The Preservation Process and Repairs
Stretch Preservation Process Finally Declassified!
The ancient Egyptians knew the importance of preservation as they mummified thousands of their elete Kings and Queens within their ancient world.These 5,000 year old Ancient Mummys still had perfeclty preserved skin. The Egytians knew that keeping the elements at bay would preserve their Kings for thousands of years into the future.Here we will see just what the "Stretch King" has discovered along with 4 easy steps to follow to preserve your valuable stretch figures for another 35 years and beyond!
The Stretch Preservation Process
Its amazing just to have these great Stretch Figures around after 35 years of pulling, tugging, biting, ripping,not to mention the neglect as they were tossed in some garage loft, or garbage can just because they had one little pin hole leak. If we only knew then what we know now. Well guess what, we are lucky enough to have just a few left these days and we now have a second chance to apply the knowledge we know today. These Legendary Action Figures can be easily preserved for a lifetime and can also be refilled with fresh soft syrup,or cotton. Holes can also be repaired saving these very few Stretches from extiction.Through much observation and dilligence, I have discovered not only how to repair the stretches but also how to preserve these incredibly rare and valuable action figures making them a very collectable toy for anyone to own. Keep in mind that there are still some stretch figures today that are still in mint condition after 35 years.There skin is perfectly preserved and the syrup still totally soft. So why have some sucumbed to the test of time and still others remained so perfect like the day they were made? Its very simple, some stretch figures just happened to be randomly stored in the right conditions that preserved them in a pristine state. So I reasearched this fact and discovered exactly what these conditions were. One must understand that if you find a stretch figure in mint condition today, common sense will tell you that it will remain in mint condition in another 35 years if the figure is kept from these detrimental conditions and it is a very easy thing to do.In the following article you will discover the facts about stretch preservation and how to preserve your stretch figure with no worries for another 35 years and beyond.
The Syrup Falicy
Up untill now, most people thought the syrup inside the figure was the cause of the latex skin to become pitted and form holes and leaks.This is not all the case. Do you honestly think that Kenner or Mego would use a syrup mixture that would be detrimental to the latex or a child? In fact the U.S. Patent for Stretch Armstorng specifically states that Kenner used a syrup recipe that would NOT harm the latex skin. The contents is simply cornsyrup with some natural fillers in very minute amounts. There are no chemicals in it.It even states on the instructions that it is a non toxic syrup. Kenner would never use any chemicals especially with the high probability of a child breaking this toy open or tasting it like so many of us have.I actually opened one of my pitted stretch figures up just to verify that it was not the syrup causing any damage to the skin.Upon inspecting the inside of the skin exactly behind where pitting formed on the outside of the skin, the inside was absolutley perfectly smooth and free of any damage. The Pitting was in fact forming from the outside inward!This pitting or scaring I like to call Latex Breakdown Syndrome or (LBS) is actually caused by somthing external.which led me to the next break through.......
The Proof behind the Batman Cape!
Upon the inspection of my first Mego Elastic Batman Figure, I discovered an amazing truth to all the years of misunderstanding. My Batman figure was riddled with poc marks all over the front of the chest, arms and legs, bacically the entire front of the figure had LBS. Upon flipping the batman figure over, I lifted the plastic blue cape off of the figure and what I found next led to my discovery. The Latex under the cape was absolutely mint, perfect, smooth and totally free of any LBS. There was pitting everywhere on the batman figure except under the cape.There was an exact image of the cape left on the back of the figure in the form of perfectly preserved skin! What im saying here is that the plastic Batman Cape that sat against the skin for almost 30 years totally protected the latex skin! But the next question is, what did the cape protect the skin from?
The Krytonite Exposed!
As I said, the Cape protected the skin from somthing or else the skin would have been pitted under the cape as well. So what did the cape protect the skin from you ask? The irony here just blows me away.Just as Kryptonite is to Superman , so UV Rays are to Stretch Figures! thats right! UV Rays as well as any indoor light is what caused the latex to breakdown. It was not the syrup! And of all things, it was the Cape that exposed the truth! Prior to 1980 these stretch figures were produced with a non UV resistence latex recipe. UV Rays and indoor uv rays over time diminished the latex coherent properties causing it to form external surface pitting or Latex Breakdown Syndrome. This also explains why the Mego Elastics were more prone to LBS as their respective boxes had a see through open window which allowed UV Rays to more frequently attack the skin. LBS can be stopped dead in its tracks by simply removing the figure from these detrimental conditions.Ultimatley I will have every stretch figure I own placed in a UV ray resistant clear vacum sealed display case.This would be the ultimate vessel for a lifetime preservation.This is such great news for collectors because armed with this new knowledge, we can now save the remaining stretch figures from extinction and enjoy these incredibly rare figures for ever!
Ok, so we now know that UV Rays are like Kryptonite to Stretch Armstrong Figures, but there is more;
Air is also damaging to latex. Any steady flowing air against the latex skin will over time begin to dry up the moisture content and cause the latex to form cracks.Do not store your stretch figure in front of an air conditioner or heat source.
Light or Solar UV Rays and other types of lighting as we already learned are one of the most damaging things to latex.Extended periods of exposure will fade and bleach latex and diminish its elastic properties and may cause LBS.
