A Way to Deal with Yellowing Doll Bodies?

This was mentioned on Facebook recently as a possible way to get the yellow out of vinyl doll bodies. I haven't tried it but I plan to.  Click on the logo below or the title of the article to go to the original post.

How to deal with the “not-so-mellow yellow” of old computers and consoles

Anyone who has dug their old computer or console out of the cupboard or loft for some retro gaming will probably have noticed that it maybe hasn’t worn too well with the test of time. The plastics these machines were made of is called ABS and to make it flame retardant (just in case it catches fire after a marathon session) the plastics manufacturers added chemicals that caused the plastic turn yellow or, even worse, brown over a long period of time.

It was originally thought that the yellowing was permanent and that the only solution to this was to paint the plastic in its original colour and cover the problem up. However, a chance discovery was made in March 2008, by The CBM Museum at Wuppertal in Germany (http://www.forum64.de), that immersing parts in a solution of Hydrogen Peroxide for a few days could partially reverse the process. This was initially taken up by the Amiga community in Germany (http://www.a1k.org) and the idea eventually found its way to the English Amiga Board (http://eab.abime.net), where a madcap collection of chemists, plastics engineers and retro hackers managed to perfect this concept and put it on steroids, with help from other forums.

Dave Stevenson from Manchester, UK, aka 'Merlin', the chemist behind the project, explains. “I came across the use of peroxide in July 2008 when Kristian95 told us over at EAB about what people like AmigaGTI were doing with it over at a1k.org. I was intrigued by this, as I am a former industrial chemist. I am also a plant Safety Manager by trade and, purely by coincidence, around that time I read about a dust explosion that had occurred in the UK with a chemical called TAED, which is the booster in the ‘active oxygen’ laundry products.”

“This got me thinking, and after some really 'full-on', serious chemistry discussions with other EAB members, like Rkauer in Brazil, who is a plastics Engineer and my good friend Zetr0 from Kings Lynn, Norfolk, UK, who endured endless phone calls from me, we wrote some epic threads on English Amiga Board about the possible causes of the yellowing and eventually we arrived at the theory that it was the Bromine in the flame retardant that was the cause. We also knew that Ultra Violet light was another major factor. Having identified the culprit, the next stage was to try to develop and perfect a means of treating the plastic and reversing the yellowing quicker, without causing damage to the plastic. Being a former industrial chemist helped me tremendously, in understanding what was going on at the molecular level and to develop a treatment process to reverse the effect.”

“The problem was finally cracked in late July 2008 with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, a small amount of an “Oxy” laundry booster as a catalyst and a UV lamp; we believed that this could do the job in hours instead of days. Proof of this concept was demonstrated on EAB by Tonyyeb from Hull, UK, Chiark from Leeds, UK and myself. The original test I did as proof of concept took two hours, as opposed to up to the five days it took for the original tests at CBM and a1k.org. We were on to something!!

You don’t have to be a smoker to know the pain of yellowing hardware. Any beige box of a certain age starts to darken and stain like an Englishman’s teeth, turning beautiful retro hardware into the equivalent of a filthy, leering uncle, something to hide, not flaunt.
The reason? Retards. The ABS used for these old machines was rendered flame-retardant with chemical treatments. These chemicals are the ones which cause this unsightly yellowing and until now the only fix was an equally ugly coat of paint.
Retr0bright to the rescue! In a twisting story that started with German boffins and English Amiga nerds, it was eventually discovered that bromine was the yellowing agent, and UV light didn’t help either. The McGyver-esque answer is a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and a dash of commercial laundry booster "Oxy". Paint this on, stick the old computer out in the sun (or under a UV lamp) and several hours later you have a shiny white machine.
The folks at the Retr0bright project will sell you a gel, but if you actually own old hardware then its likely you’re a tinkerer already, in which case you can make your own. Full instructions are on the Retr0bright wiki, but the short recipe is this: Take a weak (10%) solution of hydrogen peroxide, add a dash of Oxy, apply and leave in the sun for an afternoon. That’s it.



