Restorations. Hurt value or improve value?

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by curlrup, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. curlrup

    curlrup Well-Known Member

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    I just moved into a home that for the first time ever has space for me to have a collection room. Finally my 300+ bots are on display. I was however, disappointed when I pulled out my 100% complete G1 Metroplex to find he had yellowed. As did my G1 Wheeljack, and G1 Slingshot. So I did some searching on bleaching plastic. Turns out you can use a lovely peroxide solution to bleach the yellow from white plastic.
    Here is my plan and my question. I am a professional Model Maker. I get paid to make models and prototypes of different things. I have built prototypes for Proctor and Gamble, SC Johnson Wax, Honda, Nike, Scotts Lawn care and Zebco fishing reels to name a few. Everything from photo realistic models for photo shoots to working photo realistic prototypes. I now work for a government agency and make whatever they need. Again prototypes, and/or scale models. I can laser scan, 3D print, cast urethane, machine, chrome plastic (Cosmi Chrome, Google it.) paint, 3D model in CAD software, and make new graphics although Reprolabels does a remarkable job. I can do all of this at or from (I know people) my home studio. I plan on practicing a restoration on this guy.
    [​IMG]

    I just bought him off eBay for $12. His shoulder hinge is busted and he obviously needs some love. From there I want to move onto my childhood treasures i.e. G1 Metroplex. I have two questions. Would a restoration done by myself with reverse engineered replacement parts, fresh paint , chrome, and new labels hurt or improve the value of the figure? I think I am going to do it regardless because of the sentimental value. My other question. If I can prove that I can do a top notch restoration, something that no one could tell was a restoration, would others be interested in such a service? Fresh parts, labels, chrome and paint? Thanks. I will post the results as I work this out. Like I said I just moved so it might be a while before I can get started. Thanks

    Curly

    Edit to clarify some things*
     
  2. Cyclonus79

    Cyclonus79 Decepticon General

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    So are u saying you have the ability to chrome a figure!?
     
  3. HoosierDaddy

    HoosierDaddy Decepticon. I'm no hero

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    That's awesome. Sorry, I can't answer your question but I'm in awe at how awesome your job and abilities are. I can only dream of making a living like that.
     
  4. Autobot Burnout

    Autobot Burnout Hammer of the Gunplas

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    If you can rechrome stuff to the point it's not obvious it isn't original, that alone will get you interest.

    Reproduction parts are always highly requested, especially for the rarer accessories such as G1 Jetfire's gun clip or just about anything G1 Roadbuster had.

    But I guess the question of value...is up to the person who wants something restored. Because the condition of a "Restored" figure will involve non-original parts and new paint, the vintage value of the figure will go down.

    On the OTHER hand, for somebody who is more interested in just having a new-looking figure that is complete and doesn't care about the vintage value, your services would be invaluable.
     
  5. Cortexitron

    Cortexitron Alternate Reality Patrol

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    My only question would be what the long term effects of the whitening process are. It would really stink if the toy gets brittle and fragile after a few years.

    That being said, if it's done right I think there could be a market for restored/repaired toys. See what it takes to bring that old Jetfire back to life, and let us know. I have one that's a little less yellow, but yellow just the same. I'll be interested to see where this goes...
     
  6. curlrup

    curlrup Well-Known Member

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    Yep. I have used this system a lot. Called Cosmi Chrome. You have to spray a urethane basecoat on the part that is really slick and black in color. Then you hit it with an etching solution, then a silver nitrate solution. The silver leaches out of solution and deposits on the etched surface. Dry it out and spray on a special clear coat and it will look just like the vacu-metalized part did originally. Expensive process but about 1/4 the cost of vacu-metalized parts.
     
  7. curlrup

    curlrup Well-Known Member

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    Best job ever. :) 
     
  8. curlrup

    curlrup Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I figured value of a restored figure would be very subjective. Well I think I will practice some and see where it goes. Thanks for the repsonses folks!
    Curly
     
  9. TrueNomadSkies

    TrueNomadSkies Airachnid's ratservant

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    Honestly from where I stand, you're 12 dollars into a rather unique toy that right now... looks like crap. You clearly know what you're doing, so the worst case I see coming from messing with the figure is that you get even better at your craft & prepare yourself for another custom.

    Bet you can't restore just one? :lol 
     
  10. Kiddcade

    Kiddcade Signal Lancer

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    I would personally pay you good money to chrome some Bumblebee figures.
     
  11. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

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    I say regardless of "resell value", Jetfire there would appreciate your services.
     
  12. terry981

    terry981 Well-Known Member

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    Here's a question, the H. Peroxide trick only works on white plastics right? So how would you restore, lets say, a red colored figure that turned pink? Yellow became more orange, blue became dark blue and stuff.... Or Jetfires red parts for that matter?
     
  13. alldarker

    alldarker M.A.S.K. Crusader

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    No, hydrogen peroxide works on most plastic colors which show yellowing due to the influence of UV light. It doesn't have to be white: I've bleached turqouise parts, blue and any other color which shows the yellowing damage.
    Hydrogen peroxide does not actually bleach, but it is thought it bonds to or neutralizes the brominated flame ******ant which has yellowed on the surface of these plastics. Now, those bromides were added to plastic for a reason (to provide a fire ******ant effect), back when they were producing the plastic, so to neutralize it might have long term detrimental effects on the stability of the plastic as a whole.

