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The years can takes it's toll.
I'm always buying vintage GIjOEs and Action Man . Email me.
Vintage GIjOE Repair Tips
Its hard to believe the GIjOE toy line has been around for 45 years, and if you are lucky to still find some at flea markets or garage sales, you most likely will discover they are in "combat" condition. In all fairness, not that many GIjOEs survived in good condition. The boxes they came in are even more rare today. Many vintage Joes will need at least a good cleaning, and many mangled Joes can become "Fit for duty" with some simple repair techniques.
Ivory soap, warm water and a toothbrush is all that you need to clean the naked body of GIjOE. Avoid paint strippers or acetone, keytone, or other harsh chemicals, and also avoid the gritty abrasive cleaners. Softscrub is Ok. As is a little rubbing alcohol. A final cleaning with the ivory soap, and a good air dry is about all the cleaning these guys need.
Clothing can be washed, and ironed but let them air dry overnight. Do not use any bleach. Use a colander, and hand detergent and use the kitchen sink sprayer. You can dry the clothes with a hand towel folded flat and then roll it up tightly to remove the excess water. Once dry, its ready to iron. If you have a really dirty outfit, you can use a generic 'fizzy' denture cleaner! Works great to get the whites white, and to remove stubborn stains. There is also a company called Twin-Pines that makes a whole line of cleaners for action figures [and dolls].
A sewing kit with common color threads and needles is about all you need to stitch up a tattered shirt or cuff. I can't sew my way out of a wet paper bag, but I can repair a split seam or replace a button or snap.
Mending Breaks and Cracks
I have not found any decent glue that will hold the old vinyl plastic body parts together, but I have used with limited success a product called Plastic Welder. If you know of any better ones, email me. I've tried heat fuse-ing parts together with a soldering iron, and this is a real hot or miss. Do this as a last resort, and don't try it on any 'rare' parts.
Now, most of Joe's accessory parts were made of polystyrene, and can be glued together using common Testors model cement glue the same glue used on styrene plastics model kits. I prefer the liquid model cement found in the plastic model aisle at the local hobby store. It really flows into the cracks, and melts the parts back together a lot better than the gel types. Be sure to have a way to hold the parts steady and together, as it does take some time to dry.
One of the biggest problems with vintage AT era Joes is the fuzz-hair flocking falling out. For years the only option was to use hair from a donor, and glue plugs back into the bald spots. Not any more. There are ebay vendors offering a 'reflocking' service, and the old standby was www.clubhairforgijoe.com These guys do a great job of restoring your AT Joe's most endearing feature, the "Life-like Hair". The Trenches members, contact: email@example.com or Rug Ratz Flocking, 16 Hamburg Lane, Weaverville, NC 28787 .
Use a hair dryer! No kidding, a warm dryer will soften the plastic enough for you to remove Joe's head. But only do this if you have to. And to replace his head, do the same thing. Hot water will work but don't do this to fuzzy head Joes.
Body Parts Replacements
Vintage GIjOE body parts, especially hands can be real hard to find. Ebay, and your local flea market is the best place to look. Buy that really beat up Joe with the missing foot, and bald head, just for his hands. Vintage sets when available can go for $35 each! I have tried to use the Masterpiece Edition body parts but these are difficult to remove. Cotswold Collectibles sells replacement body parts, but I prefer to keep my old Joes with all vintage parts.
Plumbers teflon tape works great for those joints that are too loose to hold by themselves. Also, you can peen the rivets on the knees if they are way too loose, but only do this if you really have no other choice. The knees on Joe are most prone to cracking, so be careful.
I'll get a tutorial up one of these days on how to make your own elastic leg connectors from automotive electrical connectors, but for now, you can use the tiny bungee cords found at Walmart, and the yellow electrical 'eyelet' connectors to repair broken elastic. It's really easy and works great.
The military era Joes heads and faces were painted with acrylic paint, and today, about the best way to match the color is to use a quality paint made by Liquitex. I'll get a color chart done up ones of these days, but remember, there was a redhead [custom mix], a brown [burnt sienna], black [ivory black], and blonde [raw sienna].
This is a whole subject in and of it's self. I'll get around to doing my own tutorial one of these days. But for now, here are some tips.
As a graphic designer for many years, I became interested in box designs for my 'box-less' Joes. Below are some of the vintage "style" custom boxes I made using an Apple Macintosh , Adobe Photoshop, QuarkXPress, and an Epson Stylus wide format color printer. Most of this equipment is years old now, but still generates great boxes when ever I need one. One thing that always bothered me about the vintage display boxes was that you destroyed them taking the parts out. Well, I have solved this problem. All the parts can be easily removed. The box is a slide top type so it can be opened easily. Hasbro never designed their boxes like this!
If you are interested in any of these boxes, remember I do not sell Hasbro copyrighted materials, Their images are their property. To make a profit using someone else's work is illegal. I can help you make your own, or I can trade for vintage parts!
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