Fashion Doll Production in Chinese Factories

I recently asked Emilia about the doll factories in China as she is hunting for a quality factory for her own doll fashion line. It is really fascinating to me as a collector to read this information. 

I've been researching the topic for 3 years now and I've found factories of all sorts, most offering so poor quality there is even no point of mentioning them. Usually the companies that have their own designers and doll/clothing line don't offer their factory services to others and I've knowingly also kept away from them as copyright theft is so common in China. Usually you would send your prototype fashion, doll and patterns to a factory, they will make a sample that you pay for and then if you go to production the sample cost is reduced from your total. The problem is most factories are not willing to write any contracts (and written contracts mean very little anyway) in the sampling phase to say they won't just start making this fashion/doll in their own name. I have paid for samples from innumerable factories and found their quality appallingly ill-fitted. It's like they never even tried to make the it snuggly tailored and they either leave so much fabric in the seams the doll looks like a Michelin man; or they leave so little fabric the whole thing unravels to pieces when you put it on a doll. *sigh*

There are many factories that make resin BJDs, but again I haven't asked if they would have sculptors available as I am working on my own wax prototype. I have also contacted factories that mass produce vinyl dolls, but that is something that requires a huge initial investment as one single industrial mold costs around 40,000usd. That means small editions are pretty much impossible. What you would need to do is run enough dolls for several years to come and then give them to another factory to customize with face up, hair and so forth. Most factories also need the money (or at least half of it) in advance and you never know if you'll be getting a container full of dirty wine bottles instead of dolls (that really happened to a lamp company producing products in China and they never got they money back, so they washed the bottles and made new designer lamps from them).

Also, the production costs in China have nearly doubled every year since 2009. We always complain about our dolls getting more expensive (and me among you), but the fact is that now you cannot even produce a simple fashion with the retail price of a fully dressed FR doll in 2005. The profit margins are decreasing rapidly as China changes from a cheap production country to a highly educated consumer market. The textile industry has already moved to India and Thailand.

What comes to hiring sculptors for doll heads or bodies, I'd actually hire a real art sculptor. They have a better understanding of the human body, bones and muscle structure than most toy makers although many are working in the field. For realistic sculpts the best one I know is Yulli working for Hot Toys (responsible for unbelievably real dolls like
the Godfather) or Rainman who is behind all Elfdoll sculpts (see Hazy and Yumi) as well as many realistic action figure sculpts. My hubby also sculpts great zombies and wrinkly old men if you are into that. LOL

I think this has been a long enough rant for now (and I didn't even do into detail). But do feel free to ask more if you like - maybe it should have it's own thread though so we don't hijack this one. 

...I haven't been to the factories in person, just called and emailed with them (many factory representatives didn't even know internet exists so phone is the only option and time difference doesn't make it any easier). The main problem is finding anything, because China doesn't have phone books, Yellow Pages, or internet listings for factories and suppliers, so the only way of finding them is to know someone who knows someone who... Luckily my business partner is Chinese so she and her extended family and friends have some contacts in mainland China.  

Yes, I speak mandarin Chinese, but the dialects do make everything more complicated, especially Cantonese which really has several writing characters unknown to Mandarin, tons used in different meaning, all pronounced differently and even has different grammar and sentence structure. The reason they are even called dialects is the one-great-China policy as giving regions their own languages would soon bring forth ideas of independence, and if the Cantonese area which is the power house producing all the food in China were to become independent the country's economy would collapse.

What comes to internet the great firewall of China complicated things even further. Many sites such as wikipedia, flickr and free email servers are blocked either constantly or most of the time, and internet connections are so dodgy skype and other softwares seldom work. The things are better in Hong Kong, where I hope to move this Summer, but it does mean that I need to learn Cantonese. *sigh*

 By the way, if you wish to follow this thread on Dolly Daily, click here.


