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Friday, 26 July 2013

Customizing Action Figures & Accesories Part 2

Decals

You can use heat to melt the HOF insignia off with a hair dryer or iron. -- Rob
You can remove decals by soaking the garment in lighter fluid. They will peal right off. -- Wong Lu Meng Marcellus
I used paint remover on my SotW Air Cav outfit to remove his stripes. -- Rob
I just tried something with a mixed degree of success using an off the shelf proprietary cleaning/stain removal product available here in the UK called Dab It Off. So far I have successfully removed nametags etc from Joe HOF uniforms and early 90's AM uniforms OK. I met with a little more resistance when removing the AM logo from the T shirt in the AM Abseil Gear and the HALO Rangers Airborne Ranger Tabs, a little more persistence would probably have brought them of completely. I managed to get rid of all the ink, but was left with a thin flexible clear film which is only visible if you know it is there. The only thing this stuff would not touch at all so far was the SOTW Airborne Rangers insignia. -- Winch
I have found a some-what reliable technique for removing the decals from the 21st Century OG 107 fatigue shirts (Special Forces Advisor and Army Ranger).
  1. First, heat the shirt in the clothes dryer or use a hair dryer.
  2. While the shirt is still hot, take clear packing tape and stick it over the decal you want to remove. Press down hard and quickly pull off. This will remove a portion of the decal.
  3. Keep doing this until the entire decal is removed.
Be sure to get new pieces of tape when the tackyness starts to fade. It will take a bit of effort, but it should remove the decal cleanly. I used Manco Crystal Clear tape that meets Postal Regualtions and it worked fine. Beware of duct tape, it may leave glue residue on your garments.
I'm not sure this will work on Hasbro gear. The 21st decals are a low heat, rubber-type base. When they get hot, the edges of the decal curls. I have not seen the Hasbro decals react this way (except Jane's flightsuit and the General's jacket) -- I Zhevsk

Windshields

Cutting plexiglass is a very iffy thing, do it slowly. Draw a paper template outlining the exact size of the windshield that you want cut. Then afix the template onto the plastic using some double sided tape. After that use a straight edge and a metal scribe and slowly scribe away. If you are patient and persistant enough, you should be able to cut through.
If you have access to a bandsaw, use that and finish the piece by sanding and buffing the edges on a buffing wheel. It is much quicker but if the plastic is too thin, the fast vibration of the saw tends to crack the plastic. This can be prevented to a certain degree by laying a piece of tape along the line that you want cut -- J Goh

Gun Mounts

I made a mount for the old .30 cal by using a length of plastic tubing (that had an inside diameter that the mount would fit into) and glueing that to a piece of sheet styrene. I drilled a hole through the styrene and used a nut & bolt through the mounting hole on the floor between the seats to mount the rig to the jeep. To remove it, just unbolt the setup! -- Rob Sorrels

Buckles

When the belt buckles on my 21st Century uniforms broke, I replaced them all with 18 gauge aluminum wire I got at my local hardware store. The material bends nicely, and it looks great. I used silver wire, but I think you can get wire that is darker. -- mtbbikeseth
I used some .030 wire from a hobby shop to mend a 21st century belt buckle. -- Andy

