Although I do not leave my figures or other scenery outside for extended periods I am curious as to how well they would hold up. New Mexico has some of the highest UV ratings in the country with over 300 days of sunshine a year. Coupled with the mean elevation of 7000 ft it is a harsh climate.
For comparison Santa Fe, the nearest city for which I can get data ( and visible at night from my backyard) has a UV index of 9, 10, 11, 12, 11, 9, 6 for April through October. Death Valley National park in California goes 7, 9, 10, 10, 10, 8, 5. While New York City compares at 6, 7, 8, 8, 8, 6, 4.
On Dec. 29, 2003, a world-record UV Index of 43.3 was detected at Bolivia’s Licancabur volcano. A range coming close to the surface of Mars which regularly reaches into the mid 40s.
For the new year I decided to find out just how well figures from various manufacturers will hold up. Or possibly I just like to torture figures….
I would say that most of you should get as good or better results than this from your people. If not I highly recommend torturing them until performance and moral improve..
I have attached factory painted figures from 8 different manufacturers to a 2X4. Beginning New Years day they were placed outside in the yard where they are exposed to the elements, UV and public ridicule without any protection. They will remain there for the next year…maybe longer. Each month on or about the first I will take a picture and post it here so everyone can see how they are doing.
This is science so you all need to take it serious. The lives of your figures just might depend on it.
Jan 1st – New, pristine and ready to go.
From left to right the brands are: Mojo (molded vinyl), Railroad Avenue (resin), Just Plain Folks (resin), Woodland Scenics (resin), Fun & Games (resin), Prieser (resin) Cheaple (resin) and Scleich (molded vinyl).
Feb 1st – No noticeable change. We have had temperatures swings from – 4 to 58 degrees, three feet of snow, some rain and winds sustained at 55 with gusts to 68.
If you are seeing a lot of difference in color let me point out it is all the photography. There is no discernible change in any of the figures yet.
I am using a 15+ year old Sony Cybershot 7.2 digital camera that has seen better days. In addition to being handled by my caveman hands it is has done duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan and has the scars to prove it. Some times the flash does not go off, other times it does not auto focus properly. Occasionally I have to coax the lens cover open with my fingernail. On top of that I am not a trained photographer, not even a good amateur photographer.
Look at these two pictures. They were taken just seconds apart, inside, on my paint bench with natural light and a flash. You see the difference.
Don’t put too much emphasis on the photography I expect the UV damage to the figures to be dramatic and very obvious. As an example look at the picture below. The fuel tank on the left was cast this past summer and has been living in a drawer waiting for a project. The trunk on the right was cast 5 years ago, primed with Krylon Grey enamel and then painted with brown acrylic enamel paints. It then set outside in partial shade for 3 years.
All of the paint was blistered off including the primer except in some of the deep corners. The resin itself was pitted and turned the dark yellow. The little bit of grey on the side is from over-spray from sitting to close to other projects in the shop. The flesh tones on the Railway Ave and Just Plain folks figures are the raw resin. I suspect they may discolor in a similar fashion.
I do not think any of the figures will reach this level of deterioration in one year but whatever happens will be obvious even with poor photography.