Mattel Jumps in With William and Catherine Dolls

I think many of us would agree that there are already too many William and Catherine dolls available.
On 3/22/2012, this new pair will be available for the tidy sum of $100.
Gold Label® Designed by: Robert Best  Release Date: 2/14/2012 Product Code: W3420

Here is the promotional text from Mattel:
This Royal Wedding® Gift Set includes exquisite portrait dolls of the bride and groom now bestowed with the titles, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The Catherine doll wears an elegant, yet chic, gown inspired by the original and features lovely ivory taffeta trimmed with lace and faux pearl buttons. Also includes wedding bouquet, silvery tiara, earrings and engagement ring. Continuing the elegance is Catherine’s handsome prince. William is dressed in the brilliant scarlet uniform of the Colonel of the Irish Guards, proudly decorated with royal blue sash, metallic cummerbund with bow trimmed in golden fringe, golden buttons and medallions.

William and Catherine Gift Set (two dolls)
Do you think this will ship to Great Britain for any collector that might want a set? BarbieCollector ships only to the United States (all 50), Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories and Canada. However, this set will also be available through doll dealers for the same price. Many ship overseas so if you are wanting this set, go for it!

There's a little sale going on over at BC.Com for 25% off selected Barbie Collector dolls until 2/16. All the Mad Men dolls are on sale and I'm wanting Betty Draper. Actually I want her outfit but it's cheaper to buy the entire doll at this time than to just buy her outfit off the Show & Sell pages or eBay.
Also, if you are already a member of the BCC club, you may order your first club doll and use your first $20 off coupon. The sale will not apply to the new doll but if your order totals a certain amount (possibly $100.) shipping will be free. So here's my twisted mind working. Let's say I order Betty who, on sale, will cost me $56.21. The new Afternoon Suit Barbie Doll will cost $65. after using my first coupon. That adds up to $121. plus NYS tax which eats up part of my discount at $9.70 for a total of $130.91.
How much do I save by spending? Isn't that what it always comes down to? You have to spend to save. A twisted mind, I tell you.

Valentine's Day

One of the largest money-making days for the greeting card, chocolate, cut flowers and jewelry industry is upon us.
Saint Valentine's Day, often simply Valentine's Day,[1][2][3] is a holiday observed on February 14 honoring one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentinus. It was first established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD, and was later deleted from the General Roman Calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI. It is celebrated in countries around the world, mostly in the West, although it remains a working day in all of them.
The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines").[1][3]
Modern Valentine's Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.[4]
The above is from Wikipedia. The entire page is worth reading as it talks about customs in different parts of the world.

So today as I browse the internet and see wonderful photos of dolls in Valentine's Day settings, I will collect some of them here.

I begin with a photo by Michelle in Mi seen on the Studio Commissary:

Next from Rosanna in OR:

On Prego from Adrian:

From MonkeyHaircutter on the W Board:
From Janet in Oregon on Prego:
From Johanna in MD on Prego:
 From Aquabluerose on Prego:
From tinyseams on Prego:
From me:


New Products on the Horizon

Watch for these new products from Tonner, Tonner Toys and Wilde Imagination. These tempting images were posted on FB from the Javits Center Toy Fair today. I'm hoping for better images and descriptions later this week.

Avatar Characters, 22" Resin

Maudlynne Macabre, 15.25" vinyl

City Girls, 16" Vinyl

Runway Fashion Reinterpretation

The Super Sleuths are at it again and have come up with these two fantastic matches. 

Posted by berenis on Dolly Daily
From Mattel:

2012 BFMC Evening Gown Barbie               Givenchy Haute Couture Fall 2011

Posted by corvas on Dolly Daily
From Integrity Toys:

    NuFantasy Gretel 'Sweet Nothing'         Alexander McQueen Fall 2011 RTW
Which versions do you prefer?