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Anime, Figures and Manga For Less!
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Restoring a leaning or deformed figure back into shape

kyoshinheikyoshinhei8 months agoTutorial
Most of us have had to deal at some point with a leaning figure, or a figure whose feet holes don't align with the pegs on the base, or a figure whose sword keeps falling off because the hand does not hold it firmly enough, or a figure whose umbrella would awkwardly hover just a few millimeter over its shoulder instead of resting on it.

A lot a people already know that the short answer to these problem usually is to heat the figure so you can bend it to the intended posture. In practice, I've seen people hesitate over details like the temperature needed or how to achieve it. Blow-dryer, heat gun, kitchen oven, blow torch (that was a joke, DON'T try it!). And sometimes people just worry that they would mess up and the figure ends up ruined.

So here's a quick tutorial on the method I use, which I believe is harmless, foolproof and only requires something everybody has at home: hot water from the tap (well unfortunately not everybody has hot water but if you don't then you may have more pressing matters than a leaning figure).

Note that the following method is for PVC figures, it won't work on ABS and some other plastics. This is not much of a problem since most figures are made of PVC anyway but some bases or accessories may use other materials.

And since showing beats telling we'll be using ITEM #162017 for this demonstration.

http://s1.tsuki-board.net/image/600/kyoshinhei1490541116.jpeg
I don't know if this is a common issue with this figure but ever since I got her a few years ago I've had this problem: since most of her weight is resting on her left hand, she's very unstable and she would fall from the jungle gym at the slightest shake.

http://s1.tsuki-board.net/image/600/kyoshinhei1490541118.jpeg
The reason is this: the right hand which is supposed to help stabilize the figure is not properly holding onto the bar and thus, not doing its job. Let's fix this!

http://s1.tsuki-board.net/image/600/kyoshinhei1490541120.jpeg
Prepare some hot water in a sink, just open the tap in the hottest position.
For reference, my water is about 60°C (140°F). This is a good temperature as it will properly soften the plastic but not damage the paint. This is why I prefer hot water over a blow-dryer or a heat gun, the temperature is more stable and never too hot.
You don't need to have precisely 60°C for the method to work. I'd say 50°C and above are fine (but not boiling either).
Rule of thumb: if it's producing steam, it's probably hot enough.
Other rule of thumb (with your actual thumb): the water should be hot enough to be painful to the touch but not so hot that your skin falls off ^^;
Don't forget to close the sink, if you drop a part of the figure in it you don't want it going down the drain!

http://s1.tsuki-board.net/image/600/kyoshinhei1490541122.jpeg
Dunk the part that needs intervention into the hot water until it soften. Try to avoid heating the parts that don't need to be fixed or you could end up with another deformation ^^;
Don't be afraid though, it takes a bit of time for the plastic to soften, more than you need to reorient the figure so that only the intended bits are submerged.

http://s1.tsuki-board.net/image/600/kyoshinhei1490541150.jpeg
Alternatively, if the part you need to work on can't be put in the water without another one getting wet too, you can just put your part under the running tap.
If even doing this can't prevent other parts from getting hot, then never mind, keep heating and just be careful later to only bend what you need.
Heating directly under the tap works best when you set the water flow so that it is clear as in the picture, i.e. not bubbling/foaming as air bubbles hinder the heat transfer.
This is also useful to focus the heat on a single point you want to work on, like an elbow or a knee. Remember than bending at the knee will look far more natural than a bent shin ;-)

http://s1.tsuki-board.net/image/600/kyoshinhei1490541152.jpeg
You know the part is hot enough when you can easily bend it without strength.
How long it takes for the plastic to reach that state varies a bit with the formula used by the manufacturer but varies a lot with the thickness of the part. For the wrist of a 1/8 figure like here, it usually takes me anything between 10 and 30 seconds at 60°C. For a leg or a torso, it can take a minute or more (and it will be less flexible than a wrist or an ankle)
Do not attempt to bend the part much further than it needs to (i.e. do not do what I did in the last picture :-p), you could tear the paint or the plastic. But do not fear either, remember that nothing bad will happen as long as you don't apply unnecessary strength. If you need strength, then it's probably not hot enough. Back to the water! (mind that the water cools off and becomes less potent over time, change it if need be)

