Action Figure Repair: Reshaping Bent Plastic

Action figures in battle
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That Doesn't Look Right!

Every now and then, when you buy an action figure, whether it's new in the package or a vintage figure, you may find that the toy suffers from a bad case of bending in certain places. This has a lot to do with the type of plastic the figure is made of and the conditions under which is was stored or shipped.

Collectors often find bent parts on an action figure around the thinner areas of the toy, such as the ankles or wrists. Very often, accessories, such as swords and guns which are usually long, slender shapes molded out of a slightly softer plastic than the figures, will also suffer greatly from bending.

Luckily, this is an easy fix and only takes a matter of minutes. In this step-by-step, well be repairing a bent soft plastic knife made for a 12" figure. The knife came bent in the new package, but with a few simple steps, it's about to be as good as new.

The Old Hot Water/Cold Water Trick

All you'll need for this quick fix is the bent toy (of course), and a bowl of hot water.

The bowl should be large enough to completely submerge the bent part of the toy, in this case, since the knife is quite small, a small ramekin will do the trick.

The water should be hot to the touch, yet not scalding or boiling. Water that is too hot can permanently damage the plastic, yet water that isn't hot enough will do nothing at all.

Letting It Soak

Next, you simply submerge the bent piece of plastic into the hot water and allow it to sit for about 60 seconds.

If this were, say, the ankle of an action figure, you'd only want to submerge the bent ankle portion of the figure into the hot water, not the entire figure.

The Cold Water Fix

After the bent part has soaked in hot water for about a minute, you can take it out. You'll notice that the plastic is far softer and more pliable than it was before. This is a good thing.

Next, you want to use your fingers to re-bend the part back into the position it should be in. Once you feel you have it where it should be, while still holding it in position, simply run it under some cold water for about 30-45 seconds.

No More Bend!

Once the part has cooled in the cold water, simply dry it off and your figure or accessory is as good as new and it will hold that shape permanently.

The Hot Water/Cold Water trick should work on most types of pliable plastic. In fact, if the plastic was soft enough to get bent out of shape in the first place, it's soft enough to be bent back into place.

The only thing you may want to be aware of is that you shouldn't use hot water on any piece of plastic that may have some sort of decal on it, as the glue adhering the decal to the figure will melt and you may lose the decal forever.

Congratulations! That action figure or accessory is officially fixed!