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Monday, 29 July 2013

Don't Get Stuck - picking out adhesives and glue. Part 1

**Getting the right glue for the right job is very important, so modelers need to know what is available.  Although this article will cover the main types of glue, the huge variety of glues from so many manufacturers means that you should always pay attention to the instructions on the particular product you are using.**

Types of Glue

The main types of glue that a modeler will need in their armoury are;
  • Polystyrene cement
  • Cyano acetate (‘super glue’) also known as cyanoacrylate (CA glue) 
  • Epoxy Resin
  • Clear ‘canopy’ glue
  • Gloss varnish
  • Clear rubber/silicone cement
  • PVA adhesive
  • White glue/woodworkers glue
  • and there is always a new one coming to the market

Polystyrene Cement

Polystyrene (poly) cement is only suitable for rigid polystyrene plastic.  It works by dissolving the surface of the plastic which then re-hardens.  If a bead of poly cement is put between two pieces of plastic, then both faces of the plastic dissolve and meld together so that when they harden they have formed a solid joint.  In effect, the two pieces have been welded together, so a very good bond is formed that is as strong as the plastic.

Cyanoacrylate Adhesive (‘Superglue’)

When this glue was introduced, it was advertised as instantly bonding almost anything to anything else and indeed it is very versatile.  The only substances that resist it seem to be certain soft plastics.  As such, it is very good for bonding hard plastics, resin and metals to each other, which makes it very useful on multi-media kits.  However, it not easy to use and should perhaps be avoided by novices and children.  It can be unforgiving, with the thin formulas curing in one or two seconds and often seeming to stick fingers to the kit much better than it sticks kit parts together. 
Click here for tips on storing Superglue

Watch for Part 2 Next week!

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Friday, 26 July 2013

Customizing Action Figures & Accesories Part 2


You can use heat to melt the HOF insignia off with a hair dryer or iron. -- Rob
You can remove decals by soaking the garment in lighter fluid. They will peal right off. -- Wong Lu Meng Marcellus
I used paint remover on my SotW Air Cav outfit to remove his stripes. -- Rob
I just tried something with a mixed degree of success using an off the shelf proprietary cleaning/stain removal product available here in the UK called Dab It Off. So far I have successfully removed nametags etc from Joe HOF uniforms and early 90's AM uniforms OK. I met with a little more resistance when removing the AM logo from the T shirt in the AM Abseil Gear and the HALO Rangers Airborne Ranger Tabs, a little more persistence would probably have brought them of completely. I managed to get rid of all the ink, but was left with a thin flexible clear film which is only visible if you know it is there. The only thing this stuff would not touch at all so far was the SOTW Airborne Rangers insignia. -- Winch
I have found a some-what reliable technique for removing the decals from the 21st Century OG 107 fatigue shirts (Special Forces Advisor and Army Ranger).
  1. First, heat the shirt in the clothes dryer or use a hair dryer.
  2. While the shirt is still hot, take clear packing tape and stick it over the decal you want to remove. Press down hard and quickly pull off. This will remove a portion of the decal.
  3. Keep doing this until the entire decal is removed.
Be sure to get new pieces of tape when the tackyness starts to fade. It will take a bit of effort, but it should remove the decal cleanly. I used Manco Crystal Clear tape that meets Postal Regualtions and it worked fine. Beware of duct tape, it may leave glue residue on your garments.
I'm not sure this will work on Hasbro gear. The 21st decals are a low heat, rubber-type base. When they get hot, the edges of the decal curls. I have not seen the Hasbro decals react this way (except Jane's flightsuit and the General's jacket) -- I Zhevsk


Cutting plexiglass is a very iffy thing, do it slowly. Draw a paper template outlining the exact size of the windshield that you want cut. Then afix the template onto the plastic using some double sided tape. After that use a straight edge and a metal scribe and slowly scribe away. If you are patient and persistant enough, you should be able to cut through.
If you have access to a bandsaw, use that and finish the piece by sanding and buffing the edges on a buffing wheel. It is much quicker but if the plastic is too thin, the fast vibration of the saw tends to crack the plastic. This can be prevented to a certain degree by laying a piece of tape along the line that you want cut -- J Goh

Gun Mounts

I made a mount for the old .30 cal by using a length of plastic tubing (that had an inside diameter that the mount would fit into) and glueing that to a piece of sheet styrene. I drilled a hole through the styrene and used a nut & bolt through the mounting hole on the floor between the seats to mount the rig to the jeep. To remove it, just unbolt the setup! -- Rob Sorrels


When the belt buckles on my 21st Century uniforms broke, I replaced them all with 18 gauge aluminum wire I got at my local hardware store. The material bends nicely, and it looks great. I used silver wire, but I think you can get wire that is darker. -- mtbbikeseth
I used some .030 wire from a hobby shop to mend a 21st century belt buckle. -- Andy