Cleaning Gear

See Cleaning and Washing

Glueing Gear

I used "vinyl liquid patch" (VLP) to repair some holes in a raft and man I couldn't be happier. This stuff is used for fixing all kinds of tears and cuts in vinyl. I own an upholstery shop and use it a lot on small tears in auto upholstery or furniture. I think you can buy it at most hardware and auto parts stores. I also used it to attach a couple of straps to a vintage life vest. Now my two wounded vintage pieces look as good as new. -- Noxaf
The safest way to repair a pin hole in a raft is a teeny patch of vinyl tape. If you want it to look really authentic, use a contrasting color. If you don't want it to show, use acrylic paint and match the color. I am assuming you want to be able to inflate it. If you don't want to risk melting it and don't want to go to the trouble of matching the paint, you can make it look inflated by filling it with clean sand. Then when you don't want it to look inflated anymore, wash out the sand. The sand trick works well when you want these to stay in place on your displays even when your inflatable doesn't have a leak. -- J. C.
To patch a small hole in a vinyl raft for display, neatly use just a drop of crazy glue on the damaged spot. I say neatly because if you miss or smudge the glue it will discolor the raft. Then, don't mess with it! I usually let it set overtnight then inflate it a bit. -- Andy Cabrera
Epoxies should never be used on any plastic or styrene models on the outsides where it might show. Chemical reactions will eventually cause the plastic to weaken and deform, and any paint you put over the epoxy will eventually develope cracks. Avoid epoxy putty as a gap filler or build up material. Use Squadron "green" putty or Testor's "white" putty. Both are formulated to bond permanently to styrene and will never degrade it. Avoid using any adhesive or lubricant on your models that is petroleum based! It will eventually react with the plastic and degrade it. -- Richard A. Lewis
Here are some glues that won't work on the Sunny Smile Strike Force Tank so you don't waste you time: ZapAGap or any cynoacrylite, Model glue, Elmers, Hot glue- hi or low temp. What is even more difficult is painting this kind of plastic. I still haven't found anything that won't chip off easily. -- Mark B.
See also Broken Limbs

Reshaping Gear

Storing Gear

Get one of those big Rubbermaid latching footlockers. Try and find a hunter green and grey one. Take it, paint some custom offical Mil.Spec marking on it. Use yellow and black caution tape and trick it up. Make it the 'Offical GI Joe storage area', your kid will eat it up. -- Steve Harrison

Painting Gear

I would try using acrylic paints on rubber items because the paints are flexible. I don't think there is anything that will stay on forever, but the acrylics are pretty durable. Back in the late '70s, I painted a design on a vinyl tire cover that was on the back of my van. The painting out-lasted the tire cover. -- Rob Sorrels
Acrylics are very easy to mix to get what ever color you want. I keep a good supply of the primary colors and a box of paper dixie cups (the small bathroom kind) for mixing the paint in. This way I can buy the less expensive stuff and experiment with color:
Here are some good mixes using the primaries red, yellow, & blue
Olive drab #1: 5 parts yellow 4 parts red, 1 part blue
Olive drab #2: 5 parts brown, 2 parts green
Desert tan: 10 parts yellow 3 parts red, 1 part blue
Like cooking, you have to experiment a bit to get it to taste the way you like it. -- Matthew
For painting vinyl or rubber, you should be able to find vinyl paint in a spray can in an auto parts store. I know that you can buy it in quarts at an auto paint supply shop to shoot in a spray gun. It's used for refinishing vinyl car tops. -- Donnie
Hard styrene (as in rifles) can be painted with enamels (model paints). Soft plastics have a plasticizer that won't let enamels dry. For soft plastic use acrylics. The plasticizer in the flexible plastic won't allow enamel paint to dry and it'll stay tacky forever. -- Rob Sorrels
Before painting, wash the item well with dish soap and a toothbrush. Dry it well. Prime it if you need to (for example when a light color on a dark piece). Don't get in a hurry. Have fun! -- Rob Sorrels
You may have to sand the item first with a fine grit paper. Then prime with a color primer closest to the paint color you want to use. Then paint. It takes a little more time and effort, but the paint job should last a little longer. -- I Zhevsk
After you finish painting, spray the item with a clear overcoat. This will smooth out the item and make it look more "factory" in appearance. You can choose from flat, gloss, and semi-gloss. I like the semi-gloss, but try 'em all and see which you like best. -- Rob Sorrels


To paint the kind of plastic used in a Sunny Smike tank, try first priming with white Krylon spraypaint (found at Wal-Mart). Two brands of paint you might choose for the final coat: 21ST Century Space Age Paint and Top Flite Advanced Formula LustreKote. Here's the url for some info on these products: http://www.towerhobbies.com/index.html. -- Alex G

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