A few years ago I was up in the roofspace of my house sorting through some boxes of old crap when I happened upon my little stash of vintage Masters of the Universe figures. Most were all in pretty good shape but my BATTLE ARMOR HE-MAN, due entirely to the ravages of time and entropy, looked more like an extra from the opening scene of ‘Saving Private Ryan’ than one worthy of my collection shelf. That little strap of rubber that attaches the legs of He-Man (and pretty much all the vintage MoTU figures) to his torso had completly perished. This had not occurred through punishing play or sadistic figure torture, this happened simply because the figure was old and the rubber ligament had decided it had grown bored of living.
I initially considered the figure a write-off. Knackered. Good for spare parts and that was it. But I couldn’t bring myself to bin the bastard. Despite being deprived of attached legs, he was still in good condition: the paint was nice and there was virtually no discolouration. So I stuck him back in the box in which he’d lived for about 20 years and left him to it.
Then a couple of months ago I stumbled upon a YouTube video which was a tutorial on how to fix MoTU figures with detatched legs. “Bloody Hell” I pondered as I watched the video. “That looks piss-easy to do!” My mind suddenly drifted back to my legless He-Man in the roof. Maybe I could have a crack at fixing that little sod using the technique I’d just learned.
Now you could go and find one of the video tutorials on how to do this or if you’re so engrossed by my writing skills then read on and see how I fared at my first attempt at doing this repair.
- A busted vintage MoTU figure
- Needle-nose pliers
- a small screwdriver
- 2x 23mm screw hooks
- 1x 24mm O-Ring
- a length of string (I used ribbon as I had no string)
- about 30 minutes
The screw-hooks and o-rings are easily found at a decent hardware shop. You should shell out no more than $5 in materials to complete this.
First, remove as much of the perished rubber in the leg cavity as you can. You don’t need to get it all out but get all the loose, brittle stuff out. This will ensure your screw-hook bites well when inserting it.
You should be able to screw in the hook using just your hands, You don’t need the pliers just yet. But don’t screw the hook in too deep. Just make sure it bites well and leave a nice gap for you to thread the o-ring on.
Once you have screwed a hook into the top of both legs, you need to loop the o-ring onto the hook on one of the legs. You want to double the loop for extra strength. Once the o-ring is threaded, crimp the hook closed and screw it deeper into the leg.
Next, thread the string (or ribbon in this case) through the o-ring. This is going to help you pass the o-ring through the cavity in the figure’s crotch piece. Now this is where you can easily make a mistake: there are two gaps in the crotch-piece, one in the front and one the rear. You need to thread the string through the rear cavity. This is where the original rubber ligament was threaded.
Thread the string or ribbon through the crotch-piece and pull the o-ring along with it. Once the o-ring is out the opposite leg hole, use your small screwdriver to hold it in place and remove the string.
Next you need to grab the other leg and thread its hook onto the o-ring. Now both the legs are attached to the figure. Crimp the second hook closed. This is where it gets a little fiddley. You’ll need to screw the second hook deeper into its leg. The legs will now be quite tightly attached to the crotch piece but probably flailing in weird directions. Grab the needle-nose pliers and use them grab the hook on the desired leg. Holding the hook still, twist the leg tighter into the hook until it is facing the desired direction. Repeat on the other leg. Eventually, both legs will arrive at their correct position. Check out the below image to see how deeply I set the hook in the leg.
You’ll find that the end result gives you a figure with legs very similar in tightness to the original version. Admittedly, this is not a perfect fix in the sense that you’ve now seriously modified the figure from its original form. But if your intent is just to restore the figure to a presentable state ready for the shelf, then this method should hold you in good stead.
Vintage MoTU figures are not rare and hence not particularly valuable. So don’t be scared to try this repair if some of your MoTU figures are somewhat lacking in the limb-count department. Its a fun and satisfying repair and can restore to life what would have been a figure worthy of the bin rather than the shelf.