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Expected Life Span of Figures and Aging (POLL!)Expected Life Span of Figures and Aging (POLL!)Ask MFC

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dtindcareadtindcarea9 months ago
Because I want to learn as much as possible about figure collecting to inform my future purchases, one topic I didn't see much information on was the expected life span of a figure. I mention a few other reasons why this is an important topic to discuss on MFC in the rest of my article. The effects of time, gravity, and the elements will eventually wear on figures regardless of how well they are taken care of. The production quality of the figure might also be important.

I have posted a poll question and discussion thread soliciting opinions on the expected life span of figures. You may have to join the forum club called "Take care of your figures!" to participate, which by the way is a good forum for discussing the care of your figures. All you have to do is go to Take care of your figures! and click the join button to the far right of the club name (you can click on the same icon to leave the club whenever you want so there really isn't reason why you shouldn't join the club even if it is only on a temporary basis.)

At times during your collecting you may face the choice of whether to purchase an older figure or not. For a used figure aging can depend a lot on how well the figure was taken care of, displayed, and whether it was subjected to any excessive heat, light, or humidity. In addition, even figures that remain sealed in the box for years can experience deterioration and aging. According to some of the experts here, PVC plastic can break down over time if it doesn't have enough oxygen in a sealed box. In addition, windows on figure boxes can let in light which leads to some aging. https://static.myfigurecollection.net/upload/pictures/2019/12/17/2349309.jpeg
One of my oldest figures

Also, for a collector who has been displaying figures for many years, there likely comes a time where a decision must be made regarding whether an older figure is worth displaying any more due to deterioration in its quality. Accidents can happen, parts can get lost, etc. that can also shorten the displayable lifespan of the figure.

In addition, if figures have a long expected life (i.e., they outlive you) it may be important to consider re-sale value or, if your collection is large enough, to consider them in your estate planning.


Beyond participating in the poll, if you wish to participate in the discussion thread. Here are a few questions that could be discussed in the thread:

1) What is the expected lifespan of a figure, i.e., when does it deteriorate enough to become obsolete? Does the expected lifespan depend on the quality of the product and, for example, what is a cheaper SEGA figure's lifespan versus an expensive Aniplex figure?

2) When you buy, is the age of the figure important at all in your decision making process? Or is the age mostly unimportant relative other factors? I'm talking about figures having differences in age of say (5 years). But, feel free to discuss larger age differences and whether they matter.

3) What are the major factors that result in deterioration of figures over time? Which factors are most important? I mentioned a few in my introduction above but are there other factors I missed?

Thanks in advance for participating in the discussion and poll!


EDIT: Based on the excellent comments that I've received so far, it has given me more optimism that figures are likely to last a long time with proper care. How long they are good enough quality to be displayable is based on individual tastes to some extent but even here there is optimism that figures can be fixed, if flaws appear, or collectors may accept some flaws to continue to display their most-loved figures.

As far as the poll, even though 20 to 50 years is the leading category for expected lifespan, the 50 to 100 and 100 plus categories has a substantial amount of believers. Again, the optimism is clearly evident from the poll answers.
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Comments32

Seravy9 months ago#72099467I buy figures for a lifetime - unlike a chair or tv where you can buy a new one if the old one breaks, for figures, at best you could replace it with another equally old figure. So they have to be durable because there is no replacement. I guess this applies to pretty much everything that qualifies as a physical piece of art though.
Almost all my figures are as good as new and many are 10 or more years old. The one notable exception I found is the gold paint on Galaxy Angel figures disappears over time. They must have used the wrong kind of paint for them. Also some bases seem to turn yellow over time.


