Monday, May 29, 2006

Fixing model joints

Although Master Grade models are known for their sturdy joints, allowing them to display many action poses freely, they are not invincible, mind you. If you work their joints too much, they will break. Most of the time, the problem is loose polycaps. Polycaps is one of the earliest molding techniques in Bandai’s models. They are made of rubber and used for the different joints of the models, such as arm, shoulder, torso, knees, virtually every part of the body that can move needs polycaps (although there are some models that uses bolts and screws like Master Grade God Gundam, Master Gundam, Shining Gundam and Gundam Spiegel). In Master Grade models, these polycaps are designed to fit into the joints very tightly, so that the joints are extremely strong. So if you move them too much, the friction between the joints will make the polycap to become loose, and problems like the model can’t stand up properly, lean forward or backward all the time, the arm can’t hold the shield anymore etc will start to occur.

That’s exactly what happens to my Master Grade Gouf. I guess I must have play with it too much, the leg joints has loosen and need to be fixed. The solution is to change the polycap. Here how I did it.

First, read the manual of Gouf to know which polycap it uses and how it’s being assembled.
Read the instruction manual

Second, after taking off the leg armors, separate the two pieces holding the polycap with knife. It doesn’t really matter if the parts were glued when I first assembled it, I can glue it together again later.
Separate the pieces holding the polycap

Thirdly, take out the loose polycap. You can see it’s already damaged.
Get the loosen polycap

Next, find one substitute that matches the original polycap the closest. If you have a substitute polycap, that’s great. You can pop it into the model right away. If you can’t, the closest substitute will do. Remember the hollow part must be tight.
Get a substitute polycap

The substitute I found has longer and flatter legs (i.e. parts to joint the polycap with the pieces of the model), so the extra parts need to be cut away. Just use knife, they are rubber parts, so it should be quite easy.
Modify the polycap

Put in the polycap and snap those two pieces together to see if they fit. In this case, success!!
Try out the polycap in the original parts

Glue the pieces together using modeling glue, NEVER use superglue, that’s extremely hazardous to your model. After putting the parts together, I hold them tightly for a while so that the glue will hold.
Repeat the entire process for the other leg joints.
Glue the parts