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Friday, 12 July 2013

Repairing Action Figures

Broken Limbs

I've tried close to a dozen different glues (and solvents) and never found anything that would hold broken fingers with any degree of strength. Even after gluing  you'll have to be very careful about putting objects in a repaired hand. -- Merk


The ME joe bodies are made of polyethylene plastic, and there is not a glue known to man or chemist that sticks to it. Fussing is the only way to piece a broken finger back together. Get a sewing needle or tiny screw (works best) and cut to size. Heat the screw using a candle and needle nose pliers. Carefully place into plastic until the pin is one half in. Heat the tip of the screw and press together until the parts meet. The small metal pin acts as support. Other than the joint line, it will look like new. -- Wolfman

I've tried all different types of glues including a product called plastic weld that will bond just about any type of plastic. No luck at all. -- Rob

The most effective way to fix the cracks on old joes is to use a soldering iron and useless pieces of joe body parts as fillers. I don't recommend this for the faint of heart. The procedure is the same as if your soldering pipes. Get the iron hot. Cut a small piece from the scrap part. Put that piece on top of the crack then use the iron to melt and press the plastic into the crack. Try to have extra plastic on the area. You want this so you can sand it flush. And viola! No more cracks. I do suggest to practice on useless parts first to get the hang of it. I can do it now with out leaving a trace. When I started it looked like my Joe had a war injury that healed over; it didn't look bad at all, so I kept doing it and each one turned out better than the next. I can't guarantee the same success for others out there but I found this to be the best way to go for me. -- Robert Decastro

To repair a broken finger, get some seven-strand signal wire. If you are very careful, and use the stainless steel and not silver strands, you can carefully pierce the finger and the stub, then glue the tip to the wire, then the wire to the stub. It's not a common fix, but I have used it before. -- Mark Walsh

I also broke a finger from an ME hand. I used super glue and it has held well since November. You can still tell that it has be glued but at least it does not fall onto the carpet to be sucked up into the vacuum. -- Mike Beshada

I was removing one of my ME's boots, and off came his F#?King leg at the knee, post still embedded in the calf. To fix a broken ME knee/thigh joint, get a Cotswold thigh for a buck. You with need a drill with assorted bits, sheet metal screw, X-acto knife, super glue and flesh colored paint. We are not going to replace the thigh but the broken pin. Drill out the rivet end on the inside (non-smooth rivet end) part of the thigh. Once the end of the rivet is removed, you can push it out. Do the same for the replacement piece. Now swap pins (or posts) and replace the rivet. You have two rivets to choose from, so select the one that seems to fit the best. Once the rivet is in place, put a drop of super glue on the head to hold it in place. On the side that was drilled, fill in with flesh colored paint. Now turn your attention to the calf. If there is any of the post left sticking out, trim it off with an exacto knife. You want the end as flush as possible before drilling. Now start with a small bit and drill hole thru the busted pin. Then start drilling progressively larger holes. Don't go too big though. Remove the broken piece with a self tapping or sheet metal screw. Screw it in and use pliers to pull it out. Now just put the calf back on the new pin and be careful. -- Merk

There's no way to fix a crack that is so large that the limbs will not stay together anymore. The plastic Joe is made of will not glue, but a Cotswold part will work just fine. Don't worry about taking him apart, he'll go back together with no problem. -- Merk

I successfully filled the cracks on a vintage joe using a two-part epoxy which you can get at a home improvement store. You can't really stick the two parts together seamlessly, but it does fill the gap, and keeps it from getting worse. This technique is similar to way luthiers fix cracks in vintage guitars. You mix the catalyst and resin together in a separate container to activate them. Then stick the mixture in the crack. I think I used a piece of cardboard like a putty knife to do this. Then immediately wipe off the excess. I did this to a fairly beat-up body over two years ago and it's still holding. -- Shawn

On the subject of broken fingers. Try using PVC cement from the hardware store. 86 the primer, it will leave a nasty purple stain. -- SgtRockUSA

To reattach ME fingers, use PVC glue for plastic plumbing. Just don't use the primer! It will stain the plastic a permanentpurple! -- M. Stoner

The "blue" is the cleaner that is applied to the pipe before the glue. Actual PVC cement is clear. -- GNITTEG

Vintage Joes are polyvinylchloride (PVC). A rather slippery plastic, most glues will just not stick to it. Now modern drain pipe is often made of PVC as well. You local home improvement center will have a product to join these pipes. I suspect it is either a solvent the welds the pipes by softening the plastic, or a solution of PVC that hardens. The stuff I have seen is blue, so will not look too good on a Joe. Please note, I have not done this myself, so I do not know it will work. -- Bryan Broocks

Although Cotswold does not list rivets for vintage Joe joints, arrangements can be made. The only stipulation is that the order would be subject to the on hand availability and if the have to order it will be when the have shipments of figures from china. -- Andy Cabrera

I've seen a tool at Sears which may be used to "mushroom" the rivets so that the joints are tight? I've seen it but I haven't tried it. -- Dr. Paul Brothers

Speed Glue is a glue that works on Joe. You can buy it at most serious hobby stores. It's used on RC planes and expensive models. -- J.C.


