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How to age an airsoft gun - DIY


Weathering of airsoft guns

It is probably no surprise that airsoft guns are often used as props on film sets. It always makes me smile when I see a gang of villains armed with JG 638 airsoft guns. However, for some time I have been wondering why this design is so popular. It turns out that, especially from a distance, they resemble real firearms quite well. I emphasize that I mean a similarity from a distance. And indeed, when a movie character is armed with this best replica for a novice airsoft player, it is rarely highlighted in close-ups. Most often, they are nameless henchmen of the main antagonist of the film, members of gangs or paramilitary organizations, whose fate in the plot is to be the background for the events. Of course, we can look for details that will distinguish a replica from a real firearm. However, from a distance, few people will look for such small differences. How does this relate to the topic of airsoft gun aging?

Well, the basic issue in this topic is the selection of the appropriate base. If we are looking for a popular replica, we have a lot of room for manoeuvre. Probably the best example here are AK-style replicas. It is not difficult to find materials that are at least close to the originals. Bent sheet metal, wood and materials resembling real counterparts are often the distinguishing features of these structures. At the time, it was even said that good replicas even rust like real AKs. However, the choice is limited if we are looking for a more niche replica. Let's try to identify at least 3 features that are worth paying attention to.

painted asg gun
  • Materials used for construction

If we cannot find a replica that is made of similar materials as the original, we have to be creative. It is often a good idea to look for replicas made of steel or at least made of metal. I would avoid simple constructions made entirely of plastic, especially ABS material. While we can bring them closer to metal in terms of appearance with appropriate paints, they will often bend excessively, which will limit their realism.

  • Operation of the airsoft gun

Here, GBBR and other toys equipped with a blow-back system often have a big advantage. The movement of the slide, the simulation of the work of firearms is something that provides a good basis for a realistic look. Of course, these are just general guidelines. However, if the replica we are interested in is not available in the GBBR version, then maybe it is worth looking for one with a functional dummy slide or one that imitates the work of the charging handle or bolt carrier?

airsoft carbine with mounted optics
  • The possibility of using parts from real counterparts

This is probably the most desirable feature of a good base for a realistic airsoft gun. I've heard about examples of people who mounted airsoft mechanisms to the stocks of real sniper rifles or other constructions. Often, furniture or other elements from real constructions fit replicas after a slight modification, giving them a unique character.

painted airsoft sa-s02 rifle

Ways of weathering airsoft guns

We have many reasons to want to modify the appearance of our airsoft guns to bring them closer to well-worn designs that have been used for several years. For some, it is a requirement to look good during reconstruction, others simply consider it aesthetically desirable, because they are supporters of such a look. For everyone, however, the first step in such a process will be similar. First of all, let's consider whether we don't have time to naturally age the airsoft gun? Using your toy during regular games, over time, we will give it a natural look reminiscent of being used in combat. I myself use a replica that was used in the arena for rent. It has many scratches, abrasions and small imperfections that give it a unique character. However, when this is not enough for us, we need to start with finding some references in the real world of firearms. What is going on? If we have a airsoft rifle used by real military formations, it has several places where it will wear out or wear out more often. Protruding pins, places near the sling attachments, manipulators, movable lights and linings are places where we wipe, use, press, draw and, as a result, age the replicas. Referring to the photos of real soldiers or military formations, we can easily identify such areas.

airsoft carbine replica

Sandpaper is an invaluable ally in aging airsoft guns. Once we know where our replica wears off in real applications, it is enough to treat these places with an abrasive agent with a weight of about 2000 or sometimes even 1500. However, I would recommend gentleness. Usually, abrasions on real firearms are more delicate than what we can easily do with paper. The principle of better less than more applies here.

The next step is to simulate rusting. This is a process that affects all steel structures in firearms. Sometimes only more or less. If we are interested in an intense effect, we can try immersing the replica elements in cola. However, I do not recommend this solution as it may be too intense. We can leave the airsoft gun overnight on the balcony after the rain, when the air humidity is still high and we should achieve the desired effect. Of course, airsoft guns made of aluminium alloys will not undergo this process.

The next step is to deal with the wood. In some models, an easy way to age a replica is to use linings made for real firearm. However, if this is not possible due to the differences in dimensions, we can sand the varnish from our airsoft parts and imitate the coating from the real structure. Sometimes it is enough to choose a stain from a different colour to achieve a very good effect.

The last stage, or rather the method of aging airsoft guns, is painting them. It is easy to achieve an effect reminiscent of a real firearm coating using an automotive primer. Then just rub the surface a bit with sandpaper and the look is ready. When aging replicas, it is also worth remembering that in most cases firearms wear out more on the left side. This part is more exposed to scratches on our equipment when it rubs against the magazines and elements of the tactical vest.

Airsoft guns aging – summary

Regardless of whether our effect is to give the airsoft gun the character of a real equivalent for the needs of a military simulation or just for aesthetic reasons, we have several methods for this. It is worth looking through the photos on the Internet to check where the structure we are interested in wears the most and in what way. Then, thanks to a few gentle movements with the use of abrasive materials, we can achieve an interesting effect.


Author: Boreq

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