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Figure Newcomer Guide #2: Different Materials

Figure Newcomer Guide #2: Different Materials
31 июл 2010 04:12:26

Hallo, everynyan! It's me again, this time to inform you about the different kinds of material you will find in your figure-collecting travels.

PVC

PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is by far the most common material you'll see in figures. Everything from tiny trading figures to fancy statues use it, and it's also quite common in piping. It's affordable and easy to work with, meaning it's an obvious choice for manufacturers to use. By adjusting the amount of plasticizers in the PVC, manufacturers can control the flexibility of the plastic, meaning that the rubbery bangs and solid limbs of your Figma are made of the same plastic. However, the biggest flaw of PVC is that heat can slowly loosen the plasticizers over a long period of time, which can cause problems from drooping limbs to a waxy texture (more on that in the maintenance and repairs article).

ABS

If you want, you can go dig out some LEGO bricks from your attic - those are the most well-known use of ABS. ABS is a much tougher plastic than PVC - it's tougher to mold into intricate shapes, but it's a lot sturdier, making it a great component for figure bases. Some newer scale figures also use ABS for the legs, preventing the issue of leaning.

Resin/Cold Cast

Resin is the easiest plastic to obtain and use in a home setting, making it the material of choice for most garage kits. However, due to the imperfections of resin casting, it's a lot more likely to have bubbles or other imperfections. Cold-casting is merely a different method of casting resin, in which no heat is used. It allows a mold to be used a lot more than a hot-cast mold (because there's no heat to degrade the mold), but the resulting figures are more fragile.

Die-cast

Die-cast metal (also referred to as chogokin) is relatively uncommon in most figures, but some lines, including S.H. Figuarts and SIC, have a fairly large number of die-cast parts. Die-cast parts are a lot sturdier, but harder to paint and color, so they're mainly used for details like armor plating. Being metal, it's also a lot heavier than PVC, which is why the S.H. Figuarts line has die-cast feet - the heavier feet mean that the figures can pull off an insane number of poses, such as balancing on one foot.


The wonders of die-cast feet! (Thanks, Kajico!)

The Soul of Chogokin line derives its name from the fact that each figure has a very large number of die-cast parts. As a result, these figures are bulky, sturdy, and expensive.

POM

Polyoxymethylene, or POM, is a plastic that has low friction and high stability. However, due to its melting point being considerably lower than PVC or ABS, it's not commonly used to make the bodies or limbs of figures - rather, it's often used to make joints. The slightly rubbery plastic found in the joints of Robot Damashiis and some Gunpla are made of POM.

So which material is best?

Honestly, they all have their own pros and cons. What I would say is this: PVC for details, ABS for the base and particularly fragile parts, and die-cast for areas on the lower body. The S.H. Figuarts Kamen Riders are a pretty good example of different materials being used effectively. Overall, though, there's no definitive material!
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AvaTaRRuS
AvaTaRRuS (Russia)
31 июл 2010, 00:13:03
0 (0)
Оцени коммент!
Ой-ёй! Кто-нибудь может продублировать пост на русском?!
Thanks!
riraito
riraito (Russia)
31 июл 2010, 08:42:03
2 (2)
Оцени коммент!
PVC, или поливинилхлорид (ПВХ), самый популярный у фигурок материал. Везде он встречается: от меленьких коммерческих фигурок до фантастических статуэток, а также его можно встретить в трубопроводах (добавлю, что рамы для стеклопакетов да и вообще практически всё пластмасса, которую мы видим и пользуемся каждый день - всё это ПВХ). Он доступен и с ним легко работать, значит это очевидный выбор для производителей. Меняя количество пластификаторов в ПВХ, производители могут контролировать гибкость пластика, т.о. эластичные челки/хвостики/длинные концы волос и твердые конечности твоей фигмы сделаны из одной и той же пластмассы. Однако, самый большой недостаток ПВХ - под воздействием жары он может постепенно потерять пластификаторы на довольно продолжительное время, из-за чего могут возникнуть проблемы: от висячих конечностей до восковидной поверхности (больше об этом в разделе об обслуживании и починке).
Дальше продолжать?
usagi_joou
usagi_joou (Russia)
31 июл 2010, 01:57:47
1 (1)
Оцени коммент!
Great article! Funny and understandable! I'm not a newcomer, but I enjoy reading guides and FAQs, esp. when they are so much fun to read!

Waiting for moar!
I'm too old for this shit, ain't I?
mu597
mu597 (USA)
31 июл 2010, 08:47:48
0 (0)
Оцени коммент!
I don't think there is a definitive material either although...

Cold Cast figures seem to cost much more than PVC ones do but seem to have around the same level of quality.

And it should be mentioned that figures made almost entirely out of die-cast Have a very impressive weight and feel to them.
Kajico
Kajico (USA)
31 июл 2010, 09:07:21
1 (1)
Оцени коммент!
Excellent article, you might want to include POM though since lots of figures especially Robot Damashii's use POM for joints. Not sure if it's common enough though to be worth a mentioning.

Also a demonstration of the beauty of die-cast feet is in order.



V3 is one of the first Figuarts, so some of his joints are a bit weaker than the newer ones, but the beauty of balanced die-cast feet can still be seen.
KururuSouchou
KururuSouchou (USA)
31 июл 2010, 14:45:59
0 (0)
Оцени коммент!
Now that you mention it, it's probably worth adding. Also, mind if I use that picture in the article?
Kajico
Kajico (USA)
31 июл 2010, 20:11:28
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Оцени коммент!
i don't mind :)
KururuSouchou
KururuSouchou (USA)
01 авг 2010, 06:39:16
1 (1)
Оцени коммент!
Alright, cool. I'll update it now.
Vivi
Vivi (Russia)
02 авг 2010, 16:56:52
0 (0)
Оцени коммент!
Thanks! Veru nice and useful article.

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