Whovastron

Why do only certain sets stickers peel?

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Hi there, hoping someone can help me out here. So a few months ago I took my 2016 classic Tv Batcave out of storage, to find that almost all stickers had peeled and in some cases moved (even the big panel stickers had moved somehow). Which is odd because I’ve never encountered this before, I’m based in England so climate isn’t a big issue here for quality of toys.

today I’ve noticed this again in Ninjago City, but only on non-clear backed stickers. As far as I can tell these two sets are the only ones in my collection that have peeled. One from 2016 and one from 2017. I check over some of my older sets like the 2012 Batcave and 2013 Arkham Asylum and no peeling at all. In my whole collection, which even includes sets from 2006, only the 60s Batcave and ninjago city seem to have this problem. I was wondering if anyone knew why it would only affect some sets? It seems age isn’t the problem. Also if there’s any way to fix them. I kinda wanted to sell the two afflicted sets…but that doesn’t seem viable now

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I would suggest googling " Lego stickers". There are some sites that specialize in Lego stickers  Try Bricklink and such too. I tried Lego some years ago for sets 7781-3 to replace peeling stickers, but they couldn't help.

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I wonder if there’s an internal heat source near your storage that could be affecting them? Up against a wall adjoining a hot water pipe or something? The peeling and moving you describe does sound like something is heating the adhesive, even gently.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Bricky Steamboat said:

I wonder if there’s an internal heat source near your storage that could be affecting them? Up against a wall adjoining a hot water pipe or something? The peeling and moving you describe does sound like something is heating the adhesive, even gently.

Nothing really. The Batcave was in the loft/attic for a couple years, but it was stored with tons of sets that it hasn’t happened to. Ninjago city has always just been displayed in my room with other sets

Edited by Whovastron

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My Ninjago City which has been displayed in my room with regulated heating/AC in the summer and winter is fine, so I don't think it's a universal issue with that set or the time period it was released. If it's not related to the conditions of where it's displayed (which I wouldn't necessarily rule out—if it's only on the paper-backed stickers it might be humidity that's the issue), it could just be an unlucky isolated issue with the stickers in your sets.

In general I've had more issues with older stickers peeling, especially early 2000s-era ones like some of the ones in my 2006 Spongebob sets. I feel like Lego has generally gotten better at both improving the adhesive quality of their stickers, and recognizing what types of part surfaces are more or less conducive to sticker application.

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1 hour ago, Lyichir said:

My Ninjago City which has been displayed in my room with regulated heating/AC in the summer and winter is fine, so I don't think it's a universal issue with that set or the time period it was released. If it's not related to the conditions of where it's displayed (which I wouldn't necessarily rule out—if it's only on the paper-backed stickers it might be humidity that's the issue), it could just be an unlucky isolated issue with the stickers in your sets.

In general I've had more issues with older stickers peeling, especially early 2000s-era ones like some of the ones in my 2006 Spongebob sets. I feel like Lego has generally gotten better at both improving the adhesive quality of their stickers, and recognizing what types of part surfaces are more or less conducive to sticker application.

I imagine something specific has just happened to these sets, although I just can’t thing what could have affected them. Both of them have been through very different conditions. It’s very odd indeed

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7 minutes ago, Whovastron said:

although I just can’t thing what could have affected them.

Well, there are simply too many unknown parameters.

Stickers are per se problematic - everywhere; not only when it comes to LEGO. I bet you have had issues with getting a sticker off from a surface. Some glossy ceramics are particularly nasty (call it a coffee mug) when wanting to remove a sticker from the bottom - telling you not to swallow the mug but the coffee - and also, that the coffee may be very hot -  and strong and may cause a heart attack, along with a bar code and maybe the price. Why? The ceramic surface is almost perfectly "even" (little curvature does not harm), and that surface has may be been cleaned after production with chemicals you don't even want to know, i.e. it is ultra-clean. Next: The choice of the adhesive. Mug bottom: No problem, "sticker" is: Material? Paper? Plastic? Both? Thickness of sticker? EU regulations? ("Thou shalt use a combination, which makes it hard to get off"). And so much more. Does the adhesive chemically bond to the surface? I.e. penetrate into the material and changes it close to the surface? Certainly not on the ceramic side ... Temperature range? Humidity range?

Exact same thing with LEGO: Surface of the brick/part? >Really< even? Most "panels" are not (some are even of that matte type) - some bricks are ... >All< dirt/grease/moisture removed before applying the sticker? Did you hold your breath to get it right on first attempt, but you ran out of breath, did not want to die, breathed out, sucked in air, some barely visible watery surface layer formed on the brick: 3 years of life-time loss :pir-laugh:. Was the formulation of the brick/plate used the same? As said, adhesives may go into the molecular surface layers of the material(s). Did you succeed right away - or were several attempts necessary because it was tough to align that damned sticker on that curved surface? Etc. etc.

And then TLG's manufacturing process comes in: Was sticker1 prepared in exactly the same way as sticker2? (Thickness, plastic formulation used, adhesive formulation used). You know they can't get the colors right when stuff is made in India/Poland/Germany/Elsewhere - so why do we expect they get the adhesive applied in the exact same way?

There are simply too many variables here. Old but still good: http://thebrickblogger.com/2014/08/lego-sticker-shock-what-to-do-about-it/

Best
Thorsten

 

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Won't know an answer to this (others have given good ones anyway) but this topic is rather interesting and I believe it should be discussed frequently. There are, in fact a lot of new sets with generous amount of stickers, though it isn't much pleasing to me. From what I can gather, transparent stickers seem thinner than casual ones, so they might bring some trouble in general, Lego needs to do more prints. :wall:

2 hours ago, Toastie said:

I liked the article, thanks for sharing! :pir-thumb:

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Contrary to what LEGO will have you believe, they're changing materials all the time. Trivial stuff like the foil thickness of the sticker sheet can have a huge impact and there are technical differences from the outset on transparent vs. opaque vs. silver coated sheets. Similarly, the ink/ paint from the prints can exude solvents, it can contract and expand, multiple inks and coatings can have weird interactions. Same for the glue on the underside. And then of course there's that whole thing of how the material adapts to the different surfaces There's a million factors to consider here. Suffice it to say that you just have to accept it and most of the time you can do very little or nothing about it even under ideal conditions. There are just limitations on how strong and sticky you can make those decals without dissolving the bricks they are supposed to be applied to...

Mylenium

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This has been a problem for many years, especially from 1990-2013 or so. I haven't seen it so much on recent sets. Stickers on white (not clear) paper peel or crack over time, with certain colors like white or yellow much more susceptible to it. I got replacement stickers from Brickstickershop for many old models where the stickers had worn out.

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44 minutes ago, CP5670 said:

especially from 1990-2013 or so. I haven't seen it so much on recent sets.

Well, this may be because "recent" is fewer years than "1990 - 2013". We should wait for the "recent" stickers maturing for 9 - 32 years (corresponding to 1990 - 2013) and then see how they perform after that time elapsed.

Best,
Thorsten

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That's a good point, but I recall the sets from that era started peeling fairly quickly, after just 1 or 2 years.

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