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  1. #31
    Stupid as it sounds, I discovered that the hard way. Acetone in small batches works wonders to get stubborn paint off the rubber parts of SW and Joe figures. A hard plastic Flint torso, not so much. Unfortunately, it screwed it up so badly I couldn't put it back together, or I would have a total zombie Flint figure now.
    Tommy, close your eyes.

  2. #32
    Currently, I only have one figure that is yellowed. My white protocol droid (I want to say his name is R-3PO, but I could be wrong) from the hoth patrol battle pack has yellow hip joints. The rest of him is a nice bright white, but both his hips are yellow. No idea why, as he's preaty new, and kept in the same condition and on the same book shelf as my army of stormtroopers (all of which are bright white).

  3. #33
    Jeez Chux, have you considered NOT dunking your figures in caustic chemicals?


    Neuro, you are thinking of K-3PO, and that figure always had yellow joints because it's using the Endor C-3PO body which was originally designed to be vac-metalized over most of the body and those joints were toned with gold to try to match (they didn't). The K-3PO redeco somehow screwed up the joints pretty bad, probably because of the material used on the joints, which isn't standard ABS. As you can see, it's evident case-fresh right out of the box: http://www.rebelscum.com/tlcBPHothPatrol.asp
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    "We named the dog 'Chewbacca'!"
    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  4. #34
    I stupidly didn't consider, when it worked on the rubber, that it was too strong for different plastics. I have not repeated that error. (Luckily, the Flint torso was totally an extra piece and I didn't have to buy another one..)
    Tommy, close your eyes.

  5. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by JediTricks View Post
    I looked it up because I couldn't remember for sure. It turns out it was Transformers pieces that were darker and discolored being over-bleached by the peroxide, it was the base color fading, not yellowing, that I was remembering. So, hydrogen peroxide 35% plus sunlight plus EXTREME CARE AS THIS STUFF IS DANGEROUS can equal de-yellowing, but on colored parts you have to be careful not to overdo it.
    35%? I have no idea even where you'd buy concentrations that high. Anything over 10% can cause chemical burns and I thought highest concentration you buy over the counter (in the US) was 6%. I've only used the typical 3%.

    Now something I spaced out about modern figures and that's the plasticizers. There's a lot more plasticizers in modern figures than were used in vintage figures. Plasticizers are highly volatile and leach fast. It's the new mouse droid smell Tycho likes so much. This has to have an effect on the aging. As to what it might be I can't say off hand.
    "I'm sick and tried of these motherfrakkking Sith on this motherfrakkker plane!"
    Mace Windu - Episode 2.5: Sith on a Plane

  6. #36
    35% isn't something you find at the drugstore, that's 3% and has added stabilizers which change its safety and make it unusable for human consumption. 35% is used in food prep, and you should be using "35% food grade" (as there's another marketed 35%, but it's for industrial use so it has added chemicals which could adversely interact with your figures). Food grade 35% is strong stuff, but it's "food grade" not because you can ingest it as-is, that would be horribly deadly, but because diluted it can be ingested when used for food prep such as keeping away fungus in fish and dairy and egg items. It's strong, dangerous stuff, but supposedly is the best one for de-yellowing white figures as it's quicker and more controlled, and doesn't have additives found in drug store H2O2. It's something you can get online for around $10.

    If the plasticizers were less common in vintage figures, it wouldn't be a cause of yellowing because those figures have more of it than new figures. I believe when plasticizers outgas, that is just excess from the production process, but over time if you leech out plasticizers from the rest of the material, I believe that would lead to brittleness. That said, I haven't noticed any POTF2 figures getting brittle or stiffer, so I think the plasticizers aren't leeching.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    "We named the dog 'Chewbacca'!"
    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  7. #37
    I don't think I'm communicating my point about the plasticizers very well. The plasticizers aren't causing yellowing. But they are important in the ageing process. The different plastics and different plasticizers mean POTF2 and later figures will age different than the Kenner figures. The Kenner will all basically age the same, keeping in mind that storage condition as vary great. So we can't look to the past as an indicator to how modern figures will. I go so far as to say we can't even look to the POTF2 figure as a guide to the current line aging. I know the POTF2 and Saga figure have a different feel, ie different plastic and/or plasticizers.

