How to Store Your Action Figures

 

Vintage Star Wars Action Figures Guide  Edit

This guide is a complete guide to the Vintage Kenner Star Wars Action Figures from A New Hope line to the Power of the Force line.

Includes a full gallery of ALL the figures as well as tips on how to spot fake and repro figures.

Listings also includes information on all the variants and the rarest figures and how to spot them.

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Taking care of, protecting and storing your action figures correctly is of tantamount importance if you wish them to keep their value, whether it’s a sentimental or financial value.

Loose figures are a lot easier to store than carded figures but carded figures are better protected so storage isn’t quite as problematic as it is with loose figures.

One of the most important factors to take into account when storing them is their value. 

There are many companies now, both on and off the internet that supply various ways to store and protect them.

Personally I think that your action figures should be displayed and shown off, not locked away in some dark old closet for twenty years, after all that’s why you bought them, isn’t it? 

However, you may not have the room to display all your figures, all the time, so an alternative is to display what you can and store the rest and then “rotate” them monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly so they aren’t “mothballed” forever and will regularly get to see “the light of day” to be looked at and admired.

When storing your figures there are several alternatives to choose from depending on, why you want to store them, how long for and their value.

Storage Methods

Sealed Storage Containers:

These are for action figures at the high end of the market. By this I mean action figures that are worth $100’s or $1,000’s. 

Sealed containers are usually used by grading companies to ensure that the items graded are kept in their graded condition. 

They are generally made from a tough, clear plastic often with UV protection, vacuum sealed and air tight.

The biggest disadvantages with sealed storage containers are the cost and space. It will usually cost $10 to $15 each to store your figures using this method so save it for your most valuable only. 

Display Cases:

Most display cases are ideal for both storing and displaying your action figures and are often “stackable” for added flexibility and storage. Most display cases are made from an acrylic plastic, making them strong, durable and hard wearing.

There are many companies that offer these display cases in various styles, shapes and sizes. Many of the display cases on the market will hold six or more figures at a time, providing an excellent way to store and display numerous action figures at the same time as well as protecting them from both physical and environmental damage.

Another big advantage is that they allow you easier access for periodical cleaning and maintenance of your action figures.  

Plastic Shell Cases:

Probably one of the most practical solutions that offers excellent protection, are affordable and can be used for both loose and carded figures are plastic shell cases.

These resemble the manufactures packaging but they are made from a more durable and harder plastic than most blister packs and are slightly bigger so they can accommodate loose figures or carded action figures.

They are available in a variety of sizes and shapes, some specifically made to hold certain manufacturers carded action figures whereas others are of a more standard size and shape.

Plastic shells offer you a more affordable solution for keeping your figures in mint condition. They have most of the advantages of storing your action figures in a sealed container but are a lot cheaper and are more readily available.

But as with sealed containers it can still be expensive if you have a lot of action figures and storage space can also be a problem.

Re-sealable Containers:

Re-sealable containers have several advantages, they are cheap, generally hard wearing, available in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are easy to store and access.

Generally, everyday re-sealable food containers are ideal for storing your action figures especially the more popular brands of containers such as Tupperware.

Most of these types of containers are made to be strong and hard wearing, as well as being cheap, easy to store and offering your action figures good protection. 

But be careful!

 If you are using large containers to store more than one action figure make sure you wrap each figure with a cloth or bubble wrap to help protect them and to prevent them rubbing against each other and causing damage.

 Food containers are also useful for storing loose accessories but make sure you label each container clearly so you know what it containers, you could even color code them.

Re-sealable bags: 

Re-sealable bags are probably the cheapest, easiest and most convenient way of storing your action figures but they don’t offer them much protection.

Available in a variety of sizes and are usually fairly strong they are ideal for storing loose figures and accessories. You can often find a variety of re-sealable storage bags in the kitchenware department of in an office supply store.

I would not recommend using these though except for your cheapest and least valuable of action figures as they protection they offer is very limited.

Before Storing Your Action Figures

Now you know how protect and store your action figures what will you do with them and where should you store them?

 There are three very important factors to consider when deciding where to store your action figures:

Sunlight 

The amount of direct sunlight your action figures are exposed to is a very important factor in deciding where to store them.

Direct exposure to the suns UV rays will cause your action figures to discolor, fade, spot, bubble and the plastic will become brittle and dry making them very fragile and easy to brake.

 Humidity

Humidity is the measure of moisture in the air. The greater the humidity the more moisture there is present. 

If you store your action figures somewhere with a high humidity, i.e. with a lot of moisture, they will rot and corrode but on the other hand too little humidity can cause dry rot and cracking as well as causing the rubber to rot.

Temperature

The temperature of the room or cupboard where you store is also important for similar reasons, if the air is too cold your action figures will become brittle and if it’s too hot they will become warped and disfigured. 

