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Thread: 1979 Kenner ALIEN Complete Restoration - ADULTS ONLY

  1. #11
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    Dec 31, 2015
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    We shall get there, but not quite yet.

    In the meantime, the figure is now completely disassembled and washed. During this process, there were more interesting issues to be found inside.



    Into the kitchen sink you go, you grubby old codger. Some hot water, mild kitchen detergent and a good scrub with an old toothbrush will do the trick.


    Firstly, while disassembling the figure I found that the screws used to clamp the torso together weren't the original fasteners used by Kenner. A replacement set of 4 had been used. The problem with such replacement screws is their thread does not match the thread they are intended for within the torso halves and the tightness of the clamping can be diminished. Fortunately, I do have a set of screws that will be a better choice than the ones included with the figure. While they are not original ones, they are threaded to match the original figure. I will be using those instead when I reassemble figure instead.



    After restoring more than 2 dozen of these vintage figures, this is only the second time I have encountered screws other than those that were originally installed in the figure.


    I already knew that at least one of the 8 internal shoulder pins was missing from inside the figure because the absence of the left arm revealed it. The presence of the 4 pins inside each of the shoulders are important because they prevent the arms from collapsing into the figure. They are moulded directly into the torso halves but they are more delicate than they should be and are easily broken. A single broken pin as revealed by the absence of the left arm isn't so much of a problem but if 3 or 4 of them are broken (or worn down) and gone, then the tension of the rubber anchors will pull at the arm and it will collapse into the figure (This condition can be fixed, by the way.).

    With the figure now completely disassembled and the right arm removed, all of the figure's interior is now laid bare. The pins are revealed and just like the left side, only a single pin is missing on the right hand side. 2 pins missing out of 8 is an acceptable loss. It's not perfect but I have seen a lot worse than this.



    Considering the small dimensions of the mounting pins and what they are expected to do, it's no wonder that they are frequently broken.


    The next thing of note is the head. It turns out the head wasn't in as good a condition as I earlier believed it to be. All the the features are present and do work perfectly but there is a fine crack and glue residue present upon the concealed neck attachment of the figure. In which case, the figure has (presumably) had a fall and the head had been snapped off of the figure at the neck. A previous owner has glued the head back onto the stump at some time. Luckily, the glue was compatible with the plastic and the join is still solid and good. There's no telling how long ago this work was conducted but it's still a very competent repair.

    Many glues, when aged, will perish, deteriorate and ultimately fail in their bonding. Such previous repairs will come undone and you are left with 2 separate pieces once again but with the added disadvantage of perished residual adhesive adhering to them that needs to be cleaned away. I've experienced a few figures that had been repaired using glue in the past and they basically just fell apart without too much handling. Some glues are just not designed to last the distance of several decades but on some occasions the incorrect adhesive has been used. The repair to this head is still solid and holds fast so it looks like the correct adhesive has been used. I'm happy for that. Mind you, having previously already encountered several severed heads this one is the fourth I've handled. Regrettably, this means they appear to be way more common than expected.

    If you do have a figure with a broken head. Please don't throw it out! These can be fixed; and the best part is glues are not mandatory. The tutorial found Here amidst a bunch of other posts can help you return a severed head to the torso.



    Such hairline cracks and glue residue indicate extant damage but will only reveal themselves once the figure is dismantled.


    The one other aspect of the figure that revealed itself upon dismantling it concerns the tail. As I do want to address the tail's looseness and warped condition at a later date I will include this revelation along with those processes. I can see quite a lengthy entry being made regarding the tail alone.

    Now that the figure is actually in pieces and I have had a chance to actually fully assess what is required to get this figure into a state that will make it worthy of display, I can make an accurate prediction for its completion.

    The outcome of a full restoration featuring complete functional articulation and excellent display presentation is the strongly anticipated result for this figure.

    Next up, I will get stuck into the serious work of actually rehabilitating this figure. First I will tackle resolving the issues with the arms. One of which is broken, the other is just loose. Perfect for my purposes. You'll see. Not only will we be working towards getting both limbs returned to the figure; but we will also be making sure that they can confidently hold any pose in front of the figure within their vertical range of motion. That's the plan. I'm certain that this goal can be achieved.

    Thank you for reading.

    -Windebieste

  2. #12
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    Great series of posts!

