Restoring Jeanne: Nendoroid Doll

This essay is about a Nendoroid Doll. Specifically, Avenger/Jeanne D'Arc Alter: Shinjuku Outfit. (Yes, that is the full name of the doll.) The purpose is to show collectors how you can fade or even completely remove stains on a vinyl doll or figure like the Nendoroid Doll.

Let's start with that name. This character is from the Fate series, which has mages summoning heroes from the past to fight over the Holy Grail. "Alter" means that this is a twisted, evil version of a character that is different from the real version. "Shinjuku Outfit" refers to a video-game level in which Jeanne Alter is wearing modern clothing. Her character class is "Avenger." So to sum up, her name means basically "An evil version of Joan of Arc, in a modern outfit."

This doll's original retail price was 8000 yen (currently about $60 US, but mainly because the yen is down). She is no longer available new, but I knew there was a chance to buy her on the secondhand market. As you can see, Jeanne has pale skin and dark clothing--a recipe for very prominent dye stains. Sure enough, I found her on a secondhand site for a mere 3500 yen (about $25 US). Even with the high costs of shipping from Japan, she was still cheaper than buying her brand-new would have been. The reason Jeanne was so cheap? She had serious stains, mostly on her arms.

I needed to do something about the stains, so I bought the secret weapon for stains: Acne cream.

You read that right. Acne creams containing benzoyl peroxide can fade or remove stains on vinyl. Make sure you buy the maximum over-the-counter strength (usually 10%) so it doesn't take as long.

I tried just the acne cream in my spare bathroom for several days, but there was little to no change. I checked the Internet, and realized that I'd forgotten an important ingredient: sunlight.

The combination of heat and UV light helps the acne cream to soak deeper into the vinyl so it can work its magic. (If you don't have a spot outdoors to put your figure where it won't be disturbed, then you can use a sunlamp indoors.) I set Jeanne's ointment-covered body out on my patio, where the hot Florida sun could speed through the process.

After 2 hours, I checked and there was an improvement in Jeanne's stained limbs. Unfortunately, the weather was getting cloudy, so I had to bring her in until things cleared up.

The next morning, I brought her out again. (We have a tendency to only get rain in the afternoons and evenings here, for some reason.)

Here are the results of Jeanne's sessions in the sun:

The bright Florida sun and temperatures around 90F are the perfect conditions for ideal stain-fading. Jeanne's stains aren't completely gone after a total of 4 hours in the sun, but they're significantly faded and another session or two should remove what's left completely.

If you try this with a sunlamp in your own home, be sure temps are below 100F so the vinyl doesn't melt or burn.

More sites on de-staining and de-yellowing dolls:

Requiem Art: De-Yellowing A guide to using peroxide to remove yellowing on plastic.
Dolls, Dolls, Dolls: Dye Stains This person used a weaker acne cream, but it still does the trick.
The Spruce Crafts: Special Tips for Restoration of Barbie and Other Plastic Dolls More tricks, including not just stain removal but repairing split vinyl, re-flocking flocked dolls, and setting a nice curl.