Crafty Duchess: Stickiness Tutorial

01

What’s worse than a leaning figure?

I’ll tell you what: A figure that’s leaning AND sticking!

But fear not, there’s a treatment for everything!

So stay tuned for this little figure fixing series starring Prier and her several issues that need fixing.

One fine day I received a package from a friend of mine containing Wafudoh Ganguten’s Prier. What I unboxed, though, seemed to be a mere shadow of her former self. She came with a faulty base, the figure itself was heavily leaning and the worst of all, Prier was sticky!

No, this figure is not wet. That was the extent of stickiness I had to deal with here. That’s also why I got the figure in the first place. Dear Sebastian – the owner – had no idea how to save her and as he knew that I was into fixing figures I got her to experiment on. Destroying her while trying to fix the issues seemed to be a better option than having her stay in the sorry state she was in at this point.

Before we jump right into the action, though, let’s talk a bit about stickiness.

The general consensus of why stickiness on figures happens is due to the plasticizer in the PVC vaporizing, forming a sticky layer on top of the figure. As of now, figures can’t be manufactured without said plasticizer, as it’s the very component that makes parts flexible.

There are a few things you can keep in mind to prevent this from happening, though:

  • Do not subject your figures to high temperatures or direct sunlight
  • Air your showcases from time to time
  • Dust figures (especially those displayed out in the open) and/or treat them to a nice lukewarm bath once in a while
  • Open up boxed figures from time to time for some fresh air

The sad thing is that your figures can still get sticky if they have been treated poorly by the previous owner or simply because the figure is very old or just of poor quality PVC.

Early diagnosis is key.

Check your figures on a regular basis and take action as soon as you notice unusual shininess and a sticky feeling to the touch.

There are several ways to go about removing stickiness. I always recommend starting with the most harmless method first to prevent unnecessary damage to your figure. If one method doesn’t work, step up the game until you found what works best.

  1. Clean your figure with a mild detergent

The most obvious and easiest method. Disassemble your figure to reduce the risk of breaking anything or remove the parts that need treatment. Gently wash them with a mild detergent. This should work just fine at early stages of stickiness. If you feel that just your fingers aren’t enough to get rid of the sticky layer you might as well use a soft cloth but refrain from using brushes or anything that could damage the paintjob and material. This method has a zero probability of damaging your figure, so starting with this one can never hurt. It also didn’t do anything to fix Prier, so let’s move on to the next method.

  1. Soak your figure in diluted detergent

When the stickiness on your figure has already reached a level where a quick rinse won’t help, you may prepare a bath for the figure to soak in. Get a container that lets you immerge the part or the whole figure under water and mix the water with the same mild detergent you would have used for method 1. Let it soak for at least 12 hours. This shouldn’t damage the figure in any way. If you’re still nervous about what’s happening to your figure you may check every few hours and see if you notice any change. I also did this for Prier but couldn’t find any difference in the level of stickiness. I had her under water for at least 24 hours, just to see if a longer period of time would do any difference, but sadly it didn’t.

 

  1. Clean your figure with a scoaring liquid or cream

A method I haven’t personally used because I lacked the tools but I found this tip at Mikatan’s / Goodsmile’s blog, so why not include it here if it might help.

This is definitely one of those methods you need to be careful with, as the scoaring liquid / cream contains abrading agents, potentially damaging the figure. Also make sure you’re using a liquid or a cream and NOT a powder. Mikatan also mentioned that this method is not suitable for shiny part unless you don’t mind them turning matt.

So all these methods and it didn’t help Prier one bit. This didn’t come as a surprise to me, however, because touching Prier felt like someone had dipped her in honey and left her like that. I knew that at this point I had to risk permanently damaging her to get rid of the nasty stickiness. At the same time there was no method to be found on the internet concerning such severe cases so I sat down and contemplated on what to do. This is probably also a good time to put a nice disclaimer.

Do. Not. Use. This. Method. I. Am. About. To. Use. If:

  • you’re not 100% sure you’re not able to fix the problem otherwise and
  • if you’re not 100% sure you can live with a damaged figure.
  • If you’re too scared to do it, don’t do it.
  • If you already submitted into just getting a new figure, do just that.

If you’re brave enough to try this out or if you’re just this desperate, read on:

  1. Acetone-free Nail Polish Remover

Yeah, you heard right. I warned you, didn’t I?

So here is what you need:

  • Acetone-free nail polish remover (duh)
  • Cotton Swaps and Q-Tips
  • Paper towels
  • Soft Cloth
  • A small bowl of clear water

I disassembled Prier as best as I could.

A lot of her parts were just glued together and due to her age it wasn’t hard to remove them piece by piece just by wriggling them loose.

Then I started working my way down the figure. Prier had absolutely no spot on her that wasn’t sticky so this took some time.

It’s also probably a good idea to start this method at a spot of the figure that’s hard to see anyways so you can get a feeling for how much pressure to apply to get good results.

For hard to reach areas I dipped the Q-Tips into the nail polish remover and started gently – geeeeeently – swiping the hard to reach areas. For large areas I used the cotton swaps.

Make sure to dip the cloth into the water from the bowl and rinse the part you just treated, then dabbing it dry with the paper towel.

Take small steps. Wipe a small area with polish remover, wipe with cloth and water, dab dry.

This is also a good way to test if you’re done with an area. If the paper towel sticks to the area, you need to wipe some more.

I cannot emphasize this enough. Be gentle about it. Otherwise you’ll remove parts of the paintjob.

And this is the final result.

I managed to remove about 95% of the stickiness on the whole figure, but I also dealt quite some damage to the paint job. I also get the feeling that I had no other choice because otherwise the stickiness wouldn’t have vanished completely.

This is probably the most nerve-wrecking fix I’ve ever done on a figure up to this day but the overall result is astonishing. I heard that stickiness will most likely return when using the aforementioned methods 1-3. I used method 4 on Prier in November 2015. I unpacked her today, February 2017 and couldn’t detect any stickiness returning. That makes Prier over 1 whole year stickiness-free!!

The paintjob I’ve damaged most were the hair and the black parts of her clothing. Everything else I could live with.

So what are we gonna do with a damaged paintjob? We’re gonna fix it, of course!

Stay tuned for Part 2!

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