Here's how I fix a broken foot peg:
  1. Drill out the rivet on the broken part (Use a drill bit the same size as the original peg).
  2. Get a threaded long bolt. You will need to grind or cut the side of the bolt the same thickness as the original pin.
  3. Disassemble.
  4. Make a new attachment pin. I use a nail the same size as the original rivet.
  5. Before re-installing the broken part, thread another bolt the same size into the mated part.
  6. Then re-thread the new more heavy duty part. -- Tonny Mull
If you break a a Joe at the leg socket you might as well play taps for that soldier. I had a broken Snake Eyes, and the glue would not hold it together. As soon as I moved legs days later, Pop! If you have this problem, I would suggest you buy a Barbie wheelchair ..." -- Kevin Lepley

Here's how my hubby fixed my ME's broken wrist:
  1. With a small dremel drill bit, drill into the "peg " piece and "hand"piece about 1/4 inch each.
  2. Cut the pointy end of a small screw so that it is about 1/2" long. I used a dry wall screw.
  3. Screw the pointy end into the "peg" piece .
  4. Screw the "hand" piece onto the other end of the screw piece. You might have to enlarge the hole so that you can start the screw in the hole. As you screw the hand "hinge" pieces will start to expand out but don't be concerned about it.
  5. Screw it together until the peg and the hand meet.
  6. Using a soldering gun, melt the plastic and smooth over the expanded plastic pieces to eliminate the seam from the crack. Don't inhale the smoking plastic - yuck.
  7. Sand the plastic if it is still rough after the melting.
Well there you have it. You do loose the flexability at the wrist but the alternative up until now for me was to tape it back on - having tried all sorts of glue which didn't work or having a onehanded Joe. -- Sara

Floppy Joints

Got a Joe with weak joints? Make him some ace-bandages. Teflon tape is stretchy, but doesn't prevent movement. Wrap it tape snugly around the outside of the joint to make it more secure! If you buy replacement hands or feet from Cotswolds, they include a little teflon tape to wrap around the post to make the new piece fit in nice and tight. You can also get it from places that sell plumbing supplies. -- JM

Say you have a loose Joe foot or Action Boy forearm peg that is loose, use teflon thread seal tape (available in hardware stores) and wrap about two inches of it tightly around the peg. It will "form fit" itself). Insert it back in the hole of the other limb and it will hold like magic and still have the mobility. This will work for the peg-joints of Joes, Captain Action, Action Boy and Dr. Evil. I just tried it on an Action Boy forearm and a pair of Joe feet-and it works great. It will also help keep Joe's feet from coming off in the boots so easily. -- GITrooper

The best way to tighten your Joe involves a partial restring. You need to shorten the single elastic that connects the two legs and the neck.
You need a long tool with a little hook on it like a crochet needle and a thin phillips screwdriver.
  1. Holding Joe securely, pull his head away from the neck hole until you see the elastic that loops around the neck hook.
  2. Push the screwdriver through the loop to hold it securely above the neck hole.
  3. This will allow you to easily unhook the neck from the elastic.
  4. Set the head/neck aside.
  5. Pull and separate the lower section away from the upper. Now you will have Joes two legs and abdomen section free to work on.
  6. You can shorten (tighten) the elastic by folding it an inch or so and then stitching it at that fold point. Make sure you stitch it securely.
  7. Now you can "re-string" Joe by putting the hook down through the neck hole past the arm elastics and out through the bottom of the chest hole.
  8. Hook your tool onto your tightened elastic
  9. Pull it up through the neck hole again. This will take alot of elbow grease. It will be very tight now.
  10. Once you get it pulled just past the neck hole, stick in your screwdriver again to hold it above the neck hole.
  11. Now, you can easily rehook the neck hook to the elastic.
  12. Pull out the screwdriver, and you're done. Joe is back to tight fighting shape!
This process will also work for restringing or tightening the arm elastic as well. It sounds a little tough, but once you do it, it becomes really easy.
You can also tighten the rivits at elbows, etc, by wraping the joint in a cloth, putting the rivit end side down and hammering lightly on the rivit head. Be careful. This is an area where stress cracks form easily. -- John Medeiros

I dunked my Sam's joes in a basin of hot water and let them soak for less than a minute, swished them around and then shook them out and let them dry overnight. They are now definitely tighter. Perhaps whatever was done to them was something that could be washed away; anyway, they are better now. -- Peter

Most of these comments can be found HERE
GI Joe® is a trademark of Hasbro, Inc.

These are the opinions of other collectors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Chinook & Hobby West. Chinook & Hobby West is not responsible for any damage to your pieces.

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