I want to summarize what you are saying. Basically, that figures should be treated as works of art. No one has said it exactly like that but that was definitely one of the questions that I had when I wrote the article. I wasn't sure whether that was the case, but based on your comments and others, it certainly seems like it is the case. Very nice to get your thoughts.
9 months ago
Valerie9 months ago#72134493Imo it depends on the materials - for example ITEM #8088 , ITEM #5873 and ITEM #37951
had a big issue with their plastic bows and ribbons - the plastic started to simply melt and the paint to smudge all over the figure or whatever it touched. No cleaning helped because those plastic parts were simply degrading and it was not a question of maintenance.
Something similar happened to the base of ITEM #129047 . It became sticky and I had no choice but throw it away after futile attempts of removing the melting surface. Weirdly enough nothing like that happened to my other figures, even of the same type like ITEM #11491 or the same year of production.
Apparently it's some specific type of material which is at blame.
TL:DR the durability of figures depends on initial quality and materials used.
Also, the longest time I've had any figure in possession is 4,5 years which is not too long, but I haven't noticed any changes in them during this time: they are not changing colors or whatever, there can be paint transfer on some places or damages which happen due to other reasons than their age. But I keep all them in a cool & dark place if that matters. Older figures ofc look much more yellowish than new ones, but I can't tell if it's the age or the initial material - for instance these ITEM #391 & ITEM #13798 are now absolutely the same as I bought them in 2015 (even if they turned more yellow than initially - it must have happened before I bought them).


Sorry to hear about problems with those figures. I guess sometimes you have to hope that they were produced with good materials. Not sure if it is a big issue for figures but the sourcing of materials for making products can make a huge difference in their quality and the sources might change over time due to costs or other factors. Thanks for sharing your experience.
9 months ago
citrus9 months ago#72145281The incredible stability of polystyrene that basically prevents it from biodegrading means gunpla pretty much lasts forever.sarious9 months ago#72138019I bought ITEM #552 in 2014 and it was in perfect condition. It's now in storage, but after 12 years since manufacturing and over the course of at least 5 years on display (wasn't sealed when I bought). It is basically in mint condition. Since that was my first figure and the only "old" one I've had for a significant amount of time, my expectation is that figures will last.

Great if they last. Thanks for the comments.
9 months ago
The incredible stability of polystyrene that basically prevents it from biodegrading means gunpla pretty much lasts forever.
9 months ago
sarious Chino is My Life
I bought ITEM #552 in 2014 and it was in perfect condition. It's now in storage, but after 12 years since manufacturing and over the course of at least 5 years on display (wasn't sealed when I bought). It is basically in mint condition. Since that was my first figure and the only "old" one I've had for a significant amount of time, my expectation is that figures will last.
9 months ago
Imo it depends on the materials - for example ITEM #8088 , ITEM #5873 and ITEM #37951
had a big issue with their plastic bows and ribbons - the plastic started to simply melt and the paint to smudge all over the figure or whatever it touched. No cleaning helped because those plastic parts were simply degrading and it was not a question of maintenance.
Something similar happened to the base of ITEM #129047 . It became sticky and I had no choice but throw it away after futile attempts of removing the melting surface. Weirdly enough nothing like that happened to my other figures, even of the same type like ITEM #11491 or the same year of production.
Apparently it's some specific type of material which is at blame.
TL:DR the durability of figures depends on initial quality and materials used.

Also, the longest time I've had any figure in possession is 4,5 years which is not too long, but I haven't noticed any changes in them during this time: they are not changing colors or whatever, there can be paint transfer on some places or damages which happen due to other reasons than their age. But I keep all them in a cool & dark place if that matters. Older figures ofc look much more yellowish than new ones, but I can't tell if it's the age or the initial material - for instance these ITEM #391 & ITEM #13798 are now absolutely the same as I bought them in 2015 (even if they turned more yellow than initially - it must have happened before I bought them).
9 months ago
I buy figures for a lifetime - unlike a chair or tv where you can buy a new one if the old one breaks, for figures, at best you could replace it with another equally old figure. So they have to be durable because there is no replacement. I guess this applies to pretty much everything that qualifies as a physical piece of art though.
Almost all my figures are as good as new and many are 10 or more years old. The one notable exception I found is the gold paint on Galaxy Angel figures disappears over time. They must have used the wrong kind of paint for them. Also some bases seem to turn yellow over time.
9 months ago
dtindcarea9 months ago#72075071I was wondering if the paints would fade a bit over a medium term horizon like 10 years.

I have one figure which was made in 2010, and I have had her on display for roughly 6 years now, always behind glass. I know 2010 isn't necessarily "old" by figure standards, but I think she's a tough one to find ... anyhow, I've noticed that her coloring looks more faded than her stock photos. I can't remember if she was always like this or if this is just time happening, or perhaps a mix of both.

Regarding paint transfer, I find that it happens with jackets for me always. I own two figures with jackets and they both have paint transfer on them. Someone told me that some blister packaging under the shoulders would solve this, but I haven't tried it.

