:00 pm

Thought I'd share a little trick I picked up in dealing with airsoft and rubber guns (and I'll cross-post this).

The challenge is making them look real, of course, when they're ABS plastic or rubber. Coloring is only half of it- an important half of course, and I often try to weather things (a little silvery streaking where things would slide together or where bluing might be rubbed off by holster draws), add details (red dot on the safety, white dots on the sights), etc.

The finish needs to last, though, and it needs to have the right sheen. I've taken to using a thin finish of black shoe polish over the spraypaint, rubber, or ABS if I want it to look like metal. Not only does this help give it a better polished steel look, it also protects the paint (can't have that orange barrel show!) and makes it easier to draw from a leather holster; those rubber guns can get kinda sticky in a holster, otherwise.

Recently did this for a cheapie plastic airsoft gun in a play. There's one blank firing gun and one dummy gun, and it was important to me as fight director that the audience not know until the end of the play if either gun was going to be fired or not. Having one of them be metal and the other obviously rubber would have given away a bit of a twist at the end.

Anyone have other tricks that work well for them?
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Re: Finishing touches

Post  Fight Designer on Sat Apr 19, 2008 10:46 pm

Along those lines- here's some examples.

Before:



Dunno about you guys, but the complete monotony of color and reflectiveness is just a dead giveaway to me that it's cheap plastic.
I've got an MGC M4 replica that is much higher quality (if pickier and harder to operate). Looks like this:

Not the best picture, but you get the idea. With that in mind, plus having one broken version of the cheapie semi-auto cap firing shell ejecting M4s that I'd gotten off ebay with a missing buttstock, missing charging handle, etc, here's what I ended up with:





Anyway, I'm a bit happier with them now, and the broken one no longer looks broken. I'll be using all of these (as well as that MGC PFC-cap firing M4) on a film shoot tomorrow, so hopefully in a couple years (let's be realistic about post-production and distribution time here) I'll be able to see how they look on 16mm film.
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Re: Finishing touches

Post  Fight Designer on Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:24 pm

...and now for the field report:

No pictures yet, so I can't say for sure how they looked on film. As for performance, three issues came up:

They're fragile. I knew this, and warned people about this, but one of them got a snapped front forearm where the metal rail was bolted on to the plastic forearm. Actor was playing tension, and must have squeezed the front grip and the rear grip together a bit or something. Shopping around on ebay and gunbroker to see if I can get either a cheap used M4 forearm to try to replace it with, or upgrade to an airsoft RIS system.

The magazines are small. Even in semi-auto only, you can empty one of those pretty darn quick, and they're smaller than a real M4 mag anyway. Wish they had slightly larger mags, both for cosmetic and functional reasons.

One jam. Well, it jammed a couple times but only because it took me a couple tries to figure out exactly why and get it all fixed... one of the plastic rounds shattered in the chamber, probably when the cap went off. Left some bits of plastic in the chamber, so new rounds trying to load kept jamming up.


Otherwise... pretty reliable, looked good as far as I could tell, and a hell of a lot cheaper than an MGC or Marushin M4 modelgun.
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Re: Finishing touches

Post  Fight Designer on Thu May 01, 2008 5:31 pm

Another warning about these, while I'm thinking of it- the carry handle is detachable, and it looks as though it should be like an un-notched weaver rail flat-top... but not only is it not notched (and thereby unable to take most rail-mount accessories), but it's also not quite the right size.

I cheated it a bit, notching one up with a file and opening up the adjustment bolts on the mounting hardware all the way to get the scope on the flat-top as you see it above.

Still... for what it is (relatively cheap and relatively idiot-proof) I'm pretty happy, and might work on some more mods for these... like a full-size higher-cap magazine, for starters.
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