Adventures in Package Restoration - Resealing a Plastic Bubble to Card

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by Superquad7, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

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    I recently did some package restoration, and thought I'd share. I'll update later with a detailed explanation of everything :) 

    So, I bought this G1 Action Master Snarl from an eBay seller. Now, before I go any further, allow me to share a few things with you first:

    • I bought this piece knowing first hand it was not sealed (see post #3). I paid a very fair price for what this piece typically sells for in loose/complete + card back;
    • Hopefully, you guys would know that I have no intention whatsoever to pass this off as "factory sealed" after what I have done. I specifically bought this piece as is to do all of the things I've featured in this thread for . . . . ;
    • . . . . the purpose of being able to have him hang on my wall in the future. Before our last move, I had what carded Action Masters I owned hanging on the wall and absolutely loved the display value. As is, ol' Snarl here can't join his buds!;
    • It's a hobby, and I wanted to have fun with this! As an artist, I really enjoy this type of thing as you may (or not may) be aware of. This really isn't a "custom" project, though, which is why it's not in the Creative Forums here (at least not yet). Oddly enough, box restoration is an interest of mine, so I thought I'd do this as a sort of experient and . . . . ;
    • . . . . try to learn something in the process! One of the things I learned before tackling this project is that there's not a whole lot of information on this type of thing quickly available (e.g., 30 minutes or so with a Google search). I found a handful of things, but nothing really revolutionary (but, if you know of a resource out there, feel free to share in this thread!) That being the case . . . .;
    • . . . . I'm always looking to create resources!

    With all of that in mind, off we go into my adventure here!

    Making a Plan:

    [​IMG]


    So, here he is! AM Snarl is in my hands, and ready to venture out with me. One of the things I did right off the bat was carefully removed the small strips of masking tape the seller used to keep the bubble onto the card initially. Basically, just taking my time, the tape came right off with no problems. There is a potential at this point of such damage depending on the adhesive used, the age of it, and how strong it is! I'll note there that I have no agenda to remove the KayBee price tag (wow, $3!), especially given the fact nowadays that a retail price tag is a sort of authenticating stamp this is did hang on KayBee's shelf at one point in time. With Action Masters it's not as big of a deal as say a pre-rub G1 Bluestreak, but still this is something I just want to keep on the card.

    Again, the only thing I'm aiming to do with this is make it so that the bubble is attached to the card simulating a MoSC piece. That being said, let's have a look at what's cut out for me to do to achieve that goal:

    [​IMG]


    One of the first things I noticed is that the bubble is still somewhat attached to the card! You'll notice here that not only is the bubble attached to the card, but in this particular area, a part of the cardback is attached to the bubble (but this area is not attached to the card). This actually helps out, as it creates a sort of "pocket" the handgun can slip into.

    Also, from this photo, you can notice that some of the cardback is torn off, but is present. This portion of the cardback is still attached to the bubble, but is totally detached from the cardback. I'll have to reattach it to the cardback for this project.

    Note that the alignment of the character artwork will particularly come into play as to how I align the bubble back to the cardback. If I don't reattach it just right, the character artwork is going to look rather odd.

    [​IMG]


    The most notable damage is to this side of the cardback. If I really wanted to go to town on this project, I'd do such restoration things as trying to "fix" all of the damage. This would require such things as recreating the paper with the cardback colors exactly as they appear here (matching the orange and red areas and creatiing those designs, etc.). That's really more than I'm wanting to do for this figure. For the value of this particular figure, I would venture to think that the best route for that would be to totally recreate the cardback from scratch in Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator and printing it off. That sort of thing is totally cool, but part of the novelty of even a piece like this is have something authentically original. I mean, this piece dead mint, sealed is really worth around $40 tops, in my opinion. But I digress . . . .

    [​IMG]


    This area of the card is 100% not attached to the cardback. The point where the bubble is still attached is near the peg hole and to the left of it.

    [​IMG]


    Here, you can see more clearly how the cardback is still attached to the bubble. Snarl himself and his two accessories are in VERY nice shape. Let's continue so that they'll stay that way!

    [​IMG]


    Here, you'll simply see me shifting the bubble around to test align the artwork on the box.