Temperature is another no no. Stretch Figures do not like extreme temperature fluctuation.Too Cold will cause the syrup to expand and crack open the frozen latex just as a frozen bottle of Soda Pop will crack open when frozen due to expansion and pressure.Too Hot will cause the syrup to melt and find its way through the first tiny opening around the neck seal and will also cause the syrup which dont forget is basically a sugar to ferment which releases gases that will disinigrate the latex.Now dont go worrying if your stretch figure gets to 75 degrees or as low as 40 degrees. Your stretch should still be fine. Im just giving you the ideal conditions and worst case senerio.Keep in mind that I have a Mego Elastic Hulk taht was stored outside in a storage shed in the cold and heat and its like mint and still soft. So understand that these stretches are fragile but thecan also be very resiliant. Its very simple, Stretches Love Room temperature, 65 to 68 Degrees Farenhiet. or at least somewhere close.
Oils can also be detrimental to the latex skin. Human Skin oils or any oils other than water based will destroy your stretch figure and send it to an early grave.The Oils start a chemical process and reacts with the latex causing it to deteriorate over time.Do not use any automotive sprays like armour all. It must be pure water or silicone based. You can remember these four detrimental factors as the acronym ALTO or (Air, Light, Temperature and Oil).
OK So lets Recap. Now that we understand what exactly can cause damage to these stretch figures, here are the 4 things one needs to do in order to maintain your great vintage Stretch toy investment.Its really very simple!
1) Here is one of the most important thing you can do to be certian your stretch figure will be minty fresh in another 35 years. Store your Stretch Figure in a giant Zip lock Food Bag. Place him in the bag, Zip it closed leaving about 1 inch and then suck the remaining air out and finish zipping it closed. Almost like vacum sealing but you dont need to go that far. These bags are sold at some Grocery stores or online in 12 inch size.Get the ones with the Zip Slide Tab.This is a nice way to protect the figure from your harmfull skin oils, air and dirt and still be ably to touch it and see it through the plastic without actually touching the figure. When ever you do want to take it out of the bag which is fine to do,you can also handle the stretch figures with rubber snitary gloves you can buy at your local pharmacy. I keep a box of them near my stretch figures so other people can look at them as well and not get their dirty little hands all over them.
2)Keep your Stretch figure out of direct Sunlight or any flourecent or indoor lights whenever possible unless you are enjoying looking at them. When stored, cover them with a solid piece of cardboard or a black cloth, especially the Mego Elastics because they have that display window type box that shows the figure.I store all my Mego Elastic in their boxes with the open window side at the bottom so the figure is out of the UV Rays just like the Kenner Figures. If you store them in a closet, be sure to leave the door open for ventilation.
3)Be sure your Stretch is stored where the temperature is somewhat stable between 60 and 70 degrees F.I actually have my stretches in a temperature controlled room that maintains a cool temp of 68 degrees in the summer and 62 to 65 degrees in the winter. Simply put a thermometer in the room you will store your Stretch Figure and just check it every so often. Basically any room temperature part of the house thats the most stable will be best for stretch.
4) Apply pure Silicone or water based Silicone Oil over the skin of your Stretch Figure 2 to 3 times a year.This is really the most important of all the steps because the silicone maintains a supple skin and also protects it from UV rays,air poluants human oils, and dirt. Maintaining a nice supple soft skin is key. Do not use any automotive sprays such as Armourall, or leather sprays. These will ruin your Stretch Figure and will surly send it to an early grave.I sell a product here on my site called Stretch Rejuvinator. It works so well and will even rejuvinate a skin that has dried up or become stiff.
In A Nutshell
OK,You got it now?
1) Place your Stretch in a Ziplock Bag,
2) Cover him when when stored,
3) Keep the temperature about 60 to 70 degrees and
4) Apply pure silicone oil 2 times a year. Its that simple!
So there we have it. The four things a collector should do to maintain their Stretch Armstrong Figures for another 35 years to come. These 4 key factors are a big reason I collect Stretches. Because they do require care and maintaince, Stretches give a collector a sense of enjoyment as well as a sense of Investment. As with any investment one watches their portfolio well and makes needed changes or maintaince to their investment to help assure a great return once liquidated. Be sure to secure your Stretch Investment and follow these 4 simple steps.
Some extra storage tips
Storing your stretch
Actually the proper way to store these stretches is on a 15 degree angle with the head at the highest point. Just enough to keep any air bubbles from settleing in the feet,and also to keep it from seeping syrup from the neck over time,Especially the Monster. Never store your stretch figure on its feet standing up. This will cause too much pressure at the feet and they will surely pop open.
If you have a stretch that you would like repaired, email me pics first of front and back side. If I feel I can do it, I will let you know.I can assure you that I am a very honest person and your stretch would be in good hands. I will return it to you as quickly as I can. Some repairs may take longer than others.I usually can get it back to you within one month. I will give you weekly updates on the progress as well.The cost of repair depends on its condition.Usually $300.00 to refill and as low as 50 dollars for touch ups and patch work. . See the great Mego Hulk repair I did on the Photo Gallery 1 .
Above is a Stretch X RAY That I totally drained and will refill. This Process can take up to 10 hours just to drain the figure because the syrup is so thick. Refilling takes about 2 hours.I have figured out an amazing way to refill these stretches with the actual syrup! Because this condensed corn syrup is so think and sticky, it is almost impossible to work with unless you know the process I have devised to overcome this problem.Once the Stretch figure is refilled it is impossible to tell any work was even performed.