Dusting - Armor-All

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Written by Darko

Dust; the eternal enemy of the toy collector. Sure, you spent hours getting your Rattlers and Skystrikers hung from the ceiling at just the right angles, but your epic dogfight loses some of its charm when, after a few weeks, it looks like the Joes and Cobras fired their maids. But, as long as we toy collectors keep producing dead, flaky skin in startling quantities, dust will always be a problem. Fortunately, there's an easy and relatively painless way of cleaning your vehicle collection when dust does strike.

First, you're going to need the following:

  • A dusty vehicle
  • Armor-all brand auto wipes
  • A sword or other thin action figure accessory
Armor-All wipes and the first Joe-sword I pulled off the top of the pile

For this tutorial, I used the "cleaning" type of Armor All wipes, but typically the "Protectant" wipes work better (...the store was out when I went to purchase them) and keep your vehicles dust-free longer. However, either type will work.

Now, let's start with our dusty vehicles. I grabbed two from my collection, a vintage Rattler that has been hanging from the ceiling, and a Night Boomer that has been sitting in my closet waiting for me to find a second tail-fin for it. I picked the Rattler since it seemed like a vehicle that most people will have. I picked the Night Boomer for a very specific reason, but more on that later.

It's seen better days
it's seen MUCH better days


For the Rattler, the process is pretty simple and self explanatory. Just grab yourself an Armor-All wipe and start wiping it down. The great thing about Armor All wipes is that they won't harm vinyl-style decals (like were used for 99% of the Joe line), so you can just go right over the top of them.

No harm done

Of course, if you're working with vehicles that have paper-based decals (like most of the later 90's vehicles), this is not the case, and you'll have to be more careful around them. There's also one other major exception, but more on that later.

Once you've shined up the majority of your vehicle, you're going to start noticing that dust has settled into the multitude of crevasses and seams on the shell. This is where your sword (or other thin accessory) comes in. Take your Armor-All wipe and lay it over the seam in the vehicle. Then, run the blade of the sword down the seam, pressing the wipe into it. For smaller seams, use your finger nail instead of the accessory. This will, of course, take awhile for larger vehicles (...woe to anyone who needs to clean their Defiant Complex), but it's worth it in the end.

cleaning the main seam between the two shell halves

....And there we have it; a cleaned Rattler. Another benefit of the Armor-All wipes is that they give your vehicles a nice, rich shine (especially if you use the Protectant Wipes).

Ready for display!

Now onto the Night Boomer. For the most part, the process is the same, so I won't spend much time on this at all, except to mention one very, very important point about working with Night Force vehicles. Night Force vehicles show dust better than just about any other vehicles out there (being black and all), so you're probably tempted to start slopping the Armor-All wipes across them right away. DON'T. While the vehicles react fine, the Night Force glow-in-the-dark decals do not. You must be very, very careful when working with them, since even the slightest touch of an Armor-All wipe to one of the decals will strip the black ink off. Here's an example:

L: Before me being an idiot R: After

That decal damage was caused when the corner of the wipe I was working with slipped out of my hand and lightly touched the sticker. No pressure was applied, and it only touched for about half a second. And it's not like Night Force replacement decals are easy to find. So, when working with Night Force vehicles, be extremely careful. Use only the corner of a wipe when cleaning around the decals, and if it's too much of a risk (like, say, a decal is right next to a really tight seam), just wipe the dust away with a dry cloth instead. It's better to have less shine than to ruin the decals.

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