    [​IMG]

    Another view of the cardback attached to the bubble, and the portion not attached to the card.


    [​IMG]

    Snarl, his weapon, and his lil' friend are going to sit this project out, at least for a little bit. It's time for me to bring out my own weapon of choice. Nope, no swords or guns here, and not nearly as cool, but I'll be using *drumroll* . . . .

    [​IMG]


    . . . . that's right! Trusty, ol' Elmer's Glue All, or "School Glue", as I've always known it since it was typically on the shopping list in grade school. Believe it or not, this was about the pinnacle of my Google search for resourcing, as I wanted to be sure what adhesive would work the best for this sort of thing. It's not that Hasbro is using anything terribly complex for gluing packaging bubbles for children's toys, but I'm restoring a vintage toy at this point, so I'm not wanting to use anything that's going to ruin the package totally.

    [​IMG]


    So, here we are getting ready to have a go at it. I'll be applying the glue with a paintbrush, as it'll allow for a thin application as well as allowing me to get under the bubble once I start to reattach it and the glue starts drying.

    [​IMG]


    . . . . but, right off the bat, something that I'll have to deal with is some of the residue that was from the masking tape. You'll notice that my finger is getting stuck to this portion:

    [​IMG]


    The area that's stuck to my finger is a thin layer of paper. The best I can hope for is that once I start this process, I can clean some of it off, but this portion is so thin that the solution will end up soaking the paper. It's essentially just this one tiny area where my finger is that's so thin. While the cardback isn't thick to begin with, this portion is about as thin as this paper can get without it being totally transparent!

    [​IMG]


    One thing I did want to document is that the cardback itself has a slight bend at the top. This would be very difficult for me to fix, but it would be doable. The difficulty lies in this is the portion where the bubble is still attached to the card. There is also a tiny pucker right at the peg hole that is actual damage to the plastic. I could potentially risk further damage to the bubble if I attempt this, so I'm going to take a pass this round.


    The Battle Has Begun!

    Ok, so now that I've gotten my game plan ready, it's time to dig in:

    [​IMG]


    One of the first decisions I make here involves this piece that is attached to the bubble, but not the cardback. It's barely attached to the bubble, so I decide it's going to be best to remove it:

    [​IMG]


    I'm able to remove this piece without removing the package artwork from the bubble. This will make it easier to fully reattach it to the cardback.

    [​IMG]


    Whew! Now, that's over with, it's time to continue on . . . .


    Applying the Adhesive:

    [​IMG]


    So, an instinct for something like this might be to just squirt out the glue onto the figure. Well, that can get really messy for the figure, so the approach I'm going to use is very similar to how I paint customs and 2-D artwork. I'm going to actually thin out the glue just a tiny bit using water mixed in with the adhesive. This will allow the glue to have a better flow during the application process as well. I'm going to use a page from a $.10 notebook as my palette simply to make sure I've got the right amount of glue+water mixture on my brush:

    [​IMG]


    Here, I'm just mixing some glue and water (70% glue + 30% water) and thinning it out on my brush to get just the right amount:


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    I just repeat this process of adding a tiny amount of water to my glue, and thinning it out until I'm ready to go!


    Applying the Adhesive to the Cardback:

    With the right mixture of adhesive solution now on my brush, I simply brush it onto the back of this portion of the cardback. I make sure the whole area is covered all the way out to the edges:

    [​IMG]


    Carefully, I place this portion of the paper back aligned onto the cardback, simply using my fingers to light smooth out the wrinkles:


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Now, it's fully reattached! This portion came turned out really well!

    Next, I reposition Snarl and Tryananitron back how they need to go. After the bubble is fully adhered to the cardback again, the bubble will do a good job of holding them into place (like it originally did).

    Remember that "pocket" I mentioned earlier? Well, now it's time for it to come into play! I make sure I place the gun into this pocket correctly for careful, 100% repositioning. As the next step will be to fully glue the bubble back onto the card!

