Gunmetal Nerf Paintjob




Introduction: Gunmetal Nerf Paintjob

Nerf battles are a pleasure not only for kids! But have you ever felt annoyed by the childish and cheap plastic-look of the guns? Have you ever wondered how you could make your gun look a bit more realistic and cool? Do you want your Nerf to be something nobody else has or even make a personal gift for a friend?

This Instructable will show you how to turn your plastic Nerf gun into a badass gunmetal-style weapon! Since it's a paintjob it's relatively easy, cheap and works with every Nerf model - you can even apply the technique to other gear like fake hand granades or flashlights.

The classic gunmetal style is the used look of real guns. It develops when use, transport and weather rub down the black or dark green protective varnish of the gun and leave behind edges and areas of bare metal. In this paintjob, we work the other way round: on a black primer some fine highlights of metallic silver are applyed, creating the same gunmetal effect as seen in real life.
Since you have to open your gun anyway, consider a power mod (a modification that increases the range of your gun) or additional features while your at it (tutorials can be found on the internet).

Since I'm not a native speaker please excuse my flawed english ;)

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Step 1: Materials + Tools

As mentioned, you can do this with any Nerf gun (or even a water yun if you like). I've had great results with all kinds of models and I'am currently building a set of guns of the same style. In this instructable I'm painting a Nerf Hyperfire (which has btw a really ugly colour!).

Make sure all the paint you use is acrylic water-based . Paints with different solvents don't get along. Acrylic gets waterproof once it's dry.

- Nerf Gun
- Black dull spray paint
- Clear dull spray paint
- Silver metal paint
- (other paint of your choice, for details)
- Glue
- sth to cover your floor with while spraying

- Screwdriver set
- Stanley knife or cutter
- Sanding paper rough (80-grit) and fine (180-grit)
- a paint-brush (relatively stiff, not the aquarell kind) and a plate
- Support stuff like: pen & paper, Scotch tape, containers to collect the bits and pieces...

Step 2: Take It Apart!

Take out all the screws and open the outher shell. You may have to remove the pull-back-thingy before you can remove all screws.

Collect all the pieces carefully. The internal mechanics may be complicated: take your time to figure out how the gun works and therefore what pieces must be where to be functional. Take notes. Stick the springs to attaching pieces so they won't get lost and you don't interchange the springs later. Figure out which parts of the gun are visible when assembled - it makes no sense to paint the hidden parts!

Step 3: Grind Your Gun!

Now to the most boring part!

In order to create a rough surface for the paint to hold on to, you need to sand the whole visible surface. Use the cutter and the 80-grit paper to grind off logos and unwanded warning signs. Then use fine sanding paper for smoothing and the plain areas. I personally like to give the gun a used and rugged look by carving in scratches and edge bumps into the plastic. You can also change the "structure" of the handle with it.

Make sure you grind well. This process can take up to 5 hours, depending on the gun size and the amount details. I always do this in front of the TV (respectively the PC while watching series on the internet). Remember: the quality of the sanding will determine how long your paintjob will last!

When you're finished, dust off all parts. You can also add some 3D details now by applying them with glue. For example you can model weld seams, a relief name for your gun or the tag of your clan ;) In any case let it dry properly before you continue.

Step 4: Priming

Time for spraying!

Set out your pieces on some newspaper and shake the can well! If your spraying indoors, open the windows but make sure there's no draft.

It may need several rounds 'till all nooks are black: I usually spray 3-6 times. Always let it dry properly, elsewise you will have newspaper sticking to your paintjob ;)

Tip: also spray pieces if they are black in the first place. It will create a look more homogenous.

Step 5: Metallic Look

This step requires a little skill. Get everything ready and start with a piece not too prominent.

Take very little silver paint on the tip of your brush. Then work it off and into the paint-brush by brushing it over the plate, 'till the brush seems almost dry. Then apply it to the piece, by strongly brushing it over an edge. Beginners often take too much paint, thereby creating a too extreme blending.
Try imagining which areas would be rugged the most if the gun would have been in usage for years. Highlighting is a lot like drawing, when you have to imagine the shadowns and the lights. This is alike because you can give your gun plasticity, life and character.

The drybrushing technique requires a little skill and practice. Try starting modest and then building up with strong highlights and details. Also don't forget to work with the scratches and bumps you carved in earlier.

Step 6: Protective Lacquer

If your all content with your dry-brushing job then it's time to seal it with a protective lacquer.

This should need no futher information, just follow the instructions on your spray can ;)

Don't freak out if it looks milky when applyed, acrylic paint does that =P

PS: REALLY make sure your protective lacquer too is acrylic water-based! Because if not, the solvent could srcew up the whole paintjob! The priming colour can liquify and run away from the edges and of course the whole gunmetal effect would be destroyed.

Step 7: Reassemble and Finishing Touches

Reassembe your gun (notes and tape come in really hany now, heh?)

I set some accents with red acrylic paint I had lying around, 'cause I think it looks kinda post-apocalyptic that way.

You can also add other details like scraps of cloth, pendants, danger! stickers, basically anything you think would look cool. I thought of a leather-padded handle lately, that would feel really premium.

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    6 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Really cool. Just be careful, that "childish and cheap plastic look" is there for a reason. The bright colors and strange designs are used to establish that these are toys and not real guns.

    Also in some areas it is actually illegal to paint/remove the orange barrel from toy guns.

    I like the mod, and will be using some of your painting tips in the future, but just keep safety in mind. All it takes is some idiot running up to a cop with one of these and the next thing you know Nerf will be in the news again. And then I have to deal with everyone in the checkout line at Wal-Mart giving me sideways looks next time I need a new Big Bad Bow.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Just keep the orange tip and everything would be fine. Even if it looks realistic, just make sure the orange tip is on. But in China, the police would confiscate airsoft guns because they think it is real. Same applies to nerf? Sources: Wikipedia, my knowlage


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Interesting point: Do you mean the orange tip of the soft dart or the orange tip of the gun itself?

    Fortunately I live in a country that's not gun-crazy and I've never heard of problems with fake guns. Of course you should'nt go waving it around in a demonstration or something, but for a game with friends it's ok.

    nerf lover
    nerf lover

    6 years ago

    Can i paint my nerf with acrylic paint?


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    You can certainly use acrylic, it paints well on plastic, metal and resin. Just make sure all the colors you use are of the same kind (water based and epoxids do not behave well together). If you paint a used gun, clean it well beforehand, since traces of dust and fats make the acrylic flake off.
    Some people use their Tabletop paints (like Tau), but I personally think they'e too expensive, since it's juts a water-based acrylic.
    Have fun!


    8 years ago on Step 7

    Nice. I have some cheesy M1911 knockoffs molded in limegreen, this is the paint style I'll use on 'em. Thanks.

    I will be keeping a orange tip however.