Saturday, April 26, 2014

Cleaning Nendoroid

Baby bathing my figures

A non-review type posting after the review on S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Ryuki and Dragreder Set, but an important one nonetheless, as it deals with the maintenance of figures, specifically Nendoroid figures. ^^ As adorable as they look, they are potential victims to a unique condition that causes the surface of their parts to become greasy, sticky, very unpleasant to handle. ^^; Said greasy substance is also mighty attractive to dust to dirty the figures as well, so it's quite a serious condition that must be dealt with as soon as possible. ^^


My Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Absolute HMO Edition has fallen prey to the greasy effect. ^^;



While it's not very clear in the images above, parts like the front and rear sides of the face parts, and her pigtails have a thin layer of grease over them. ^^;


Not every Nendoroid figure in my collection is having the same problem as Hatsune Miku Absolute HMO Edition, and it seems to have no connection with their age. ^^ Chiaki Minami which I got much earlier than the former is perfectly fine.
Perhaps the little sister was able to repel the problem with her sarcasm and coldness. ^^

Since this posting serves as a record of my first experience in dealing with this Nendoroid problem, I think I'll deal with just Hatsune Miku Absolute HMO Edition first. There has to be some other Nendoroids in my collection, especially those yet to be opened that are suffering from this problem. If the cleaning method works, it can be applied to other "victims" in the future, so I don't need to conduct a spring cleaning on all of them in one shot. ^^

Even though I'm facing this issue with my Nendoroids, I'm still thankful that there were other collectors who had the same problem with their figures, who successfully solved it, and shared their experience via blog postings and reviews. With more and more Nendoroids coming in over the years, I was aware of the problem before discovering it on my Hatsune Miku Absolute HMO Edition. I'm prepared for it you could say, but it doesn't change the fact that it's still an unpleasant experience. ^^;

So, exactly what is the problem? Here's Mikatan from Good Smile Company with the answer:
- Cause of Stickiness -

The reason the figures become sticky is because of the plasticizer used when making them. This plasticizer is added to the PVC (the main material used in figures) in order to make it softer – the more mixed in with the PVC, the softer and more flexible it becomes.

However, over a long period of time this plasticizer vaporizes, and when this happens while a figure is sealed up in it’s box the vaporized plasticizer has nowhere to go, and thus sticks onto the surface of the figure creating a sticky layer.

from Kahotan's Blog.

Besides out making a couple of minor appearance in other reviews (for examples in Pokepla Pikachu and Figma Hatsune Miku Append Ver.), I kept my Hatsune Miku Absolute HMO Edition in a sealed container after her review in November 2012, so that confined space may very well be the main contributor to the problem I'm having with the figure. Having said that, I really have to prepare myself for many of the unopened ones in my collection. It's very likely that the first thing I'll need to do when I'm taking the figures out next time is to clean them. ^^;

Still, it's strange that Chiaki Minami is lucky to escape the plasticizer problem, even though she was also kept in a sealed box after her review in February 2012. But, I'm not counting for the same charm to work on the others. ^^;

Back to the work of cleaning Hatsune Miku Absolute HMO Edition: ^^


The figure herself, and all the option parts that must be cleaned.
Not everything in the package is suffering from the plasticizer problem, but the number of parts involved is pretty close to the entire content anyway. ^^


The cleaning agent: a dilute combination of liquid hand wash and lukewarm water.
A sponge is also shown, but it proved too rigid and inflexible for the cleaning task, so I abandoned it and used my own hands to clean the figures and parts instead. ^^;


Soaking all the parts inside the bowl of cleaning agent.
I should get a bigger bowl next time. XD


Closeup on the option face parts.
The whitish substance in the water is from the liquid hand wash.

I used a combination of soaking the parts in the water and cleaning them by rubbing on them (gently but thoroughly) from time to time for the entire process, and I repeated the steps for not fewer than five rounds. ^^ The parts were also kept soaked in the water for more than half a day as well. When the parts are wet, it's hard to tell if the plasticizer has come off, and the shiny surface of the parts due to the water is certainly not helpful as well. ^^; In the end, apart from drying one of the parts with a piece of cloth to find out if I should stop the entire process, I actually depended on my own intuition for that. ^^

"You have stayed long enough in the bathtub. Get out before you catch a cold." XD



All the parts were rinsed using a separate bowl of water to wash off the cleaning agent, before they were set on a towel to dry.


All done with the entire process. ^^


The greasy plasticizer effect is gone. ^^



Hatsune Miku Absolute HMO Edition is back to her usual cheerfulness without having to worry about the plasticizer problem. ^^

Apart from having its grease and stickiness removed, my Hatsune Miku now smells really good because of her extraordinarily long bath. XD

I'm glad that I managed to rid Hatsune Miku Absolute HMO Edition of the grease issue. Apart from knowing that this cleaning method actually works, and also which cleaning agent to be selected for future work, another important lesson from this experience is to be very patient during the whole process. It takes time for the plasticizer to come off, and you certainly don't want to risk damaging the paint by rubbing the grease off the parts forcefully, so soaking them in water mixed with liquid hand wash (or other mild cleaning agent) for a long time is pretty much the best way to go. The article from Kahotan's Blog mentioned the writer's experience of soaking her Nendoroid in diluted washing liquid for 12 hours - a very long time. ^^

In closing, I don't think some of my other Nendoroids can be as lucky as Chiaki Minami, but I'm pleased to know of the way to deal with the plasticizer problem the next time I encounter it. ^^

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