Friday, November 2, 2012

The Whitening: Vintage Stormtrooper Restoration

How to whiten, brighten, and lighten your yellowed vintage Stormtroopers

I recently bought a HUGE lot of vintage Stormtroopers from a guy who was thinning out his collection. From what I picked up, honestly I'm scared to guess how many stormtroopers he's still got. But anyway, best wishes Stormtrooper hoarder and I thank you for your reasonable auction and fast shipping.

So since I've got my hands on this plethora of my favorite Star Wars character, I'm finally trying something I've been kinda scared to do with my existing collection: I'm going to whiten some stormtroopers.

I've seen a few tutorials on other blogs and sites and DerpTube on how to whiten specifically stormtroopers as well as other objects. So since I've done my first batch I think I'll take a look at a few methods or steps of methods.

Recommended materials are:
• Hydrogen Peroxide - I just bought mine at Wal-Mart for $0.88 for a huge bottle (bought 4)
• OxyClean Powdered Detergent - or relative substitute I bought SUN brand (it was cheaper) 
• Rubber gloves - for handling Hydrogen Peroxide (if its so bad for you why is it so TASTY????)
• Clear container - This is because sunlight will come in to play in getting the Hp to do its job. ( I bought a 4-pack of tupperware left over containers with blue tops not thinking. BUT that's ok because I turn them upside down so the clear side is exposed.) - Ziplock 24oz disposable tupperware containers.

CONTROL GROUP I - CGI:
Hydrogen Peroxide ONLY

Since I have such a handful of these guys I am breaking them up into sets of 4 and trying ONLY Hydrogen Peroxide (further called Hp) first. I don't want to mix until I see that Hp won't do it on its own.

• I take a tupperware container and lay the stormtroopers in a single layer and pour in the Hp.
I fill it up to the rim (You may want to do this step in your sink*)

When putting the lid on there will be some overspill (sink*) as you lock one corner on press down on the lid as you seal it around the perimeter, this will let out any air bubbles. (the stormtroopers will float so this helps keep everything submerged completely)

So I took my stormtroopers and placed the tupperware upside down on an East facing window ledge. (make sure your tupperware is sealed so it doesnt leak on you throughout the day) I let it sit there from sun-up until about 12:00 pm so that's about 6-7 hours of daylight give or take. I came home for lunch so I took a quick peek and I was surprised how well they had done.

• After initial inspection I took each figure out and flipped it to expose the un-sunbleached side and then   pressed the lid on just as I did before eliminating all air bubbles. I then placed it on a stump on the other side of my office again for nearly 6-7 hours.

The Results:

BEFORE
Vintage Stormtrooper Gentle Giant Kenner 12" Bootleg Black Hole Trooper Chinese Super 7 Legacy Saga TAC 30th Anniversary Collection Vintage Original Restoration Yellowed Whitening 3.75" HONG KONG CHINA MEXICO GLASSLITE

AFTER
Vintage Stormtrooper Gentle Giant Kenner 12" Bootleg Black Hole Trooper Chinese Super 7 Legacy Saga TAC 30th Anniversary Collection Vintage Original Restoration Yellowed Whitening 3.75" HONG KONG MEXICO GLASSLITE

So, for a first effort I am pleased. The process didn't turn back time so much but it clearly has an affect on the yellowing that we all know and hate. These photos were taken under identical lighting scenarios so there shouldn't be a wide degree of photofoolery. This is a pretty honest assessment of effort #1.

So to recap this is 14 hours even sunlight with Hydrogen Peroxide ONLY.

RATING: C+
These figures were the worst of the worst… filthy. Yellowing has been relieved a noticable step. Dirt deposits definitely fell to Hp
____________________

CONTROL GROUP II - CGII:
Let a little SUN Shine in…

Hydrogen Peroxide ONLY was a surprising result, and definitely a method for possibly a final push once things have been brought to their optimum white. For Control Group II we used figures of equal yellowing so as to not shift the qualities of yellowing from group to group. Now I will say that the figures from Group I were simply nasty and should have been scrubbed before the Hp test. So alot of the filth and color that was taken from them was possibly dirt deposit along with the anti yellowing effects of the Hp itself.

Vintage Stormtrooper Gentle Giant Kenner 12" Bootleg Black Hole Trooper Chinese Super 7 Legacy Saga TAC 30th Anniversary Collection Vintage Original Restoration Yellowed Whitening 3.75" HONG KONG CHINA MEXICO GLASSLITE restoration

For Control Group II we added the SUN Oxygen cleaner to the mix, literally. I only used a Quarter Table Spoon. I mixed it in with the Hp in the bowl itself  before pouring it into a Ziplock 24oz disposable tupperware container with the 4 figures. The stuff is pretty gritty so you'l want to be sure and stir it in good so that you don't notice a whole bunch floating about. It just seems lime it won't do much stuck to the bottom.

