Monday, July 13, 2009

Dyeing Some Figures

Over the years I've read about a few people using fabric dye to change the color of action figures. This has an advantage over painting as the joints and other contact points wouldn't wear off the paint. The disadvantages include the mess and the possibility of ruining a figure.

I've considering trying this method a number of times, but finally decided to give it a whirl after seeing the new figures for the DC Blackest Night line. The Orange Lantern figures are all translucent orange. I had a clear figure and thought it would make a good addition to the Orange Lantern Corps and the best way to make the clear-orange finish would be to use fabric dye.

I found a few resources on-line, but this link is probably the most informative:


In a nutshell: I picked up some orange ("sunshine") Rit dye, a cheap metal strainer, and gathered a few supplies I already had - a stainless steel pot and the figures.

Here are the figures I'm starting with:

That's the clear variant Judge Death from the Legendary Comic Book Heroes line with pads and various other bits taken off, two 25th Anniversary GI Joe Timbers, and a modified Guardian from the Green Lantern series. Oh, also a bat creature thing that I cut off of Judge Death.

Judge Death will become an Orange Lantern construct (along with the bat creature), the Guardian will become either a Controller construct (or just a Controller if the dyeing doesn't take), and the wolves are just an experiment.

Here are the supplies:

It's a good idea to make sure everything's going to fit (the waist on the Death figure broke, but it's cool - I'll fix it in the end):

Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, add the dye, and carefully stir. Then add the figures (in the strainer):

I let it sit for a few minutes, but after about five to ten minutes, the clear parts had already taken on a good color:

The Death figure got taken out and rinsed in a clear, cool bath:

Here are all the parts post-dyeing. I let the painted and solid color plastic parts sit in the simmering dye-bath for about thirty to forty minutes.

The wolves are pretty much a write-off, but that's no big whoop since I got about seven of them in a lot recently. The Guardian figure I'm going to paint and make into a normal Controller figure. The Judge Death and Bat-creature figures were perfect though.

Judge Death is getting all up in Hal's face - "MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE!"

Finally comes the little bat-creature.

I think I'll work up a clear plastic stand to support the bat coming out of Death's back.

In the end the clear plastic pieces took the dye really well. Painted plastic parts didn't take the dye too well. The modified parts of the Guardian figure did, which means unpainted parts take the dye well. If I happen to score more clear figures I'll probably dye them up to increase my Orange Lantern Corps!

Once I get the "official" construct that's packed in with the Larfleeze Blackest Night figure I'll put some finishing touches on these figures. For example, it looks like the teeth are actually painted.

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