I was perusing Heckler and Koch in the wild pics recently and I clocked a couple of close ups, which I found interesting.
The wear and tear depicted didn’t look like the normal ‘weathered’ patina I was used to seeing on airsoft guns – nor on pics of the M4 in the wild.
In fact, close up, the wear and tear looked decidedly flakey. A lot like the way paint started to flake and peel from my Cerakoted SGT HK416D a few years ago:
Now, the SGT did seem to exhibit a rather extreme version of this. Turns out someone at the factory had polished my newly Cerakoted receiver set with silicone oil. A really ill-advised thing to do, because most common solvents won’t remove it.
But it got me thinking.
Part of the difficulty with painting Cerakote is that it shrugs off crap so well that paint finds it difficult to key, if you don’t take great care.
I’d always assumed Heckler and Koch receivers were anodised, which is a great substrate for rattle can abuse. However if that was the case, why was I seeing a similar pattern of wear and tear on RS receivers?
It could be that these examples hadn’t been properly cleansed before painting – maybe they were slick with gun oil? Regardless, I thought I’d look into it a bit more.
It turns out the surface finish Heckler and Koch uses isn’t anodising.
It is, in fact, more like Cerakote…but a really really uber, expensive version. So uber, that it’s only done at the Oberndorf factory.
From Small Arms Review:
Electrostatic spraying is a very straightforward process which HK has used for years on its longarms. An extremely fine grained coating is sprayed from an electrically charged dispenser onto a grounded piece of metal, which then attracts and holds the coating onto its surfaces. It is very similar to static electricity (hence the common name of “electrostatic spraying”) attracting dust to a glass rod. The coated metal is then transferred to an oven and baked for a specific period of time, causing the coating to tightly fuse to the surface. During this curing process the coating becomes self leveling and extremely durable.
HK uses a two-part epoxy liquid finish for its electrostatic painting. This method yields a beautiful coating which is recognized around the world. But, it requires very expensive equipment which is beyond the range of practically all individuals and most shops in the United States.
So, if like me you freak out because the Krylon on your SGT HK416D is chipped and flakey, don’t sweat it.
It’s an authentic finish.