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Re: Rio Grande Handy-Man (Damaged) Models Sale
During my time working with my local model shop, I have come across many instances of deterioration of the foam packaging in the way that Doug describes. It most commonly occurs in boxes with sticky carpet tape on the base of the box, so I suspect that the glue solvent in the tape is a major cause of the foam becoming less rigid and sticking to the model where they are in contact. However, the dark grey foam used by Navis Neptun in the brown card boxes deteriorates in the destroyer and smaller ship boxes in which there was no tape at all, so the carpet tape glue cannot be the entire source of the problem.
Perhaps the newly painted models give off some solvent vapour or when bubbles in the foam are compressed uncured monomer molecules come into contact with polymer chains and soften them to produce a guey mess that then attacks the paint surface. Either way, stored models are best removed from boxes and placed on glass shelves in a dry, dust free, environment.
I have bought a few where the foam is starting to disintegrate, and several usually very cheap, where the foam has died and stained the model! some were cleanable - just - but most needed partial/complete repaint!
These are mostly from the 80's and kept in original boxes and packing. I have seen this most often with Mercator and Navis-Neptun, but seen it in others. The dark grey soft foam tends to lose its flexibility and seems to granulize when pinched. This has been mainly the Dark Grey foam, the yellow (white), pink or green ones don't seem to have the same problem. I haven't seen it with Styrofoam either.
I can't ascertain all storage conditions, but these were in a higher humidity lower altitude coastal area, but I have seen Superior foam from the 70's-80's do the same thing while kept here in the High Desert. (Superiors just need to painted afterwards, anyway).
I have a feeling that this may have been during the initial "green" recycling period, and packing was intended to deteriorate after a while, and where the foam met model, the paint oils reacted. (just a guess). It may also be a reaction between the oil in paint and the foam.
I would recommend examining models stored with foam for a long time occasionally. if the foam loses its texture and granulizes, get rid of it. You can get new foam from Sewing Supply stores that is designed for seat cushions readily.
Would like to know more about this foam deterioration, Doug.
Were these unused models in original packing or had a previous owner added his own foam (what sort?) for protection?
Had the models been subjected to heat, direct sunlight or damp conditions, do you know.
Can't say I've ever had a problem with long term storage in original packaging.
Should those of us with part of our collection on display but others stored in boxes be worried ?