How to age a replica gun
Replicas come out of the box brand spanking new for that ‘just from the factory’ look.
This new look is often what an enthusiast or collector wants, and they will be left that way. On other occasions a museum, film and TV production, collector or re-enactor may prefer to have more of a ‘battle worn’ and aged look suggesting field use.
To achieve this look requires a bit of thought, patience and care.
So you may wish to ponder: DO IT YOURSELF or if it’s going to be handled a lot then perhaps LET IT HAPPEN NATURALLY OVER TIME as would occur to a real one?
If you are looking to do it yourself, which can be a lot of fun, here are a few tips.
NOTE: Not to be done in a rush, or without an eye for detail as if done poorly it can easily ruin a nice piece. IF IN DOUBT - DON'T DO IT.
A very fine grain sandpaper or even heavy woven cloth can do the trick with carefully removing finish in the right places, depending upon how much you trust yourself and how much elbow grease you wish to use. Some also may use a very light touch of dull silver paint applied with a rag to go over the top of the surface to give the effect of wear.
Be patient and think through the parts that would actually wear
Give careful thought to which parts of a gun actually wear first based on handling, holster wear, dropping, cocking, being higher set etc. For example cocking mechanisms, leading / outside edges of triggers and trigger guards, ejection port, sights, butt plates, base plates of mags, barrel ends, grips where hands frequently grasp the weapon. Lower set and less handled places may have little or no wear at all. Google some images from a variety museums or collections of the real thing to get a feel for how they actually wear.
Go very lightly, slowly and carefully (because you can’t easily undo it)
Start by experimenting carefully on part of a magazine, butt plate or less obvious part to get a slow feel for the pressure needed. Imagine the direction wear would occur going in and out of a holster, being handled or brushed against things. Try to work gently and very carefully in that direction for desired effect.
Don’t overdo it / less is more
If you have Googled a few images of the real thing in field used condition, you might be surprised by how subtle the wear and tear can be. On this basis be careful to take it slow, be patient and not to overdo things. It’s very rare to see guns worn all the way down to bare metal, the wear is usually subtle and on the high set and frequently handled parts. A few light rubs and scratches overall can add the effect, but be very care
ful not to overdo things and to be even / consistent across surfaces.