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The Case of the Yellowing White Bricks
thought I’d put this out there to see if anyone else experiencing the same issue as me. Firstly I’ll start by saying I’m neurotic about my lego Sets. For this reason I keep them sealed in their boxes when purchased until I can purchase a display case. Once built they go straight in the case and then on display, the case keeping them as dust free as possible. My problem has been of late that I’m noticing slight yellowing to a number of my white pieces, when I’m opening sets to build. The most recent in particular being the Creator Brick Bank. The 1x8 Bricks seemed particularly yellowed compared to the 1x6 bricks and other white parts. The white wall of the building looked awful when completed. Other sets seem to have tile pieces with similar issues, not so bad on their own but when put with other pieces very noticeable! It only appears to be certain parts within a set and not all.
Now, is this some quality control issue at Lego’s end and white pieces are no longer as consistent as they used to be, for example my Sydney Opera House shows no signs of yellowing at all, and that’s even after being on display for nearly 4 years. Or is it in some way how I’m storing the boxes/sets until I build them. I live in the UK, so max temp at the moment prob about 30, and all my lego is kept either in a wardrobe or in my Lego room, which is kept dark with a blind down most times, but can get quite warm especially during the day. Surely white Lego can’t go yellow in a sealed box in UK temperatures or can it??
Just wanted to see other peoples views on white pieces or if anyone else has similar issues. I’m dreading opening my Roller coaster as that’s full of white pieces.
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Recent discussions •
As far as I can remember, the UV in sunlight triggers a chemical reaction in the bricks, which results in them yellowing. If I remember rightly, once they've been exposed to UV, that's it, the process is started, even if you keep them out of sunlight after that. I think the more they're exposed to UV though, the worse it makes it. Of course, I could just be talking out of my arse...
People seem to have had varying degrees of success with TLG replacing creamy parts
While the B in DB doesn't... Go figure?
I'm glad you didn't post that your D appears B'er than ever lately ;)
I have had new parts from 1979-80 USA Homemaker sets that have had the 1x6 and 1x8 bricks yellow much more quickly than other white bricks from that era (even from Homemaker sets). 20 years later those same parts get more tan in color, and the other white bricks stay white.
What makes blaming UV sunlight more problematic is the fact that some folks have suggested putting yellowed white parts into a sunny window for over a month. I had some classic LEGO windows that were still in new conditioned but had yellowed. I put them onto a sunny window ledge for 2 1/2 months... and they came out as pure white. Now that makes no sense, if you ask me??
One chemical engineer I know mentioned to me that MRI (mould release agent) could be a contributing factor in when some parts exit their mould and soon start showing some yellowing. I'm not an expert on that... so I don't really know. But I do know that some parts that have never seen a single ray of sunlight... they also can yellow.
(@Legoboy actually does, but he's really not part of this conversation. Which I am really not part of, either.)
Turns out that's NOT a good thing!
I didn't realise you were joking due to lack of wonky faces (and possible over medication). But brick opacity is IMO at least actually quite sad and NOT a laughing matter. Sand green is DEFINITELY one of the top culprits - if you too want to make yourself sad, put an Ocean Monument or an Old fishing Store next to an ORIGINAL Statue of Liberty. When I think of the increase in costs over the years versus the decrease in uniformity, it almost moves from saddening to angering!
I accept that UV degradation and long term cracking are a lot harder to fix, but if they consistently DONT fix something they can what are the real chances of them fixing something they MIGHT be able to?
It leads me to believe it's just a quality issue of the original materials as discussed above.
New, post 03 bricks don't initially suffer from yellowing - they suffer from opacity issues. Opacity is an issue which TLG could, if they so wished, fix tomorrow and fix permanently. Yellowing/ UV degradation is a much more complicated and time depemdant issue. If they won't fix something the CAN fix immediately, they're unlikely to fix something that takes time and research!
as long as they're charging me accordingly!
If a system like that doesn't exist (I haven't found any heated ABS mixers yet), you could make a lot of money patenting it and selling it to companies like Lego.
its definitely going to be an incredibly complicated equation involving specific grades of light at specific wavelengths and all that sort of jazz. I'd also be suprised if the exact same experiment, performed under the exact same conditions at differing latitudes, altitudes and times of the day and year didn't yield a different set of results. Thanks for the pics - I always enjoy looking at the different results people can get!
TLG are aware that general consumers just don't give a fig while us 'junkies' will constantly tolerate decreases in quality so long as we're still getting our fix?
The lighter ones from both sets are the same shade and the darker ones also match. (Not sure I explained that very well...)
I've ended up with a collection of light Sand Green bricks and dark Sand Green bricks.
I had the same with a PaB cup of LBG profile bricks: 2 shades, not many shades.
And my TLM dropship had a selection of white 2x2 inverted slopes, half of which were white, the other half pink.
Exactly, I think we need to move on an invent new and better systems for plastics. In fact, the plastics are often remelted and recycled from the "sprues and runners" of the mold. There's no reason they couldn't mix the colors while melted before putting them into the mold (either solid or liquid). Once somebody pitches a better system to the industry, people will realize how bad the old way is.
"Robots" the movie: "Why be you, when you can be NEW?!"
Has anyone ever cut apart a yellowed piece to see if the exposed surface yellows? That would be a worthy experiment to see if the internal ABS reacts to light.
Parts I repaired back to bright white via the hydrogen peroxide method returned back to their yellowed state while in a climate controlled, completely dark closet. The return to the yellowed state happened in roughly two years time.
So while I was initially very pleased with the result, I no longer will be bothering to try and whiten bricks or more to the point, I won't buy used bricks anymore.
NOTE: Not responsible for your pieces getting worse, swelling, turning to dust, or any other strange occurances.
Are you sure that what you're describing as 'yellowing' is not actually an opacity issue? In my experience, there's a world of visible difference between the milky, creamy, pinky or yellowy new,post mixed, post 04 bricks and bricks that are Yellowed from exposure to UV/ sunlight.
What I have been trying to do is restore my UCS Star Destroyer and the first part was to fix the classic light gray/grey that has turned color over the years. I had it displayed and it was definitely exposed to sunlight and florescent bulbs.
I have now successfully lightened and cleaned over 1900 parts. The most expensive parts showed no signs of discoloration, so I didn't soak them. I have only used 6 bottles of peroxide and what I found was that you can reuse the peroxide at least 3 times without any visible issues. I dont know how many times you can reuse the solution before it loses it potency.
To me; it is definitely worth the time to lighten the parts because it saved me a lot of time trying to order an estimated 2000 Classic Light Gray pieces on Bricklink and there was a significant cost savings in that each piece cost anywhere from $0.05-1.30. I used and average of 0.15 with shipping included a piece for my calculations and came up with a cost of $300 to replace 90% of the parts. Each bottle only cost $1.00. So, besides the cost and dealing with Bricklink, it is also reassuring to me that these are the exact parts that came with my set and you cant put a price on that piece of mind :)
...and also an Iron Maiden Album
My #7470 has yellowed all to hell! (I thought it was just dirty) It appears to be mosly UV damage as the inside doesn't look that bad, but you can see where the yellowing has seeped through the pieces. One of the 2x10s on top has gone almost orange all the way through, and the other one is getting there. RIP the remaining stickers come soaking time. (I might find replacements)