Thumbnails not showing up on site!

Hi All –
This has been an error for a while – The thumbnails aren’t refreshing since I migrated the site – But no fear, the images are all there if you click on them – Please bare with me while I figure this out! Thank you!

6/2/16 UPDATE – I figured out the issue and am relinking the images. This is a LOT of work, so please be patient! It’s going to take several days to get everything back in shape!




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X-Wing Restoration Part 5 – The Conclusion!!!

If you have gotten this far, you have seen the step by step restoration of a basically trashed X-Wing.  Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

With the X-Wing back together and the wings seemingly holding, it was time to make new stickers! I made a replacement sheet using my secret ingredient list of 11 herbs and spices, and cut / applied them to the X-Wing using an Elmer’s glue stick. ** A little note here about repro stickers.  I personally do not mind reproduction stickers. They are easy to make, look nice, and can be removed with water if you ever want to sell the object. However, I prefer that people print and make their own stickers at home, instead of buy them on eBay. At least that way, you aren’t supporting people who profit off of sticker reproductions, you are keeping it “in house.”   OK – Off my soap box.

Looks pretty good I think! One thing that bothered me though was that this is supposed to be the battle damaged X-Wing. You can’t print the battle damage stickers on white paper – so what to do?  Use ink-jet based water slide decal paper! I actually had some lying around from an old project, and rigged it to work with my “new” printer, and it worked like a charm!

I cut them out, soaked them in water, and applied them to the vehicle! The results were AWESOME!


And check it out- The wings WORK!

This restoration is DONE!!!  Now, in the end, you may ask “was it worth it?” and my answer is a firm NO!  I mean, it was “for me” because it gave me a lot of content for this blog, and I got to try out solvent welding. But lets add it up.

First of all – For a pure restoration, almost none of this would have been usable. The wing section was broken, the bottom of the main body was broken, the electrical didn’t work, and the R2 unit on top was essentially trashed.  This would have been a “strip off the canopy and guns, and throw the rest in the trash” restoration. Honestly. Unless it was your own sentimental toy, this restoration to value ratio  would have had you WAY underwater.

Right now  you can get a nice loose vintage X-Wing on ebay for 50$, with original parts and stickers. Now, I HAD all the equipment and solvents to do this at no real cost outside of the X-Wing, but if I hadn’t:

This X-Wing cost me 20$
Acetone – $6
JB Weld – $6
Water Slide Decal Paper -$12 per pack
Glue Stick – $2
Silver spray paint – $6

So right there – The total to restore this was $52. About the same as a nice, unrestored original. That’s not even including the cost of the dremel drill or the heat gun!

For me though, it’s about the learning process, and saving a vintage toy from the landfill! I hope you enjoyed following along on my X-Wing nightmare!



Posted in Loose Vehicles, Restorations

X-Wing restoration Part 4 – The Rebuild!

Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

I have had a change of mindset on this X-Wing.  Basically, the value in this was that it had the original canopy and guns. The wings were broken, and when disassembled, I found non working electronics, and a seat that was broken as well.  The “Smart” money would have been to strip this X-Wing, and buy a nice “core” on ebay, use the guns and canopy, and have a nice restored X-Wing. That’s kind of “cheating” though, when you run a blog literally ABOUT restoration.

I re solvent welded the wings using a sludge that had been melting in acetone for 24 hours. While the wings were drying, I reassembled the bottom of the main body:

This X-Wing is a “Display” X-Wing. I’m basically going to hang it from my ceiling. So, I decided to treat it like a “display” piece, instead of a “collectible restoration” piece, since it was just SO broken, and really, the value to hours-put-in ratio was not looking good for my time/value amount!

The posts of the plastic seat were / are still stuck in the holes that hold them in place. Instead of trying to somehow fish them out and fix the seat “properly” – I simply glued the seat back in place with JB Weld 2-part epoxy ( . It is insanely strong. I also glued the blue plastic piece that holds the motor in place (Had to be cut to get motor working again) with the same epoxy. Oddly enough, the rivets to hold the battery terminals still had enough metal on them after being drilled to hold themselves in place!

At this point, the wing weld had dried for several hours, and to strengthen it even more, I brushed some JB Weld 2-Part epoxy over the weld. It’s really ugly, but it SHOULD hold this time.  Anyone who has had this piece break knows that it is near impossible to fix and have any sort of strength to it. We will see.



