Thursday, 29 November 2012

Writing to the Manufacturer: The ins and outs.

Yo. (Wait... does anybody even say that anymore?)

Toy collecting readers,
Sometimes a break is so horrible, so ugly, so mushy, so fiddly, that it is pretty much impossible to repair without acquiring... a new part!
In the following paragraphs I will be talking about the most pathetically pathetic figure repair method:
Writing to the manufacturer! :D



I've resorted to this twice and both times it ended well. I got new parts and my toys were repaired in the best possible way.
It is a little awkward and sometimes expensive, but it's also *Arny voice* The Ultimate repair method.

I shall relate my experiences with two Japanese figure companies (most of my figures are Japanese), so you can get a feel for what to expect.
By the way, most contact email addresses can be found buried deep in the bowels of the manufacturer's website. If the website is not in English or anything else you understand, try using Google's built-in translator function to make it easier to find your way around. This can be accessed by searching the page's address on Google.
Episode 1: KAITO's Ice-cream
Writing to GSC.
International contact: support@goodsmile.jp

Goodsmile Company is one of the high end figure manufacturers/distributors. They make Nendoroids and lovely scale figures, plus they seem to do a lot of work in tandem with other companies, such as Max Factory (the Figma company) and Phat!... they also have Amaaaaazing customer service. Seriously, they are the nicest company EVER.

So, this is the story...
It was Christmas eve last year and I was mucking around with Nendoroid KAITO.
You've probably seen him before. He's the popular ice-cream loving big brother of Hatsune Miku.
I had posed him with his ice-cream in his hand, but I wanted to put a plain hand on instead, so I went to take the ice-cream out of the hand part, but OH! It was stuck.
"Ha ha," thinks stupid me, "I'll just twist it out."
BUT, it was a hot day (in Australia, December is the first month of summer) and some interesting things had happened to the plastic... instead of twisting out of the hand part, it twisted OFF!
The ice-cream stick is stuck in the hand and the top is broken off!
KAITO is understandably upset. (By the way, this face is from Nendoroid Ika Musume.)
Here's a closeup:
*hysterical screaming*
It's mushy, it's ugly, it's visible and no matter what I do, that stick just isn't coming out. It seems to be somehow fused to the hand! D:
Because the plastic is warped and the paint is torn and broken, even if I glued the ice-cream back on, that fracture would be disgustingly obvious and oh-so-ugly.
... So I spent the next few weeks feeling sad about it, but after that I got up the courage to email GSC and beg them for help.

I mentioned before that they are the nicest company ever?
THEY ARE THE NICEST COMPANY EVER!
They apologised to me for the trouble KAITO had caused (I would have thought it was me causing them trouble!) and, after I showed them a photo of the broken part, they sent me a replacement hand and ice-cream for free. 
Wow!
Does it get any better?
They are not only nice, but they have the friendliest looking letters...!
I was quite lucky with this, though.
When I broke my KAITO, a new version had just been released; KAITO Cheerful ver. which comes with exactly the same ice-cream parts.
GSC say that they generally only stock spare parts for about a year after the figure (whatever that may be) is released, so if your figure is a few years old, you might not be so lucky.
Still, I suppose it's worth a try. The worst they can say is "Sorry we don't have any".

Episode 2: RAH Roy Mustang
Contacting Medicom Toy.
International contact: overseas@medicomtoy.co.jp

Yes. You heard, er, read right.
RAH Roy Mustang broke again. *facepalm* And this time it was really bad.
I was posing his arm when suddenly his shoulder felt loose.
"Oh crap," I thought.
Oh crap indeed. Roy's left arm had broken off at the shoulder. Due to age and stress, the plastic had crumbled and the metal peg which holds the shoulder joint together had pulled out completely. Worse, there wasn't anywhere to put it back into because the plastic had broken into tiny crumbs.
Look:


*more hysterical screaming*

After several unsuccessful attempts at fixing it (including hot glue, epoxy putty and a method which somehow ended up with Roy's shoulder still broken and two small holes accidentally drilled in my desk)...
...  I ratted out that international email address and called for help.
(Of course, it was easy to get his arm to stick back on, but the thing about action figures is that they have actual moving parts, so I wasn't happy with my attempts. At best the arm could be moved, but would slowly fall back down under its own weight.)

Medicom were similar in their approach to GSC. They asked for photos and then offered to help me.
They said that installing the new parts was difficult, and that, if I sent Roy to them, they would repair him and install the new parts for me for free!
Woot!
One catch, though. I had to pay the postage.
Well, seriously, that's more than fair. Roy has been discontinued for years and they still offered to fix him for me free of charge.

I did what they told me, they did what they promised, and it was all extremely cool!
They replaced a bunch of Roy's parts, including the broken shoulder, some parts they thought were at risk of breaking in the future and Roy's previously broken and glued neck.
How awesome is Medicom Toy? I am seriously impressed with the amount of responsibility they take for their figures.
I also asked them to send back the old broken parts so that I could experiment on them, and they obliged.
True, they did forget to include the stand when they sent him back, but after I emailed them, they sent me a new stand for free, so I'm happy.