    Now I complete disagree with your statement about the plasticizers not leaching out after an initial outgasing. I agree the initial outgasing is from the production process. But as I said earlier plasticizers are highly volatile. By their very nature they have to leach out. Also the plasticizers are embedded in a matrix, in the case the plastic, and are not part of that matrix. It's like air in a balloon, over time the air leaks out. How fast it happens is something I don't know. I would say we should start seeing problems with plasticizer loss in the next 5 to 10 years. And yes as plasticizers leach out the plastic becomes stiffer and more brittle. But you have to have fairly high loss levels before brittleness really becomes an issue. So that should be an issue in the near future for the oldest of the modern figures.

    Currently plasticizers leaching out is a major problem for Barbie collectors. The heads get sticky (honey head) or have clear droplets form on them (weeping Barbies). Vintage SW figures also can become sticky or have a white crystalline film (frosting). It's not a mold, like I've heard some people say on other sites. Does the same fate await our POTF2 and later figures? I'd say yes.
    "I'm sick and tried of these motherfrakkking Sith on this motherfrakkker plane!"
    Mace Windu - Episode 2.5: Sith on a Plane

  8. #38
    Oh, ok, I see what you mean about how they're different from one type to another.

    I would also agree that the material used on POTF2 doesn't have the same qualities as the more modern lines.

    Over the course of eons, yes, the plasticizers will leach out of the figures (thanks for using the correct word which reminded me that I was using the homonym, this isn't my field so I don't use it often), but do you really think that within the "operational lifespan" of the figures (the time that a single generation of collectors is alive and able to enjoy their figures), they will significantly leach and cause breakdown? I don't believe so, not based on the performance of the POTF2 figures. Yes, they're different, but I believe their ABS is essentially the same as what we're seeing with newer figures, just a variation on that mix. We're not getting the sticky stuff and white stuff you're talking about with those older toys so far. Keep in mind, these figures are 15 years old, and yet they seem to be holding up fine. These don't seem to be the less stable, earlier plasticizers of the '60s and '70s. And most of the Star Wars vintage figures out there are holding up pretty well considering they're 4 decades old.

    I will ask my step-dad, he's a manufacturing engineer who has worked with this stuff most his life. But at this point, I think we'll see probably a functional lifespan of 60 years or more out of these modern figures, minus the white plastic discoloration concerns brought up here.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    "We named the dog 'Chewbacca'!"
    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  9. #39
    I have no idea which "right word" your taking about, but I guess your welcome.

    Well I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this. Most figure torsos are a styrene type plastic, as to whether its ABS or some other type I'm not sure on. ABS is pretty stable plastic. The legos I have from the 60's some very little sign of aging other than some discoloration. Now Lego brick don't have any plasticizers in them as far as I know. If Hasbro has been using ABS in the torsos I don't believe there would be much use of plasticizers.

    The limbs are a different story. Those I believe are made from PVC. PVC is normally a very hard plastic. But most limbs on SW figures "soft." The plasticizers give than nice pliable feeling to them. PVC isn't a stable as ABS, particularly with the addition of a plasticizer. It's the limbs that have me most concerned for aging.

    So what type of time scales are we talking about. I would say in the "normal functional lifespan" of a toy you aren't going to see any thing. What's the "normal functional lifespan" of a toy? I'd say under 10 years. Most people grow out of their childhood by the time they're teens. We here are the odd balls in that we have acquired and hung on to our toys for so long. In 60 to 70 years, the time when most of us should be pasting our collections on, I'd say you're going to see I wide range of age related effects. A lot of it will have to do is storage and display.

    So I check a bunch of my figure last night. I didn't check everyone but a group of them. The figures I personally worry the most about are the Battle Droids. The limbs are very thin, very rubbery and in general they're white figures. I was highly bothered by the fact the all of the Ep 1 and one of the POTJ Battle Droids were all a bit tacky feeling. That tells me the plasticizers are leaching out and I need to store these figures different. If you Battle Droids are on display they be outgassing better than mine or a tin layer of dust might be masking the tackiness. In any case this won't the first or last indecent of sticky modern figures.
    "I'm sick and tried of these motherfrakkking Sith on this motherfrakkker plane!"
    Mace Windu - Episode 2.5: Sith on a Plane

  10. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by LusiferSam View Post
    I have no idea which "right word" your taking about, but I guess your welcome.
    "Leech" vs "leach".