    [​IMG]


    Here, all I'm doing is taking my brush with a small amount of adhesive solution on it and brushing it onto the bubble (not the cardback, as the safer method is to apply it to the bubble since it won't soak the tiny portion of water like the paper will:

    [​IMG]


    I continue brushing on the adhesive solution all the way around the bubble. Also, after this is finished, I continue to apply an even tinier amount of adhesive solution on top of the bubble:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    . . . . and, after all of this, I finally have Action Master Snarl properly reglued to his cardback! After full adhesion, I simply let it dry for just a short time (less than 5-10 minutes):

    [​IMG]


    Here, you'll see the major area that bothered me from the very beginning, as this portion of the cardback was damaged:

    [​IMG]


    I could totally launch into a full-on assault with repairs at this point, but such a repair would require matching up the paper type as well as the colors on the original package (here, the red and the orange). If I were to undergo such a repair, I'd most likely either try to match it up with a printing process (but honestly there, I'd simply be better off just recreating the cardback), or taking a small piece of paper and painting it those colors (which would make color matching a bit easier). Anyways, I simply just wanted this one to appear sealed and look presentable.


    After the short drying time, you can now actually see me holding the figure by the bubble with no consequence of the figure falling out of an opened package:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    Cleanup: the Last Step

    After the gluing process, there is some leftover residue from the glue. I simply want to clean that up some. Whenever I do something like this, my weapons of choice are Goo Gone, Q-tips, paper towels, and a reservoir of water:

    [​IMG]


    Here, you can start to see some of the tiny bits of leftover glue residue in question:

    [​IMG]


    There isn't a whole lot I can do here aside from a full-on repair here, especially because this is so very thin. I'll do just a little bit, but I don't want to further create any more damage:

    [​IMG]


    Using the Goo Gone-soaked Q-tip, I start remove the excess glue:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    The water and the paper towels are used to clear up the leftover Goo Gone. This is important because while Goo Gone is very effective with removing things like glue, it can be very harmful if used in excess. A substance I use to remove paint from the plastic on Transformers will certainly damage ink and paper if not used conservatively and properly:

    [​IMG]


    Here is just another shot of me using a Q-tip, this time with water, to assist in the glue and Goo Gone removal:

    [​IMG]

    So, after all of my hard work, I'm finished!

    Here are shots of what the figure looked like before and what it looks like now:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    I hope you've enjoyed my little adventure here :) 
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 25, 2013
  2. brr-icy

    brr-icy G1 Collector

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    nice, i remember you mentioning something about sealed ams
     
  3. iamratchet

    iamratchet Medic

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    Looks very good. Keep up the good work!
     
  4. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

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    Ok, I'm mostly done with the added descriptions, but I'll go back a little later and fully finish up. I know this may seem rather piddly to some, but to some other collectors/enthusiasts with more rare and valuable pieces, package restoration may become a growing interest down the road.

    At any rate, this was something I wanted to do for fun and learning, and those were achieved. I hope you enjoy it as well! :) 
     
  5. Human Beastbox

    Human Beastbox The Murdinator

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    Transformers: The Forensic Files :D 

    Nice work, man!
     
  6. Easterling Capt

    Easterling Capt I am Vern Schillinger

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    not bad at all. I use a super glue that has this thin applier so I dont need to use a brush. and its so storng only a few drops is needed,

    Or one could just go MOSC :p 
     
  7. simplygriff

    simplygriff ยต - Elitist Dick

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    How about removing that price tag? ;)  I picked up a few old pieces recently with ridiculously tough price tags attached. Advice for removing those?
    -G
     
  8. Rumble02

    Rumble02 Radicon of Obliticons

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    You truly are a dork. that is why we love you. good job on this
     
  9. Bumblethumper

    Bumblethumper old misery guts

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    leave them on.

    It's fun to know how much they sold for back in the day.
     
  10. Seawing

    Seawing Lurker of the depths Moderator

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    Holy CSI:Cybertron Batman, that came out looking pretty good.
    Good job :thumb 
     
  11. Kenucme

    Kenucme Yes, I'd get that one too TFW2005 Supporter

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    I like the details you put into this thread. Gives more in depth than I figured for me to attempt the same if it were me. Worthwhile to keep this one bookmarked.
     
  12. [Wing_Saber-X]

    [Wing_Saber-X] BATTLE GAIA!

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    you so rule, man! :D 
     
  13. Tigermegatron

    Tigermegatron Banned

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    Great work,the restoration project looks amazing.

