My first two Star Wars figures; and restoration question

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Hey, guys. Just wanted to post some pics of my first two Star Wars figures and ask restoration question. Small Head Han and the Stormtrooper below were the first two figures I got to pick out after seeing Star Wars. :giggle: This must have been in late '77 or '78 if they were on the shelves? So I would have been nine or ten. I remember that I wanted one good guy and one bad guy for setting up fights. :cool: I got the rest of the original 12 soon after this, and the obsession had officially begun.

So obviously poor Small Head Han has seen better days. And I don't know what hallucinogens were in the air that caused me to do this repaint. :) Looks like I was trying to give him a brown or silver jacket, silver shirt, and of course the beard and 'stache. I honestly have no idea what character I was trying to turn him into. lol My only guess is maybe some kind of Evil Han like Evil Spock in "Mirror, Mirror."

I just came across this Han recently and was thinking about trying to remove this paint. This would have been Testor model kit paint; so acrylic, I guess? Can anyone recommend what I could use to remove this paint, without removing the original Kenner paint? I'd like to remove this Testor paint, and then possibly try touching up the hair and white shirt.

Finally, you can see the replacements I got for these two back in the day, with Big Head Han and another Stormtrooper. The second trooper has a lot of yellowing, but I'm pretty sure he's newer because the joints are much tighter. The whiter trooper is so loose that he barely stands. And you can see that both Hans have short right leg syndrome. :cool:

Anyway, please let me know about the Testor paint removal. I know poor Small Head will never be worth much, but it would be fun to clean him up a bit.

My first two figures...
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Poor Small Head Han...
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With the replacements...
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Youtube toy polloi he has amazing tips for restoring figures. I have seen him work with worse and made them completely displayable.
 
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There is a lot to work there, if there where mine, I will let them that way and put them on a prominent spot of my collection to remember me of my childhood. But, is your decision... if you restore them, put some photos here!
 
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^ Yeah, I've thought about that. I have a nearly complete loose set of all my Kenner figures in the vinyl cases (SW, ESB, ROTJ). Many of them have small issues like yellowing or paint rubs. I would not want to try to restore those. But poor Small Head/Short Leg Han looks so disheveled, I do like the idea of cleaning him up a bit. :cool:

I tried some hot soapy water and a soft toothbrush like Toy Polloi recommends, but it didn't loosen that old model kit paint. I'll check out some more of his videos and maybe shoot him an message on FB.
 
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If it is Testors model paint, it is likely enamel and not acrylic. Enamels were and are the most widely available and cheapest Testrors paints. Testors acrylic paints are relatively new and likely won't have been around when you did this. Worst case it's a lacquer paint.
 
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Yeah, this is 40-year-old paint, so I guess it's probably Testors enamel. This is what they recommend for removal (below). Has anyone had luck with either of these?

https://www.testors.com/pages/help-and-support/faqs/general-questions/?page=5

Enamel Paint Removal

To remove dried enamel film you may use PollyScale Easy Lift Off Remover No. F542143. Please see instructions above under the Acrylic Removal section.

You may also use Easy-Off Oven Cleaner. We recommend the Fragrance Free version of the product. The procedure for removal is the same as the above one for PollyScale Easy Lift Off Remover or ELO.
 
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Yeah, this is 40-year-old paint, so I guess it's probably Testors enamel. This is what they recommend for removal (below). Has anyone had luck with either of these?

https://www.testors.com/pages/help-and-support/faqs/general-questions/?page=5

Enamel Paint Removal

To remove dried enamel film you may use PollyScale Easy Lift Off Remover No. F542143. Please see instructions above under the Acrylic Removal section.

You may also use Easy-Off Oven Cleaner. We recommend the Fragrance Free version of the product. The procedure for removal is the same as the above one for PollyScale Easy Lift Off Remover or ELO.

I'm not sure what this kind of treatment will do to the original Kenner paint. It might strip the figure of everything. But if you plan on restoring them because they are your first two figures, then even if it does strip everything off, you can just repaint them. The red stripe might be hard to replicate, though.
 
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I'm not sure what this kind of treatment will do to the original Kenner paint. It might strip the figure of everything. But if you plan on restoring them because they are your first two figures, then even if it does strip everything off, you can just repaint them. The red stripe might be hard to replicate, though.
For painting back the red stripe, You could use a needle and a Xacto knife, it could also be used for the eyes.
 
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Thank you all for the great tips! Toy Polloi also responded to my Facebook message and suggested his "Saving GI Joe" video. He also has more paint removal videos, like Bespin Luke (spray paint) and Cylon (enamel).

Surprisingly, automotive brake fluid seems to work well to remove these old paints. :unsure: And it doesn't seem to remove too much of the original paint. So I'll probably try testing this on the bottom of Han's feet or the back of his jacket.

Even if I can just clean up Han's face and right arm, I think the figure will look a lot better. But I expect it'll be tricky removing the beard and mustache without removing the eye paint.

I wonder what color the original plastic parts are? Based on the paint rubbing, I would guess the torso is black plastic, the arms are white, and the head is flesh colored.
 
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I also damaged a lot of toys with enamel paint as a kid. I wouldn't mess with them. Buy a retro series Han and Stormtrooper from Dorkside Toys or Entertainment Earth to display next to them.
 
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^ Yeah, I thought about that but I really wanted to get him cleaned up. That beard and 'stache makes him look like Hipster Han. :cool:

I made a lot of progress on Han the last couple evenings! I used just STP brake fluid, a small brush, Q tips, and a toothpick. It's a slow process, because I didn't immerse the figure. I just coated sections with brake fluid, let it sit for 15 minutes, and then teased off the paint. The arm and face already look pretty good, but there's a lot of stubborn paint on the front of the vest. I didn't touch the legs, so the red stripe is still looking good.

I'm going to do a little more work on the vest, and then do some touch up painting on the vest, shirt, neck, and maybe the hair. Thanks to everyone for all the tips, and especially Toy Polloi! Watching his videos gave me the confidence to try this cleanup. :)


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More progress! Going to take another look tonight, but I may be done with the paint removal. The toothpick really works well to get the old paint out of nooks and crannies and doesn't seem to scratch the figure.

I'll probably touch up paint the shirt, neck, belt, and hair and that may be enough. Maybe some minor touch up on the vest, but it's looking pretty good! :cool:


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