Removing HW Figures From Bases

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Nuttybott
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Posts: 308
Joined: 04 Feb 2006, 16:30

Removing HW Figures From Bases

Post by Nuttybott »

Does anyone know a good way to remove HW figures from bases where they have been glued in using super glue? Does boiling or very hot water soften this kind of glue to the point where you can pull the player out? Or is there another method that works better?

Thanks for any suggestions and help. :)
Football was NOT invented in 1992. It was in 1973, the year I bought my first Subbuteo set... :lol:
Ralph1

Re: Removing HW Figures From Bases

Post by Ralph1 »

If it is superglue then youve got a problem
Silverfox63
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Re: Removing HW Figures From Bases

Post by Silverfox63 »

Ralph1 wrote: 06 Jul 2021, 11:57 If it is superglue then youve got a problem
Definitely a problem.

With polystyrene cement it sort of welds the two pieces together and hot water can loosen it to the point where they will part. Sometimes the incompatibility of the plastic also allows this. The "welding" process doesn`t happen and the pieces are merely held fast. You will find that the type of plastic used for the figures both white and flesh is a slightly different composition to that of the original inners.
I am no qualified expert but I believe there is a higher oil content in the coloured plastic which dries out with time, hence the warping and shrinkage sometimes seen. This combined with the different plastics often allowed for an easier separation. Careful wiggling and use of a scalpel blade can get between the composite parts and with time they will separate. Its time consuming but will eventually work. Although there will be disasters along the way.

The problem with superglues is that they form a microscopic bond by infiltrating the plastics structure ( I was told this by a chap in the plastics industry many years ago) which is virtually impossible to break. The surfaces are full of microscopic fissures and holes and are porous and the glue gets in and creates the chemical bond. Your skin is organic and can be treated differently also the flexibility helps break the micro bonds.

The only way to separate super glued items is to undertake the latter part of the first paragraph and work at them with a scalpel or craft knife, taking great care to pick the bonding apart.
I would advise investing in a very good magnifying glass or jewellers loop to look at the bond. If there is no definitive line between the two pieces you will most likely break one or not be able to cleanly separate the bond.

My experience regarding this is from restoring literally hundreds of Subbuteo figures, Timpo and Herald soldiers and Scalextric items over the years and trying to rescue botched glue jobs etc. Things like Evostik and LePages glue which crystalizes with age can be removed with care, likewise Bostik which eventually dries out and can be carved and chipped away. The same process applies to polystyrene cement where its not entirely fused the parts together.

A good while ago you could buy a product called "Modelstrip". It was a paste that you could apply to plastic kits and Subbuteo figures to strip the paint off. It looked like Polyfilla and you spread it all over the surface you wanted to strip ensuring complete coverage (with Subbuteo figures if often entailed covering the figure and the base inner for good coverage). You then placed them in a freezer bag for 3-4 days to allow the chemicals to work. Then you scrubbed them clean with a toothbrush under hot water. About 75% of the time it took them back to bare plastic removing absolutely everything. Sometimes the plastic was tainted with pigment from stronger colours such as red and black. The one odd benefit from this was the ability it had to dissolve the glue holding the figure to the inner and very often the inner to the outer.
Sadly it appears that you cannot buy it anymore in the UK.

Recently I was guided towards a product called NDS Ecosolutions Model Paint Remover by a guy in Games Workshop when buying some paints. He used it to strip a load of cheap Warhammer plastics he had bought on Ebay.

This is a liquid rather than a paste, you immerse the figures in it entirely. I have had varying degrees of success with it. Completely stripped some Airfix footballer figures right back to the plastic and it removes the glossy sheen as well makes the superb to paint afterwards. With Subbuteo figures it removes everything apart from the tainting the red and black paint causes. It does break down the poly cement as well. Untried on superglued stuff though, sorry!.

I hope the above is of some help to you. Apologies for the novel :lol!:
Any questions PM me. Always glad to help.
SIDAZALEL
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Joined: 23 Dec 2004, 19:18
Location: Thame,Oxon

Re: Removing HW Figures From Bases

Post by SIDAZALEL »

Hi,

You can get modelstrip from Rails of Sheffield, got some this year.
Kind Regards Simon
Silverfox63
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Posts: 85
Joined: 16 Jul 2020, 16:59

Re: Removing HW Figures From Bases

Post by Silverfox63 »

Thanks for that tip. I`ll give them a try.
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