    I still have my Alien which I got from Zellers back when I was a kid, and it's still in pretty decent condition. Always loved the figure.
    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_T7BhcH-_Lqw/Rph52zHLjQI/AAAAAAAAAWY/IRQJUp3saOs/s200/Hulk.jpg

    Looking for the following Mego "Comic Action Heroes" accessories: Penguin's umbrella and Green Goblin's satchel/shoulder bag.
    And one Mego Comic Activator (working or non working).

  3. #13
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    Thank you. These old Alien action figures are more common than people realise. There's a lot of myth surrounding them regarding how rare they are but that's just not true. Good condition figures like the one you probably own are uncommon, yes; but the beat up versions like this one I am working on are relatively easy to find. Anyway, onwards with the Goods.

    The original arm mounts Kenner used to fasten and apply tension to the arms were manufactured out of cheap rubber. On top of that, the toy was not designed to last for decades and it's been 36 years since the figure was released. Its no surprise then most of these old figures have lost a lot of tension in their arms due to the rubber perishing or becoming fatigued. The undesirable result is the arms hanging loose and languidly at the figure's side. In many cases, that fatigue goes well beyond simple limp arms and culminates in the breakage of the rubber anchor occurs. The net result being the arms fall away from the figure completely.

    This particular figure exhibits instances of each of those problems. The left arm is broken away from the figure while the right limb remains attached. The remaining limb is so loose that it hangs freely. Any movement of the figure reveals how pendulous it actually is and the limb casually swings from side to side. The first task I performed on these arms was to remove the perished rubber band that served as an impromptu anchor inside the left arm.



    One arm is broken and while the other can still be attached to the figure by the 36 year old rubber anchor it was manufactured with, we will be ignoring this connector now. Both limbs will undergo the same repair.


    Repairing a broken arm needs some careful consideration and for the repair to be optimally successful, it needs to be able to fulfill all of these criteria:



    - It has to be tight. The repair needs to provide adequate tension so that the arm will hold a confident pose without dropping and swinging loosely to the figure's side.

    - ...but not too tight. It has to hold the arm in place without being over tensioned. The repair should not be so tight that it pulls the arm into the shoulder socket recess.

    - It has to be repeatable. In the event of an error, the entire repair process is easily abandoned, removed and attempted once again until it works successfully without leaving any additional debris inside the arm or otherwise damage the figure or the arm in any way.

    - It can't interfere with the figure in any way. It has to be accomplished in such a manner that no modifications are made to either the shoulder socket, arm ball joint, existing rubber anchors or the mounting post inside the torso.

    - It has to be mechanical in nature. This repair has to be done without the use of glues or adhesives or any additional chemicals that may leave residue or film on the figure or it's arm or otherwise alter or mark the figure in any way.

    - It has to be easy. There's no point trying to achieve this goal if the tools, materials and methods are outside the reach of anyone wanting these results. Mind you, patience that you bring to this repair will influence the result dramatically.



    On one level, it's a difficult set of goals to achieve; but on another, the arms are actually reasonably easy to fix. I've used the following method successfully many times and it will work effectively on both broken and loose arms. It can be a fiddling process and more than one attempt may be required to hit that 'Goldilocks sweet spot' but it's worth the effort. Before we begin, some preparation is necessary. Here's the tools and materials you will need to gather in order to conduct this repair.



    Stuff wot u need: A length of neoprene rubber strip, an old coat hanger, 2x pairs of pliers, a craft knife, a hole puncher and a pair of scissors.


    The 1mm thick flat neoprene rubber strip is relatively easy to come by. It can be purchased from the swimming pool department of your local hardware store. Or maybe try your local swimming pool supplies store. It's relatively cheap, costing only about a few dollars per meter and a common product in these retail outlets. A meter may seem like a lot of material; but if your first, or second attempt fails, you will be grateful that you still have more than enough material to work with in order to repeat the repair. (If you can't find a strip of this stuff, go visit your local bike repair shop. If you ask them for a discarded bicycle tire inner tube you can use that instead. Usually, damaged inner tubes are just thrown out with the rubbish but you can still extract the necessary material you need from it and apply the same instructions below. Further experimentation on your part may be required to achieve the same result.)
    A wire coathanger. This should be easy enough for you to acquire. Really. If you don't possess one, maybe you should move to a more civilised part of the World.
    A sharp pair of scissors. The sharper the better.
    2x pairs of pliers. These are basic tools and easy to come by. At least one of them should be capable of cutting wire.
    A leather hole puncher. Once again, easy to come by but you may have to ask around for one of these. Someone you know is bound to have one.
    A sharp crafting knife. Optional, but if you need to repeat the procedure, you will need this item. Once again, it's an easy tool to come by.

