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The Tools of the Trade (Toy Maintenance)

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Old 05-25-2011, 05:53 AM   #1
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The Tools of the Trade (Toy Maintenance)

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)
8. Toothbrush (ideal for cleaning hard to reach areas on a figure)
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)
13. Hydrogen peroxide (restores the factory white condition of most yellowed plastics)



(Taken from the posts below)
  • Mr. Clean Spounges
  • Q-tips
  • Ligher fluid
  • Make-up brush kit
  • Sprue cutters
  • Paper towels
  • Toothpicks
  • Nail clippers
  • Coke [soda]
  • Scissors
  • 2-part epoxy
  • WD-40
  • Tweezers

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


(The below information is from the discussion thread. ~Superquad7)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fosterlager View Post
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satomiblood View Post
Added your suggestions, Foster.

I also forgot about Goo Gone and a brand of dish soap that's good at breaking down grease.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Squall42080 View Post
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satomiblood View Post
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by starscream-99 View Post
I use those air cans for key boards for dusting my figures. If this qualifies
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orodruin View Post
I use Q-tips with Windex for dusting; I'd be a little worried about a toothbrush scratching the plastic.
Quote:
Originally Posted by eriku View Post
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by godbomber View Post
Makeup brush kit for cleaning & such. Used by car detailers on dashboards, etc.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ribieconvoy View Post
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Autobot Burnout View Post
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by process View Post
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pun-3X View Post
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by process View Post
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ribieconvoy View Post
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bny888 View Post
- i forgot the name, but there's this stuff that's like a rubber conditioner, prevents it from cracking. there was a thread about this, can't find it though
- microfiber cloth to clean surfaces without scratching them
- Lighter fluid to remove price tags
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satomiblood View Post
I think I remember someone saying that Coke is good for removing rust from screws.
Quote:
Originally Posted by G1_Cindersaur View Post
Rubber Cleaner this is the shiznit to fixing rubber that has started to harden but not crack yet...we used it back in the day when i worked on VCR's and tape decks..on the rollers and tension idler pulleys...nice stuff that reconditions and fixes slipping rubber components....SMELLS LIKE ASS THOUGH...use in a well vented area....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Th0r4z1n3 View Post
Good idea for a thread, this should be stickied.

Over the years I've amassed a few things that I keep around, I call it my "TF First Aid Kit" LOL
  • Soft bristle paint brush for dusting
  • Blush applicator for dusting
  • Clear nail polish for tightening joints
  • Toothpicks for applying stickers
  • Goo-Gone
  • Set of small screw drivers
  • Exacto Knife
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Peroxide
  • Scissors

I'm gonna have to add some of the other stuff from that list to my kit.

Edit:

Almost forgot
  • Super Glue
  • 2 Part epoxy
Quote:
Originally Posted by jorod74 View Post
Don't forget Future Floor Polish. for protecting paint apps, stickers, and you can also use it to give certain figures a gloss, satin, matte or flat finish.

i don't have a dedicated TF toolbox, but i keep a pair of surgical scissors (I get them from a friend in the EMS/hospital business) with long, slender tips for getting into places those nail clippers can't.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DethPike View Post
Be careful with this, it likes to dissolve plastic. I recommend lighter fluid instead. Like you'd use to refill a zippo. Or WD-40 - that'll eat through glue and not harm your plastics, too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by xanthax View Post
I didn't see if anyone mentioned it, but toothpicks are decent for applying stickers around stuff like the stickers that go over the inside detail in the g3 fp trailer. Just gotta be careful though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by x BlackMagnus x View Post
Baby wipes work excellent for removing old sticker residue and if it is safe enough for your kiddies ass, if is safe for your figures.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngryChad View Post
- Toothpicks can be helpful in removing dirt from stubborn areas when a toothbrush just isn't cutting it.

- Tweezers are THE perfect tool for applying stickers.

- Cotton swabs are great for pushing down stickers into hard to reach areas without damaging the sticker. Remove a bit of the cotton first.
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Last edited by Superquad7; 09-12-2012 at 06:19 AM..
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