Tuesday, 25 June 2013

De-Yellowing Vintage He-Man MOTU Figures - Full Guide

What you will need:
 2x 200ml Bottles of %6 Hydrogen Peroxide
1x Empty Pint Glass (or similar)
Sunshine – if available Patience – plenty of it

I am a UK based collector so I will be talking about shops and brands that are available here. As with Star Wars figures it seems that the different types of plastic used to make the parts of the figures can become yellowed when left in the sun. With MOTU figures it seems to happen on the torso and groin, with the arms and heads not suffering. Both these parts are made from a harder plastic. The first thing you need to do is give your figures a good clean to remove and loose dirt and grime. The easiest way to do this is take them as much apart as possible. Remove all armour and then pop the arms and head off.

As you can see, the figure I have chosen to work on (Skeletor) has some serious yellowing to his torso. The back is pretty much solid yellow. On the front you can see where his armour has shielded parts of his body.

You can pick up %6 Hydrogen Peroxide from most chemists here in the UK. Some will have it out on the shelves (but not many). You normally have to ask at the counter for it. A 200ml bottle costs £1. From my tests you will need two bottles of this, but it will depend on what sort of jar you use.

For star wars figures I normally place the whole figure in the liquid, but as only the torso of this figure is damaged it's best to only cover that part. Fine a glass that is wide enough to fit the shoulders of the MOTU figure in standing on it's neck. And pour enough Hydrogen in to cover the torso.

Then place the glass and figure on the windowsill in the sunshine. You'll need to leave it in the sunshine for a few days, depending on how much sun you get. You will also need to top the hydrogen peroxide up a bit as it does evaporate. You'll notice your figure will become covered in tiny bubbles. Just give it a slight tap to dislodge these.

For this very yellowed figure I left it for 5 days. The sun was very hit and miss over these five days. Just keep and eye on it.

Other sites say you need the sun to get results, but in my experience just a bit of cloudy daylight works just as well. It may be that this affects the speed at which the bleaching happens, but that is only a guess.

When they are done, and you will just need to judge this. Take them out and give them a good wash. If you don't give them a good wash you may find a powdery coating on some of the painted areas once they dry. This can just be wiped off with a cloth.

As you can see in the above photos the results are great. It's hard to believe this is the same figure..
In the old days I would have classed this figure as junk as it looked so awful. But now, it's a pretty good figure and I will happily put it in my collection.

And her is the final figure. Bought for 99p on ebay as it looked so rough. Now a fine example.

Sites worth looking at:

Retr0bright - http://retr0bright.wikispaces.com/
Comic Book Bin - http://www.comicbookbin.com/Action_Figure_Yellowing001.html
Exisle - http://www.exisle.net/mb/index.php?/topic/59657-de-yellowing-plastic-the-stain-isnt-permanent-after-all/

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