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How to Clean an Action Figure

When was the last time you cleaned any of your figure?

Is your Luke Skywalker looking a little brown around the edges, is your Storm trooper more gray than white?

Does your G.I. Joe have dirty, greasy matted hair?

Would you like to have them looking new and pristine again? 

Whether your figures have been displayed carefully in a cabinet, on a shelf, desk, or just lying loose in a large storage box the chances are that at some point, if not now, you will need to give them a clean. 

But how do you clean them without the risk of damaging them?

Getting Rid of Surface Dust

If your figures only have a fine layer of regular household dust the easiest way to clean them is to use canned air, the type that you can buy for cleaning computers. These usually also come with a “straw” that fits onto the nozzle for spraying into all the little nooks and crannies.

You can also use feather dusters, although generally these are too cumbersome and not really small enough to use on your average figure. You also run the risk of covering the figure in feathers!

A better alternative is to use regular dusting cloths or electrostatic dusters which you can find in most household stores or in the household cleaning section of your local supermarket or Wal-Mart

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Removing of Stubborn Stains

For the more stubborn stains, dirt or grease marks first soak the figure in warm water NOT hot or boiling water, as this will damage your figure and any stickers or decals on it will come off.

 One of the best “cleaning” products to use with warm water are effervescent denture tablets. Add one or two of the effervescent tablets to a bowl or glass of warm water, then wait for the tablets begin bubbling.

 When the tablets begin to bubble place your action figure in the water. The bubbles caused by the effervescent tablets will act to “scrub” the figure clean. When the bubbles have finished, remove your action figure and carefully dry it.

 If you don’t have any effervescent denture tablets available then normal household dish washing liquid will do but leave your action figure to soak for a few hours before attempting to clean it.

 For the more difficult stains or harder to reach places on your action figure a soft bristled toothbrush or cotton buds are ideal to gently “rub” the surface of your figure and remove any remaining dust or dirt.

 Use a soft sponge or all purpose cloth to clean it but do not scrub or use any abrasive materials as these may damage it. Instead of wiping you should gently dab the figure with the cloth to get rid of any excess water.

 An easier way to “dry” your figures are to let them “air” dry or with a hairdryer set to blow on cold.       


 If your action figure has any stickers or decals on it DON NOT soak it in water, but if you have to do so for only a very brief time or the stickers and decals are likely to come off.

 NEVER soak a figure that has electric wiring or uses batteries in it but surface clean only.

“Dry” Cleaning Your Action Figure

This method is ideal for figures with stickers and decals, electric wiring or uses batteries. Technically this isn’t “dry” cleaning as you still use water but you aren’t soaking the action figure in water as previously discussed but only using a minimal amount which is applied directly.

You will need a jar or small bowl (a dessert bowl is ideal) with some hot, soapy water, a soft haired toothbrush, cotton buds, pipe cleaners and a small soft sponge.

First lightly, and that does mean LIGHTLY, soak your sponge in your bowl, or dish of warm soapy water, wringing off any excess, then carefully wipe ( NOT scrub) your action figure with the sponge, being careful to avoid any areas with  stickers, decals or electrical parts.

For smaller or more difficult to reach areas use the cotton buds, they are excellent for this. The pipe cleaners are also good for getting into difficult to reach areas such as the inside of a guns barrel or tubes and other such places. 

A toothbrush is also good for general cleaning purposes and getting rid of more stubborn stains but be careful not to “scrub” your figures, make use you use a soft haired brush or you risk damaging them. Use a gentle brushing movement from side to side.

If the stickers and decals need cleaning use a very slightly damp cloth and gently “dab” them to remove any dust or dirt then dry them immediately afterwards.

Ink stains can be removed by using isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) carefully dabbed or very gently “rubbed” over the area BUT always make sure you rinse off the alcohol afterwards.

Using Chemicals

Be very careful when using any form of chemicals on your figures as certain plastics will melt, bubble, or blister with the use of some chemicals.

If it doubt, seek advice or just use warm soapy water.

If your figure has had candle wax spilt on it this can be removed by freezing the action figure for half an hour, or by using a small amount of lighter fluid on it. But again, ensure you rinse it off afterwards.

Washing Their Clothes

If your action figure has fabric clothes these will also need frequent cleaning and should be done on a regular basis.

 Generally if you follow the same rules as washing “real” clothes you should be alright but the easiest and safest way is to soak them in cold water, to prevent shrinkage and running colors, with a mild detergent such as baby shampoo or dish soap.

