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Why resin?

Sep 19, 2010

    1. So I searched the forums, and I found the wiki on Resin, but I want a more detailed response to what it is besides a plastic-porcelain. What is it made out of? Is there a high chance it breaks?

      And perhaps the most important question: how do you take care of it properly, and where do you find the materials?

      I don't know anything about Resin. But I want to know as much as I can, at least when it comes to BJDs. I know a little about yellowing and such.

      The only thing I've come to know about taking care of it to help prevent yellowing is Mr. Super Clear UV cut, but I can't find it at all (its not on volks to buy...).

      Well any help would be appreciated :D
      (and if this was posted somewhere else I am sorry ><" I searched Resin, what is resin. found nothing...)
    2. Resin is a polyurethane thermoset plastic, which can be sanded, drilled, and gently reshaped using heat (NOTE- It will not melt, only soften slightly. This is most often used for bending dolls' fingers). It has nothing to do with porcelain, other than that it can look porcelain-like in certain lights. Different brands of resin can be more fragile than others but, other than delicate parts like fingers and ears, a doll will generally stand up to being dropped from quite a height without breaking. One of my own took a tumble out of a third storey window and landed completely undamaged in the flowerbed below. In general, if you protect the doll from too much heat and light, it will be fine. Sometimes, the doll can be stained by dark coloured clothing touching its surface (Ususally only if the clothing is new, and it rubs against the resin for a long time) so often people will reccommend putting pale-coloured underclothes on dolls before putting them into particularly dye-heavy outfits. Using secondhand or prewashed fabric will often negate this problem.

      Mister Super Clear UV Cut is not usually sold by doll companies, it's available from hobby stores such as Hiroboy. Similar products include Testors Dullcote, and some collectors have reported success with Citadel (Games Workshop) varnishes, though I have never tried them myself. It can be removed with non-acetone nail polish remover, along with any face-ups or blushing on the doll.
    3. I suspect this should have been discussed before but I tried some keywords and couldn't find a thread on it. If a previous thread exists I would appreciate it if someone could direct me to it!

      The question came up last night when I was asking my roommate if Ai looked yellowish. I've been taking him out a few times and am a little worried if he would yellow prematurely. Then I had to explain to my roommate that resin yellows with age especially when exposed to the sun. And he said I should have found out about it before spending so much money on it. He felt that it's not wise to buy an expensive doll who would turn yellow and unsightly after a few years. He also wanted to know why did doll companies chose to use resin to make BJDs when the material would turn yellow eventually? I couldn't answer that question except that resin looks and feels nice......
    4. Everything ages with time. People will spend thousands on a computer, to rid of it a few years later when it dies. I find that certain resins yellow faster or slower depending on the mix ratio. Plus, resin feels nice.
    5. Because it's hard and durable.
      Almost everything is negatively affected by sunlight. Barbies and porcelain dolls included. There is no magical material that would be more suitable, and not fade in sunlight.
      It yellows, yes, but it should happen so slowly and subtly you don't notice it until 5 years down the road you buy a new doll and see the difference in the color. And even then, some yellowing doesn't look unnatural. Your doll isn't going to literally turn yellow. In best case scenarios it's still "skin colored", just slightly different than the original color. Though some dolls do turn a funny green color, you can usually figure out which with a little research, and not buy those.
    6. "Yellowed" doesn't always equal "unsightly", either. I like the way my Volks boys have mellowed to a lovely ivory color - it's as attractive as the way old book-paper gets that creamy ivory yellowness to it as it ages.
    7. It does feel nice, and it's sturdy, and it takes to modding pretty well. It would be pretty hard to find something that wouldn't change color eventually, anyway.
    8. As for the why, I suspect it has a lot to do with the amount of detail that can be captured in resin as compared to vinyl, and is also easier to customize (sanding features/etc.) than vinyl or many other materials.

      Resin 'kits' could be made in small batches in someone's home studio, since it can be handled without heat or immense equipment. Resin, RTV rubbers, and silicone mold-making materials don't need huge industrial machinery or extreme temperatures to use them, or extreme heat/etc. They're also relatively affordable compared to some of the other options.
    9. I actually think the biggest reason many dolls are made of resin is the same reason resin is used for garage kits: it's one of the few durable plastics that can be cast using relatively common, low-investment materials for molds. If you look in the modding section you'll probably see what I mean; there's people there casting alternate parts and sometimes even new heads at home. Yes, the silicone stuff does seem a bit expensive, but you have to consider that other plastics like vinyl and PVC have to be cast in custom metal molds, which comparatively cost a bomb. It's why there aren't many 1/3 vinyl doll manufacturers besides Obistu and Volks.

