Figure Care 101: How to Keep Your Favorite Toys in Peak Form

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Collecting figures or building models can be a rewarding, but expensive hobby. Constant maintenance is important to keeping your favorite action figures and builds from being broken or dusty, thus diminishing their overall value. It also wastes all the effort you did in putting them together or saving up the money to buy them.

That’s why it’s important to learn how to regularly clean your favorite toys to prevent further dirtiness or damage. Here are some of my helpful tips and tricks to keep your top figures in peak shape and your collection neat and tidy.

Dust Off Regularly

anime figures dusting with brush

Over time, your figures can collect dust on its surfaces, especially if it’s being displayed in tight corners. I once had a figure covered in so much dust, it discolored the figure’s painting a bit and was really hard to scrub off. To avoid situations like this, you can purchase a brush with fine tips or a Swiffer Duster to get into those tight corners. Use it to lightly brush away dust while using a microfiber cloth to clean a figure’s base stand. A cotton swab is also useful if you want to reach those tight corners. 

anime figures being cleaned by canned it

Additionally, you can also use compressed air to blow away dust in a figure’s finer corners. It’s perfect to use if your figure has crazy, pointed hair or a detailed intricate body. That might save you more time than individually using a brush for everything in your collection. 

Use a Glass Display For Your Figures

anime figures in detolf glass case

A lot of my friends who like showing off their collection have their favorite figures displayed in a glass case. Not only does its transparency work well to showcase them, but it also limits the amount of dust that covers them. Some dust does sneak in over time, but a glass case can help you make action figures and toy cleaning infrequent.

All you really have to worry about is wiping down the glass every so often to clean excess dust, grime, or smudges. If you want to display your collection in style, a glass display case like a Detolf from IKEA is a great first investment. 

Wash Your Figures When Necessary

I’ve never personally done this with any figures from my collection, but if anything from your collection does need a bath day, here’s a few helpful steps before you consider it: 

  • Use lukewarm water and collect it in a bin
  • Disassemble all parts of your toy or action figure
  • Soak and lightly wash them for around five minutes
  • Place the wet parts on a dry towel and gently use it to dry it out
  • Leave them for five minutes to dry completely (avoid using a dryer or the sun)

Moreover, if you want to use soap on specific parts you want cleaned, prepare a separate bin with suds or apply it directly by using a toothbrush to clean the surface. When you’re rinsing them in water, make sure to get every corner clean to avoid leaving stains. If you’re prepared to wash certain parts of your figures and toys, take gentle care when you try out this method. 

Keep Sunlight Away From Your Figures

Direct sunlight can damage your action figure pretty badly: It can discolor a figure’s original painting, gradually losing its shimmer and sheen over time. Like a car, however, you want to maintain its look as closely to the day you bought it and the key step in doing that is not allowing the sun to speed up the discoloration process. Sunlight can also melt the hard plastic, PVC, and ABS material of the figure or toy, thus damaging certain stand holes or parts. 

To avoid this, try to display your figures away from a window or a vantage point where sunlight can shine. When you’re away from the room, consider buying dark curtains to keep the space dark. If you want to take that extra step, you can also cover your display case with a sheet and take it off whenever the sun is gone. 

Use Super Glue For Broken Figure Parts

Every so often, you apply a little too much force and break a piece of your favorite figure. Or maybe you were clumsy one day and dropped it on the floor. Now that it’s damaged, you’ll need to rely on an application of good ol’ super glue for the fix. 

gorilla glue super glue
Using superglue like Gorilla Glue will usually stick broken anime figure parts together easily.

During the application process, beware of how much superglue formula you push out. If it gets on your hands or fingers, it can bind really quickly and be tough to remove when you’re trying to wash it off. If you want to make it easier for yourself, you can use a cotton swab, apply the superglue on it, and dab it on the area where you’ll reconnect the broken piece. You can also use the superglue directly on the broken piece and carefully place it near the broken area, holding it for a few seconds to bond. 

Be Aware of Small Parts

One last piece of advice to keep your collection intact is to be aware of small parts, especially for toys like Nendoroids. Many of them come with tiny pieces to accompany different poses, with some figures having intricate pieces you can place on your base. Sometimes, they can fall off when they’re inside the box, but you can use some clear scotch tape to cover open holes and prevent them from falling. The bottom line is to check and make sure every piece of your toy is accounted for. Otherwise, you may end up losing a small part forever. 

nendoroid more anime figures parts
An example of customizable Nendoroid More parts. As you can see, you can easily lose some of these tiny parts.

Now you have some helpful tips, tricks, and ideas to learn and practice to keep your favorite figures and toys in their best form. Everyone has their own unique way of cleaning and maintaining their collectibles and I just barely scratched the surface in this article. How do you clean your favorite action figures and toys? What’s your favorite way of maintaining the perfect collection?

© William Moo Photos © 2021 GOOD SMILE COMPANY, INC © 2021 Gorilla Glue, Inc
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