Cleaning Gear

See Cleaning and Washing

Glueing Gear

I used "vinyl liquid patch" (VLP) to repair some holes in a raft and man I couldn't be happier. This stuff is used for fixing all kinds of tears and cuts in vinyl. I own an upholstery shop and use it a lot on small tears in auto upholstery or furniture. I think you can buy it at most hardware and auto parts stores. I also used it to attach a couple of straps to a vintage life vest. Now my two wounded vintage pieces look as good as new. -- Noxaf
The safest way to repair a pin hole in a raft is a teeny patch of vinyl tape. If you want it to look really authentic, use a contrasting color. If you don't want it to show, use acrylic paint and match the color. I am assuming you want to be able to inflate it. If you don't want to risk melting it and don't want to go to the trouble of matching the paint, you can make it look inflated by filling it with clean sand. Then when you don't want it to look inflated anymore, wash out the sand. The sand trick works well when you want these to stay in place on your displays even when your inflatable doesn't have a leak. -- J. C.
To patch a small hole in a vinyl raft for display, neatly use just a drop of crazy glue on the damaged spot. I say neatly because if you miss or smudge the glue it will discolor the raft. Then, don't mess with it! I usually let it set overtnight then inflate it a bit. -- Andy Cabrera
Epoxies should never be used on any plastic or styrene models on the outsides where it might show. Chemical reactions will eventually cause the plastic to weaken and deform, and any paint you put over the epoxy will eventually develope cracks. Avoid epoxy putty as a gap filler or build up material. Use Squadron "green" putty or Testor's "white" putty. Both are formulated to bond permanently to styrene and will never degrade it. Avoid using any adhesive or lubricant on your models that is petroleum based! It will eventually react with the plastic and degrade it. -- Richard A. Lewis
Here are some glues that won't work on the Sunny Smile Strike Force Tank so you don't waste you time: ZapAGap or any cynoacrylite, Model glue, Elmers, Hot glue- hi or low temp. What is even more difficult is painting this kind of plastic. I still haven't found anything that won't chip off easily. -- Mark B.
See also Broken Limbs

Reshaping Gear

Storing Gear

Get one of those big Rubbermaid latching footlockers. Try and find a hunter green and grey one. Take it, paint some custom offical Mil.Spec marking on it. Use yellow and black caution tape and trick it up. Make it the 'Offical GI Joe storage area', your kid will eat it up. -- Steve Harrison

Painting Gear

I would try using acrylic paints on rubber items because the paints are flexible. I don't think there is anything that will stay on forever, but the acrylics are pretty durable. Back in the late '70s, I painted a design on a vinyl tire cover that was on the back of my van. The painting out-lasted the tire cover. -- Rob Sorrels
Acrylics are very easy to mix to get what ever color you want. I keep a good supply of the primary colors and a box of paper dixie cups (the small bathroom kind) for mixing the paint in. This way I can buy the less expensive stuff and experiment with color:
Here are some good mixes using the primaries red, yellow, & blue
Olive drab #1: 5 parts yellow 4 parts red, 1 part blue
Olive drab #2: 5 parts brown, 2 parts green
Desert tan: 10 parts yellow 3 parts red, 1 part blue
Like cooking, you have to experiment a bit to get it to taste the way you like it. -- Matthew
For painting vinyl or rubber, you should be able to find vinyl paint in a spray can in an auto parts store. I know that you can buy it in quarts at an auto paint supply shop to shoot in a spray gun. It's used for refinishing vinyl car tops. -- Donnie
Hard styrene (as in rifles) can be painted with enamels (model paints). Soft plastics have a plasticizer that won't let enamels dry. For soft plastic use acrylics. The plasticizer in the flexible plastic won't allow enamel paint to dry and it'll stay tacky forever. -- Rob Sorrels
Before painting, wash the item well with dish soap and a toothbrush. Dry it well. Prime it if you need to (for example when a light color on a dark piece). Don't get in a hurry. Have fun! -- Rob Sorrels
You may have to sand the item first with a fine grit paper. Then prime with a color primer closest to the paint color you want to use. Then paint. It takes a little more time and effort, but the paint job should last a little longer. -- I Zhevsk
After you finish painting, spray the item with a clear overcoat. This will smooth out the item and make it look more "factory" in appearance. You can choose from flat, gloss, and semi-gloss. I like the semi-gloss, but try 'em all and see which you like best. -- Rob Sorrels

To paint the kind of plastic used in a Sunny Smike tank, try first priming with white Krylon spraypaint (found at Wal-Mart). Two brands of paint you might choose for the final coat: 21ST Century Space Age Paint and Top Flite Advanced Formula LustreKote. Here's the url for some info on these products: -- Alex G

For the full article CLICK HERE
GI Joe® is a trademark of Hasbro, Inc.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

What Is the Best Model Train Scale?

Question: What Is the Best Model Train Scale?
Model trains come in many different sizes, or scales. For those just getting started in the hobby, deciding on a scale for themselves or their children can be a big dilemma. The short answer is that there is no one single "best" scale of course, but there may be a best scale for you.
Understanding Scale
If you're trying to determine what scale model train you should buy, you need to know how many different options you have. And just what do those letters mean anyway?
Read up on different scales and their proportions to the prototype. You should also learn the difference between scale and gauge. You can also get more details on a specific scale by following these links:
Making Your Decision
Now that you know a little more about your options, which scale is best for you? To answer that, let's find out a little more about you.
Age is often considered a factor when buying model trains for children, but the decision doesn't get any easier with age. Many modelers find the larger scales more comfortable as vision and dexterity strain in their senior years.
It's not the size of the trains but the size of the layout. Even an efficiency appartment has room for model railroading, it all depends on your goals. Bigger isn't always better. If you don't have room / desire for a large layout, there are still many options: a smaller scale to pack in the most scenery, a mid-size scale switching layout, larger scale modules or static displays.
We all work on a budget, some tighter than others. The relationship of scale and cost isn't quite as simple as you'd think. Cheap and expensive models are available in every size. One difference however is how many models of a given size you'll need to fill your layout's space. In other words, do you buy a 20 car train of $20 HO scale cars or an 8 car train of $50 O scale cars? Both will cost you about the same amount in both your wallet and your platform.
Ultimately, it comes down to what you enjoy most about the hobby and what you want to do. Balancing these goals with your available space, budget and physical abilities will yeild the perfect compromise. Do you enjoy scratchbuilding and detailing, or would you prefer ready-to-run models? Do you want a continuous run, lots of animated accessories, prototype-based operating plans, multi-person operating sessions, complicated switching challenges, big scenery, something portable, or a combination of any of the above?
Think about what you want from the hobby, look at what size works best for you, and get started. Oh, and don't worry...if your goals, space, budget or abilities change you can always change your mind later and start again!
Partial Source -


