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  1. #1

    The Ziploc debate

    I'm one of those collectors who store their figures in Ziploc bags. I sort bagged figures out by movie and store them in plastic containers in my closet.

    I've heard over the years the occasional concern that Ziploc bags aren't too safe to store SW figures in. Something about the long-term effects being harmful, but no specifics.

    I don't know of a cheaper or easier way of storing figures in a tidy manner. I personally haven't noticed any harmful side effects on the figures in my collection that have been bagged the longest (mostly POTF2, TPM, AOTC, and POTJ-era types).

    Anybody have any evidence on this issue one way or another? I am looking towards the future on this, since for me SW collecting is on a downhill slope. I'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and am thinking that the next couple of years will see more funds diverted towards my collection's storage, instead of acquisition.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Old Fossil View Post
    I'm one of those collectors who store their figures in Ziploc bags. I sort bagged figures out by movie and store them in plastic containers in my closet.

    I've heard over the years the occasional concern that Ziploc bags aren't too safe to store SW figures in. Something about the long-term effects being harmful, but no specifics.

    I don't know of a cheaper or easier way of storing figures in a tidy manner. I personally haven't noticed any harmful side effects on the figures in my collection that have been bagged the longest (mostly POTF2, TPM, AOTC, and POTJ-era types).

    Anybody have any evidence on this issue one way or another? I am looking towards the future on this, since for me SW collecting is on a downhill slope. I'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and am thinking that the next couple of years will see more funds diverted towards my collection's storage, instead of acquisition.
    I don't really know what the problem with Ziploc bags is; but I wouldn't use the food storage bags since those aren't designed to store anything for more than a few months at most. Go to the crafts section of your Wal-Mart and, in the area where they usually sell the beads and glue guns, you'll find zipper seal bags about half the size of a sandwich bag. They're thicker and seem to be better suited for long term storage and you can buy a lot of them for pretty cheap.

    The other option would be fishing tackle boxes. They're hard plastic, clear cases with adjustable compartments. They usually cost under $3 each and will hold around 12 action figures. Make sure to drill tiny holes in the cases to allow air to escape and to prevent humidity from building up inside.

    Also, don't forget a dehumidifier for your storage area.

    However, these are cheap low cost solutions and you should be prepared to swap out all of your storage supplies every 5 years or so. If you want something that you can use to store everything, worry free, for decades, then you should be ready to spend some serious money.
    "To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence… When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up." - C.S. Lewis

  3. #3
    My wife and I have placed our son's action figures in ziplocks since forever. He's now starting college and his collections are still in bags over a decade later. Luke, Leonardo, Batman, Wolverine, dino-damaged dinosaurs, etc. etc., etc. have shown no apparent ill effects from storage to this day, as now his younger cousins play with the figures. We've tended to favor the heavier "freezer" type bag for durability, although we use the lighter "sandwich" bags as well.

    Just my dos centavos.
    ¡Que la fuerza te acompañe!

  4. #4
    My stuff is going in storage while the house I'm moving to is undergoing serious gutting and renovation.

    I was sorta planning to get a load of plastic clear containers and bundle as many figures into them as possible, no dividers or anything. My only concern was to ensure certain lighter figures that could be warped rest on top. The vehicles would all be seriously bubble wrapped and dissassembled as much as they can be and put in boxes. Does this sound like a plan?

  5. #5
    I have heard stories of yellowing of Stormtroopers, and some figures developing a sort of sticky slime on them due to heat with a combination of humidity. This happens even without baggies.
    I put my figures in sandwich baggies to keep all the accessories that the figure came with originally together with the figure. The deluxe figures like the Saga Jabba and his throne in gallon baggies. There's nothing like trying to match up weapons or accessories with the figure later. I can't even imagine trying to do that.
    Some say poke little holes in the baggies so the figure can breath, though not too big because the weapons could fall out.

    Next time I do a round of packing up figures I will go looking for those baggies in the craft section as BigB said.

