Effective Cleaning Of Your G.I.Joe Motor Pool

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G.I. Joe makes a great collectible. There's a massively wide range of very cool figures and equally impressive vehicles to bring into your home, and proudly display.

But, unless you live in a sterile, sealed-off environment completely protected from outside contaminants akin to the scientific medical facility seen in the movie "The Andromeda Strain", and who can afford that?, chances are that sooner or later you're going to be dealing with a noticeable problem...


And while the average dust cloth or feather-type duster might be sufficient for table surfaces and bookshelves, it's not going to be as practical for cleaning a tank. So, what's a G.I. Joe collector to do?

Put away the Pledge, and break out the paint brushes.


That's right -- I said paint brushes. I have found certain types of art brushes to be ideal for getting into the sculpted recesses of some of the more complicated designs of certain G.I. Joe vehicles.

What you want to use are fairly wide brushes, with long, reasonably soft bristles. One of the ones that I use is marked 5/8. You can get a good brush like this at any good art supply store, and probably most hobby shops.

Observe the vehicle I have chosen for this demonstration -- the G.I.JOE BATTLE WAGON. A 90's-era product, it's a fairly cool, if somewhat peculiarly-colored vehicle, that not only has battery-operated wheels, but also a battery-operated rapid-fire missile launcher.


Which, believe me, is great fun if you set a bunch of Cobras up on the deck of the USS FLAGG Aircraft Carrier, which is just about even with the missile launcher, and plow the lot of them down with this thing.

But -- okay -- it hasn't been dusted for a while. And it has a singular lack of smooth surfaces. While not as intricate, perhaps, as a MOBAT Tank, it's complex enough so that a dust cloth is only going to get so far if you really want to get it clean.

Now, a dust cloth will do some good. But it's not going to reach into the really tight spots. Here's where you want to use your brush. basically, you just want to use it like you would if you were painting. Gentle strokes. Shake the dust out of the paint brush every so often.

Time-consuming? It can be, depending on the size of the vehicle and how dirty it is. But the end result should be a vehicle that looks as clean as the day you took it out of its box, and there's certainly nothing wrong with that.


And yes, this technique works just as well on figures, although you might well want to use a smaller brush.

Now, I'd like to discuss two other matters in this article:

Label Residue

Although the clear vinyl labels that came with G.I. Joe vehicles certainly did a lot to enhance the look of those vehicles, it is also true that, over time, some of these labels shrank a bit, and left sticky residue around their edges, that is not easy to deal with.

I pretty well ruined a Sky Striker Combat jet trying to clean this sticky gunk off with harsh soap. So don't do that.

I have had some success with this 91% Alcohol that you can buy at Wal-Mart. You put some on a Q-Tip cotton swab and rub gently.

However, I want to issue this STRONG ADVISORY -- most products that stand a good chance of cleaning this sticky residue off, stand an equally good chance of taking the printing clean off the labels. A few might even damage the plastic of the vehicle. Use such products very sparingly and extremely carefully.

Now, as to the other item I want to mention:

Cleaning the Aircraft Carrier - If you're fortunate enough to own a USS FLAGG Aircraft Carrier, trying to clean this thing with a paint brush is probably close to being told to clean a latrine with a toothbrush. However, there are alternatives to cleaning the carrier.

As far as the deck is concerned, break out your vacuum cleaner, hook up the hose attachment, and place one of the brush-tipped ends onto the hose. You can also clean the aft deck by this method fairly effectively.

As for the superstructure, and this is going to sound a little silly, but it does work -- detach it from the rest of the carrier, carefully carry it into your tub or shower enclosure, and turn on the shower. Better still if you've got one of those shower attachments that's on an extending hose.

The use of either the vacuum or the shower is predicated on the fact that the labels -- especially some of the smaller ones on the deck -- are well secured and haven't turned brittle or become detached with age. You don't want these disappearing either into the vacuum cleaner or down the drain. However, if they are safely in place, then these methods will give you a nice clean carrier as a result.

So break out the brushes and the other equipment, soldiers! Sgt. Slaughter's coming for inspection, and he's got a pair of white gloves with him!


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