Next came reassembly. It went together very easily. These things are a piece of cake to put together and take apart.  I think there are only 7 screws total in the entire vehicle!

When I went to put the canopy back on though, I noticed that it didn’t fit right. Over time, it had deformed slightly. I must not have noticed this at first – No worries though!  My wife is a crafter and has this amazing little heat gun that produces a HUGELY hot stream of air, with very little force – IE it’s not a heat gun or a hair dryer, etc.  (I’ll figure out the brand and write about it) I just heated up the windshield a bit, used my hands to gently reshape,  and hit it with cold water!

Finally – the X-Wing is back together.  It’s a total mess on the inside, but looks pretty good on the outside!  You may remember one of the 4 guns had pieces of the wings still stuck / broken / glued inside. I drilled out the bits of wing plastic, and used a dab of hot glue to hold that gun in place.  Remember – DISPLAY PIECE!!

Next and final steps: New stickers, and a final check to make sure the wings / sounds and lights still work!  Stay tuned for part 5!

Posted in Loose Vehicles, Restorations

X-Wing restoration part 3: Perseverance

See Part 1 / Part 2 

The X-Wing is apart and the Wing “weld” is setting – Now I’m going to mess around with the electrical.

So far, it is totally dead. The battery contacts are totally corroded over, and there is no life to the motor or the LED.  I decided that – before rewiring everything – I would soak all the contacts on white vinegar for a few hours and see if that helped.

The vinegar actually got rid of most of the corrosion, and some cleaning with BRASSO got them looking pretty nice again. I tested the electronics again and SPARK – the LED went on.  I then oiled the motor with some 3 in 1 oil, and hand turned the gear until it started running on its own! Victory! The electronics are salvageable!

Next I soaked the parts in hot water. Pretty simple. Afterwards I cleaned them with a toothbrush and Magic Eraser!

Now, the R2 unit on top was really worn. I decided to repaint it with some leftover “silver” spray paint I had. I taped off the top of the R2 unit with painters tape, and gave it a quick shot with the spray paint. It’s not perfect, but it is much better.

Here are all the parts post cleaning – You will notice that the weld on the wing broke again.

I’m not sure why as it seemed really strong. I don’t THINK I let the plastic sit in the acetone long enough to fully break down, so I am going to try again – This means finding more “donor plastic” from inside the X-Wing to use to melt.  Easier said than done – Let it never be said that Kenner was generous with their raw materials.  I did manage to get some shavings though, that I hope will be enough –

Resting in acetone:

I’m going to let it dissolve for 24 hours and try the weld again.  Until this works or doesn’t work, I’m pretty much at a standstill on this project – Will check in again for part 4!

Posted in Loose Vehicles, Restorations

X-Wing Restoration Part 2: The Cleanup!

So, as you read in Part 1:  I got an X-Wing that turned out to be a bit bigger of a project than I anticipated. Oh well – There are no hard projects, only new “learning experiences.” *Say that in your best motivational speaker voice.

The next step in the restoration is cleaning. Typically I would soak all the pieces (Which I can, since I removed the electronics) and hit them with a magic eraser and a toothbrush with dish soap.  However, I decided to ONLY clean the broken X-Wing wing at this time, because if I can’t fix that, I am going to just abandon this project and buy a working “body” off ebay.

A quick cleanup and it looks pretty good! I’m always amazed at how well these vehicles clean up! (The clean is on the right, a dirty one on the left) I didn’t remove the little bit of sticker residue yet.

To try and fix this wing, I am going to attempt something I have never done before: A solvent weld. NOTE: This involves chemicals that you don’t exactly want to breathe – so I can’t say I recommend it – But you know my motto: Safety Third!

To do a solvent weld, you need some spare plastic.  Now, since this X-Wing is already a disaster, I cut off some of the grey plastic areas inside the body. Remember in part 1 I said that Kenner had spots for 4 screws, but only used 2?  Well, those 2 unused bits became weld fodder.