    Now, we get down to do the work.

    For repairing these arms, I cut a pair of 40mm lengths from the 1mm thick neoprene strip and marked a pair of points on each of them with a marker pen. The 2 points were 24-25mm apart. Using the hole puncher, I selected the smallest hole choice and punched a hole on one of the marks. Then I selected the largest hole choice and punched the other mark with a large hole. I did this with both pieces of rubber so that they both had 2 holes of differing size apiece punched into them at either end. The scissors were then used to cut and taper the rubber at the end with the small hole.

    Using a pair of pliers, 2 pieces of short wire material was cut from the wire coat hanger about 15mm long apiece. Then both pliers were used to bend the pieces of short wire at about 15-30 degrees at their midpoints. Then I inserted a piece of wire into each of the small holes on the tapered end of each of the rubber pieces. At this stage, I now had a pair of improvised arm anchors ready for use on the arms. Following so far? It's not hard.



    The neoprene rubber strip coil, a cut and shaped piece of neoprene rubber with a piece of trimmed coat hanger wire next to it and an assembled improvised arm anchor.


    Then the wire end of the improvised anchor was inserted into the figure's arms and pulled taut to ensure it was in place without coming back out. The large flappy rubber pieces were left hanging out. It didn't matter if the original rubber anchor was present or not in either arm as it's an easy task to squeeze the tapered end of the rubber with the wire attached to it into either the broken or unbroken arm. Of course, it's a little bit more of a squeeze to get the wire inside the right arm which still has the original anchor in place; but it's still an easy operation. Then I attached the other end of each rubber piece to the central internal post on the front torso half. After this is done with both arms, it's time to test.



    Both arms are now ready to be tested. Note the original anchor on the right arm is still present. It can just stay there.


    Testing is easy. The rear torso half is added to the front and they are clamped together using the screws. They don't need to be super tight, just enough to seal the halves completely and see if the arms will hold a pose. I'm not concerned about adding the head or the legs or other parts just yet as this assembly is only needed to assess how well the arms will hold a pose at this stage. If successful, I would normally pull the test assembly apart and add the missing parts to the figure and screw the whole thing together. Job done and ready for display.

    If not successful, as was initially the case with this figure, and the assembly was too loose and the arms just sat there by the figure's sides; meant I still had more work to do. I had to dismantle the test assembly and start again with cutting a fresh set of improvised rubber for the anchors.



    Once the arms are ready, partially assemble the figure and test the posing ability of the figure. The arms holding this position without dropping is the desired result that passes the test.


    The test initially failed and the sharp craft knife was used to cut the wire free from the neoprene rubber strip. Once cut free, the wire will be loose inside the arm but you can invert the arm and shake it until the small length of wire falls out. Sometimes it falls out straight away, sometimes it takes a few minutes of shaking the arm around. This is true for both the broken and unbroken arms. Either way, recover the small length of wire for re-use and discard the now irreparably damaged rubber pieces and cut a fresh pair. For the next attempt, reduce the gaps between each hole on the improvised rubber anchors by 1mm and repeat the above process. Then test again.

    After a couple of attempts, (actually, this figure took me several attempts. I've done this many times now and I am familiar with the process and can usually get it right the first time but this particular figure gave me quite some amount trouble. Multiple attempts were required before I was satisfied with the result.) the arms attached to the figure should now be able to hold a pose during testing. The figure can then be assembled properly with all parts in place and made ready for display.

