review by Matt, additional images and editing by Arnie

The Idea: Hell! I mean everyone has seen "Face/Off"...haven't they? Well for those who have not, one of the lead characters uses a rather distinctive pair of pistols. They are in fact Springfield Armory custom, ported .45 single stack autos, bold plated with contrasting black elements.

I remember seeing the film when it first came out and thinking, "..well those looked different"  *snigger* , referring of course to the gold finish. I have seen all manner of customised .45's , be it practical or cosmetic, but never gold.

At the time I could not quite see me owning anything as......well, "Pimpy" - (there I have said it), and the guns were soon put to that part of my brain labelled "Archive".

oooh.. the word 'Pimp' doesn't even begin to cover a holster like that.
Oooh.. the word 'Pimp' doesn't even begin to cover a holster like that.

Your barrel needs a clean.. I can see fluff in it from here.
Arnie's extensive video/DVD collection comes to the rescue - Here's a few images I pulled from my VHS copy of Face-Off- Arnie

The Inspiration: Years went by and as I got into Airsoft I waited for my favourite "real gun" to be made, the Strayer Voigt Infinity.

As a FAC holder I used to own a real-steel SVI, before changes in the law, and it was my favourite then as the Western Arms SVI is now. Shown here (to the right and below) is my "Real Steel" SV Infinity.

Polished and lovingly cared for, Matt's SV lives in a cosy tailor made box
This is a REAL SV Infinity

I have a bit of a "thing" for the Infinity range, and therefore decided that I wanted something different. I have seen black tops on silver bottoms and vice versa, and although it looked different, it was all too familiar.

I decided I wanted something different, something not seen before, my brain already had the answer, the "Archive" door swang open...

As much as I want the Castor Troy single stack .45, the fact that I have a passion for the Infinity was too much to ignore, not to mention the SV does have twice the capacity of the Springfield/Colt single stack. I would combine the exclusivity of the Springfield with the technological advantages of the Infinity.

Without boring you (any more) about the work involved in changing the appearance of the gun, not to mention the blueprinting, see the photos to the right and below for the result.

The finish seen in the photos above was accomplished by spraying a very good quality gold paint over the 'keyed' bare finish (silver) metal parts.

I did not attempt to spray the black plastic slide, as I felt that if wear occurred the finish would look terrible with black showing under the gold finish.

The theory being that if a gold plating of a real gun wears, silver would show through underneath too! Plus - silver is a lot more discreet that black if the finish was to wear.

The problem I have is that I cannot apply the gold finish to plastic parts, so I am left with the "Racy" two tone black and gold finish, which many of my shooting buddies say is going far enough.

But, what do they know... I have to go the 'Whole Hog', so I ordered myself a new silver metal slide, in fact, I ordered two! One slide was made by Sheriff in Japan, the other was by Perversity Guns Company in Hong Kong. My logic being that I wanted the best, so I would get both, then decide which one to keep.

The GPC/HK one arrived first, so that was fitted to the frame and then refinished. This was about 4 hours work, and it was left to bake in my patented low temperature oven (*read* airing cupboard), until the paint was totally dry and hard.

The Final Product: At last my dream is realised!

The photos you see to the right are of the finished gun, it took a lot of time and effort to complete the gun, and I would not do another. But wait! I have another slide on its way, and didn't Castor Troy have two gold .45's?

External Links:

WesternArms - the offical homepage of WesternArms

Strayer Voigt Inc. - the official homepage of SV

Springfield Armory - the offical hompage of SpringField Armoury

Sheriff - the homepage to Sheriff in Japan

oooh.. the word 'Pimp' doesn't even begin to cover a holster like that.Bell Charter Oak Holsters - If you are looking for a holster like the one in the image to the right then you can try the US company Bell Charter Oak Holsters. More specifically you can try this link here. (The link is here thanks to our US guru DumboRAT)

FAQ: (due to a sizable amount of emails concerning this project, Matt and myself decided to add this new section - Arnie)

Matt has broken this FAQ down into three sections, which you can find below:
Paint Job - how was it done ?
How is the paint job holding up?
Why not plate or Anodise?

Paint Job - how was it done ?

First of all totally strip the gun - and I mean totally!! Work out where the tight tolerances are, i.e. pin holes and make sure these are plugged, or at least make sure you only do one thin layer of paint around these areas.

Surface Preparation is the key (no pun intended) to a good paint job, the keying of the surface is best done with 400 grade wet and dry paper, please make sure all traces of the original black finish are removed and be careful not to round off any corners. The finish I have used is in fact an acrylic spray paint, I chose this type of paint after many phone calls to paint manufacturers and asking their technical departments which was the most durable paint they made, I was told that the modern acrylic was better than cellulose in that not only was it tougher, but it also in standing up to the elements including UV rays!!.

Spraying - 6 months in a paint shop taught me the rights and wrongs.Practice is essential. Nice even light coats, the final one should look like a thin film of gloss all over, then it will dry nice and evenly. Too little and you get a stippled finish, too much and you get runs, have a few trial runs on something else first until you get confident.

Suffice to say that the paint I used was meant for car wheels, and was designed to be very durable. Despite paint manufacturers claims I always do the "scratch test" on a pre-production sample. This is after the paint has been applied and left to cure in my patented oven *read airing cupboard*, I try and scratch the paint off with my nail. It has to pass this rudimentary test to go on my guns, so far my phone calls to the manufacturers have saved me from any failures.

The colour...well as I live in the UK and used a domestic brand, so I guess the best advice is to try your local stores, but do not choose any old Gold, look at several shades and please, please do a test on something other than an Infinity first, say an old springer - then see how it looks and holds up.

Good Luck and remember that doing the wrong thing can ruin your gun, so please be careful. TOP

How is the paint job holding up?
I am very pleased to say - that the finish is holding up really well. there is a very small amount of wear the front edges of the frame due to holster wear, but so minor as to not show up on a photo...but I know they're there!! TOP

Why not plate or Anodise?

I did look into anodising/plating, but was advised that anodising aluminium is quite difficult and can show up badly as two different grades of aluminium are used (Sheriff or PGC slide/ WA frame), plus I would not be able to anodise the smaller screws and pins which are not aluminium. A flash copper plating prior to chrome plate (as used by WA themselves) on the Infinity Silver series frames decreases tolerances too much for my liking. TOP

Looking to buy a pre-made set? Have a look at Clarence Lai's newest production

Face/Off and the represented characters are copyrights of: Paramount / Touchstone Pictures
Last updated: Saturday, January 24, 2004 5:31 PM
Except where listed, all contents are copyright 2001 ArniesAirsoft