Friday, 19 July 2013

Customizing Action Figure Accesories



You know what's really cool about the transparent colors? When you paint them over a solid color, you can create some fantastic effects. Want to cool up your sunglasses for your Joes? Paint the lenses silver, then paint over them with either blue or smoke transparent paint. Suddenly, you have gargoyles! -- Steve Harrison


There are different sizes of feet and that means different sizes of boots! It's easy to put a smaller foot into a bigger boot. If you want to go the other way, see the tips below. If you can help me the IAM measurements, I'd appreciate it. -- JM
You can use a soldering gun to mend split boots. The trick is to melt only the inside of the boot, and not all the way through to the outside. However, it has to be melted enough that both sides of the seam will bond with the other. I was able to then place the boots on and take them off my Joes, with repairs still intact afterwards. From the outside, you cannot tell the boots had been repaired. Note: The splits were either in front at the laces or in the back, but not at the soles. -- Kevin
The Arctic Mission Gear, if good for nothing else, is good for the white boots that come with the set. At a time when Joe currently has no athletic shoes, these can easily be transformed into them. The boots are easily "cuttable." My one word of advice is to cut slowly and evenly. I actually have a pair of athletic shoes right in front of me as I cut, in order to get the cut just right. You can then use the shoes like that, or if you have a thing for exactling detail (and a steady hand), some paints and a small-tip paintbrush should allow you to add some detail. -- Bidz
SLU1 7/16"
Elite1 11/16"
Vintage/ME/CC1 13/16"
Getting the Classic Collection (CC) GI Joe boots off the old-style feet was a bit of a job, so I dusted the boots before putting them back on. -- Rob Dean
I found out that by heating a HOF boot in the microwave oven for two minutes it will slip on a masterpiece joe foot as easy as Cinderella's slipper, and does not damage either the boot or the foot! -- Caemson
The US Serviceman Memorial Collection boots will fit if you put a dab of vegetable oil on the heel of your CC or HOFA Joe. I used the black boots as dress shoes (pants over top). -- Matthew Mehlich
Some HOF boots will fit CC figures. Some are too tight. The hair dryer technique with the boots will help. Warning: To take off a tight HOF boot from a CC Joe will require lots of pulling. I used the hair dryer technique and the heating action also made the CC's ankle joint very soft. When I finally pulled the boot off the ankle was slightly stretched. This CC Joe now has a leg slightly longer than the other. My advice is to buy Cotswolds boots for the CC Joes. -- Thor Sadler
Also, the foam rubber boots for CC Joes, though looks alot better than the thick HOF boots, they resist attempts to make the CC Joe stand. The hard plastic boots of vintage Joe and Cotwolds boots make CC Joe stand easier. -- Thor Sadler
CC Joes can wear both HOF and vintage Joe uniforms. Hats and boots are a hit and miss subject. -- Thor Sadler
There are different sizes of feet from HOFA vs. CC or ME as a result there are different sizes of boot too. The CC boot will go on a HOF/HOFA foot with no problem. The reverse is not true, unless there is some secret handshake involved, you won't get a boot from HOF/HOFA onto a CC/ME/Vintage figure. If you force the issue, the boot may go on but you'll probably end up cutting the boot off or traumatically amputating the foot. -- Joe Shipley
I've put the HOF boots on both my Elite and CC Joes with no real problems. The green HOF boots are stiffer than the black and they are the only HOF boots I have not been able to get the "Big Foot" into. The HOF boots also come off without any real problems. Use lots of powder to help them slide on & off. -- Rob Sorrels
HOF boots don't fit CC joes well, except for Major Bludd's, whose boots fit well. -- Blair
The Target WWII boots are too big, but if you simply paint the boot black or dark brown (using something like Liquitex), and either paint the spats tan or leave them as is, you get a decent looking boot. -- gijoe1964

