Recently, I’ve been a lot more inspired by European special forces than US ones.
Let me first clarify: I’m not talking about UKSF when I say European. UKSF are a constant; always inspiring and always something to feel proud of. What I’m actually talking about are the special operations assets of the UK’s closest neighbours.
Obviously there’s a certain thrill to the new. I haven’t been looking at European in the wild pics for that long. But, what I’ve seen is way more extensive use of the HK416 and – crucially – a greater variety of paint jobs; some of which exhibit a pleasing amount of effort. Like someone taking pride in their work.
I’m not a huge fan of quick paint jobs on my own blasters. Thats’s not to say I don’t like them on other people’s. I’ve frequently identified and made a fuss over quick paint jobs in the blog – and in a good way.
This is probably because while I admire quick paint jobs – particularly the mindset required to produce them – I’m incapable of doing one myself.
Incapable, because I really enjoy engrossing myself in the full, end-to-end process of delivering a paint job and I simply don’t want to limit myself. I like to be just outside my comfort zone, learning new things and constantly challenging. And, because I don’t have an impression to support, I don’t have any constraints to observe.
I still want my paint jobs to look right, though.
Quick paint jobs are one thing. There are also those which look like they took two minutes, but actually took ages. Kind of wilfully amateurish, to more closely represent in the wild pics. And I mean that in a good way – it’s not a criticism. These paint jobs take ages and are a lot of effort, because the spraying part of the process is the biggest component and has to be continually iterated before it looks right.
The quick paint job guy, on the other hand, has a different mindset: unselfconsciously getting the fuck on with it, because he’s got more important things to do. What he ends up with looks right, down to the mindset adopted.
The two minutes (but actually hours) guy isn’t using the same mindset. He has an expectation that the finished product will look a certain way. After that, he may even be tempted to weather it…
Let’s not confuse this with natural wear and tear. I love paint jobs which have been weathered naturally, through use, and I’ve yet to speak to someone who doesn’t prefer them over the more processed look; but, each to their own.
This, though, raises a separate issue. Do you have the appetite to deliver a completed paint job which maybe looks a bit wrong, predicting that with use it’ll look right? It stays in its used state longer than in its freshly painted one, so why not be a bit bolder with your techniques? Intricate details quickly get lost in the noise, after all. Big, simple patterns just get better with use and, if done properly, will break up the outline of the gun.
This is my angle on things.
So, to summarise: on one hand we have the quick paint job, where the mindset is unselfconscious. The output may not win any innovation awards, but it does look right.
On the other hand, we have the two minutes (but took ages) approach. This too looks right, but at the expense of time.
How about a third category?
Rather than spend time iterating your paint job with over sprays and touch-ups, why not concentrate on the stages leading up to the actual rattle can bit?
This is what I do.
My paint jobs are actually quite simple in terms of the spraying itself, because I spend most of my time on methodology and preparation stages. Methodology is thinking about, testing and establishing a technique. Preparation is the application of the technique, which is then followed by a really, really short period of spraying. Maybe 5 mins per colour, per blaster, after the base is down.
For me, spraying is easily the shortest stage of the paint job process. If I need to go back and retouch stuff, I feel like I’ve failed: i.e. not worked hard enough on the methodology and prep.
Anyway, here’s the new one.