You basically take a glass jar, drop some plastic shavings in there, and pour acetone over it, and let is sit overnight.  When you wake up, the plastic bits will have melted into a sort of goo slurry:

Now, before you do anything with this goop, you need to have your parts prepped. I used small clamps  to line up the wing cracks:

Now, take a scoop of the aforementioned slurry and slab it over the cracks. Warning, it will be really stringy (I put the slurry on both sides of the breaks):

This works via a capillary action, and somehow – Maybe science, maybe magic – It is supposed to rebond the plastic and in theory, be close to 95% as strong of a weld as the unbroken piece.

After letting it dry for a few hours I sanded off some of the excess plastic.  I left it a little thicker in some areas, since the place where the bond is will be hidden once reassembled.

Overall – I am happy with this as a fix so far. I wont know if it really worked though until I reassemble and test it.

That was all I had in me for a day – In Part 3 we will continue the clean up and start working on the electrical.

Posted in Loose Vehicles, Restorations

X-Wing restoration: Part 1- The Migraine Maker

I have been wanting a vintage X-Wing for a while. Not that I couldn’t just BUY one, I just was kind of waiting for a good deal to find me. And I thought it had.

Thought…. it…. had

I found a vintage X-Wing – Complete – just seemingly missing stickers. It looked like it was in nice condition, so I didn’t even ask about the electronics. I figured I would clean it off, put some new stickers on, and hang it from my ceiling with my TIE fighter.

Doesn’t look too bad, huh?

I mean, its got some old crud and scuffs, but that is fine. I can fix that:

And then:

DAMN IT #1. One of the wings is broken completely off. I dont blame the seller – I actually emailed him and he was a super nice guy. There are hints of old epoxy in there, so I assume it came apart in shipping. The seller was nothing but courteous, and sent me some vintage figures to make up for it. I believe him entirely when he said he didnt know it was broken. But it leads me to this:  How do I repair a broken wing?

First, I have to take the X-Wing apart – These are very simple to take apart if you do the screws in the right order. First take out the one in the nose. Next, the two in the very back (That is attached to the battery compartment) and finally, the one on top next to the R2 unit. Once those are out, the X-Wing comes apart easily.

Once inside, you see the mechanism for the wings. There are places for 4 screws, but only 2 screws are there.  This is in (as far as I know) all X-Wings.  I guess Kenner figured that over time, the cost of saving 2 screws on millions of X-Wings would add up to some extra cash!

After that, I removed the windshield and 4 guns:

DAMN IT #2: This gun had obviously broken off before, and been super glued back on. The glue was so old that the gun just fell off, but you can tell what happened there.

Ok – I can work with this. X-Wing is apart:

Time to test the electronics:

DAMN IT #3: Totally dead.  The motor isn’t working, and the LED isnt lighting up. Unfortunately with X-Wings, the motor unit is held in with a blue plastic piece that you cannot remove, without cutting. The battery terminals in the back are riveted in as well.

There is some major corrosion on the terminals, and I just dont think I can clean them while still attached to the x-wing. So carefully with a dremel drill, I drill out the rivet and pop them off. Next, I *sigh* take a dremel cutting bit and cut the blue plastic to free the motor. The electrical system – I think – needs a full overhaul. I carefully run the wires under the plastic X-wing seat so not to…

SON OF A BIIIIIII…….   The braces on the seat must have been cracked. The seat fell right out. It is this point I honestly contemplate selling the 4 guns and the windshield on ebay and cutting my losses.

(When I move a project to my 1970s TV table, you know IT’S ON!)

Final count: At first it was just stickers and a cleaning. Now it is:
1) Fix a broken Wing
2) Fix non working electronics
3) Repair busted seat
4) Repair broken gun / wing
5) Clean
6) New stickers

Oh well – at least the X-Wing is totally apart and the wings are free. This is going to be a lot more work than I originally anticipated!.

Up Next: Part 2: The cleaning!


Posted in Loose Vehicles, Restorations

Restoration: Masters Of The Universe 2 Pack Gift Set

This isn’t a tutorial, just sharing pictures of a box I restored recently.

The box came to me with a side flap 100% detached, and the plastic window 90% detached!
Here is what it looked like in the auction it came from:

Here is another pic of the damage (and my ugly carpeting):

And here is what it looks like now!

The idea wasn’t to make it look new, but to have it look like a much more presentable version of what it is. The new owner is thrilled with it!

Posted in He-Man type figure fixes, Restorations