Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Minding the Gaps

The flea market was uncharacteristically depressing. The weather was nice, if a bit cold, but a big chunk of the dealers didn’t bother to show up. Many of those that did were very territorial about their preferred spaces, so that led to a lot of unnecessarily large gaps between them. The whole place looked and felt like a ghost town.

There were a few horses there, but nothing worth buying. All I picked up were some groceries and a couple of inexpensive sterling silver rings. (I’m wearing one right now. I generally go through life fairly unadorned, but it slipped on my finger like it had always been there. Pretty little thing, too - looks like a hobby casting.)

There was a fairly big antique show the week before, which explained that week’s low turnout, but this week? Yeah, it’s October - big yuck - but even so, the turnout is usually better than that.

The restoration projects from the week before went okay. The Gem Twist cleaned up real nice; I wouldn’t call him "live show quality," but he’s definitely not going to shame anybody’s shelf. I was a little concerned about his yellowing, since I hadn’t seen - or dealt with - a yellowed Gem Twist before.

The original release of Gem Twist came in an odd, semi-chalky finish that Reeves experimented with for a few years; they used a very flat, matte white paint as a basecoat, and applied some light shading over top of it. The original release of the Pluto mold came with a similar paint job, and a sprinkling of other Regular Runs and Special Runs have since then. Unlike earlier - and later - white basecoats, the paint isn’t used as a base to apply another color over top of it: it clearly being used as the primary component of the intended color.

I hadn’t seen - and never expected - a model that’s been painted white to turn yellow. Whatever the cause, a light and quick bleach bath got rid of most of the dinginess. The ease of his cleanup leads me to believe that it was just a very fine layer of grime (Air pollution? Ciggie smoke?), and not something inherent in the paint or plastic.

The speckled Fighting Stallion is still a work in progress. Most of the stains are gone, but some of the more persistent ones remain. On top of that, his extended time in the "dunk tank" has led to an unfortunate side effect: he now has a significant amount of water trapped inside him.

Many hobbyists become a little overly concerned about the lack of an obvious vent hole in their models. They needn’t be, especially with their more vintage pieces. Small splits and separations often occur along the seam lines - usually along the mane, between the ears, or under the tail - and they serve the same function as an intentional vent hole, which is to minimize the possibility of bloating and deformation.

In many cases, these seam splits are so slight, they’re basically invisible to the naked eye - until the model gets submerged in water, and a telltale trail of bubbles appears.

I left the Fighter to soak in the bleach bath overnight, so I didn’t notice where the bubbles were coming from - and I still don't know. The split is apparently small enough to allow water to seep in, but not seep out. So now he has a good 3 or 4 ounces of water sloshing around his insides. Amusing, but also annoying: I never thought he’d rise above being body box fodder, but now that he’s got a half cup or so of bleach water trapped inside, even that’s unlikely.

Just swell. Sigh.


Cavonnier said...

I have a yellowed Gem Twist too! I am the original owner and he has lived on a shelf in my parents house since I first got him. No smokers in the family and he's been out of direct sunlight. He actually was multi-NAN qualified in performance, but he has gotten so yellow, he had to be retired. I'm so happy to hear bleach worked in brightening yours though! I'll have to try that on mine. What was your bleach/water ratio?

BluelineGoddess said...

Won't the water/bleach in the Fighting Stallion eventually evaporate?

ANDREA said...

Yes, it will eventually, but I have no idea how long that will take. If the hole is that small, it may that years, possibly.

I always use a very mild bleach solution - a couple ounces per gallon, at most. Anything more than that and the potential for paint damage is too great.