Monday, January 20, 2014

Sticker Restoration

The schedule changed again, so the little bit of time I thought I had to compose my thoughts tomorrow is gone. Levi will have to stay in his box until Thursday, which is (thinking optimistically!) my next day off.

In the meantime, here is a picture of something that I will, eventually, have for sale once the work schedule returns to something more normal:


There’s nothing particularly special about this Matte Gray Appaloosa Family Arabian Stallion, other than his sticker. He was part of a box lot I bought a little while ago that I hoped would result in some upgrades. That didn’t happen: this guy is in about the same condition - maybe a shade less - than the one I already have in my collection. Good, though not great.

Stickered models - even the mere Family Arabians - are not a hard sell, so I’m not foreseeing a difficult time of it when time makes itself available.

I show him to you because there appears to be a discussion going on - one generated in the Blab "Let’s Generate a Controversy" thread - about the ethics of sticker restoration.

I take the middle ground in this debate: I see no problem restoring or replacing a sticker on a model that has previous evidence of a sticker: either a fragment, or the yellowed residue.

If there is no evidence to be found, there is no sticker to be replaced. In fact, replacing it would be somewhat unethical, because you are adding something to it that it didn’t have before that could also substantially affect its value for the better. A situation not unlike Glossing.

In situations where restoration is a viable option, the issues surrounding it are twofold.

The first is the source of replacement stickers. One could take a sticker off of a far more damaged model. The problem is finding a suitable match; it might be difficult to find another Albino Five-Gaiter with a sticker to swipe, for instance.

And if you do, there’s the issue of removal: even under the most ideal conditions, a 40+ year old sticker is going to be difficult to transfer over without any damage at all.

There’s always the possibility of reproducing the sticker, but that’s where the second issue comes in: which sticker? There were two styles - Large and Small - and some models came with either. Sometimes the sticker fragment or residue is small enough that it’s not possible to determine which one of these stickers it came with.

Also, while I have been able to track the sticker data with a higher degree of accuracy than I thought possible, 100 percent accuracy is an impossibility, outside of some rare documentation showing up. (Oh yes, I have fantasized about old sticker sheets of Blue Ribbon Stickers showing up on eBay. I do not doubt that there is at least one sheet out there, even a partial one, somewhere.)

I’ve done some sticker restoration on some of my models, but it’s been more of the "reconstructing what’s been left behind" type. I’ve uncurled, uncrinkled, reglued, and reattached pieces. I can’t recall if I’ve ever touched up any of them with paint, though I wouldn’t object to it personally, as long as it was discreetly done.

The same would go with the replacement of missing portions of stickers, though I think replacing more than half of it might be wandering into ethically dubious territory, especially if it's the top half with the identifying information.

1 comment:

Desrai Englot said...

A few months ago a sheet of, I think, two Clydesdale mare stickers showed up on eBay. It was pretty neat!