For particularly stubborn stains use a normal laundry pre-wash stain treatment and carefully “rub” it onto the material with a soft headed toothbrush.

 If the stain still remains then redo the above process taking care not to damage the fabric. It is best not to wring or scrub the material or you will risk damaging the cloth or material.

To dry the clothes either air dry them or dab them with a dry cloth or sponge in order to soak up the excess water.     

Hair Wash Day

If your figure has flocked or rooted hair, rather than molded hair, this can also be washed much like real hair.

Any ordinary baby shampoo is the best to use applied gently with either a sponge or soft headed. Rooted hair can be washed just the same as hair but obviously you will need to be much gentler with it.

The key thing to remember is not to rub it vigorously like you would your own hair or your figure will end up bald!

To dry the hair squeeze, pat or press the hair or leave to air dry. For greasy matted hair use hot water and a fabric softener will help to get out any tangles or matting. If the hair needs “remaking” you can use a dolls hair brush to “re-style” it. However in some extreme circumstance you may wish to over and completely re-root or re-flock the hair.

There are several companies on the net who offer this service and will often offer a custom designed flocking for you.

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The 5 Best Things To Collect as a Superhero Fan

As a Superhero fans there are hundreds of different collectibles that you can choose from, but which will give you the best bang for your bucks, will be the most enjoyable and will likely appreciate in value over time?

Here, I will take a look at what I consider to be the best options currently available without breaking the bank!

How to Predict What Will Become Collectible?

People often ask me how I know if something is going to be collectible or not?

Well, to be honest I would say 705 of it is pure gut feeling and about 30% of it is an educated guess, however both of these are heavily influenced by my experience and knowledge of the business.

You see, I’ve been in this business for more than 15 years, both offline and online, as a trader and this “being” in touch with the grass roots collectors and consumer means I’ve had my finger pretty much on the pulse.

But I’ve also been an avid collector since childhood and spent hours of fun with my Action Men and Steve Austen figures in the 70’s and my MOTU and TNMT later on.

The best piece of advice I can give you is to remember that [ Read more... ]

Where to Buy Your Action Figures?

These days there are numerous places and options open to you when you want to buy any action figures, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

 I usually have a short list of three places that I regularly buy from, depending on what I’m looking for.

Why three? [ Read more...]

How to Beat the Scalpers?

Today I’m going to continue on the same theme and give you some insider tips on how to save money when buying your figures. 

Remember these tips and knowledge come from more than 15 years of experience in the business and 30 years as a collector!

Read more... ]

What is a Variant Figure?

In the good old days all figures were created equal, but not so today!!

The modern day collector needs to be aware of the different levels and rarity of figures and the different terms used to describe them. 

It is becoming increasing difficult, and frustrating, to know what is available and to make matters more difficult most manufacturers are very secretive about exactly what is available and how many have been made.

But even if you’re a casual collector it’s important to know the different terms so that you can recognize an important or valuable figure when you see it or just as importantly that you don’t get duped with an overpriced figure. [ Read more... ]

Looking After Your Figures

OK, so far we’ve looked at everything from deciding what figures you want to buying them, but what will you do with then once you get them home?

Most people either hide their figures away in some dark and dingy cupboard where they are left forgotten for eons, or put them proudly on display in the most prominent place at the mercy of the elements.

But if you had just bought a new car, sofa or TV would you treat it the same way? [ Read more...]

Storing and Displaying Your Figures

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.

Read more...]

Cleaning Your Figures

When was the last time you cleaned any of your figure?

Is your Luke Skywalker looking a little brown around the edges, is your Storm trooper more gray than white?

Does your G.I. Joe have dirty, greasy matted hair?

Would you like to have them looking new and pristine again? 

Whether your figures have been displayed carefully in a cabinet, on a shelf, desk, or just lying loose in a large storage box the chances are that at some point, if not now, you will need to give them a clean. 

But how do you clean them without the risk of damaging them? [ Read more...]

What Causes Your Figures to Become Sticky? 

Why do your Action Figures have Sticky Plastic?

Do your action figures have sticky plastic?

Have they been stored or displayed for a long period of time?

What can you do to protect them and prevent this from happening again? [ Read more ]

How to Grade Your Action Figures?

Find out how to grade your action figures professionally and save yourself money!

Trying to find accurate grade and values for your action figures can be a minefield but if you know what defects to look for you can save yourself money when buying second-hand figures and also how to check your own action figures when valuing them. [ Read More ]

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