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How long do figures last and should I get some older figures?

Hello MFC community!

I'm still pretty new to this hobby so I was looking for advice from anyone who's been around for a while or has a lot of older figures.

I was browsing the MFC tags and found some slightly older figures I was interested in. When I say "older" I mean like from years 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012, so like 10 years old or less.

Before I make purchases, I was wondering about how well figures of this age hold up over time and what I should expect. Of course, I don't expect perfection, especially because it seems like quality of figures has gone up over time.

I do have one figure from 2007 (ITEM #543) which I bought used. She's in good condition even despite her age and isn't sticky or brittle. I just have a really hard time getting her onto her base like the feet don't perfectly match up with the pegs, but this is probably some manufacturing variation.

Would I be better off getting older figures sealed/new (if they can be found) or used? If they were well cared for, do they still degrade anyway or do they stay relatively preserved and in good shape for display?

And how fast do figures degrade anyway? I guess I'm wondering since I'm spending hundreds of dollars on figures (talking about modern figures now) and I hope they'll last for a long time.

Thanks in advance if anyone can answer my question spam xD

1,128 hits • 16 comments

16 comments

0pt
I think some older figures from before 2007 generally look a little glossy or shiny

I have ITEM #4507 and ITEM #4508 and can definitely say they look a little too smoth, like some of the old toys and action figures from our hildhood.

Though that's not a bad point, it's a part of their vintage charm, it show their age in a good way, I think.
6 months ago
0pt
BaosaiRGBlv8 really loves Kenma
I just got a figure today that came out in 2006 ITEM #3319 , she was still sealed. The only thing I noticed about her was that the clear rubber band used to hold her gun in her hand had cut into her wrist a little since it was so tight and it was on for so long. Other than that she looks perfect. No discoloration or anything. Although I think she was just sitting in a box in my boyfriends basement for a long time.
6 months ago
0pt
If you take good care of them, figures can last forever. I've seen new figures in horrible conditions, and old ones in perfect form.
I personally love older figures. The 1980s-90s GKs that I have look great. Little to no damage other than some yellowing of the resin and box. They're unpainted tho, so idk how paint from that time would look.
If you look at older Kaiyodo figures from the 90s to the mid 2000s that were well taken care of, they still look good as new. The paint application on older figures tends to be thicker and there's less detail, so even if it's a little damaged or yellowed, it'll still look fine. The plastic packaging may have gotten fragile.
6 months ago
0pt
WanderingWastrel (6 months ago) #19122638Well, I'd avoid the ones from the 1970's or before, as many of them were made of pressed lacquered guncotton. It's not so much a problem, though, as most of those have long since self-combusted. If you do acquire one of those by mistake, just put it down and run far far away.

If you find a figure from the 1970's that's called either a miracle or a time paradox.
Beware of folds in the space time continuum.
6 months ago
2pt
I think some of the more common things to happen to old figures is stickyness, warped plastic, such as leaning, discoloration (although mostly common with figures that have been exposed to cigarette smoke and sunlight) and the fact that ABS sometimes gets quite brittle if handled wrong.
Bascially what most people have mentioned already.
Most of these things only happen if the plastic is of not too great quality or if the owner has exposed their collection to the things mentioned earlier.
Nothing lasts forever (View spoilerHide spoilerexcept diamonds, diamonds are forever *cough*) but most figures will probably last a hell of a long time.

And yes, there's nothing wrong with getting some older figures.
If ya want one, don't let the age throw you off.
Just go for it.
6 months ago
0pt
AimathystRGBlv13 TOM Affiliate
I would say if it's a reputable company like Alter or Good Smile, you should be good! I bought ITEM #4592 pre-owned and she was manufactured by Alter in 2007 and still looks great :) although, you may find some leaning problems and a bit of stickiness but there are ways around that!
6 months ago
0pt
moonstarfc (6 months ago) #19122827Some of the figures I wanted are cast offs, so I guess I would also be concerned about paint transfer in used figures. With some older cast off figures, I saw people complaining about paint transfer but I don't know if it can be completely prevented by buying new, anyway. Sounds like high maintenance to me!
But I guess I'll try heating Shion's legs, I haven't displayed her because I was afraid to break her leg trying to get it spread apart enough.


Paint transfers are common with castoffs both modern and old, but it's easy enough to correct with a bit of rubbing alcohol.
6 months ago
0pt
Stalgonoff (6 months ago) #19122313I have multiple figures from 2011 and 2012 and they are all in good condition. They are from well established companies though. Plasticizer will evaporate overtime and if the figure is sealed in the box it will have no where to go and will eventually become sticky. You can wash it off with mild handsoap and lukewarm water and there should be no permanent damage.
Plastic will degrade over time so pegs may eventually break, but there are fixes that can be done. If you are having trouble lining up feet to the pegs you could try using a hair dryer on low setting to heat the PVC to make it easier to move the legs into position.
Whether new or used is better I can't say. However, the more you assemble and disassemble a figure, especially a cast off, it will wear down the plastic. If the company has a good reputation I wouldn't worry about age so much unless it is very old.

Some of the figures I wanted are cast offs, so I guess I would also be concerned about paint transfer in used figures. With some older cast off figures, I saw people complaining about paint transfer but I don't know if it can be completely prevented by buying new, anyway. Sounds like high maintenance to me!

But I guess I'll try heating Shion's legs, I haven't displayed her because I was afraid to break her leg trying to get it spread apart enough.
6 months ago
0pt
The oldest figures in my collection were released around 2006/2007 and I can't name a single one that had a problem due to aging. Some were bought around the time of their release and they've been displayed in the open since, some I bought new after they spent 10 years inside their boxes on some merchant's shelf. Some are PVC, some are vinyl. Some are high quality scales from GSC or Alter, some others are cheap trade figures. None of them has shown any sign of aging so far. No stickiness, no paint rubbing off, no color alteration, no cracks in the plastic, nothing.
Some of them do lean or deform though (like your Shion) but this is not really an aging problem and it can be fixed it by running the deformed part under hot water until it soften and bend it back in place (the problem is usually recurrent, you just repeat the fix every time you notice it).

In my opinion, unless subjected to things like cigarette smokes or prolonged sunlight exposure, age alone will not harm your figure.
6 months ago
0pt
I have item ITEM #408 and she's (shockingly, I didn't realize) from 2005 and she's in great shape. Her box isn't, but she is.

I also have ITEM #86 from 2007 and ITEM #44 from 2008. They're both in good condition, no stickiness or brittleness. Char does have the problem you mentioned where she doesn't like to fit on her base, but otherwise they're all just fine. Char is actually one of my favourite figures, and I got her pre-owned.

I agree with what others have said, where getting them opened is better. Plasticizer is a pain to wash off sometimes when it's a big build up.
6 months ago
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