A regularly updated blog about my vintage Kenner Star Wars toy collection. Some stuff that I've recently acquired; some stuff that I've had since I was a kid. Some rare, some common, but all sharing the warmth, charm and character of the "first generation" of Star Wars toys - the ones we played with as kids in the late '70s and early '80s.

Monday, March 10, 2014

"Droids" A-Wing Fighter Landing Gear Repair/Restoration

A common problem - A-Wing Fighter with busted landing gear. I'd always wanted to add an A-Wing to my collection but quailed at the high prices asked for boxed and even loose examples. Synchronicity intervened one day as I was cruising eBay and found one with broken landing gear in one auction... and a loose replacement part in another. The ship was $50 and the part, $8...

Once everything arrived, the first order of business was to disassemble the ship by removing six screws.

Once it all came apart it was clear that all was not well. One of the landing struts was broken. Out came the cyanoacrylate glue for a repair...

Not good enough, unfortunately. The superglue just wouldn't hold by itself. Time for the big guns...

... JB Weld. This stuff will stick most anything together (except the fairing stays on a 1995 Ducati 900SS/SP, but that's another story).

The JB made "Kwik" work of the repair.

Here's how the ship goes back together...

...carefully laying the engines over the upper ship half.

Landing gear in "down" position.

Screw it all back together...

Voila - one very presentable A-Wing Fighter at a significant discount over buying a mint example. A-Wing Pilot is pretty pleased with his new ride ;-)

How Does This Even Happen? Plastic Reaction in 12" Stormtrooper

One of the survivors from my childhood collection is my large-size Stormtrooper. I have some great memories of playing with him out at my mother's family's farm, especially building a parachute for him out of a handkerchief and throwing him as high up in the air as I could...

So imagine my shock and dismay when I noticed this crazy problem with his hand. I'd never broken the figure, so this wasn't the remnants of an ancient repair... it apparently just happened spontaneously over the 30+ years I've had the toy. I got some sage advice from "Sharp", a senior member on Rebelscum.com, who wrote:

"That's almost certainly a plastic reaction going on there. I'm 99% sure. While I don't know the specific chemistry involved, some of the Kenner softer plastic (hands, bandoliers, etc.) reacted over much time with the harder plastics of the types often seen on the 12" figures. I've seen this on a hundred Stormtroopers and my share of Jawas and Chewies with their bandoliers fused or melted to the body in places where they've been touching for years. This isn't hard to imagine as a great many of the loose examples out there have been sitting absolutely immobile in boxes in attics and such. I've seen MISB 12" Stormtroopers with this type of reaction as well as many whose hands simply fall off the arms. As far as I know, this is no way to keep this from occurring. Needless to say, the folks at Kenner developing these toys were not thinking about the condition of these toys in 30+ years time.

Just another idiosyncrasy that makes these toys so charming!"

Bizarre, eh? Welcome to the world of plastic chemistry ;-)  Anyway, I wanted to post this story as a resource to others who might be searching the Internet for an explanation for this very mysterious issue.

Keywords: plastic reaction, plastic melding, plastic melting, 12" Jawa, 12" Chewbacca