Saturday 28 December 2019

Airfix unboxing plastic rot question

These arrived with the post today, earlier than anticipated. A nostalgia driven 1/72 Airfix purchase.
 I opened the box for a wee peek with the intention of sorting them enjoyably later. However the first figure I touched crumbled in my hand. Plastic rot I diagnosed. Is there a necessity to go through the figures urgently to remove any further rotted figure? Or rather does rot depend on the age of the figures and is not transferable? Any plastic rot suggestions welcomed.


  1. Bad luck. As far as am aware it's just age and perhaps being stored somewhere where there are excessive temperature changes such as an attic, which cause the plastic to become brittle. I should salvage what you can, base them and them paint with PVA to strengthen them a bit. I can see a newer Robin Hood figure there... what are the others?

  2. I've had the same thing happen. I read once that Britain's put chalk in the plastic for Swoppets to help the paint adhere maybe Airfix tried the same thing.

  3. I don't think it's "contagious", rather that certain sets are more prone such as German Mountain Troops early on. Brittleness? I think it's the plastic mix, the slow evaporation of plasticiser as Airfix figures when they get old have a strong plastic smell ?of plastic Death? and also too cold or too hot storage as previously said. I keep my Airfix figures in the house not the loft or garage.
    To be fair some of these plastics are brittle as some are almost sixty years old.
    Hugh Walter at Small Scale World is very good on plastics.
    I usually keep the bits as it is possible to glue gun, super glue or UHU them back to life or they are a source of conversion heads etc., Tank crews etc

  4. Although some of my plastic figures date from 1975, I don't think I have yet to see plastic rot - though I've heard of it from time to time. However, the plastic can become brittle enough that adapting figures by bending limbs, say, can become impractical.

  5. Helpful advice. I have kept the broken parts and found surprisingly few so brittle as to fall apart on touching them.