Where is the best place to store them?

If you don’t intend on displaying your figures you will need to decided where will be the best place to store them away from the sun that isn’t too dark, isn’t too dry, or too damp and isn’t too hot or cold.

What place in your home fits all these criteria?

How about the basement? No, that’s too cold and damp. 

What about the attic or loft? No, again too cold and damp.

How about a closet or cupboard in the main house?

Now, that’s an idea!

This is an ideal place as the temperature and environment is generally ambient and consistent and they will be shut away from the damaging UV rays of the sunlight. 

Another advantage of using a cupboard or closet in the house is that they will be easily accessible for periodical cleaning and maintenance.

One more hint, try to use a closet or cupboard that only you use or they may get damaged by others trying to get to something else.

And don’t forget to clearly mark or label, on all four sides as well as the top, any boxes or containers you use with what’s inside.

One of the biggest problems and complaints I hear about storing and displaying figures is the sliminess or tackiness they often get after a certain period of time.

What Causes My Vintage Figures to Feel Sticky or Tacky?

If you have any action figures that have been kept in sealed boxes or baggies for a long period of time you may notice that they have become “sticky”or “tacky”to the touch.

This can also be a problem with figures that have been on display .

But what causes it and what can you do about it?

The cause of this stickiness or tackiness is the plasticizer that is used the manufacture of action figures. Over long periods of time this plasticizer begins to vaporize.

The plasticizer is added to the PVC, which is the main material used in their manufacture, to make it softer, therefore the more plasticizer added to the PVC the softer the PVC becomes which also means the more it is likely to sweat. 

This also means that figures that use softer plastics or PVC are more prone to this stickiness than figures that use harder plastics or PVC.

Also if their stored in sealed containers, baggies, boxes, MOC or MIB (Mint on the Card or Mint in the Box) then the plastic can’t breathe and the vaporized plasticizer cannot escape and will cling to the figure causing the stickiness or tackiness. 

Unfortunately this is a natural process and all your figures will at some time become prone to this, although depending on the materials used in the manufacturer of your figures and taking the right preventive measures they should surpass your lifetime!

So what can I do?

There are several fairly simple and basics preventative measures you can take:

1) if they are stored in bags or boxes make sure the air can circulate and the plastic can  "breathe".

2) if stored MIB (in there original packaging) make sure there is a breather hole in the "bubble".

3) store or display out of direct sunlight OR direct artificial light as this can accelerate the breakdown of the plastic and cause discoloration and bubbling.

4) UV light/rays are harmful so anti-UV screening, display cases etc will help to protect them.

There are also a few more procedures and preventative measure you can take periodically to substantially slow down this process if done on a yearly basis:

a) Silicon spray: 

First it will prevent the leg rubbers from getting porous!

It will remove the plasticizer on the surface without damaging the paint on the figure.( alcohol could matt it) Apparently it  replaces the lost plasticizer in the plastic on. It also seems that bleaching your yellowed figures with hydrogen peroxide can achieve some good results, without damaging the figure.

But…don´t use it on decals or the printed it parts because it will remove them.

You have to repeat the procedure once a year and It does not prevent/remove yellowing or the black dots unfortunately.

b) Goo-Be-Gone: 

Warning: If you have the slightest scratch on the figure in any place, the goo-be-gone will start to remove the paint from around the scratch. It does however work well for the paint rub marks left by other figures. 

Generally it’s best to use Silicone Spray AFTER cleaning....also with small quick strokes more to "beautify" the figure's finish after cleaning. In most cases it "kind-of" brings back the original luster and makes the colors "pop" more.

c)Peroxide:

Peroxide is a "whitener" by nature, thus the use in some whitening teeth cleaners as well as a cheap-o hair blonding agent. It cleaned off the stickiness, but on some (mainly the dark colors) it left them with the look of a tad bit duller finish. To note, while a good cleaning agent, it didn't do as well as goo-be-gone for the minor paint rubs from other figures.

d) Alcohol:

Rubbing alcohol has been my most used method. It not only cleans the stickiness, but also sterilizes it....so if you are iffy about who you got them from, it's a good anti-bacterial for that. I have had good luck with it, but use quick strokes and wash it with water after so the alcohol doesn't soak in. 

e) Dishwashing Detergent

One of the best things though (for lightly sticky or lightly soiled---meaning dusty or mildly dirty (mud etc.)), is to use MILD dish washing liquid and WARM water (unless your figures have lights or metal components). As it is a grease cutter, so a good soak and washing in soapy dishwater does the trick for the most part on lightly sticky or lightly soiled figures. 

Just be careful using goo-be-gone or peroxide or alcohol because too much will damage the finish or soak in and damage it slowly long term.

If you try the bleach route, be sure to use color safe bleach unless the product you are cleaning is all white. 

Entertainment Earth

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