Head Gear

Here's what I did to make the FAO pilot helmet look a little more realistic. First, I painted the visor Black. I then I removed the original elastic and installed 2 wider pieces measuring 1 1/2" long. I bought a couple of black sew on snaps and sewed the male end to the ends of the elastic and on the helmet I made a template and using a high speed dremel press drilled small holes and sewed the female end to the helmet. -- Michael Venture
Here's how to smoke the lens without making them pitch black? Try clear red Chart-Pak tape, like you use on overheads and briefing slides. Similar products are available in art and office supply stores. Failing that, try window tint. -- Mark Walsh
I've always wanted to try this helicopter pilot helmet modification for myself but I haven't gotten around to it:
  1. Snip the elastic 1/2 way.
  2. Take screws from an old pair of ray bans.
  3. Hold visor on helmet to "eye-ball" where the straps fall. They should be at about 4 and 8 o'clock as you look down from the top and about 1/3 the way from the bottom.
  4. Drill a tiny hole in the helmet
  5. Attach with tiny screws. -- Joe Shipley
To smoke a helmet lens, go to any well stocked hobby shop, and look for Tamiya Acrilyc model paint. They have a line oftransparent paints, designed for wind shields, canopies, and other places that a transparent color is useful. It comes in red, blue, green, amber, and smoke. Cleanup with water, rubbing alcohol, or you can go ahead and buy a bottle of thinner for it. Figure around $2.25 a bottle, but you'll get a lot of use out of it.
It air brushes very nicely. You can also brush paint it. If you are careful, it dries clean and streakless. Remember, less is more. So build up layers to get the darkness you need.
As always, you would be wise to practice a bit before committing to your one-of-a-kind helmet It might be a good use for all those CC goggles you've got laying around.
Now, there may be some other brands of transparent model paint. I know Gunze Sangyo makes some, and I have used it, but I think you want to make sure you've got water based acrylic. It's safer on you and the plastic. -- Steve Harrison
I made an Apollo "fish bowl" type helmet out of a plastic x-mass ornament mold, vinyl, metal foil and a hot glue gun. -- Wolfman
After opening a few of the new WWII US Service mans uniforms I noticed that the fabric covered helmets are to small for your Hasbro-produced GI Joes. There are a couple of things that I found that you can do to make these helmets to fit a little better.
  1. Use a pliers and remove the inner helmet liner.
  2. With a sharp knife remove the 4 plastic posts that the plastic liner attached.
  3. If needed use glue to tack down any of the loose fabric.
Unfortunately, the size is still not perfect, but its a lot closer. -- Mad Dog
Try removing the cloth cover from a WWII US Service Man's helmet and fitting the cloth on to a Joe/AM M1 helmet, takes a little work but gives and even better result. -- Winch (Alan Dawson)
I used a dremel tool on a USSM WWII Infantry Helmet. I pried the inside black piece out and then used the rounded cone shaped attachment to grind down the little plastic posts that were left. The helmet now fits on an Action Man perfectly. -- JM
I used pliers to rip out the posts inside the USSM WWII helmets. They rip right out just fine. -- Robert
I don't know of any way to repair a vintage "shrunken head" Joe. but I put a small wad of cotton under the helmet/hat so that it sits correctly. -- Greg Buck
I tried to put a 21st century helmet on my fuzzy head action man figure and it wouldn't stay on for anything. I decided to ameliorate the situation by taking velcro with adhesive backing (not the fuzzy side, the prickly side if that's any way to describe it) and cutting four small 1/2" strips and placing them about halfway in the helmet all the way around. If you fuzzy guy has anough hair it'll hold quite well. It worked for me anyway. -- Denny
I found a way to make the Wool cap that comes with the WWII figures wearable. Take a sweater shaver and shave down that big stub on the top inside of the cap. Now put it on under the helmet, and it doesn't look so ridiculous. -- Rob


The original Halo CC Joe was short on equipment because he's missing his ALICE pack. Here's the solution. Grab the backpack (sans the web belt) from the Aussie ODF Joe. Put it on the front of the Halo Joe and then use the hook on each side of the ODF backpack, and hook it over the shoulders to the straps on the parachute in back of the Halo Joe. Voila, an accurate 'airborne ranger'! The ODF pack is the same color as the parachute pack. -- Rebonitz
Put about 1/4 inch airplane glue on the 21st Century Toys pack straps and let dry. They will then feed easily. -- Oz
Use tweezers or foreceps to buckle a 21st Century Toys pack. I use foreceps and can do a pack in about 5 minutes now. -- Rob
Here's how to "assemble" a 21st century ruck sack:
  1. First get a large safety pin and a lighter.
  2. Use the lighter on the ends of the straps only for a second and squeeze it together this will keep the ends from fraying.
  3. Use the pin to fish the straps though the buckels.
  4. The shoulder straps go to the bottom corner straps
  5. The pocket straps are easy.
  6. The top straps go through the loops on ruck cover.
  7. Then, on three pocket pack, connect to the bottom inside straps, and travel on either side of the middle pocket.
  8. On the two pocket ruck sack, they travel under the pockets one strap under each pocket and then connect to the bottom straps. -- Black Dog