So the process is basically the same from here:

*FIRST, give figures a good scrub, you'll be glad you did.

• Mix 1/4 Table Spoon of SUN Detergent with a half full pan of Hp. and stir to your best ability to make atleast half of the detergent dissolve. (*I didn't see any trace of it when I opened them at the end of this trial.)

• Take a tupperware container and lay the stormtroopers in a single layer in mixed solution and then pour in the Hp to fill it up the rim (You may want to do this step in your sink**)

• When putting the lid on there will be some overspill (sink**) as you lock one corner on press down on the lid as you seal it around the perimeter, this will let out any air bubbles. (the stormtroopers will float so this helps keep everything submerged completely)

• Place the tupperware upside down where it will get plenty of morning sun. (make sure your tupperware is sealed so it doesnt leak on you throughout the day) Let it sit there from sun-up until about 12:00 pm so that's about 6-7 hours of daylight give or take. Its time to flip the hotcakes!!! 

• Flip each figure to expose the un-sunbleached side and then press the lid on just as before eliminating all air bubbles. I place it in an area that gets plenty afternoon sunlight 6-7 hours.

The Results:

BEFORE
Vintage Stormtrooper Gentle Giant Kenner 12" Bootleg Black Hole Trooper Chinese Super 7 Legacy Saga TAC 30th Anniversary Collection Vintage Original Restoration Yellowed Whitening 3.75" HONG KONG CHINA MEXICO GLASSLITE restoration


AFTER
Vintage Stormtrooper Gentle Giant Kenner 12" Bootleg Black Hole Trooper Chinese Super 7 Legacy Saga TAC 30th Anniversary Collection Vintage Original Restoration Yellowed Whitening 3.75" HONG KONG CHINA MEXICO GLASSLITE restoration



So, I'm definitely please with the results of Control Group II. The 3 figures on the right were VERY yellowed when they went in and they cleaned up in a pretty clear 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place. The figure to the left that was completely yellowed was an impressive feat of its own. I believe in the next section we will take up the SUN content a bit… possibly quite a bit. So.. stay tuned for section 3…

Rating: B-
Yellowing has been greatly relieved. Would still like to see just 1 come out 100% consistent.

____________________

Control Group III - CGIII:
It's Becoming a System

I find it helpful to set everything up the night before. I don't get up before the sun… even for science. That way the experiment doesn't have to be put of for a day. I just mix this job up and set it out on a window sill. I have east and west facing spots in my yard to these are good spots to catch as much sun as possible on this experiment. You may see lessen results if you don't make sure these stay in constant sunlight.

Getting started this control group will show a 200% increase in the SUN detergent content added to the Hp. I feel like we saw distant enough results between CGI and CGII that I really feel like increasing its presence will show a continued added benefit. 


Once again follow the dancing dots •

*FIRST, give figures a good scrub, you'll be glad you did.

• Mix 1 Full Table Spoon (see picture) of SUN Detergent with a half full pan of Hp. and stir to your best ability to make atleast half of the detergent dissolve. (*I didn't see any trace of it when I opened them at the end of this trial.)





• Take a tupperware container and lay the stormtroopers in a single layer. Then pour in the mixed solution and fill it up to the rim with pure Hp. (You may want to do this step in your sink**)

• When putting the lid on there will be some overspill (sink**) as you lock one corner on press down on the lid as you seal it around the perimeter, this will let out any air bubbles. (the stormtroopers will float so this helps keep everything submerged completely)

• Place the tupperware upside down where it will get plenty of morning sun. (make sure your tupperware is sealed so it doesnt leak on you throughout the day) Let it sit there from sun-up until about 12:00 pm so that's about 6-7 hours of daylight give or take. Its time to flip the hotcakes!!! 

• Flip each figure to expose the un-sunbleached side and then press the lid on just as before eliminating all air bubbles. I place it in an area that gets plenty afternoon sunlight 6-7 hours.

The Results:
BEFORE

AFTER

A great whitening result has been seen here. These 4 figures had nearly equal yellowing and they have for the most part come out identically improved. #4 (right) showed the least whitened, but it was a little crowded in the tupperware I guess. we should probably expect to see one be the runt of the litter.

*Additional note, to day was the beginning of daylight savings.. BOO!! so the 12:00 milestone for flipping and repositioning showed to be a flawed regimen going into this weekend BUT, I would still say we have gotten quite an upward improvement in our whitening.

Rating: B-
Despite time inconsistencies, yellowing continued to improve. Would still like to see just 1 come out 100% consistent. 


Conclusion:
For all 3 variations of chemical treatments improvement was seen in Stormtrooper's yellowed plastic being whitened. BUT time may be the one factor that cannot be ignored. 

Perhaps the resurrection of this experiment will expand those efforts to a 48 hour time table.

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