REPAIRING MOTUC FIGURES

The first version of this page highlighted the first major MOTUC production error: the incorrect placement of Stratos's wings. There have been some other problems with the figures though, so I thought it would be a good idea to rewrite this page with some suggestions of how these production mistakes can be corrected.

Something I will not address here is the unsymmetrical shapes of the figures' torsos. The male characters have a larger right side than left. The female characters lean awkwardly to the left. These faults are not adjustable with simple tweaks. Fortunately the designs are otherwise strong enough to make the characters look good.

I am therefore going to focus on three areas which need fixing and should be easily managed by anyone. You do not need to be a figure customizer to perform these basic corrections. The areas I will cover here are:


MOVING STRATOS'S WINGS

Fans are still wondering how the incorrect placement of Stratos's wings occurred on both the first and second releases of the figure, bearing in mind the prototype (above left) was correct, and every piece of artwork from the vintage line showed where Stratos's wings should be located. Somehow the wings were put behind his arms rather than alongside them.

Fortunately, Scott 'Toyguru' Neitlich of Mattel subsequently posted this remark (slightly edited by me) on the He-Man.org forums: "You know what? You guys are totally right on this one. For future releases of Stratos I have met with design and we will make sure Stratos's wings are not glued in place so they can be rotated for the front or the back. I'm a bit embarrassed on this one. Usually I catch this stuff. The first 6 figures were pretty fast and furious. I was so busy at the time fixing Stratos's miscoloured belt that the incorrect wings went past my careful eye. We'll get it next time as I'm sure Stratos will be back in time."

There will probably be a fairly long wait for the correct re-release, as Mattel obviously has to buy materials and make adjustments to the schedule, but this is good news because we will finally be able to buy a perfect version of one of the original Masters from the earliest days of the 1980s toyline. Stratos may not be the most popular character among fans, but for those of us who love the early stories and the original canon, he is a favourite.

If, however, you are fed up with your incorrect figure (above middle), you will be pleased to know that it is fairly easy to move the wings. When the wings are put in the right place (above right), the transformation is great, and turns a poor figure into the excellent one Stratos deserves to be.

The method you need to follow requires two cups. Place some ice cubes in one and fill it with water. Pour boiling water into the other. You will periodically need to replace the water in the hot cup as it cools. Have a towel to hand. Dip one of Stratos's arms into the hot cup for thirty seconds. This will soften the plastic and make it easier to manipulate. Remove Stratos and gently pull his hand off. If it feels too stiff, return the figure to the hot water for another thirty seconds and then try again.

When the hand is removed, the next step is to melt the glue which fixes the wing to the wrist. As before, dip the arm into the hot cup for thirty seconds and then gently try to push the wing bracelet away from the wrist. This will take numerous attempts, and should be done very carefully to avoid splitting the bracelet. A blunt knife may help separate the parts, but be careful not to cut the plastic. Eventually the wing will work loose. Scrape off any obvious lumps of glue.

Return the wing to the hot cup to soften it slightly. Remove it and bend the bracelet towards the wing. This will help it sit alongside Stratos's arm properly. Place the wing in the cold cup. The coldness will cause the wing to set in its new position. Leave it in the cold cup while you work on the other hand and wing.

Once the second wing has been removed, dip the first wing into the hot cup briefly, dry it and place it on to Stratos's wrist in the correct position. There is no need to glue it in place. Place Stratos's arm in the cold cup for thirty seconds to set it. Repeat the process with the other wing. You will find the corrected Stratos looks infinitely better than the incorrect version!

STRENGTHENING SOFT ANKLE JOINTS

An incredibly annoying and common problem with the Classics characters is the soft joints. This occurs most frequently with the ankles. There is a fairly easy way to correct this so that the figures can stand up without difficulty. Pledge Multi-Surface Wax, which may have different names depending on your location, is a wax which sets clear and can be applied to the joint with a small paintbrush.

I have used a Four Horsemen Ramathorr figure (above) to illustrate the use of wax here, rather than a Classics figure, because the larger design shows the method more clearly. The Ramathorr figures are much larger and heavier than the Classics figures, and this method still works very well. I suggest starting with the ankles, allowing the wax to set overnight in the correct position (prop up the figure as necessary). Further wax can be applied if needed to the ankles, but also consider applying the wax to the knees if there are still stability problems.

FIXING FEMALE FIGURES' WOBBLY HEADS

A problem which has become standard on the female Classics figures is the wobbly head. This is caused by the neck pin, which is loose in the neck. Applying superglue can fix the pin in place in the neck while leaving the head joint sufficiently flexible for posing the figure. Superglue should be applied very carefully and in small quantities because any excess will crystallize and turn white.

Pull the head off the figure carefully. Use a superglue with a pipette-shaped nozzle to apply small drops of the glue down the neck cavity. Hold the neck pin firmly (pushing it to the back of the neck) for one minute to allow the glue to begin to set. Leave the figure for twenty-four hours to set hard before reapplying the head.