Saturday, August 29, 2015

Cleaning Gunplas


Slotting in an eleventh-hour Gundam-related posting before the end of the month, after the extensive focus on the two Deluxe Class Arcees from "Transformers: Prime" earlier on. ^^

While this posting would seem more suited to be published around Chinese New Year in mid February, as it represents situations that may be faced by Gunpla collectors while doing their spring cleaning, I think the topic is still general enough to be discussed now. ^^

One can always prepare early for next year's spring cleaning. XD

In line with a couple of postings I did on repairing and maintaining some of my old kits in the past, this one is about cleaning dust off old Gunplas that have been standing inside my display cabinet since forever. ^^; Master Grade Ground Type Gundam is here as the first example to demonstrate how serious the dust issue has become for my old Gunplas over the years: ^^;

Since my display cabinet has been jam-packed with kits of different scales since the beginning to maximize its shelf space, taking the kits out in proper order so that they can be returned to their "original" shelf positions later is very much an endeavour in its own rights. ^^;

Despite the trouble, I did clean my cabinet Gunplas in the past, albeit with unfortunate, troublesome aftermath. ^^; To avoid the same problem from happening again, I found a new tool to clean my models, which I'm going to talk about in this posting.

And no, it's not Zippo lighter fluid. ^^

Instead, the new tool that I mentioned is this one: Magic Clean cleaning compound. ^^

Front view of the packet.

Introduction of the product on the back of the packet.

Product features and usage are explained entirely in Mandarin, so it's mighty inconvenient for those who don't read Mandarin. ^^;
Then again, no instruction is really needed for one to be able to use it. ^^

The idea behind the compound's cleaning ability is very simple: when it's being spread over on an item to be cleaned, the fluid nature of the compound would allow it to penetrate into deep, narrow spaces to soak up dust. All the dust adhered to the compound can then be removed easily when the latter is pulled away from the item.

A cleaning slime it is. XD

Packet content.

The slimy content removed from the packet. ^^

The content of a single package fits inside a small butter jar nicely. ^^

I wasn't looking for something to clean my Gunplas when I found this cleaning solution actually. Instead, I was looking for a tool to clean my cellphone, the good old K800i from Sony Ericsson. ^^ Limited by its casing that's not meant to be removed, dust gathered inside the phone's joystick slot, and in between the keypad buttons made the phone quite an eyesore, but the tight space between all the said components made it impossible for the dust to be cleaned using conventional methods. ^^; As shown on the cleaning compound's packet, it's targeted for electronic appliances, so I was certain I hit the right target when I found this product. ^^

Each packet is 80 grams in weight, and costs around RM5 - I can't remember the exact price now. ^^; The compound can be reused for as many times until it becomes too dirty to continue its service.

Following the usage example shown on the product packet, I'm applying it to a couple of my electronic devices before using it on my Gunplas.

The aim is to clean the dust gathered beneath the keyboard buttons on my laptop.

The compound may appear little at first, but it can be spread over a wide area on the keyboard, ...

... and it can indeed soak into the slits beneath the keyboard buttons.

Pulling the compound away from the keyboard is pretty fun. ^^

The keyboard is all cleaned now. ^^

Cleaning the dust off the back of my cellphone's battery cover is done almost effortlessly. ^^

While most of the compound is pulled away from the surface it's adhering to in one stroke, there are some bits of it that remained under a few of keyboard buttons. They can be "returned" to the compound easily by pressing the latter onto the buttons again to "suck out" the bits. As easy as that sounds, I can imagine the difficulty of getting all the compound off if it's left unattended for a longer period of time. ^^;

Using the compound on my Gunplas next, with MG Ground Type Gundam shown earlier on to go first: ^^

Cleaning off the dust becomes as simple as cover the parts you want to clean with the compound, pull it off after a brief while, and repeat until you're satisfied with the result. ^^

Done for the upper body.

Dust-off completed for MG Ground Type Gundam. ^^

The smaller-scaled HG 1/144 Gundam Heavyarms Custom is also suffering from the same dust problem as MG Ground Type Gundam. ^^;

The compound doesn't mix with any of the paints applied to the model kit, so the painted missiles are not affected at all when the compound is applied to the shoulder armors.

Very low risk of breaking the four tiny antennas when the head is being cleaned.

All done for HG 1/144 Gundam Heavyarms Custom. ^^

Dust issue on MG Kampfer

Cleaning the Sturm Faust handles.

The forehead part can be removed, allowing the mono-eye camera slot to be cleaned more easily.

The bottom side of the helmet requires the "long reaching" ability of the compound to clean. ^^

Showing off the pilot figure which was painted using (just) normal permanent markers. ^^

Gashapon figurines aren't spared from dust problem. ^^;

Given their small sizes, the different components can be thoroughly cleaned (literally ^^).

All done for the two gashapon figurines.

Dust problem on MG Gundam GP01.

Cleaning done for MG Gundam GP01.

Even though Magic Clean works really well in getting the dust off my model kits, as evidenced from the many examples shown above, I find the compound degrades very quickly after repeated use. The color becomes darker, thanks to all the dust and other dirt it ate from the cleaning work, which gives the whole compound a really unpleasant look. ^^; I'm quite sure it can still be used a few more times before it just had to be discarded, but the ugly look makes me not fancy keeping it any longer to find out when it's going to expire. ^^;

When it comes to durability, there's another product of identical nature that I discovered and bought not too long after I started using Magic Clean, which appears to be more long-lasting after repeated use:

Cyber Clean cleaning compound.


The slimy content removed from the packet. ^^

Unlike Magic Clean, Cyber Clean came in its own container jar, so you don't need to eat another jar of butter to get something to store the compound. XD The price is much higher though - around RM20 per container. ^^;

As seen from the last two images above, Cyber Clean is also a cleaning slime, much like its Magic counterpart. ^^ For that matter, it obviously works the same way as well. ^^

Testing Cyber Clean on a few of my Gunplas:

Dust issue on 1/144 Gundam Double X.

Excessively covering the whole torso with Cyber Clean to get rid of the kit's dust.

All done for /144 Gundam Double X.

Like Magic Clean, the compound doesn't affect the existing panel lines, applied paint and foil stickers on the kit. ^^

Dust issue on 1/144 Sumo.

The seemingly brightened color of the kit shows that the cleaning compound has worked well in removing the accumulated dust.
On the flip side, it also shows how bad the dust problem is on some of my kits. ^^;

Cyber Clean is less fluid as compared to its Magic counterpart, but is still soft enough to be able to get into tight corners and narrow slits for a thorough cleaning job. After extensive usage (I used it on other model kits besides 1/144 Gundam Double X and Sumo shown above), the semi-transparent sparkling blue nature of the compound can still be seen very clearly, so the dust it gathered doesn't seem to degrade the quality of the compound, yet. ^^

And I like the mint smell of the compound too. ^^

While Gunplas were the "test subjects" for the two types of cleaning compound shown in this posting, I'm pretty sure action figures and other collectibles can make good use of the tools to get their dust-off treatment as well. Both Magic Clean and Cyber Clean weren't designed for cleaning collectibles in the first place, and the former was shown to work great on gashapon figures earlier on as well. For me, Gunplas are more relevant for this cleaning exercise as they are the ones I have on my display cabinet. Almost all the other collectibles I have are kept in their boxes, or other containers, thus not affected by dust. ^^

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