    Due to the fact that bromidated flame ******ants can have harmful effects when ingested, they are no longer used in consumer plastics in the quantities they were a couple of decades ago: so yellowing of plastics has also become less common, luckily. This however also means that using HP on modern plastics has different effects than on "'80's plastic": HP is agressive stuff and I've heard stories of it ruining modern plastics.

    Coming back to your question: red colored figure that has turned pink has probably faded, and that will not be reversable by HP. Your other examples, however, might certainly be reversable.

    And coming back to the OP's question: a figure that needs to be restored usually won't have been worth that much anymore in the first place. The Jetfire you show is a good example: that $12 toy isn't going down in value any further if it's restored: unless you really start attacking it, any restoration attempts will have a positive effect compared to its current value.
     
  14. Grandum

    Grandum Well-Known Member

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    I think you could make more money off of custom pieces (chromed, added molding) than you could restoring parts.

    I doubt that restoring Metroplex which has been both encored and KO'd would be worth it.

    Also, if you read about the bleaching thing you will see that some people report long term side effects of the process.
     
  15. curlrup

    curlrup Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I do need to read up on the bleaching process more. Terry981 I think alldarker got it right. A pink plastic part is faded from sun damage, and not yellowed. However, the other colors you mentioned sound like yellowing from the bromide used in 80's plastic. The red on Jetfire is a paint application. So that will have to be redone. I'm guessing with a custom mixed laquer. Well we will see how Jetfire fairs with the bleaching process. I could see more of a solvent or bleach attacking the plastic more than hydrogen peroxide. Also I have read of some people using some very agressive peroxide solutions. Sometimes you can't rush things. I wonder if a longer soak at lower concentrations would prevent any damage. I would also think that once the plastic is white again a UV protectant coating would be a good idea to seal up the surface. A good urethane automotive clear would work wonders. That has loads of UV inhibitors in it.
    Here are some videos of the chrome system. Great little piece of equipment.

    Goldtouch - Cosmichrome™ Videos
     
  16. Fishdirt

    Fishdirt Tin Toy Transformer

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    Offering restoring services done right (no replacing parts with home cast resign, no super gluing etc) can be paid well.

    selling restored figures would lower the value from mint. People want as original as possible when buying figures. The availability doesn't really allow for same value from restorations in transformers.

    Personally I'd love re chrome services (though I'd have to see an example of it as well as comparison to the vac type) and a book on how to restore figures properly.
     
  17. iDarkDesign

    iDarkDesign Rodeo Lawyer

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    Your job sounds like a dreamjob. At least all the equipment you have access to!

    First an answer to your question. In he case of jetfire. Turning it white again will greatly improve value. Repairing it will too. BUT always make sure to give notes of all the work that went into it to a buyer.

    In the case of Metroplex. There was a recent re-issue which will be a lot cheaper.

    But there is a very high demand on reproduction parts/ accessories. TFW member Darkov used to fill this part, but has recently stopped production. The fandom could absolutely go with another one of you. Cast original weapons and accessories that normally would fetch too high a price (like the Jetfire gunclip) or cast rare and impossible to obtain accessories like a Black Zarak head & staff.

    Also right now in Radicons there is a trend to have everything printed at shapeways.com. It's a nice service but the end product leaves some stuff to desire. Their 3D printers can't really handle the intricate detail on this scale. What is your view on this?

    There is another type of chrome. I have had Eddie from conceptsinchrome.com vaccuum metalize parts for me. This is also great for restoring old chrome to new.

    Myself I love restoring figures for my own collection. Or repainting others into better interpretations then they currently are. Check out Radicons for a lot of custom transformers!

    iDD
     
  18. AngryChad

    AngryChad Well-Known Member

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    I love restoring figures. For me it's not about the money so much, just that I really enjoy doing it. It's kind of therapeutic for me I guess. I haven't gone to the lengths you're talking about (no chroming yet), but based on what I've bought figures for on eBay vs. what I later sold them for, I'd say there's definitely a demand for finished pieces as well as a service where you restore and return to the original owner.
     
  19. curlrup

    curlrup Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. Shapeways uses a lot of a process called SLS. Selective Laser Sintering. The machine sinters the part out layer by layer from a nylon powder. Basically rolling out the powder in a thin layer then melting a crosssection of the part into the powder with a laser. The detail is ok but the parts have an inherant grainy texture to them. I have an SLS at work. It is great for function but not for end use apperance pieces. Best way to go on parts like what Radicons has on Shapeways is injection moldng like original pieces, or urethane casting. Not the regular home spun slush box casting. Real casting, under vacuum, and a cure in a pressure pot. The Shapeways Radicon parts have a great design to them though. They would look great from a high res SLA or Objet machine.
     
  20. The Madness

    The Madness News Credits: -13

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    I feel like I'm stating the obvious here, but a quality reconditioning of a fairly worn figure will increase its value as a one off. However, it is unlikely to compete with the price of a quality original.

    Transformer collectors are segmented. Some will proudly collect official factory product, and others are happy with quality customs and 3rd party products. Many toys in the market place have probably been arranged from cannibalized parts, but it helps if you can't tell, (that said, disclosure is necessary).

    Judging by responses so far, the lucrative option would be to produce reproduction parts to sell to collectors/ customizers for their own projects.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2012

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