    Well I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this. Most figure torsos are a styrene type plastic, as to whether its ABS or some other type I'm not sure on. ABS is pretty stable plastic. The legos I have from the 60's some very little sign of aging other than some discoloration. Now Lego brick don't have any plasticizers in them as far as I know. If Hasbro has been using ABS in the torsos I don't believe there would be much use of plasticizers.
    What makes you think LEGO bricks don't use plasticizer? They're extruded or molded parts which generally requires a plasticizer to avoid cracking during temperature shifts or to cracking during the manufacturing process. Just because they are hard plastic doesn't mean they didn't require plasticizer, they're just not using as much, and not using a phthalate - the plasticizer that's been in the news so much the past few years. They absolutely use plasticizers or else they couldn't be molded or extruded into the shapes they take, especially the high-tolerance shapes that LEGO parts specifically conform to.

    The limbs are a different story. Those I believe are made from PVC. PVC is normally a very hard plastic. But most limbs on SW figures "soft." The plasticizers give than nice pliable feeling to them. PVC isn't a stable as ABS, particularly with the addition of a plasticizer. It's the limbs that have me most concerned for aging.
    They say they use ABS and PVC. I would say your uses seem correct, torsos get ABS while limbs and heads get PVC.

    As for the plasticizer, I talked to my step-dad, he's a manufacturing engineer, at length about this issue on Saturday. He said that with these materials, the plasticizer cannot leach out, once mixed together with the base material, the plasticizer molecularly bonds with the original material to make the new material, that they combine to make "the plastic". Any plasticizer that comes out isn't leaching from the material, but unbonded excess. The only ways a plasticizer will leach out is if the molecular bonds of the base material break down either from the material exceeding its lifespan or if another material is breaking apart the molecular bonds, and then you have total breakdown of the product, it doesn't just get brittle, it crumbles apart.

    Considering we've ruled out light exposure as the cause of the yellowing in these figures, and I can rule out temperature extremes for mine, that leaves chemical influences. In this case almost has to mean impurities in the original mix, my step-dad says that a lazy individual factory machine runner (I forget the term he used for this person) might produce these issues by improperly mixing in the dyes or flame retardants or other additives just in that batch, and that these are what's breaking down in the color issues showing up only in SOME of the figures. It's from not being properly bonded to the material in the initial manufacturing process, causing early rapid tinting or breakdown of the dye.

    So what type of time scales are we talking about. I would say in the "normal functional lifespan" of a toy you aren't going to see any thing. What's the "normal functional lifespan" of a toy? I'd say under 10 years. Most people grow out of their childhood by the time they're teens. We here are the odd balls in that we have acquired and hung on to our toys for so long. In 60 to 70 years, the time when most of us should be pasting our collections on, I'd say you're going to see I wide range of age related effects. A lot of it will have to do is storage and display.
    I highly doubt the lifespan is set under 10 years only because of storage, shipping, and storage times before it gets into the consumer's hands. I can see 5 years before getting into the customer's hands being perceivable, which would leave just 5 years before the material is intended to break down. Hasbro is extremely concerned with customer safety with their products, they're the best-testing major toy retailer to come out of the recent toy scandals. I can't see them arguing for less than 15 years from factory to disuse on those merits alone.

    Maybe we should pose this question in Q&A, another site asked about the lifespan of the figures in regards to storage, but not to intended use, so they didn't get a specific answer since Hasbro doesn't concern itself with collector storage.

    Considering that ABS and PVC products can be made with operational lifespans measured in generations (look at some PVC plumbing from the 1930s that is still holding up today), it seems unlikely that the lifespan on on figures would be focused as short as 10 years, that would be weaker than a plastic milk jug (in terms of permeability).

    Of course, there are different lifespans to consider, colorfastness may be a tertiary issue to them. On the other hand, I will point out again that with POTF2 figures, we've got 15 year old Hasbro-manufactured product holding up fine and 32 year old Kenner-manufactured product holding up too.