    When finally assembling the figure, (after all the other work that remains to be completed) both improvised rubber anchors will be attached to the internal post. The previously loose arm anchor that the figure came with is still intact and it is not going to be removed, nor will it participate in the restringing of the figure. It's just going to sit there, still attached to the arm and float inside the torso but remain unattached. It will effectively be Officially Retired after its 36 long years of service and hard work. I have a number of figures that still have both sets of original anchors present inside them and I use this method to bypass those original anchors and let them stay floating inside the figure. This way, the original anchors are still intact, kept internally and will permanently remain unbroken. They are still present and are no longer in any danger of snapping now that the load of the weighty arms has been taken off of them. Technically, those figures are still complete despite the original mounting systems are now no longer being used and I can re-instate them if I ever(?) need to do so.



    Note the original anchor is still present but is now abandoned. Disabling this original anchor in this way will preserve it.


    I hope this is detailed and helpful enough for you Guys. let me know how you go - I'll be happy to help if necessary. Please post photos of your results here sometime in the future if you choose to use this method. Sometimes it can take a few attempts to get it right but it is repeatable process and persistence will be rewarded with an impressive looking figure with both arms attached and holding its pose. It did take me a while to perfect it.

    This particular figure took me about 5 (or more) hours (much of this time, of course, also includes taking photos and writing a lengthy post about it) but I recommend you put aside an evening and be prepared to repeat the process any number of times. Don't be surprised if that long piece of neoprene rubber strp ends up being shorter than you expect.

    -Windebieste
    Last edited by windebieste; Jan 20, '16 at 10:10 PM.

  4. #14
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    Just to re-assure you with the validity of my claims that this technique works effectively and rewardingly, each and every one of the figures appearing in the image below has been repaired using this method.

    They all stand straight and can hold a pose with ease and despite the use of facsimile parts (mostly carapaces and some dorsal crests) they each look spectacular and worthy of display. Some of these figures were in severely degraded states similar to the candidate I am currently working on and documenting; including severed arm anchors and loose arms that had no hope of holding such poses without some much needed attention:



    9 figures with repaired arms, all sharing exactly the same pose should I want them to do so.

    Anyway... next I will tackle the legs. They have a few issues, too so it will be fun to address those. I'll post as soon as I can. Maybe today... maybe tomorrow.

    Thank you for reading.

    -Windebieste.

  5. #15
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    I'm really enjoying this thread !!!
    .................................................. .......................

  6. #16
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    I'm gonna give it a try! That army picture is amazing! Right Click Save!
    SELL ME YOUR LOOSE MINTY WONDER WOMAN!

  7. #17
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    May 2, 2013
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    Enjoying this thread, but it has me asking myself, why have I never owned one of the greatest toys ever made? Ryan

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hedji View Post
    I'm gonna give it a try! That army picture is amazing! Right Click Save!
    haha... nice. The real beauty of this technique is it makes no changes to the figure at all. You can use it on severed or loose arms. Results can vary on first attempts; but then it just comes down to practice and refining your skill upon repeat attempts. If you have any trouble with it, just drive the screws back home into the figure to its original condition and you can at least say you tried. But believe me, it works. Just make sure you've got all the tools and materials on hand first.

    - - - - -

    On to the next phase, fixing those legs. The priorities here are to replace the right leg, fix the warping on the left leg hip joint so the gap is closed and make sure the figure can stand without falling over. Here goes...

    Now I'm going to tackle the other major limbs, the figure's legs. From the photos that accompanied its listing when I bought it, I already knew that the right leg was severely damaged to the point where it irreparable. When a part of the figure is so badly deformed that the seams burst and the plastic distorts and discolors beyond recovery, there is only 2 options available to you. One, leave it be and live with the issue; or Two, thank God that Kenner assembled this figure using screws instead of glue and so that you can take advantage of its ability to be dismantled and swap the bad parts out for good ones. As I am lucky enough to have a spare right leg in my possession, I'm opting for the second choice.

    If I didn't have a spare right leg - I may have still purchased this figure; but it wouldn't have become a subject for rehabilitation - it would have become a source for spare parts. Genuine spare parts can only come from other cannibalised figures.

