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Thread: Yellowing Bubble Explanation?????

  1. #1
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    Yellowing Bubble Explanation?????

    HI All,

    This may be a dumb question,and i apologise if its been discussed in another thread, But can anyone explain why most of the ROTJ figures have yellowing (to varying degrees) bubbles?? Im also now seeing some ESB versions as well??

    Is it because of sunlight??

    Or cheap plastic, or???

    Ive always thought/knew that all of the ROTJ figures have or will have yellow bubbles over time??

    Im not sure Ive ever seen any of the first SW figures with yellow bubbles??

    Cheers, AB

  2. #2
    Dax
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    Moff Dax's Avatar
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    Hey AB, try the search function as there are a plethora of threads on this subject and some very detailed ones relating to the nature of plastic, degradation, catalysts and preventative actions. Anything that people would post in this thread is not going to be as comprehensive and informative as the previous work done.

    Actually, to make things easier on yourself be sure to spend a few days looking through the FAQ for common questions: FAQ for common questions/problems (please sticky) There's already links to four related threads in that post alone to save you some time and trouble.
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  3. #3
    Moff finestcomics's Avatar
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    There are a number of competing factors. Most of them point to reactions occurring within the plastic itself. In a nutshell, the reactions could be light catalyzed oxidation going on. Another cause might be relating to a reaction with bromine compounds added for flame retardation, or it could be actually with the polymer in the plastic itself (i.e. plasticizer chemicals destabilizing or degrading). Finally, the way they are stored plays some part, as the plastic does not hold up well in environments that use cleaning agents, heavy cooking with grease or where heavy smoking occurs.

  4. #4
    Moff finestcomics's Avatar
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    Oh, and one often overlooked issue is that there is also a lifespan with certain polymers and plasticizers. For instance, even in ideal environmental conditions, polypropylene grade bags used for comics need to be replaced every 5-7 years.

  5. #5
    Moff ronsalvatore's Avatar
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    I've heard millions of different explanations. I'm always amazed when folks say "oh, it's caused by X." How do they know? Have they conducted experiments?

    I think most assume that light and heat play some role, because light and heat tend to speed up reactions in general. Also, it seems that figures that are exposed to lots of light tend to yellow more severely.

    Still, I've had figures stored in stable conditions and near-complete darkness that have yellowed since I've owned them. This includes some SW-logo figures. I have a Vader 12-back that's yellowed in the last 10 years. It's both tragic and funny. Back when I started collecting in the early '90s the mantra was: "if it hasn't yellowed by now, it won't yellow ever."

    Anyway, there's no doubt that the scale of susceptibility to yellowing is ordered, from least to most, SW-->ESB-->ROTJ-->POTF. Many POTF figures were yellow by the late '80s. I honestly don't think there's a ton you can do protect yourself from it. Other than avoiding carded figures entirely, that is.
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  6. #6
    Moff Grant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronsalvatore View Post
    I've heard millions of different explanations. I'm always amazed when folks say "oh, it's caused by X." How do they know? Have they conducted experiments?

    I think most assume that light and heat play some role, because light and heat tend to speed up reactions in general. Also, it seems that figures that are exposed to lots of light tend to yellow more severely.

    Still, I've had figures stored in stable conditions and near-complete darkness that have yellowed since I've owned them. This includes some SW-logo figures. I have a Vader 12-back that's yellowed in the last 10 years. It's both tragic and funny. Back when I started collecting in the early '90s the mantra was: "if it hasn't yellowed by now, it won't yellow ever."

    Anyway, there's no doubt that the scale of susceptibility to yellowing is ordered, from least to most, SW-->ESB-->ROTJ-->POTF. Many POTF figures were yellow by the late '80s. I honestly don't think there's a ton you can do protect yourself from it. Other than avoiding carded figures entirely, that is.
    Some good points Ron, That's exactly the reason I got out of MOC collecting in the end.
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  7. #7
    High Admiral _Darren_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronsalvatore View Post
    I honestly don't think there's a ton you can do protect yourself from it. Other than avoiding carded figures entirely, that is.
    That has to be one of the saddest facts in the hobby circa 2013.

    That it may be close to impossible to have and maintain a set of figures that resembles itself from the time they were readily available.

    Im doing my utmost to mitigate any degradation,however it seems that all I'm doing may be in vain.

    Certainly,the evidence and frequency of yellow bubbles points to a futile exercise for the MOC collector....

    Darren
    Bonsai_Tree_Ent likes this.
    Okay.Fine.You win.
    Now I'm going to enjoy my life while you are buried under a pile of plastic and cardboard.
    Big Barada

  8. #8
    High Admiral Bonsai_Tree_Ent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by _Darren_ View Post
    That has to be one of the saddest facts in the hobby circa 2013.

    That it may be close to impossible to have and maintain a set of figures that resembles itself from the time they were readily available.

    Im doing my utmost to mitigate any degradation,however it seems that all I'm doing may be in vain.

    Certainly,the evidence and frequency of yellow bubbles points to a futile exercise for the MOC collector....

    Darren
    Look at it as 'the patina of age', a badge to wear with pride rather than shame, as it shows the item as genuine vintage and a piece from history!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronsalvatore View Post
    I've heard millions of different explanations. I'm always amazed when folks say "oh, it's caused by X." How do they know? Have they conducted experiments?
    Not in this hobby perhaps, but I also collect retro video games/consoles and extensive research has bee done because they suffer from exactly the same problem. There are tons of online articles about it. Most agree that flame retardant is the main culprit, and also there's nothing you can do to stop it ( so stop paying over the odds for those clear bubbles!)

    You can to a certain extent reverse the process, but there is nothing to stop it happening again. Hydrogen Peroxide works well, but bubbles are probably too fragile to handle it.

  10. #10
    High Admiral _Darren_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bonsai_Tree_Ent View Post
    Look at it as 'the patina of age', a badge to wear with pride rather than shame, as it shows the item as genuine vintage and a piece from history!
    In his best 7 year old voice......."but I don' wanna!!!!!"......

    i guess my biggest problem is every vintage memory I have from toy store,to local newsagent from back in the day....every one has CRYSTAL CLEAR BUBBLES on the racks and pegs of figures.....

    and that is the dragon I'm perennially chasing......

    Darren
    Bonsai_Tree_Ent likes this.
    Okay.Fine.You win.
    Now I'm going to enjoy my life while you are buried under a pile of plastic and cardboard.
    Big Barada

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