Words: Rich Norman

Pics: Gunsmith NBABA, Soldier Systems, SMG Lee & Survival Navigation

88-055885 is the serial number on the upper and lower receiver of VFC’s rather sexy HK416A5:

Airsoft Pic Credit: Gunsmith NBABA
Airsoft Pic Credit: Gunsmith NBABA

Ever speculatively Google serial numbers?

I do.

It turns out that 88-055885 is also the serial number of a real HK416A5 – one that was hawked around various trade shows a few years back.

There is a raft of pics of this particular A5 on Soldier Systems.

Here’s one:

RS Pic Credit: Soldier Systems

What really struck me about it was the tone-on-tone variation in its RAL8000 colour scheme.

The RS, again:

RS Pic Credit: Survival Navigation

HK is perhaps using the RAL8000 name as an approximation here, because there is clearly some difference in the anodising of the upper, lower and other parts (not to mention the polymer grip, which is closer to RAL1001).

This isn’t really a shock.

Look at any anodised black RS M4 receiver and its upper and lower will usually be two slightly different shades of grey. I’ve heard it said that this could be due to different batches – and different dye levels – in the anodising process.

When the dye is freshly topped up, the resultant receivers look almost black. When most of the dye is soaked up by successive batches, a lighter grey results. Uppers and lowers aren’t dyed at the same time, perhaps, which would account for this tonal differential.

There may be other reasons, but this seems plausible.

Now, one exception to this is the HK416 series in black. That’s a uniform tone between upper and lower; but is it anodised? Well, it is said to be electrostatically sprayed. As such, I’m guessing consistency is easier.

RS Pic Credit: SMG Lee

It seems, however, that this is not necessarily the case with the “RAL8000” A5 – or at least not with all its components, or they would be perfectly uniform…and conform to the actual RAL8000 paint standard (it’s a colour specification, a bit like Pantone).

It will be interesting to see what HAO does with its forthcoming RAL8000 A5.


Catch up on the other RAL8000 instalments, here:

Fifty Shades of RAL8000 Part 2

Fifty Shades of RAL8000 Part 3

Fifty Shades of RAL8000 Part 4

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