    I've also got some experience in resealing blister cards. I use glue sticks found in the stationary sections at most stores. I prefer glue sticks because there less wet & more dry.

    I tried a decade plus ago using regular elmers paste glue that squirts out of a bottle. the glue applies kinda wet & takes much longer to dry.

    I prefer to use glue sticks because there more dry & take much quicker to dry.

    to remove sticker residue,marker marks,paint marks. I often use something called "Orange glo" it's found at "dollar general" stores for around $3.49. In my research orange glo is superior than goo gone. Orange glo is made of almost all natural chemicals & can remove sticker residue,marker marks must faster & much easier. plus it leaves behind a nice shine & orange scent.
     
  14. Gen. Magnus

    Gen. Magnus Everything is Awesome

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    That was an amazing and amazingly well documented project. Thanks for letting us into that portion of your world.

    That said, i need an Action Master Snarl for my collection still too.
     
  15. sphererer

    sphererer Mambo-Jambo-Bot

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    not much credit given to you, physically, it may be but it is an useful piece nonetheless :D 

    Now I have a way to stick back my Generations boxes to their original state!

    But one question though - if you use too much glue, what happens?
     
  16. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

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    For those of you who were keeping up with this thread, I've now completely finished my full descriptions of my process. Again, I hope you enjoyed this, and if you have any questions, etc., feel free to comment :) 

    I've never been a huge Action Master fan, so getting these figures carded made things a little more special for me. This one in particular looked like a fun little project when I came across it :) 

    Thanks a lot, man!

    :lol  Indeed! Often times, our hobby does genuinely feel that way :) 

    I'd really like to have had a MoSC version to begin with, but it doesn't take much for this hobby to get costly. This was one of my attempt to save a few bucks :) 

    Super glue would work fine as well, but super glue can be harsh on certain substances. The reason I chose the diluted "school glue" route is that it comes the closest to what the original adhesive was like.

    As I stated earlier, while it's not a huge deal on Action Masters, the price tags on the vintage figures are becoming a sort of authenticating stamp on vintage pieces with the KOs that are so close in accuracy.

    If you do want to remove the price tags, the process I use is actually pretty similar to what I've shown in this thread, minus the glue. Basically, remove the original tag VERY CAREFULLY, so as not to rip the paper it's attached to (remember, this tag has most likely been on there 20+ years now, so it's on there!). Any glue residue can be removed with Goo Gone then quickly wiped off with water (see above method).

    The only problem with removing tags is that the tag generally preserves the color of the cardback, as the tag was most likely put on there fresh out of the case. The more the box has faded is the more noticeable it will be. I've done this to a few figures years ago, and it's barely noticeable for the most part.

    :D  Thanks! I think? :lol 

    Yeah, that was another motivation for me keeping it on :) 

    I'm glad you feel this way! Often times in Radicons and Fan Art, even the simplest things are more helpful fully explained. I took the time and effort to document this so that it may help someone else down the road :) 

    Thank you sir :) 

    I can see your reasoning behind using glue sticks, but I've never been fond of them for this type of thing. I was even hesitant using the adhesive method I tried out (I think I forgot to mention this was my first time using the gluing method I tried out :lol ), but the research that I performed from those who do this sort of thing professionally on antique figures use trusty, old "school glue" as well. I prefer the glue taking a bit longer to dry and cure, though. My experience yields that often times the longer something

    I've never tried Orange Glo, but I'll certainly give it a shot someday. One of the reasons I've always liked Goo Gone is that it doesn't remove things faster. Generally speaking, my approach to a lot of these sorts of things are very conservative for safety's sake :) 

    Thank you, sir! I was very happy to allow all of you guys insight into this, and my many other adventures in Transformerdom! I've always enjoyed sharing things like this with my friends :) 

    Typically, these Action Masters are about the price of a deluxe, relatively speaking, if you're simply wanting them loose/complete ($12-14, or so). They're certainly a great novelty for a Transformers fan, but still the obvious downswing of the US line.

    Erm, I'm not sure I get all of your post here :lol  I certainly hope it's useful, though :) 

    If you reread this thread, you'll note that there is a portion of this process where there is some excess glue I removed. :) 

    Thanks for reading and responding! :) 
     

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