The Tools of the Trade (Toy Maintenance)

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by Satomiblood, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. Satomiblood

    Satomiblood Prototype Black

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    I've been thinking about this recently and decided to start a thread on it. In the toy discussion forum, it's not uncommon to see a thread posted where someone needs help because something on their toy broke as a result of falling off the shelf, a kid/pet getting hold of it, and/or a part being moved or handled with too much force. Or let's say there are problems right out of the box such as some missing paint applications or a piece of excess plastic.

    In a lot of cases, it may be too late to exchange the toy or perhaps the figure is in such high demand that a replacement is almost impossible to find.

    I try to take the DIY approach on figure maintenance as much as possible. It might be because I'm regularly customizing my figures, but I'm just comfortable with the idea of making the necessary mods and fixes to something that needs attention. I'm a firm believer that if you're going to collect, you should also invest in a couple of tools to help with said maintenance. Things obviously happen. A part breaks or a figure starts to wear down as a result of age or handling.

    Here are the tools/supplies you should probably have:
    1. Precision screwdriver set
    2. Dremel (a Stylus should suffice)
    3. Sandpaper (varying strengths)
    4. Hobby paint/brushes (for touch-ups, minor detailing, and missing paint apps)
    5. 91% isopropyl alcohol (to remove flawed or unnecessary factory paint apps)
    6. Superglue, clear nail polish, or Future floor finish (for tightening loose sockets and balljoints)
    7. Hobby knife (anything by X-Acto) - Fosterlager
    8. Toothbrush (ideal for cleaning hard to reach areas on a figure) - Fosterlager
    9. Goo-Gone (to remove sticker residue)
    10. Dish soap (preferably something that's good at breaking down grease)
    11. Metal polish (good for restoring factory shine and removing tarnish from MP-05 Megatron's feet)
    12. Brass-O (for removing certain types of paints, also acts as a polishing compound on plastics...removing swirl marks and light scratches) - Squall42080
    13. Hydrogen peroxide (restores the factory white condition of most yellowed plastics)

    IMO I don't think you need to be a customizer to own any of the aforementioned.

    How does everyone else feel about this? Can you think of any additional hobby investments that I may have missed?
     
  2. Foster

    Foster Super Mod

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    Good idea. You need this stuff just to clean up QC problems. I'd add a set of exactos, and a toothbrush to clean up vintage toys.
     
  3. Satomiblood

    Satomiblood Prototype Black

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    Added your suggestions, Foster.

    I also forgot about Goo Gone and a brand of dish soap that's good at breaking down grease.
     
  4. Squall42080

    Squall42080 Autobot RSX Type-S

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    I always keep some Brass-O in the house. It's extremely useful in removing certain types of paints, and even acts as a polishing compound on plastics...removing swirl marks and light scratches.

    It's unconventional...but works. Discovered it back in the day when I used to customize Alternators.
     
  5. Satomiblood

    Satomiblood Prototype Black

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    Those Mr Clean sponges are also pretty good at removing minor scuff marks on plastic, but they can remove paint if you're not careful.
     
  6. starscream-99

    starscream-99 Well-Known Member

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    I use those air cans for key boards for dusting my figures. If this qualifies
     
  7. Orodruin

    Orodruin @deathformer TFW2005 Supporter

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    I use Q-tips with Windex for dusting; I'd be a little worried about a toothbrush scratching the plastic.
     
  8. Rewind

    Rewind Be Kind TFW2005 Supporter

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    A toothbrush with extra soft bristles shouldn't scratch plastic. Or at least I've never seen it happen.

    I use lighter fluid to remove sticker residue and greasy gunk and it works really well.
     
  9. Omnius

    Omnius Well-Known Member

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    I second this, great for getting dust out of hard-to-reach places.
     
  10. godbomber

    godbomber Henkei != Hentai

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    Makeup brush kit for cleaning & such. Used by car detailers on dashboards, etc.
     
  11. Ribieconvoy

    Ribieconvoy It's pronounced "ribby"

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    I also use non-acetone nail polish remover to clean up minor paint flaws, but you have to be careful because it CAN corrode the surface of the toy if you put on too much or leave it on for too long, but I just find it generally works better than rubbing alcohol. Also, I've heard that Baremetal Foil (A sort of sticker like foil used mostly in model car making) is a great way to "re-chrome" your figures if you don't want to pay to have them sent away and vacuum metalized.
     
  12. Autobot Burnout

    Autobot Burnout SANTARN IS COMING AGAIN TFW2005 Supporter

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    If there is a bit of plastic that needs to be removed (excess flash, for example) and it's too big for just sand paper, sprue cutters work wonders. Just snip off the offending plastic bit and sand down the stump.
     
  13. process

    process Hanlon's razor Veteran TFW2005 Supporter

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    99% of my needs are satisfied with an x-acto knife, precision screwdriver set and a wet paper towel.

    hee-hee.

    Here's a trick I figured out recently:

    For touching up sloppy paint apps in tight spots with isopropyl alcohol, use a toothpick in small dips. The wood, in addition to being non-abrasive and precise, absorbs just enough alcohol to be useful, but not enough to cause catasrophic collateral damage. Make sure to have a paper towel or rag on hand to remove dissolved paint.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2011
  14. Pun-3X

    Pun-3X Well-Known Member

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    I have just about all of this stuff for custom work as well as maintenance.

    Only thing I'd warn against (or recommend caution) is goo-gone. That stuff will fog the *&$%! out of clear parts and take paint with it. So if you're removing stickers from a clear roof that's painted, avoid. Brasso and 91% Isopropyl alcohol are definite musts. And tahnkfully, I have a bottle of Pledge Future that was on sale at Target last year (only one they had) and I haven't seen it since.

    Great list. I might add buying (for the sole use of "maintenance") a pair of big toenail clippers. Sounds odd, but it's great for cutting off burrs/flash from certain areas.

    Other thing to mention--big water-color brushes from craft stores for dusting. The REAL soft ones are great for, say, Gundam kits, and the thicker bristled ones are good for regular toys and getting into grooves. Air cans are 'neat,' but they can be expensive and don't always get the dust that's settled into those little crevices. These types of brushes don't scratch either, and I have a few that I use to dust down everything I own.
     
  15. godbomber

    godbomber Henkei != Hentai

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    [​IMG]
     
  16. process

    process Hanlon's razor Veteran TFW2005 Supporter

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    Half my toys would be stuck in twist-tie hell if it weren't for my trusty nail clippers.
     
  17. Thenames9

    Thenames9 D-d-d-d-duel!

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    What's the name of the product? I really need to dust off my toys, haven't done that in almost a year now...
     
  18. process

    process Hanlon's razor Veteran TFW2005 Supporter

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    There are many, it's a fairly generic product. Dust-Off comes to mind. You can find it at pretty much any consumer electronics store. Thick dust may require a wet paper towel or soft brush to get off.

    hee-hee.
     
  19. Ribieconvoy

    Ribieconvoy It's pronounced "ribby"

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    The brand I use is CleanSafe Dust Remover. You can find it near the laptops (generally somewhere in the electronics section) in most stores. Sometimes I use my Airbrush (with no paint in it, obviously) and compressor and set it to a low PSI for dusting. I don't like paying five dollars for a can of air. :redface2: 
     
  20. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

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    Major props to Satomiblood for this thread. I think anyone looking to repair their toys can get a good start from here :thumb 
     

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