    Now, let's get this clear. Not everyone is going to have a spare right leg from an old 1979 space monster toy just lying around in their study. I'm very well aware that such things just don't happen in most households. Really. It just doesn't. lol. Nonetheless, Ebay can be a source for such parts, not just restricted to a particular leg, either, mind you. Unfortunately, if you do rely on Ebay for a rare part like this to turn up, you may have to wait. You still have other choices, though. You can always purchase a degraded figure from Ebay and cannibalise both it and your already damaged figure to address the problem. That's quite legitimate. You can then sell the leftover parts on Ebay - send 'em on their way either as individual pieces or as a bulk lot of parts. Someone else in a similar situation will buy them. Hey, you may even do better than break even financially on the transaction and still have your figure repaired. It has been known to happen. You can purchase a replacement online. It may take a while, for parts to become listed but it is possible. You can even make your request known on a forum such as this one that "I need part X... Can someone please help me out here?" It is reasonable to ask members in a Community of understanding folk who may happily help you out.



    The outside of the right leg also displays significant damage.


    Now, back to this right leg. It's getting swapped out with the spare one that I have lying around. Now, this action does come with a caveat. This spare leg isn't exactly in the best shape, either. It's had severe damage done to it internally at the hip joint at some time in the past. Mind you, this replacement leg has since been fixed and the large crack along the flange has been successfully closed by using an improvised brace to seal the gaping damage. It's the usual improvisation that I indulge in with such repairs, basically, the splint is a pair of measured pieces cut from an old DVD case. Old DVD cases are a great source of material for repairing these old figures and I must have destroyed about a dozen of them now during the course of crafting improvised mounting plates, brackets and splints for these old figures. Anyway, the big upshot here is even though the replacement leg is damaged at the hip and repaired, that repair will be concealed within the figure. Unlike the original leg that this figure arrived with which is an obviously degraded part that will always be visible at the knee.



    It's not a hard decision to make when comparing the limbs side by side. The replacement right leg (Top) is in preferred condition over the right leg the figure originally arrived with (Bottom).


    After all, considering all the other internal work that has been/is still to be performed on this figure now, one more patched up repair inside the torso isn't going to make a difference. So, the right leg gets swapped over. Job done.

    Now what about the left leg? When the figure arrived it displayed a suspicious tapering gap at the join where it meets at the hip. What's that all about? That's exactly the kind of issue that the replacement right leg had before I repaired it but in the case of this left leg, the damage is not quite so severe. The leg hasn't been forced to the point of snapping. It's probably come close, though. Close enough to cause some warping of the plastic which has resulted in the widened hip gap along with with some pale stress marks to be present where the limb was having force applied to it. It looks like it's come close to the breaking threshold but fortunately has stopped at that point. Nonetheless, the distortion in the plastic does cause some warping and the result is the gap at the hip on the left leg.

    On this occasion, I'm not going to apply a splint to brace it to help maintain its shape. What I will do is hopefully diminish the gap by other means. So, off to the kitchen I go once again.

    I've boiled a decent sized pot full of water and I'm going to heat treat the warping. There's too much of a spring back to just push it back into place so the boiling water will soften the plastic and I can than push it back into its original shape and it will retain the restored configuration without the warping. Needless to say, this method is going require safe handling of the figure and the mandatory use of gloves for my protection. I also know from previous experience of repairing such buckles and warping that the part only needs to be immersed in the pot for a few seconds. Any longer than that and you risk more damage.



    Just a few seconds immersed in boiling water water will soften the plastic. It won't take much and the risk of over doing it is high. Add some pressure by hand to the area I
    want reshaped and then toss the limb into the freezer for 10 minutes.


    OK, Good News. The heat treatment on the left leg went well. Actually, it went better than anticipated. Applying just some light pressure to the slightly distorted flat surface of the leg, the spindle flange was coerced ever so slightly back to its original form. Once the leg was cooled in the freezer, the repair maintained its shape perfectly. Now, Let's subject both legs to a test assembly and evaluate how well the newly replaced right leg and the left hip repair appear.



    Not bad, actually. I'm very happy with this result and it's a great improvement over when the figure first arrived.

    Well, so far so good. Both hip joints are now working and look good and importantly, the gap in the left leg joint is substantially improved. We're almost finished with the legs but one issue still remains. While the heat treatment on the left leg not only closed the gap between the thigh and the hip, it also had the extra benefit of making the joint tight once again. The last issue of the tightness on the right leg is all that remains to be addressed.

    Aside from the deformations both legs possessed, their attachment to the figure was very loose when the figure first arrived. So in order to make sure the figure can hold a standing pose without threat of falling over onto its back, I wrap some teflon tape around the spindle of the right leg. This tape is soft, pliable and adhesive-free so it won't leave any sticky residue on the figure at all. It also acts as a dry material interfacing that doubles as a lubricant acting upon the joints.