If you can get a hold of a T-10 reserve PILOT Chute and take out the spring, the remaining midget parachute is the perfect size for joe. The one I have fits perfectly into the CC HALO pack tray. I have not modified the parachute yet but when I finish, it will look like the MC-3 Free Fall Parachute as recently seen in Disney's "Operation Dumbo Drop". It is not a square RAM AIR parachute, but I'm not that motivated yet and these pilot chutes are regularly discarded by DRMO. -- Katy Jeeb
I finally got my hands on a pilot chute. It looks pretty cool with the Airborne Ranger. It was kind funny that a rigger came in needing stitches and I asked him if he could hook me up. A direct supply line to a expendable item. The only thing that I had to do was cut the stiches and take out the spring thing. The chutes look great green and about the right size. Now all I need is the proper way to pack it. Any Riggers know how thanks. Remember I jump a pack and don't actually pack my own chute. -- Daniel Weiske (Dan the Airborne Man)
Dan, go to the rigger's shed and watch them speed pack the chute. If you can make the pack tray, the deployment bag and the harness you'll be in business. You can cut corners on certain items such as cotton webbing ties and break lines (in real life wedon't cut corners).
Here are the steps I remember from way back when:
  1. Get parachute in proper layout. Stretch on table with apex tied to end of table. Separate suspension lines according to left/right risers, get rid of twists and turns.
  2. Dress the parachute by making two sets of triangle flaps from apex to skirt. It'll look like a elongated triangle that is intersected through the center. (I'm using layman terms here so bear with me)
  3. Fold one triangle over on top of the other. Be sure to keep your suspension lines separated! In real life you would place break ties along the chute to keep it neat and controllable. It'll be a b*tch to stuff in the D-bag other wise. Sorry Amy did I say a bad word? 8-)
  4. Now "thread" the apex of chute to the deployment bag (make sure there is a static line or a mini pilot chute attached). Use a slip knot to secure the apex to the D-bag.
  5. Slowly and carefully, stuff the D-bag left to right then right to left in a zig-zag pattern until you are out of silk.
  6. With the "separated" suspension lines (my memory goes fuzzy here), carefully bring the lines to the top of the D-bag in the center of the suspension lines loops TOGETHER (you'll lose separation at this point BUT keep them separated as long as possible until you "loop the lines" through.
  7. The opening flaps of the D-bag have locking loops. Pull the male flap to the female flap and tug the loop through the female flap's hole.
  8. With the suspension line you take a bite of line through the flap loops. Now carefully use a paper clip as your "hook" to pull a "loop" or a small "bite" of lines through the locking loops of the D-bag, do not get the lines tangled or twisted.
  9. Take the lines to the top left loops of the D-bag. Now carefully use a paper clip as your "hook" to pull a "loop" or a small "bite" of lines through the top loop of the D-bag, do not get the lines tangled or twisted. (Clear as mud huh?) Then crisscross the lines from Left loop one to right loop one to left loop two to right loop two....until you reach the end of the D-bag. The lines through the loops should not look like Amy's pasta dinner. It must be neat and clean looking.
  10. Now the D-bag is ready. Attach the risers to the harness. Lay the D-bag ontop of the Pack tray and close the pack tray flaps around the D-bag. Eand P-tray flap has a hole or loop to draw the cotton webbing through, in our case use the "guts" strands of 550 cord. Take one strand and "thread" it through the P-tray flaps to form a circle. BTW - make sure the static line is outside of the P-tray at the "TOP" of the tray.
  11. Try to make the pack as tight as possible by drawing the flaps as close as possible. It may require you to use a little palm action to "flatten" the D-bag to a manageable size.
  12. When 11 is done, tighten the "strand" of the P-tray and tie another slip knot.
  13. Since there will not be enough force to break the last slip knot, you will have to tie the other end of the strand to the static line so as when the static line is "pulled" it will also pull the slip knot out.
  14. Using small and thin rubber bands, make the loops for your static line down your P-tray. You know you should crisscross these as well.
  15. Attach static line hook to the P-tray for storage purposes.
Now sign the rigger's inspection book with your name.
The Rigger's motto is I will be sure always. Do the same by double checking my instructions. You'll learn alot from this process. And a Paratrooper, it is good for a soldier to be familiar with his/her equipment even beyond their training.
The chute should work like this:
  1. Static line attached to an anchor point at a height that will permit the chute to deploy.
  2. When Joe is released, his weight will pull taunt the static line thus pulling the slip knot at the P-tray's flap closures.
  3. The tray now open, pulls the D-bag out and away from the jumper.
  4. The suspension lines now slip through the loops until the locking loops of the D-bag are pulled.
  5. Thus the silk is drawn out, skirt first, filling with air.
  6. Until the last slip knot connecting the apex to the D-bag is pulled.
  7. Thereby freeing the chute from the D-bag and the jumper drives on with his descent.
  8. Mission Complete.
BTW - For those who can't get a military pilot chute, here's a POC:
PAI Parachute Equipment Corp.


Some pilot chutes run for $70.00 -- Thor Sadler
I went to the Fabric area in Wal MArt and bought a Dritz Plier Kit which will enable me to put 1/8 inch eyelets into the Nylon material. I then bought #18 twisted nylon twine for the ropes. If you open the HALO Rangers chute pack there is a strap that you can use to attach the chute. The Pliers were about 6 bucks but I can use them on other plans and the eyelets were about a buck. I still haven't figured out how to open the chute. It will probably not be packed when he "Jumps" and I will only pack it for display. -- Robert
T-10 Reserve Pilot Chutes are the only way to go! They fit Joes pack-tray and they are military issue. -- Jeb
Here's how to pack a parachute: Square parachutes are packed sort of like an accordion. If you hold the entire left side of your Joe chute, it should be folded so that it will collapse down on the right side (accordion style). The individual cells should be open. The nose and tail of the chute are then folded down, kind of like folding the coner of a dollar bill (the amount of fold varies for desired chute opening speed), but roughly, have the upper corner of the (accordion folded) chute touch the bottom of the chute. Then neatly fold the thing so it will fit into the pack. The lines go in last and are held in place by rubber bands. -- Torch
We did a little experimentation last night with a new material - a 45 inch diameter chute out of a lightweight ripstop material that is a pretty good approximation of a "silk chute." It's got a grid-looking pattern like ripstop, but it feels like parachute fabric. The material was in the remnant bin at a fabric store. OD green, too! Cost less than a buck, I think. I hemmed it and added 8 lines using yellow rope like the ice pick and AT accessories sometimes used. The kids and I tested it last night. This chute is too large for ME guys. It has to drop a long way before it opens, and is a slow descender with a CC Joe attached. With the ME guys, I had to leave a length of line unwrapped so it'd kinda "yank" on descent and open the 'chute. We did a tandem jump with a CCand an ME Joe and it looked about right. Lesson #1 learned: 45" is too big. Lesson #2: Arm gets tired a lot faster when heaving 2 Joes instead of 1. -- Opie
Need a parachute for your joe? Check out the local hobby store where ESTES rockets are sold. They usually have chutes in all sizes, shapes and colors. Prices average about $15.00 for the good ones and they are tuff! Uh, oh. No harness to attach the chute to? Go to the local pet store and buy 2 chihuahua size black nylon adjustable collars with plastic connectors. Run these between joes legs and over his shoulders. Attach chute lines to leash snaps on collars. Your joe is ready to go! -- Oz
Looking to get someone else to make you a parachute? Go to your nearest paraloft. Parachute riggers have all the canopy material and sewing machine expertise required. I was a marine rigger and I made a few different canopy/harness combos for my joe collecting compadres. I only charged a 12 pack. -- Delaney
I think to pack the AT parachute this way, 25+ years ago...
  1. Hold on to the center of the chute, and pull it out straight so the chute and cords are relatively straight. It's also useful to untangle and seperate the cords so all the cords that attach on the left side of the chute pack are on the left side of Joe, etc.
  2. Fold the chute down from the top using about 4" folds. It's almost like rolling the chute up.
  3. Wrap the cords around the folded chute, not too tightly.
  4. Don't put the chute in the pack, it isn't going to work. You should have the chute rolled up against the top of the pack. I don't think the rip cord ever really did anything.
  5. Find a nice deck with a nice soft landing surface below.
    Chuck Joe up in the air as hard and as far as you can. If you do it properly, the chute will unroll, inflate, and bring Joe down to a soft landing.
I remember having a 60-70% success rate with this method, which is why that soft landing surface is important! -- Jim
I remember some quite succesful AT parachute launches. Here's how I did it:

