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Auntie Ev

Vintage NOMA Santa Claus

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Hi Folks!

I'm new here, and hoping that someone will have a few good ideas. I recently purchased a NOMA illuminated reverse-painted Santa, 31' tall, made in the 1950s. I'm assuming it was repainted at some point. Whoever did it had a good sense for his colours and the Santa looks like he has been well-cared for in all other ways. But there is some red overspray that shows through the areas of his white trim. I find it a bit distracting. I was wondering if I could touch up the areas of white, cover up the red, so it doesn't show through. But I have no idea what kind of paint was used. 

I have read that certain kinds of  paint can't be mixed, like oil and acrylic, and I'm nervous that if I mess it up, I won't be able to fix him, & I'll be in a worse position than before. I'm wondering if anyone has encountered a similar issue before & how they fixed it, if they did. I'm assuming that Rustoleum paint for plastic  would be safe, as long as it is applied thinly, sparingly, and given plenty of time to cure. But - I have also read that it can wrinkle, bubble, and I would hate to wreck him. I've included two photos, one of Santa unlit and one lit. You can see the 'red line' on the trim of his coat. Thoughts and feedback welcome.  Thanks!



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Hi Auntie Ev!

Welcome to Planet Christmas and especially to the blowmolds forum!  Here are a few thoughts on your Santa.  First of all it looks great!  In looking at the pictures I really can't see the red line you described.  My first thought is that you are probably the only one that notices the line so you might consider just leaving it as is.  If it is really bothering you and you just have to fix it you definitely do NOT want to try to paint over the red line with white paint.  If this was a decoration that was not lit from within (like a plywood cutout for example) you could paint over it and it would look fine.  However since the light needs to shine through from the inside painting over it is not a good idea.  You'd either have the red line showing through anyway or you'd have too much paint for the light to show through leaving a "dark" spot when it is lit up (or possibly both).  I do have a thought on how you might fix this with a minimum of fuss.  These plastic decorations are generally made of white colored plastic.  The "white" parts are usually unpainted.  If this is the case with your Santa then the question becomes how to remove the red line of overspray from the unpainted white area.  There is a product made by 3M called "Safest Stripper" that is safe for use on plastic.  Many of the 'molders use it when repainting blowmolds.  If you determine that the white areas of your Santa are not painted then you could very carefully use a little Safest Stripper on  a rag to try to remove the overspray.  The trick would be to remove it without getting any stripper on any of the painted areas.  By the way I'm wondering why you think the Santa was repainted?  (It's not uncommon for "factory" paint jobs to have a little overspray.)


P..S.  Please don't be discouraged by the lack of replies to your post.  This is kind of the "slow season" for the forum.  When the weather warms up a bit and yard sales begin it will pick up!

Edited by TED
to remove overspray!

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Hi Ted!

   Thanks very much for the warm welcome, and the reply. Thanks also for the tip re 3M...if I don't use it on this Santa, it is a tip that will be helpful on other projects I'm sure.  I'm still waffling on whether or not to try to remove the overspray; I wouldn't be doing anything any time soon, as we won't have weather for painting until May or June anyway...it gives me time to think on it - and maybe get over the idea :)

Incidentally, I have a friend who is an artist with plenty of experience in all kinds of mediums - she won't even consider touching it. Her advice is also to accept it as is, rather than risk doing damage to it.

My understanding is that NOMA made a number of these light ups in the 50s. They are unique in that they are "reverse painted" - painted on the inside of a clear plastic mold. This gives it nice colouring and if kept inside, they tend to be in pretty good condition for their age, even now. There are still a few around; I recently saw another one at auction. I do think it's a repaint, because the colours are so bold, and his cheeks and nose are much more red than the others I have seen. However, whoever did it obviously tried to stay as close to the original colour scheme as possible.

But - I could be wrong on that, and if I am, I shouldn't touch it at all, to preserve its original character. I also have another stumbling block in that I don't know what kind of paint they used and I understand that very often, different kinds of paint can't be mixed without an adverse reaction. Sigh...as you say, the biggest problem here may be my somewhat type A personality - he's so close to perfect, I can't shake the feeling that it would be nice to see him in "mint" condition.

However - I have no doubt that even as is he will bring a lot of cheer to my vintage Christmas display. It's all about the colour and sparkle, and he has that in spades.

Thank you again for the nice welcome and the chat.  I appreciate your feedback!

Auntie Ev





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You are welcome!  I don't think I've seen one of the reverse painted items before.  I forgot to mention that many 'molders prefer the Krylon Fusion paint for plastic when repainting blowmolds.  It's harder to find than it used to be.  It's not sold at walmart or Home Depot any more.  Ace Hardware has a paint for plastic.  I haven't used it personally but I've seen others post about using it.  I haven't heard of anyone having trouble with the paint wrinkling up however I know that if you put latex paint over oil on your house it wrinkle, peel, and fall off in short order.  But in repainting blowmolds all the old paint would normally be stripped first.

I should mention that most of what I've said here is based on what applies to blowmolds so I'm extrapolating that it would also apply to the "flatback" items but I do believe the plastic may be a little different on them.


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