    A small spool of teflon tape only costs a couple of dollars and is purchasable from your local plumber supplies or hardware store. It's normally used to seal leaking pipes but its usefulness in this exercise is perfect. Just a single winding of the tape was enough to apply enough all round packing to the leg spindle to make the figure stand confidently upright once again without threatening to fall on its back. Getting those legs into a state that the figure can stand once again by using teflon tape is an easy repair with great results.



    No more osteoarthritis for this leg. If only hip replacement surgery was this easy. The improvised DVD brace used to repair some other damage to this limb is also visible in this image.
    Both of these repairs will be fully concealed within the figure.


    The bright pink adhesive-free tape performs a couple of tasks. Firstly, it serves as packing between the hip and the leg to tighten the joint; secondly, it provides a smooth dry surface so that the parts no longer grind and reduces further deterioration due to any abrasion. This stuff is great and easy to use to solve a problem that I've encountered in just about every vintage Kenner Alien I have encountered.

    Moving on... sometime in the near future, I'm going to address the problems with the tail. As part of that investigation, I'll also be showing you something very interesting, even special, about the tail. You might even call it a 'World Exclusive'! Hell, why not.

    -Windebieste
    Last edited by windebieste; Jan 22, '16 at 5:49 AM.

  9. #19
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    Fixing the Tail. Part the 1st of 2. Includes EXCITING NEVER BEFORE SEEN MEGO-MUSEUM EXCLUSIVE!*

    Moving onto the tail of the figure we find that it displays a couple of issues that need to be addressed. Firstly, let's deal with its looseness. It's abundant free movement lolls about like a labrador dog's tongue on a hot day. Such looseness makes the tail hang in a single position and posing it in any other stance will result in it soon falling back against the figure's legs. There's a couple of ways to fix a loose tail, but it looks like someone has previously attempted to restore functionality to this one.

    Inspecting the tail mount inside the figure I found that the original thick stub and serrated washer arrangement that normally secures the tail in place had been removed. The plastic stub of the tail was gone. Instead, a hole had been drilled into the base of the tail end and what looks like an aluminium plate had been used to fasten the tail back to its original position with a single screw.



    The interior of this figure revealed somebody else had already adopted a simple and effective solution to a severed (or loose) tail.


    Fine, as far as I am concerned. I would have done the same thing, providing the stub was severed and the washer was broken or overly corroded. (seen that happen where the washer was not much more than a rusted ferris ring barely holding the tail in place.) If the washer is loose, then I like to retain as much of the figure as possible and just retighten the assembly. It's not hard and it means keeping as much of the figure intact as possible. Nonetheless, I am not averse to seeing this method being used. I've done exactly the same repair.

    Here is my own version of the same repair, except instead of a metal plate, I have used an improvised plate cut and shaped from the plastic of an old DVD case. As I noted in an earlier post, disused DVD cases are an great source of easily to craft material that is strong enough for such repairs and easy to work with as well as being readily available. Anyway, seeing someone else independently conduct the same repair and employ a similar method would suggest that this is the best course of action regarding this problem.



    It's exactly the same solution I would have used to achieve the same goal as is in evidence inside this other figure I repaired about 6 months back.


    Mind you, it was just a month or two ago where I saw yet another instance of the same method of attaching a tail to an Alien figure. This one kind of surprised me when I saw it. It actually wasn't within one of these old vintage 1979 Kenner action figures, either. It appeared inside the 2015 Gentle Giant Replica of this same figure. Gentle Giant's solution to keeping the tail in place is exactly the same method - dispense with the serrated washer and mount the tail directly in place using a hole drilled into the tail base and fixed in place with a mounting plate and a single screw. Well, in that case, if it's good enough for them, then it's perfectly fine for me, too.



    The same solution was employed by Gentle Giant for their 24 inch tall replica Alien figure. Enjoy your never before revealed insight into the interior of one of
    these collectibles! Exciting stuff, huh.**


    In this regard, the work on the sample I am currently engaged in had already been performed by someone else, it had just come loose. A couple turns with a screwdriver fixed the problem. All that's happened here is someone has beat me to the work already and my effort solely consisted of readjust the tightening of the already extant repair. Nonetheless, the work is still worthy of documentation. I just can't claim credit for (all of) it. Good and done. Next issue, please.