  1. If the chords are tangled, I always found it easier to slide the knotted end out of the slots at the top of the pack for unraveling.
  2. Lay the 'chute down and make sure there are no tangles.
  3. Fold a quarter of the 'chute in on the left and right to meet in the middle just like when you make the center fold on a paper airplane.
  4. Fold the two halve together and again as necessary to fit in the pack.
  5. Once the width is right roll/fold it to the correct height for the pack.
  6. Place it in the pack, close the clam shell, place the string over the closed clamshell from the top back down to his crotch and around to the belly area.
  7. The ring on the rip-chord should be where you thumb would be on the abdomen when holding the figure with your fingers on the pack. He' ready to toss!
  8. Throw him up, underhand and head first. What you have to watch out for is that his legs are not so close together that he snags the ring in his crotch.
  9. Anyways, the upward motion opens the clamshell and deploys the shoot.
  10. Its always a good idea to have a soft landing. Accidents do happen. -- E J Harsh
For those of you with vintage fighter pilots, 9 out of 10 times the lid from the parachute has become detached. I went to Home Depot, picked up some green colored caulking called "Color Rite Cauling Spectrum), and laid a very thin bead of caulk down on the lid and pack. It matched perfectly, stayed flexible and is removeable. This is just FYI if you want to attach the lid to the pack for display purposes. -- LogOffsys


Here's how to make a more realistic AR15 shorty from a Hasbro HOF M-16-like rifle (the one with the goofy looking scope on the carry handle, fixed bayonet, and telescoping stock):
  1. Using a sharp pocket knife, carefully remove the scope.
  2. Again using the knife, remove the bayonet at the lug and sever the barrel at the flash suppressor and behind the handguard of the bayonet.
  3. "Eyeball" the length of the barrel and remove a piece to approximate a 16" barrel.
  4. With a Leatherman tool, clip a section of a straight pin. which I used in the manner of the "finger repair" trick,
  5. Heat the pin and shove one end into the shortened barrel and one end into the flash supressor. -- Rhino

Rifle Slings

To make your own rifle sling, go to your local craft, fabric or sewing store and get some olive drab elastic, 3/16" wide. Then look for some brass wire thin enough to fit through the holes on the rifle where the sling rings go. -- Dr. Paul Brothers
You can find rings already formed to the correct size as the Joe rifle rings at craft stores. -- Mad Dog
You can find close to the correct elastic (1/8") in a good sewing supplies store. They come in white and black. Black seems harder to find but, I'm sure a good store could order it for you. You can dye the white with permanent art markers. I use Pantone #5767-T for the olive drab rifle slings and #361-T for the brighter green helmet straps. Many crafts centers also carry gold-tone little metal rings for the slings as well. -- John Medeiros
To make a hasbro look-alike rifle sling, you can pick up the rings at most craft/jewelry sections. Can use 1/8th " black or white elastic and sew or carefully super glue. If you want them realistic, use Skiver leather, dyed to correct tone. Smooth side for leather slings and "rough" side for webbing slings. Web slings can be acrylic painted skiver too. You may be able to get realistic loops for the slings (oval rather than round) from "Toys'n Stuff", or from Cotswold. US WW2 slings are very complicated, having a couple of adjustment buckles with teeth. German ones also have a sliding adjustment buckle. -- Paul Walmsley

Rifle Scopes

On the scope, drill it out a little, and put a plexiglass lens in place. It looks cool. -- Wolfman

More tips from this article can be found HERE
GI Joe® is a trademark of Hasbro, Inc.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Are Kids Getting More Into Model Railroading?

I have to say, from personal experience, yes! My own son has started a Model Railroad awareness in his classroom this year. He has had many friends check out his layouts at home (one room has HO, one room has O and the living/dining room occasionally transforms into G scale).  These kids thought that a Model Railroad only consisted of a basic circle or oval and that was it. Robby has shown them that you can add scenery, buildings and change the track and train easily - and keep within a budget!