      The fact that there even is a material that can be cast from home is one of the things that makes these dolls what they are. It allows extremely small companies of as few as one or two people to create something they can share with the rest of us, while we can get something that, while still one of many, is still a far cry from the mass manufactured goods we're practically buried in on a daily basis.

      Of course, things like resin's slight translucency and its texture are still factors, since even bigger companies who could probably afford to get metal molds still use resin anyway. It also still carries that "handmade" factor to it, since the reading I've done indicates that it's rather tricky to cast resin by machine, to the point where it's not worth it to switch to that instead of casting by hand.
    10. Thanks for all the detailed info on resin for BJD. Being new to this hobby; I have wondered why that is the material most companies use to create their BJD's. I am wondering though, if you do at some point order a "tan" or "light brown" skin BJD boy or girl doll, is the yellowing problem turn those types of resin colors into what some people refer to as green? Or do the tan and light brown just become lighter tans and light brown colors from the original BJD resin?

      I plan to keep my BJD family for a long time - like other dolls I have, so, I am a bit concerned.
    11. What, genderless dolls don't get to be tan? =P Sorry, couldn't help myself.

      I haven't paid particularly close attention to the tan dolls, but from what I've gleaned from miscellaneous workshop posts is that the type of fading depends on the company--or rather, on the pigments that the company uses. It does seem to be the tan dolls that are prone to turning green though. My guess is that this is due to the fact that many red pigments aren't as colorfast as the other colors, so the red/pink bleaches out first. Now, in a normal doll, this just means they tint more towards yellow, but in order to get the brown of tan, they have to mix in some green and/or blue as well, so in some formulas that's what's left. There's a fascinating thread in the aesthetics workshop where someone took parts from several normal and tan dolls to study their fading, and one or two of the tan ones did turn greenish, but some of the others were relatively okay.
    12. Is there a permanent face-up (or "body-up") treatment which can be applied to the resin once it's gone yellow to either restore the original colour or coverthe "yellowed" colour?
    13. There are various threads about reversing yellowing in the esthetics subforum that range from sanding to chemical treatments and probably a lot in between. However, as far as I know there is no product like you've described.
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    14. Doesn't it actually have to do with the fact that the original dolls of this type were from Volks and that Volks is a maker of resin garage kits? I think the dolls were their way of appealing to female customers...uh, anyway, I think that would be the historical reason resin is used ^_^;;

      Of course, there are dolls made of other materials that are in every other way similar to other bjds, like Hujoo dolls, which are strung like resin dolls but made of ABS plastic (but you didn't hear it from me *looks around to see if the bjd police are coming*).
    15. Thanks Taco, that's useful to know. :)
    16. well, some of the info here really give me a new knowledge..thanks for sharing
    17. Thanks to everyone who posted! This is helping me learn a lot about resin.

      I always thought of it as being like porcelain, because that what it looks like to me in pictures. Then for the first time, I held my friend's bjd, which was a Dollzone, and it felt more plastic-like than I expected.

      Another thing that surprised me was once, in a post, someone mentioned that their doll was dropped and had a dented nose. Then another user replied that they could dip the head in boiling water and it would pop out?

      O_O I thought resin would crack or chip instead....
    18. @TheAnniBanana: It COULD crack or chip. It just depends on how the doll is dropped. Somethimes there are only dents, but fingers could break, and if you're unfortunate, doll parts could crack.
    19. How do you mean, it's not on Volks? I see a listing right here: http://www.volksusa.com/matlot0022.html
      ZM Finishing Powder Spray is a similar product sold by Volks as well. You can also prevent yellowing by keeping your doll away from direct sunlight, of course.

      There's a lot of info on what to do about yellowing, as has been mentioned. But it's often such a subtle and gradual change that you don't even notice. Owners often have to compare their doll to a newer doll from the same company to even tell there's been a change. Some companies use UV-resistant additives in their resins as well. While some tan/brown skintones have had greening issues, that doesn't seem very common these days.

      Polyurethane resin just seems to work well for the purpose. Many other plastics will undergo changes with too much UV exposure, too. Vinyl stains more readily than resin, it seems. Clothing and wigs stains happen but are usually pretty easy to remove. Resin has nice weight, nice texture, photographs well, and can seem quite lifelike, on top of how well it holds up to various kinds of customization and modification.
    20. Does vinyl age better (in other words, not yellow with age so much) than resin?

      I've been thinking about getting a PARABOX doll, namely Alice or a Sleeping Princess.