I get asked often how do I or When should I Replace an o-ring or what is a good way to take care of my vintage G.I. Joe figures consider all of the below fixes to be common maintenance. Here is Big Boy Collectibles.
How to fix a...
Broken O-ring or Loose Waist?
Use a small Phillips screwdriver ( I use the Craftsman #0 Phillips ) to remove the back screw. Take the figure apart and replace the loose or broken O-ring.
Replacement O-rings can be purchased at a variety of places online or at your local hardware store. Look for plumbers' O-rings with a 3/8 inch diameter / #8 O-rings for vintage G.I.Joe figures from 1982 till 1984 & #9 O-rings for 1985 G.I.Joe figures & up
Some vintage G.I. Joe figures like Zartan, Zandar, Zarana and the Ninja Force figures do not have back screws because they are glued together. You can try to break the figure in
half or cut it apart with a razor blade and glue it back together.
Rusty or Stuck Screw?
Back screws and leg screws come in different sizes and styles for figures from earlier and later years. Earlier G.I Joe figure screws have sharp points while many later screws have blunt tips.
Leg screws are smaller. Putting a back screw in a leg can damage the leg. If your figure has rusty screws, let me first suggest that you put great effort into trying to save the screws
You will learn that these screws are valuable. Unless a screw is severely rusted, I will remove the screw and then clean it with WD-40 before reusing it. You can use sandpaper to remove heavier rust.
Damaged G.I Joe figures are the best place to find replacement screws. Spare screws can also be purchased at certain websites. If a screw is rusty, take it out and replace it before it gets stuck.
Grab your power drill and very carefully begin drilling out the center of the stuck screw with a 1/16 size drill bit - preferably a drill bit designed to drill through metal. Drill slowly.
Every so often, stop drilling and try to remove the screw again with your screwdriver. It should eventually come out without damaging the figure in any way.
There are several ways to tighten up loose G.I Joe figure joints, these are my favorites.
For a loose waist or loose upper leg joints, replace the O-ring.
For a loose knee, neck or a rotating shoulder joint, I use a polyurethane varnish - commonly called "clear coat". You can find a bottle for a few bucks at any local craft store near the acrylic paint.
(Sometimes, inserting a new, thicker O-ring will tighten up a loose neck or shoulder.)
Instructions for using Clear Coat:
1) Take the figure apart.
2) Apply a thin coat to the inside of the loose joint - or to the area where the two plastic pieces will rub against each other.
3) Allow to dry for 30 minutes.
4) Reconstruct the figure and test.
5) Apply additional coats if necessary.
One coat usually does the trick. The varnish dries in less than 30 minutes to a rubbery clear finish that gives a nice feel to the joint.
Careful, this is dangerous. For loose elbow joints and loose "up and down" shoulder joints, place a very small amount of clear coat on the joint and work it in, moving continuously until the paint dries. I warned you.
Broken Off Peg Stuck in a Foot Hole?
There is no need to panic if the peg from a figure stand breaks off and gets stuck in your Joe's foot. This one will again require your power drill. Using a small bit, drill into the broken off peg inside your figure's foot. Be very careful.
After the drill bit is in far enough, simply pull the drill away from the figure. The broken piece of plastic should come out with the bit. It is important not to drill too far are not far enough. Stick the drill bit into another figure's peg hole
first to judge the depth of the hole.
Broken Metal Crotch Piece?
Remove the back screw and take the figure apart. Also, remove the leg screws, disassemble the legs and discard the broken metal T-hook. Reassemble the figure with a new T-hook. These T-hooks are hard to find. Always save them from damaged figures.
Even an otherwise useless GI Joe figure will always contain a valuable T-hook. Always be careful with the waist piece when taking figures apart and putting them back together. The skinny crotch piece is very fragile and we all eventually break one.
The plastic gets dry and brittle over the time.