Figure Maintenance?

Kagami: Cleaning oneself isn't as easy as you think

Kagami: Cleaning oneself isn't as easy as you think

Being a newbie in figure collecting, one of the questions that always pops into my head is: how do people with collections of epic proportions (uber many figures) clean and maintain all of their figures ?

I really think of this quite often, especially since figures aren’t just run off the mill ‘toys’ that you just buy from a toy store for 1USD or so. My current mode of making sure my figures are in top shape is… well, I put them back in their boxes ^^; but obviously, that takes too much time and effort, especially with Nendoroids (which is why they’re all on my desk now).

My collection consists of mostly Nendoroids and figmas, I only have one scaled figure as of the moment, and sad to say, she’s not in very good shape IMO.

My 1/6 scale Yuna figure

My 1/6 scale Yuna figure

This is my 1/6 scale Kotobukiya Yuna figure. Yuna is one of my favorite Final Fantasy characters (obviously), she’s a second hand figure that I bought from a fellow cosplayer in deviantArt. She actually looks great in photos, but when you look at her close-up, you can actually see that she has quite a bit of dust on her.

dust... icky D: (click to see full view)

dust... icky D:


moar dust Dx

I actually bought Yuna for 2000PHP (approx 3764.36 yen) but I think I should have haggled since she was pretty dusty ^^; and if you want to see how dirty she was…

all of these were used to clean Yuna... yet she's still dirty Dx

all of these were used to clean Yuna... yet she's still dirty Dx

I dipped these cotton buds in water (because I was afraid soap might ruin the paint OTL) and used them to clean Yuna. Some of the dust came off but most of them got stuck on her. Any suggestions on what can be used for stubborn dirt/stains on figures?

she's standing on a post-it TAT;

she's standing on a post-it TAT;

If you haven’t noticed in Yuna’s first picture, she has an odd looking stand, the reason for this is, she’s already leaning. ;A; She actually has drill holes in her heels and she is supported by a single metal rod/nail (that’s currently in her right foot). Sad to say, that this remedy isn’t working well because she gets off balance even with the metal rod support — hence the folded post-it.

I would’ve done the water method in reversing the leaning, but Yuna’s pretty conservative and you can’t remove her skirt. I’ve been looking thru Google for any answers about this, but I guess I’m the only one having this kind of problem. Any suggestions?

I’m sorry if you were expecting figure maintenance tips ^^; I’m too much of a noob to be able to give tips of my own ^^; The reason why I wanted to post this is because I want this figure to be in better condition — or get to clean it better, at the least. If you have any ideas that can help, please don’t hesitate to throw it at me! Thank you!

16 Responses to “Figure Maintenance?”

  1. 1 Stringed September 11, 2009 at 10:34 PM

    I’m also a newbie to figures, but I ended up keeping them in their boxes until I could invest in a display case. The cotton swab method is what I did for my trading figures.

  2. 3 Guy September 11, 2009 at 10:40 PM

    I’m also a newbie, but I have some experience cleaning, and well, you don’t clean dust with water. Whatever is left becomes mud, and it’s no good, especially as some figures’ paint is not sealed properly.

    Look for the kind of brushes people use to clean their electric shaving machines, for instance. Think of a fan-brush, but look for something not too hard, and slightly bigger than what most shaving machines come with. And then you just brush your figure, to remove the dust.

    If the figure has a lot of big flat surfaces, you can just use a soft fabric towel people clean dust with. It usually works for 90% of the figure’s space, and you just need to use the brush for creases and such.

    Also, THIS is real dust. :P

    P.S. I suggest uploading photos to flickr and then linking them here, your current method leaves your older posts without pictures as there’s a space limitation on WordPress, and that makes picture-heavy posts from 2007 people might come across look all sad and orphaned.

    • 4 Ninjovee September 11, 2009 at 10:49 PM

      Thanks for the tips. The reason why I used water was because the dust was already stuck on the figure (lack of cleaning from previous owner ;A; ) so I thought using water would remove it. Well, it worked, somewhat. ><;

      Oh, and I usually use flickr for my posts with my own images, I just didn't use it this time because I was lazy ^^;

  3. 5 LEon September 11, 2009 at 11:09 PM

    Too clean off dust, you can go look for static duster.
    Always dust off first before wiping with a moist cloth.

    Make sure your figure are never under or near direct sunlight and ensure it’s way from kitchen or any place that has oil or dust. Having a plastic casing (custom or bought if there is such sizes) helps to reduce the wearing.

    As for the leaning, it is a common design fault for some japan figure. For you case, here’s what I can think of

    1. use some fine fishing line to counter to hold her into position.
    2. Stick it for good on a base
    3. drill a small hole at the leg to fill some plaster to give the lower part some weight.