    So I check a bunch of my figure last night. I didn't check everyone but a group of them. The figures I personally worry the most about are the Battle Droids. The limbs are very thin, very rubbery and in general they're white figures. I was highly bothered by the fact the all of the Ep 1 and one of the POTJ Battle Droids were all a bit tacky feeling. That tells me the plasticizers are leaching out and I need to store these figures different. If you Battle Droids are on display they be outgassing better than mine or a tin layer of dust might be masking the tackiness. In any case this won't the first or last indecent of sticky modern figures.
    I just grabbed 3 Ep 1 Battle Droids, 1 "clean" and 1 "dirty" variety (for those who don't remember, there were 4 paint scheme varieties) and 1 from the STAP, and they are indeed tacky after a decade in simple loose group storage. But here's the thing, these figures haven't lost any pliability whatsoever, and the STAP one is less tacky than the others despite being the same (it was displayed but sat under some papers after losing one of its missiles). They've also all held their colorfastness, in fact both pliability and color seem better than I remember them originally being. So this could be excess plasticizer that wasn't bonded to the plastic to begin with, it could flame retardant, it could even be mold-release oil, but I don't see any signs of the plastic breaking down at all, which is what would happen if the surface of the material were leaching its plasticizer. You'd see a loss of pliability and you'd see cracking.

    If plasticizer were leaching out, those rubbery Saga battle droids would be hardening up over time, but they're not, they actually seem to be getting worse, more rubbery. As a thermoplastic, that means either they are warming up beyond their set temp, or they are suffering from gravity's effects more. I can again attest to mine not getting significantly hotter.

    I suspect this is not an incident that is leading to "the beginning of the end", as it were, just excess additives leaching out over time, not a breakdown of materials. I have found other Ep 1 and earlier figures that are tacky, and I've even found more POTF2 figs that have had color issues (the shoulders on my gray Ugnaught are showing a little fading), but when you wipe away the tacky surface, they perform the same as new.

    In fact, I'll do a test. I've wiped away a very tacky surface on one of those '99 Battle Droids, on the thigh. Now I've pushed my thumbnail into the plastic (without lateral movement) until it has left a mark, and performed the same action into a Clone Wars Battle Droid's thigh until it left a mark. They took roughly the same amount of pressure to mark on the surface, the very area where a leach of plasticizer should have broken down the plastic soonest and been more brittle or even crumbled away. I did the same test with their forearms, and got similar results. I don't have a durometer, so this is the closest test I can perform, but it also gives direct tactile results and I can tell there is no cracking where I cut down into the part.

    I think what's going on is standard outgassing, not leaching, that normally would just evaporate into the air, like how "new car smell" eventually goes away, but either by storing the figures in areas with poor air movement, or suffering exterior surface contact through dust or what have you, the outgassing has built-up the excess that normally would have evaporated, causing to condense on the figure's surface. In fact, the tackiness has already started to subside on those battle droids I left on my desk about 20 minutes ago when I started my reply.

    Also, tackiness isn't really a good sign of problems in of itself, I've gotten a lot of new figures the past few years from other companies like Mattel that are tacky straight out of the package.

    Getting back to colorfastness, my step-dad says that white is pretty much the hardest color to get plastics to take, it's very easy to mess that up. Most of my yellowed figures are white - Stormtroopers and R2's body are my main examples of yellowing. The clear stand on my STAP is also yellowed some, and it doesn't seem to be a UV issue since the yellowing appears uniform (with regards to thickness) even where it was partly covered by the STAP collection point. Clear plastics also seem to show the most color issues over time in other Hasbro lines, especially Transformers. Does that mean they're leaching plasticizers, or is it something else? The clear parts usually start brittle - I've had them break down upon opening - and never have tackiness that I've heard about, so I don't think it's a plasticizer issue in regards to leaching. And they are clear, which means not dyed, so it's not dye breakdown. That leaves flame retardant aging, mold release oil (assuming they put it in the mix and not just sprayed down on the mold after a few runs), or another additive that is aging, tinting, or breaking down.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    "We named the dog 'Chewbacca'!"
    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

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