    The second item on my list of issues to address regarding the tail is it's warped presentation. I'm not going to do that right now though and I'm going to split this post in half. I'm getting a little tired now. I've spent most of this week bent over this derelict figure, tending to it, repairing it, taking notes and sifting through dozens of photos to post a few online. So, a little break is needed on my part.

    I'll be back with part 2 of this exciting documentary soon.

    -Windebieste.

    *Oh God, this had better be good, huh. LOL.
    **Yeah, I've pulled apart one of these overpriced things, too.

  10. #20
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    Fixing the Tail. Part the 2nd of 2. How to Make Alien Tail Soup.

    Normally the tail should be straight when viewed head on but this sample I'm working on has it's tail curving all over the place. This repair is easy to do and the best method I have found is to heat treat it. I know some people would suggest using a hair dryer or a heatgun on a low setting but I take issue with both of these tools. Firstly, they don't heat the tail evenly and an uneven use of these tools can result in a concentration of over heating and other irreparable unwanted warping of the tail. The problem is also further exacerbated when such tools have to be hand held leaving the repairer with only one hand free to manipulate the figure. I much prefer to handle the figure with both hands than use tools this way. Having as much physical control over the figure while I am performing as possible means using both hands. For this reason I will avoid using a tool in one hand and manipulate the tail with the other because doing so sounds like a fine recipe for reducing chances of success rather than increasing it.

    Anyway, let's move on. Either way, I will fix this tail.



    I believe that the figure has spent a long time lying on its side. The tail matches the shape of the left leg it was lying against when placed in this orientation. It's easy to see how
    the constant lying on it's side over many years could cause the figure's tail to buckle; along with the left hip to slightly collapse and deform, resulting in that gap we repaired earlier.


    As I have already explored using boiling water as a means of evenly heat treating a warped part of the figure, I am going to repeat using that practice with the tail. Let's get started, shall we? It's time to head back into the kitchen - our laboratory in this case - with this repair in mind.

    Some preparation is required first. The first thing we need to do is brace the tail, lashing it into shape. We need to do this for a number of reasons. Lashing the tail into shape will pull it's coil tighter. This tail has been stretched slightly and I feel it is necessary reshape the tail an pull it into a slightly better shape, improving its form. Another reason to brace the tail with lashings is for very practical reasons. When immersed into boiling water, we don't want it to become unmanageable after its been softened. Keeping the tail secure in this shape will make it a lot easier to work with a softened, wobbling heated limb and we can maintain control over it more readily. This is very important.



    IMPORTANT!: Use natural fiber based twines that will not stretch when wet or become heated. Avoid any plastic based bindings.


    We now have the tail configured for the big moment. I boiled the water and lowered the tail into the pot. We want it really soft to convince the plastic to abandon the former shape and yet also be restrained by the bindings. Keeping the tail submerged and rotating the figure to heat the limb evenly is important. You will need to keep immersed for about 20-30 seconds - a lot longer than what I did earlier with the left leg. We actually want this item to soften up evenly. Avoid resting the tail on the bottom of the pot.



    Immerse the tail for about 20-30 seconds. DON'T FORGET TO WEAR GLOVES!


    Remove the tail from the pot and place it flat between a pair of weighty cutting boards, wooden ones preferably. This will help convince the tail to flatten out and retain the new shape while cooling.



    The tail is removed from the pot and placed between a pair of wooden cutting boards. Have these ready and nearby BEFORE you proceed with immersing the tail in hot water.


    Then take this assembly, including the cutting boards, and shove the whole lot into the freezer for 10-15 minutes. This will allow the tail to cool quickly and adopt the new shape as defined by the bindings along with keeping it flat. I then remove the items from the freezer. You'll know if the tail has been in there long enough because the wet twine bindings will be frozen and rigid. Cut the twine free the tail. The tail will be redefined and ready to test. Let's perform another test assembly to inspect the results.



    Looks good and reasonably straight, too. Compare its shape now to the image of the tail taken during the figure's assessment.


    Job done. Now it's finish up time. Pour the remaining heated contents of the pot into some bowls. Garnish with chives and basil. Serves 4.

    -Windebieste

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