    Overall you must know what you are doing and dun blindly follow. You know best. Good luck.

  4. 6 anonymous_object September 12, 2009 at 4:09 AM

    I used to use a small food basting brush but found it to be a bit rough on some figures. Now I use a soft felt-like material (dunno what it really is) that came with some sunglasses I bought ^^; I also use some of my camera lens cleaning gear since it has very soft brushes. I like to keep my figures on display so I try to clean them all about once a month.

    I haven’t had problems with any figures leaning (yet) but I’ve read you can restore PVC easily enough by soaking it in warm water and bending it back into the original form while it’s more malleable (probably with string/fishing line like Leon suggested).

  5. 7 ELTboy September 12, 2009 at 9:29 AM

    I would say invest in a display cabinet. That will keep most of the dust out and make routine cleaning much easier. I think the basic essential is to have a soft brush, like a comestic face brush or something, for brushing off dust specks. And if figures are already in the state like your yuna is, you just have to dunk them into water.

    Beside dust, figures are also afraid of direct sunlight and humidity. So you will need to guard against these too. If figures start to lean, they will always lean even if you fix them for a while, so just need to pay special attention to these girls then. :)

    Hope it helps! It’s a whole lot of work to maintain them. We just need to keep out girls happy. But for me, if my figures are happy, I am happy. ^^”

  6. 8 Ninjovee September 12, 2009 at 9:04 PM

    @LEon: Thanks a lot for the tips. I don’t have much of DIY experience with plaster and whatnot… so… @_@; I might try sticking her on the stand instead… Now I just have to figure out how. OTL

    @anonymous_object: Hm. Cleaning cloth for glasses. There’s several of those lying around in the house. Should try that.

    @ELTboy: Thanks for all the tips! ^^ I’m happy when my figures are happy as well :3

  7. 9 Snark September 12, 2009 at 9:54 PM

    Ugh, join the club; figure cleaning and maintenance is the bane of my existence, and my place is too small for a glass cabinet >_<

  8. 12 Stripey September 13, 2009 at 1:05 AM

    I heartily agree with ELTboy. The key is keeping the dust away not so much how to get it off. Display cabinet’s the way to go :)

  9. 13 Tommy September 13, 2009 at 5:59 AM

    Display cabinets is an option to keep the dust away, but I just dust them down once a week. Yes, it might take me a hour or two to do so, but it keeps my room (mostly) dust free because I clean other areas while I’m at it.

    Figures just look better when they’re not behind glass, my personal opinion. I’m not an expert at figure maintenance myself, so I’m not much of a help.

  10. 14 Aka September 13, 2009 at 10:01 PM

    I recently invested in a cabinet to store my figures in. Originally just on some shelves, I worried about my cats knocking them over, however dust was also an annoyance. I used to use just a can of compressed ‘air’ to blow away the dust, but got annoyed as my collection grew. Investing in a cabinet I think will help out, though I only got mine a week ago so I can’t say too much.

    I’ve heard of some people also putting UV protective film on their windows or cabinet door to further protect their figures. I rarely open the blinds in my room due to my work schedule and often having to sleep during the day. However I may consider doing this as just a precautionary measure anyway, it may be overkill though.

    I have to say though, putting them in the cabinet really made everything looks a lot better. The shelf looked crowded, but the cabinet looks organized. Adding in some lighting and glass shelving really adds to it and allows more light to travel between the figures.

    One thing to watch out for, the cabinet I recently bought, I installed some IKEA lighting that they sell along side many cabinets and shelves, this is a bad idea. Not because the lights are ugly, or don’t work, or anything like that, but because of heat. Most of these lights are halogen and put off tremendous amounts of heat. If you can find them, opt for the LED based lights as they’ll run FAR cooler. The last thing you want to do is accelerate your figures lean by heating them up…


  11. 15 Ninjovee September 13, 2009 at 10:12 PM

    @Stripey: Seems like majority votes in investing on a display cabinet… will probably invest in one when my collection is large enough to actually fill one ^^;

    @Tommy: I personally think that figures are more fun to look at when they’re not behind glass as well. My figure collection is still relatively small so it’s still not a bother to clean each and every one of them. Thanks for your comment :)

    @Aka: Thank you so much for the tips! I doubt I’ll do the windows thing because the windows here are thick and nearly-opaque, then there’s blinds too… Will keep your suggestions in mind when my collection grows large enough to need a display cabinet ^^

  12. 16 JazzGlam September 23, 2009 at 11:22 AM

    hey, just saying that i have some cool ideas and when, yes, WHEN i get a figma, i’ll test run my ideas, PAINT BRUSHES hint

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