I recently purchased a lot of LEGO minifigures. Included in the lot was a first issue green goblin. The figure is in great condition aside from having a permanent marker line on the torso. Is there a way that I can remove the marker without damaging the print on the figure? My son and I collect together and have been looking for the green goblin fig to go with our collection.
First off be very careful of the printing on the minifigure, the plastic is quite durable but the printing can wipe off rather easily. I list a few different methods to remove permanent marker all have their varying degrees of risk. They are listed in the order I'd try them in.
Dry erase marker?! Just cover over the permanent marker with a dry erase marker then wipe it off. yes it works.
Aerosol hairspray, body spray, Rubbing alcohol (Isopropyl alcohol), etc. Like JohnnyB suggested alcohol is a good cleaner for permanent marker, especially on plastic. Just be careful of the printing any alcohol biased cleaner can and will remove the printing.
Nail polish remover. Be very careful with this one, nail polish remover's active ingredient is acetone. Acetone with enough time will dissolve ABS (and rubber tires very quickly) but long before that happens it will remove the printing :( I'd only try acetone as a last resort.
Toothpaste I'd recommend skipping this social media craze, it may work (on lego) but there are better ways. On the plus side I doubt the toothpaste it will hurt the minifig, however all the scrubbing necessary to remove the marker that is another story...
Such products are designed to remove nasty stains and their alcohol content should be able to loosen the permanent marker ink, since it is alcohol-based as well. To protect the underlaying print, do not use the spray head, but apply the fluid to the affected area(s) with a precision tool, like a toothpick or the corner of a sponge or tissue.
Other apolar solvents, like oils could be tried too.
These work by being abrasive, so effectively scrubbing away the top layer of anything, so be careful to only touch the parts covered by the permanent marker. Optionally combine this with alcohol-based cleaning agents.
On the same page, a pencil eraser might work, especially if the surface has a sheen which the ink could not penetrate.
The gentlest possible method I have found an endorsement for is the use of water and soap, but there are others who haven't had problems using nail polish remover either. I'm a bit sceptical here, as acetone is known to solve ABS, but if used with precision, care and moderation, the collateral damage could be contained.