The Yellowed Payload: A Cautionary Tale
There’s a horrible affliction that strikes over 4 in every 10 white or light grey plastic toys produced in the 70s and 80s. It’s a condition with which many collectors of GI Joe and Star Wars are particularly familiar. I’m talking about yellowed plastic syndrome or in medical terminology, color jaundicia mutationem. While not as debilitating a condition as Gold Plastic Syndrome, it nonetheless makes once gloriously clean looking toys appear as if they’ve spent twenty years witihn a constant three foot vicinity of a Camel cigarette.
My only copy of 1987 Payload has succumbed to this condition over the course of the last fifteen years. Why? Was it due to sitting unprotected in a cardboard box for years, or being placed next to a different kind of plastic? The jury is still out on what causes these things to happen. Payload is especially unique in that his elbows and forearms are pristine white. I present it here as a document of the less than pristine items that I’m sure will populate many collections in years to come. Sure, I can buy a whiter one, but what’s to say the same jaundiced fate won’t eventually befall it? There are methods that can be employed to restore a semblance of former color, using a mixture of caustic chemicals and probably a bit of ancient alchemical knowledge, but I’m not generally one to delve into such mystical practices.
No matter what we do, time ultimately ravages all. Even a sealed, AFA 90 Firefly may eventually fall victim to a busted o-ring. Our prized toys will age, and like us, some will fare better than others.