Robby has also taken up drawing steam trains and going on Railfan trips with his dad. To date Robby (10 years old) has rode in the cab of the Empress #2816 (we have an earlier blog on this), he has been on a tour through the sheds in the Ogden/Alyth yards here in Calgary and he chased an excursion train from Calgary to Banff to Canmore, Alberta. When the train was switching in the Banff siding, he was able to ride in the F units' Cab! He has shared these from our YouTube Channel in his Classroom!**

Inside the Empress

A look in the the sheds

Sitting at Banff Station

Inside the F Unit

There are many great model railroading activities for children. Model railroading can be a great teaching tool for carpentry, electricity, art, history, geometry and more. Most importantly, this learning can come from enjoyable quality time together with family and friends. Here are some easy and fun ways to get your whole family involved.
Play Together
No matter how old your child is, whether it’s an electric train or a wooden pull-toy, there is no better way to get started in any hobby than by spending quality time with parents. There are lots of options available. Years from now, even when that favorite childhood toy is lovingly handed down to the next generation, it won’t be the train itself that is most fondly remembered.
Build a Kit
Most model train kits are recommended by manufacturers for ages 8 and up. With parental assistance, your child may be ready at an earlier age. Many kits require little more than a screwdriver and a pair of sprue cutters to remove parts from sprues. After a few minutes of quality time together, you’ll have a finished project that you can both be proud of and use.
Simple and inexpensive plastic train kits are getting harder and harder to come by as manufacturers turn to ready-to-run models. Accurail and Bowser still make kits in HO scale for around $10-15. Assembling one of these kits is well within a beginners reach. Plastic structure kits are available in almost any price range in most scales. Don’t be scared away by seemingly complicated laser-cut wood kits either. Many can be built with almost no tools or painting required.
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. If you can’t find a kit that fits your skill level and the railroad you’re building, consider making one just for the fun of it. And while its great to teach children how to build something from a plan, you can also encourage creativity by “kitbashing” or modifying the original design.
Start simple and gradually increase the skill level. You can also always go back and make older projects better with paint and details. Don’t set your expectations too high at first. The important thing is to let the child have fun and begin to learn the necessary skills and safety practices that will stick around for a lifetime.
Build a Diorama
Setting a beginner at any age loose on your permanent layout can be a bit scary. A small diorama or display board is an excellent way to practice skills without leaving a permanent mark. You can build the project at a table or workbench much more ergonomically suitable than what most train tables provide. The smaller project size also works well with a child’s attention span.
Scenery projects appeal to both a child’s creative side and complete willingness to get messy. From spreading ground cover to making trees, many scenic projects are easy enough for a preschooler to handle. Woodland Scenics offers prepackaged diorama and practice kits perfect for model railroading or school projects.
When finished, the diorama can be used to display one of the kits you’ve built or it could even be incorporated into the permanent layout.
Operating Trains
Eventually watching a train run around the same loop of track gets old. Adding switches (turnouts) to change the route can increase the excitement, but making the trains actually do some work can be entertaining for hours.
Check out this Video Clip!
Real trains exist to serve a purpose; move people or goods from Point A to Point B. Often, this means picking up or setting off cars along the way. Advanced operators have all sorts of methods for duplicating prototypical operations, but for those getting started, just figuring out how to add a car to the consist without picking it up in our hands can be a challenge enough.
“Let’s pick up the refrigerator car at the farm and deliver it to the creamery.” Coupling and uncoupling cars, switching tracks, starting and stopping the train all require active thinking and hand-eye coordination. Not only are you increasing the child’s understanding of real trains, you’re building universal skills as well.
Even with simple operations like this, the railroad is always changing and always new. With multiple sidings and cars, the combinations are almost endless.
Watching Trains
Watching trains together can be a great way to share the hobby with children. It does present some challenges however.
Unless you know when the trains are coming, even a busy railroad can offer some lengthy waits between trains. For children, even a short wait can feel like an eternity. Make sure you bring along books, coloring supplies, toys or games to help pass the time together in between trains. By ensuring you spend quality time together all day, trains become just one part of a positive experience.
Safety First! Children are used to trains as small toys, not a noisy machine as big as a house. It is not at all uncommon for children to be afraid of trains. Use this time together to reassure kids, but also to teach valuable lessons about railroads and being safe around them.
Teach your children to stay a safe distance from the tracks at all times and to be aware of their surroundings. Real trains can be fun, but they are not toys and need to be respected.Operation Lifesaver is a leader in promoting rail safety and has great activities for children available online.
partial source -

**The experiences of Robby and his Dad, Rob, are due to special permission. This is NOT TYPICAL and very rare. Both Rob and Robby adhered to proper safety protocols making certain to wear the required safety gear at all times and obeyed all safety guidelines in all situations.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Why Model Railroading?

As with any hobby, the obvious answer is because it's fun!

If you've made it this far, you're probably already interested in building a model railroad for some reason. But maybe you're still on the fence. After all, a model railroad requires an investment in time, money, and energy.
Family Oriented

We are constantly looking for things to do together, "as a family".

Building a model railroad is a great family-oriented hobby. Everyone can get involved and everyone can participate "together".

Every member of the family can be working on some part of things. Mom can be building this part, dad working on that, while the kids are working on something else.

It is also a hobby that can last a life-time. Many people in the hobby started when they were kids and it stayed with them.

Many people worry a lot about the influences our children are exposed to on television, music, and video games. We don't want to get into a debate on whether these are problems or not, but, regardless of your side on the debate, Model Railroading is a great hobby.

You build the model railroad that you want. You are not "forced" to have something that you deem improper or unhealthy on your layout. Actually, given the small sizes of things on a layout, even if you wanted to, it would be pretty hard.
Model Railroading is Educational

You probably don't want to tell your kids, but Model Railroading can be very educational. You can learn a whole range of things:


– Railroads reflect the times they operated in, and vice versa.

– Building a model railroad leads to learning about the real things.

– Railroads embraced the full range of history. In Canada and the United States, railroads were major factors in, and were greatly affected by, the labor movement, race relations, the rise and fall of the Guilded Age and its robber barons, and so on.

– Railroads were, and are, equally important in the histories of other countries.