http://s1.tsuki-board.net/image/600/kyoshinhei1490541154.jpeg
When the part is hot, you have about 5 to 10 seconds to position it properly before it starts hardening again. If you miss that time frame, back to the water! Don't worry, you can try again as many times as you need.
Hold the part in place until the plastic has cooled off and is completely hard again. Actually the best thing to to is to run cold water on the part. This speeds up the process a lot and feels like you're quenching a sword like some badass blacksmith B-)
I couldn't do it here because I was working on a very small area but when straightening a leaning figure or fixing a peg misalignment, this works wonders.

http://s1.tsuki-board.net/image/600/kyoshinhei1490541156.jpeg
And here's the result, visually at least that's an improvement over the beginning.
http://s1.tsuki-board.net/image/thumbnails/kyoshinhei1490541118.jpeg
http://s1.tsuki-board.net/image/600/kyoshinhei1490541158.jpeg
Now that's some stability too!

And there you have it, that was the "hot water" method for fixing a bent figure. I'm sure many of you knew a method already, feel free to share them in the comments. As for those who didn't, I hope this helps you fixing stuff you didn't know how to or were afraid to try.

To conclude, here's a bit of a disclaimer: with this method your can straighten up a leaning figure but this is seldom permanent. The figure will often start leaning again after a few weeks/months. The good news is that you can reiterate the fix as many times as needed. For example I've used this method on ITEM #2109 dozens of times (before I got fed up and finally drove a steel rod through her leg ^^).
1,993 hits • 6 comments

Comments6 comments

0pt
DonkeyBlonkey (8 months ago) #19308046Of course but when you say
"I don't know if this is a common issue with this figure but ever since I got her a few years ago I've had this problem: since most of her weight is resting on her left hand, she's very unstable and she would fall from the jungle gym at the slightest shake."

Then sure it's a going to become an issue if you're not using the clear stand xD
Other than that, the content of the tutorial is great.

Yeah my bad, it's just that I had totally forgotten about it until you mentioned it ^^;
But now the more I think about it, the more this feels like they realized the problem halfway through production and decided it would be cheaper to just throw in a little stand rather than fix the figures they had already cast.
Anyway I digress, wether this was a flaw or not is of little significance to this tutorial :-p
I could have chosen a more obviously flawed example in my collection, like ITEM #2109's leaning or Zafira's paws in ITEM #6429 that don't lay flat on the ground. It's just that Tsukihi was on my mind after falling yet again while reorganizing my shelves ^^
8 months ago
2pt
kyoshinhei (8 months ago) #19305453You're right, I should still have it. I should look for the box in my basement sometime.
However since most production pictures don't show this stand, I wanted to find a solution that didn't need it. She looks much better without ;-)
Of course but when you say
"I don't know if this is a common issue with this figure but ever since I got her a few years ago I've had this problem: since most of her weight is resting on her left hand, she's very unstable and she would fall from the jungle gym at the slightest shake."

Then sure it's a going to become an issue if you're not using the clear stand xD

Other than that, the content of the tutorial is great.
8 months ago
0pt
DonkeyBlonkey (8 months ago) #19299342I don't know what happened to yours but she comes with a plastic stand for her right leg/foot to rest on.
e.g. this pic: s1.tsuki-board....

You're right, I should still have it. I should look for the box in my basement sometime.
However since most production pictures don't show this stand, I wanted to find a solution that didn't need it. She looks much better without ;-)
8 months ago
0pt
Thanks for sharing! I attempted this method on the bikini straps of ITEM #78376 but was unsuccessful so I just stretched them with brute strength. It wasn't my best work, but oh well. Since then I learned that I actually had a hair dryer so I've been using that on the lowest setting to heat up the PVC enough to get stuff in place safely like with ITEM #331681.

Reinforcing with steel rods works well too. I should know, my surgeon used the same concept to repair my ankle >.>
8 months ago
7pt
I don't know what happened to yours but she comes with a plastic stand for her right leg/foot to rest on.

e.g. this pic: s1.tsuki-board....
8 months ago
1pt
Nice guide! Very thorough ^^
8 months ago