I think pets could just be allergy wise, not certain. I personally would not purchase a second hand figure that was displayed around a dog. I don't think "dog smell" counts as a real thing, but for me I just can't get over the idea. Smoking definitely would leave a smell though.

And yes, I agree with all of your points about MFC. I haven't been on here for long either and have tried to make the blogs more livelier. I absolutely love reading people's reviews on figures so I'm glad when people make posts.
9 months ago
SebastianLover9 months ago#72073291I have a figure who is 24 years old, has changed hands a few times, and still looks great!

Very nice. And, it is hard to control how well the figure was cared for if it is third hand or so.

SebastianLover9 months ago#72073291Plus, I think paint transfer is pretty much inevitable after so many years....
Another issue is paint transfers. Even with normal use, if you attach accessories and leave them on long enough, paint will transfer. It can even transfer to/from furniture as I found out the hard way.>.>

As a pre-owned collector, and having stupidly damaged some figures myself, although I do try to preserve my figures, I don't get hung up on keeping them perfect. If they get paint transfers, lose a few accessories, or require a glue job, they'll still always be mine.


Lots of good comments but I wanted to comment on the paint transfer problem. I've never experienced it, so it is a big unknown to me. When/if it happens, it will stink of course. Like that figure pictured in my article. Her hair needs to be supported by those supports because otherwise her hair will start sagging. But, then it is probably going to eventually wear on the paint where the supports touch. You can't have it both ways I guess if they design a figure like that.

Excellent comment about not getting hung up on being perfect. After all, you want to enjoy them too so if that means handling them on occasion and you handle them carefully, then so be it. That's why I decided that I wasn't going to be a collector who kept their figures in boxes to preserve them or put them in a cabinet and rarely touched them.
9 months ago
galablue9 months ago#72060674OK now because I have time to actually answer.
1) I am thinking that figures, when you don't touch them, are built to last. If you are moving them around a lot I am supposing they will break quicker. For example, I've had some figures for 6 years and they still look great, but a figure I got just this past year decided to break when I tried to remove it from its stand. Most of the time, I notice that the figure itself (plastic) looks great over time, but sometimes older figures can lose some paint saturation. I don't really know what this is exactly due to, but I am guessing it's because of sunlight/temperature. It would be my first instinct that a cheaper figure would have a shorter life span ... but I don't really know if this is the case. A more expensive figure probably has more moving parts and is more subject to breaking, and if they're made out of the same thing then they probably would stand the test of time the same. However, if a material is more cheaply made, it's subject to break.
3) I think the major factor that results in deterioration would be user handling and mistakes. I find that most figures break at stress points when you try to put them together or you are moving them around. Other than that, I would say sunlight and temperature.


I was wondering if the paints would fade a bit over a medium term horizon like 10 years. I agree that touching your figures a lot can lead to issues, particularly if you aren't careful.

galablue9 months ago#72060674
2) When I buy figures, the age is unimportant and not really relative. Sometimes I like to buy older figures because I just like them. What's important to me is if they've been kept in the box, if there have been smokers/pets around them, where they were stored, etc. New figures might be new, but they aren't necessarily made better.

4) Bonus question because you asked me. You are right, forums are dead. For me they are too confusing to get to and new blog posts are shown directly on the front page. I would rather participate in a blog post I guess. But maybe that would change in the future.


And, yes, all the hair from pets really can be a problem. I didn't start collecting until after all of our pets got their angel's wings at least I don't have to worry about it in taking care of my figures. I can also see how smoking can be a problem. I forget about it because I mostly don't have to deal with it in my daily life.

I don't know who is in charge of MFC generally but I agree that things could be improved here. Part of it is just more participation by members but part of it is making it easy for members to participate and giving them a good reason to participate. I certainly don't have all the answers and I'm still just relying on initial impressions because I haven't been here long but my initial impression is that MFC could be a much more vibrant club. For example, couldn't the clout of this club be used in some way to benefit it's users more, perhaps to get discounts at certain sellers for MFC members? More importantly, creating a database with ratings and discussion of the major (and minor) toy sellers would be very beneficial to members in assessing who to use for future purchases. The basic structure is already there with the items database. Social media is incredibly powerful particularly as a way to reward good business practices and change bad practices. This is a tangent discussion so maybe it deserves another article.
9 months ago
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