Sunday, April 20, 2008

[Review] Vinyl Aid

I am normally not prone to heating and disassembling expensive vinyl toys, but a recent purchase arrived in a bit of an odd condition. Upon being unpacked, I was a little disappointed to find that this Dengu toy from Amapro had a warped leg, which kept it from standing level. In hindsight, this may have been the reason that it was sold in the first place, because it looked more like production deformation, rather than shipping damage.

So, how to fix it?

To be honest, I have never worked with vinyl in the past, although I have done some work with soft PVC plastic toys. I do know that heat will soften vinyl, while cold will re-set the vinyl. So first, I put a large pot of water on the stove at low heat, and filled a pan with tap water and ice cubes. Once the water reached around 90 degrees or so, I popped the toy in a Ziploc bag and dunked it in the water for around a minute. The vinyl is pretty soft and malleable, but not enough so to create a significant risk of unintentional reshaping. I pull the leg out and adjust the arm, and then pop the right half of the body in the ice water bath to set the warm vinyl.

Unfortunately, I was careless and let water infiltrate the body of the toy. But fortunately, the back hatch was soft enough to slip off the main body and drain the water out. This also had a second benefit of revealing that part of the problem was the area around the leg, which had puckered due to the original damage. So I then reheated the vinyl and repeated the process, pushing out the belly and leg area before cooling the vinyl again. After letting all of the water evaporate, all that was left to do is to heat the bit of extra vinyl (by dipping it in the hot water) around the 'back hatch' piece, so that it could slip back into the main body. And then, good as new!

So what did I learn? Well, turns out, vinyl, and the airbrushed paint, is pretty hardy. Nothing was really damaged far as I can tell, and the toy emerged from its hot water and ice water baths none the worse for wear.

Amapro - Dengu (Monstock color ver.).

This Dengu is a store exclusive by Amapro that was sold earlier this year at Monstock, in celebration of the store's 1 year anniversary. There were at least two versions for sale: this normal color version, and a secret color version with gold eyes and pink spray on the back. Another unpainted clear green version was shown, but I am not sure if it was for sale. Another exclusive released at the anniversary celebration was a black 'prototype' version of Touma's new sculpt, Destodon. These have been fairly hard to find on the secondary market, because Monstock sells most toys through walk-in only. Thanks to the person that gave me a heads-up on this one.

Dengu is a patchi-kaiju toy produced by Amapro, and based on a design by Karasawa Naoki that was originally shown in Figure Ou (Figure King) magazine. Amapro's website identifies it as 'Rampaging Space Beast Dengu.' There have been quite a few versions produced of Dengu in a variety of colors, including a green GID vinyl "1 billion volt" version. This particular Dengu is pulled in bottle-green vinyl, with metallic gold spray on its back and matte pink on its eyes. Amapro has only recently begun using clear vinyl, and I believe this is only its second toy to make use of it (the first was a Kaiju-Taro exclusive, standard-size Naruton).

As one of the neo-vintage style toy makers, Amapro is somewhat the antithesis of Dream Rocket. Where Dream Rocket creates toys with clean lines, intricate detail and flawlessly executed paint, Amapro is roughly sculpted, textured and colored with a few choice passes of the airbrush. Much as with certain traditional Japanese pottery, the beauty is in imperfection.

More photos below (and larger versions available here):

1 comment:

krakit said...

Wow! What a toy and your story
of how you set its foot straight
is so helpful.

Thank you for sharing the great
photos and your experience.