    When I did pack up my figures the last time due to a relative moving in, I used 45 gallon containers, the kind with the wheels on one side of the bottom, assorted them according to movie. I put all the vehicles on the bottom so as to not crush the figures over time. I think that is necessary. I was able to fit for instance all of my Empire Strikes Back scenes all in one container, and that includes the AT-AT on the bottom, along with the Cloud Car, and almost every figure made from POTF2 on to TAC. I never got to open a few more like the Snowspeeder and Tie Bomber, before I had to pack them up, but I still had room to spare, and I didn't really matter how heavy it was because of the wheels.

    I guess I'll see how the storage has effected them when I get my displays up and going again.
    "Ohh, maxi big da fish! Well dat smells stinkowiff"


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  6. #6
    The loose figures I have in storage are all in zip-lock bags inside plastic totes. Most of my figure totes are clear or translucent, but are protected from direct sunlight.

    For the past ten years, I've stored LEGO sets in gallon-size ziplocks without any problems. I recently built some sets I bought in 1998 and I didn't see any discoloration or noticeable degradation. The rubber tires were a little oily-feeling though. When I disassembled them and put them back into storage I replaced the old bags with new.

    Quote Originally Posted by Devo View Post
    My only concern was to ensure certain lighter figures that could be warped rest on top. The vehicles would all be seriously bubble wrapped and dissassembled as much as they can be and put in boxes. Does this sound like a plan?
    Yeah, that's a good idea. I used to store my loose figures on top of one another and some of the droids such as 8D8 and EV-9D9's legs got a little warped from the weight of other figs pressing down on them. I try to put some of the more fragile figures on top and bulky, heavier ones on bottom.

    Also watch out for the long accessories such as lightsabers. I try not to store a lightsaber with their figure since I noticed stress points on the plastic where they were bending.
    Weird War Tales: Featuring the Creature Commandos #105 November 1981 (DC Comics)

  7. #7
    I've got loads of different figures packed away in zip-lock bags inside platic boxes up in my loft - I've not noticed any problems so far with my SW figs, but the last time I brought my Doctor Whos down, a couple of them (the Ood springs to mind) had a sort of white condensation layer on them, but it seemed to wipe off ok.
    Big thanks to DarkJedi5, TheRealDubya, obi-dad, morpheus282, Tycho and Kidhuman for great deals/trades.

  8. #8
    I'm currently opening the boxes of figures that have been closed for about a year. I had two figures to each bag, which was the Wal-Mart knockoff brand of Ziploc bags. It doesn't look like there was much damage, aside from yellowing (on figures from before 2006 - Arena Escape Padmé and the AOTC Clones come to mind) and some warping (more recent Battle Droids). The bags might not have been the best solution but they were cheap and did the job well overall.
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by bigbarada View Post
    I don't really know what the problem with Ziploc bags is; but I wouldn't use the food storage bags since those aren't designed to store anything for more than a few months at most. Go to the crafts section of your Wal-Mart and, in the area where they usually sell the beads and glue guns, you'll find zipper seal bags about half the size of a sandwich bag. They're thicker and seem to be better suited for long term storage and you can buy a lot of them for pretty cheap.

    The other option would be fishing tackle boxes. They're hard plastic, clear cases with adjustable compartments. They usually cost under $3 each and will hold around 12 action figures. Make sure to drill tiny holes in the cases to allow air to escape and to prevent humidity from building up inside.

    Also, don't forget a dehumidifier for your storage area.

    However, these are cheap low cost solutions and you should be prepared to swap out all of your storage supplies every 5 years or so. If you want something that you can use to store everything, worry free, for decades, then you should be ready to spend some serious money.
    That's some really good advice, BigB. I'll be sure to get by the A&C section to check on those bags.

    I've looked into tackle boxes, but I can never find ones that would keep the figures in place securely; or else they are too bulky.

  10. #10
    One of the problems with Ziploc bags is that they are porous, meaning air still gets into them (just like Saran wrap, which is why experts say not to use it as a dental dam for oral sex, since the nasties you're trying to keep out will more than likely get through anyway. That's why they recommend non-microwavable plastic wrap if that's what you plan on using it for. That had nothing to do with this post, did it?). That's why they're fine as a short term option but not so much in terms of a permanent home.

    I like BigB's tackle box idea, but for large loose collections that could be a touch pricey. That's why I like his idea of the tiny craft zip-top bags even better.
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