Basic Carpentry and Electrical Skills

– If you've never sawed wood or stripped some wire, You Will!

– Building a model railroad requires these skills.

– You might think that they are "hard" -- they aren't, you just need to start down the path.

– You'll be surprised how easy it is to pick them up!


– Railroads are economic entities.

– They move raw materials and manufactured goods from place to place.

– The patterns of these movements are all driven by economics.


– This is pretty straight forward! After all, we are building a Model Railroad.

– There are a whole range of skills that you'll develop over time.

Artistic Techniques

– Building scenery and weathering cars, among others, all require a bit of an artistic touch. We can learn that "less is more" (for instance, sometimes just a bit of weathering on a car is all that's really needed).

– We can learn that we don't always need a perfect rendition of something, sometimes all we really need is to give the impression.

How To Research

– As you get more interested in model railroading, you might decide to build more accurate models.

– To do this you will need to research "the real things".

– You'll want to know exactly how something was built or used.

– To do that you'd need to locate documents or pictures.

– All of this takes research.

Logical Thought and Planning

– From novice model railroader to Master Model Railroader (MMR), logical thought and planning are important.

– Everything from figuring out the right steps for building a kit to designing a layout to developing an operating plan for your railroad all require logical thought and planning.

3D and Spatial Visualization

– When you decide to take on scratch-building and kit-bashing, you'll quickly learn some of these skills. We often have to visualize how things will finally look, or how they will go together, long before they are done.

Develops Manual Skills

– This is pretty self-evident.

– To build a model railroad requires some manual dexterity and skills.

– You can't be "all thumbs" to build one.

– And if you think you are all-thumbs, you'll quickly discover that you are not all thumbs.

Basic Engineering

– Model Railroads themselves require a bit of engineering to construct.

– We don't want the benchwork to collapse or the electrical wiring to burst into flames! This is self-evident.

– But we can also learn a bit of engineering by studying the prototypes for the models we are building;

– Why are bridges build this way and not that?

– Why did the railroad go this way instead of that way?

– How does an engine work?


– Railroads don't exist in a vacuum.

– They go through the landscape.

– There are mountains and plains, forests and rivers, towns and cities.

– Model railroading can develop basic understandings of all of these geographic features.

– Furthermore, if you decided to research and model a specific real railroad you can learn a lot about the specific geographic regions where that railroad operated.

The Internet and The Web

– You can even learn a lot about The Internet and how to make and run web sites. After all, we put together this web site!

But the best part of it all is that you are not forced to learn much. You can derive as much, or as little, education from the hobby as you want. After all, sometimes we just want to have fun!
Social Aspects

Model Railroading can be a very social hobby.

It's a great way to meet new people.

There are clubs and associations (such as the NMRA) that you can join. These clubs run the whole range, from swapping stories to teaching skills to each other, to actually building and running a permanent model railroad.

There are model building contests.

It's also a great excuse to travel! You can go on rail-fanning trips, go to conventions and shows, or to visit people you've met.

Model railroading appeals to people in all walks of life. If you find a group of model railroaders, you'll find doctors and lawyers, engineers, shop keepers, business people, military folks, mechanics, carpenters, artists, athletes, and politicians. Young and old, rich and poor. And it is fun.
It Takes Time

One of the big concerns today is that we're a culture of "instant gratification". Model Railroading is anything but instant gratification. You can get things up and running quickly, as we hope to show you in these pages.

But you can also then go back and work on things some more, spend more time. You can perfect your skills over the course of years. And as you perfect your skills, you go back and look at the things you did in the past and say "it was good then, but I know I can do better now"; what was great two years ago is barely acceptable last year, and this year it's sub-standard.

Model railroading is an activity of constant improvement and learning. From that, we often learn that the true gratification is not in attaining the goal, but the journey we take to get there.
Model Railroading Is Not Just For Men!

Some folks think that model-railroading is a "guy thing". Perhaps a long time ago it was. But this is the twenty-first century and those stereotypes are pretty much gone. Or at least they should be!

One NMRA division holds a "build a kit" clinic at its yearly show. This clinic is aimed at young children and their parents. The idea is to show them that "it's not hard". Someplace between 1/3 and ½ of the attendees are girls, mothers, or grandmothers. So it's obvious that you don't have to be male to be interested in model railroading!

The NMRA has a Master Model Railroader (MMR) program. It takes dedication and a lot of hard work to become an MMR. To become an MMR requires demonstrating skills across the entire spectrum of the hobby. There are 4 women MMRs.
Model Railroading is not just for Geeks

Finally, some people may be a bit uncomfortable about "adults playing with toy trains" or may be worried about what their friends and relatives might say. Who cares what they think? But just to set your mind at ease, there are many celebrities who are (or were) also model railrailroaders, such as:

§                            Winston Churchill

§                            Tom Brokaw

§                            Phil Collins

§                            Joe DiMaggio

§                            Walt Disney

§                            Michael Gross, the actor

§                            Ed Dougherty, the professional golfer

§                            Merle Haggard

§                            Tom Hanks

§                            Elton John

§                            Michael Jordan

§                            Ricardo Patrese, the Formula-1 race car driver

§                            Frank Sinatra

§                            Joe Regalbutto, the actor

§                            Bruce Springsteen

§                            Rod Stewart

§                            Donald Sutherland

§                            Mel Torme

§                            Neil Young, the rock star. He's also a part-owner of Lionel...
It's Fun!

In case you missed it, it's fun!
(a condensed version of this article was featured in our July 2013 Ezine -The Chinook Breeze -

This article is from the NMRA. These are the opinions of the NMRA and don't necessarily reflects the opinions of Chinook & Hobby West.

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.

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