The only, ONLY beef I have with the whole thing was that they sent Roy back to me via FedEx which cost me JP¥5500 (which at the time was the same as US$70). AHHHH! MY PRECIOUS MONEY! What's wrong with EMS? EMS is great! I love EMS! (and money!)
But Roy is, like, the best figure ever so I'm okay with the costs.

Here's a shot of Roy now (and KAITO)...
Roy demonstrates that his left arm is now fixed.
KAITO is on an ice-cream induced high.
I have only tried this with two companies, but doubtless there are other toy companies out there who would be just as good. It's always worth sending an email, even if they do end up saying no.

That's not to say you should heckle them about every little thing that goes wrong, though. I would always advocate doing your best to fix the problem by yourself first!
It's guaranteed to be cheap and it's pretty satisfying too! ;D

Just note:
When I contacted both of these companies, I wasn't all like,
you a**wipe My damn figure broke an sh*t you suk fix it or you totaly gon to hell yellow moneky a**hols,,1
   ... OK, so it's unlikely that a person with grammar liek dis would know an ugly 1940's style racist slur, but I've seen everything else in that 'sentence' repeated over and over by a lot of people who make themselves look like idiots.
I'm guessing that most toy collectors aren't like that (come on, we're a good breed), but I'm often surprised by people's lack of tact~~

Rule No.1 of wanting someone to help you with something: Don't be an arse.
In fact, be as respectful as possible. Nobody has any obligation to help any of us. They just do it because they're awesome! :D

I sent both messages asking for advice on how I could fix the figure myself, because I wasn't really expecting the kind of service I got.
With KAITO, I asked how I could remove the ice-cream from the hand or if I could purchase a replacement. With Roy, I wanted to know whether parts from a Medicom RAH Naked2 figure could be used to replace the broken shoulder.
I also began both emails by complimenting the figures of the respective companies and saying how beautiful they are, how much I love collecting them and expressing my dismay that I was unable to repair them myself. This is of course, an effective suck up the truth.
No, really. It is the truth and it doesn't hurt to say the nice things you think about people ^__^

Honestly, I don't know if this really makes a difference at the end of the day, but it certainly can't hurt. At one point I actually had a bit of a conversation with the chatty GSC staff member, and if I had sent an email with a negative tone to start with, it would have been a much less pleasant experience.

Well, I guess that's my stock of information on this topic exhausted, so as always, Good Luck!
Cheers!
Sparkey.

45 comments:

  1. Hey, I first found your blog months ago on google when I had a broken RAH nightmare. My Rah Young Indiana Jones (River Phoenix) had the same arm break off as your Roy. Thankfully, I was able to successfully repair him with just super/supa glue. His break seemed a lot cleaner then Roy's though. It's been three months now and so far so good! (knock on wood). But when I first seen that his arm looked very loose and opened up his shirt to see his arm had come off, I panicked! I was freaking! Even after I fixed him, I was still worried for the few days and ended up getting sick from the stress. I'm glad that I was able to fix my baby without having to send him to Japan. I love him and would be worried the whole time he'd be gone. What if he got lost in the mail? I couldn't live with that! So, unless Medicom can set me up with airfare and a hotel room (or I have the money to pay myself) I'm not too big on sending my precious to Japan. If I ever do go to Japan, I plan to take Indy to the medicom factory for a "check up" while I'm there and picking him up before I leave to go home.

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    1. Haha, oh I know that feeling. It's the worst. I must have been as white as a sheet when Roy's arm broke. I spent the next four hours straight trying to fix him nonstop!
      When I found out I could send him to Japan I was nervous, so I actually put it off for about a month before I sent him.
      Still, I worried for nothing because it was fine.
      The only thing is I should have bubble-wrapped his head because the paint on his hair rubbed off on the inside of the blister pack on the trip. It was just a little on his fringe, though, and I fixed it up with a spot of paint when I got him back so he's fine now ^__^

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    2. Hello!, I hope youre still active :(
      I got an figure and I'm trying to make him sit..and the legs snapped a while ago...would they still repair it even if its my own fault?

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    3. Hello! Yes, I am still active!
      I just haven't posted for a while because I've been careful with my action figures lately LOL

      In your situation, if you can't repair the figure yourself, the best thing to do would be to contact the company that made it and explain honestly what happened.
      Don't ask them to fix it. Instead, ask them if they have any advice for you, because you don't know what to do.
      If they repair figures under circumstances like yours, they'll let you know. If they won't repair your figure, they may tell you something useful about how to fix it or where to purchase replacement parts.

      Good luck!

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  2. Thank you so so so much!!!! Do you think I could still be able to replace those parts? its Death Note L though :'(

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    1. Hello again!
      You mean Medicom RAH L?
      Because if so, then yes. I think you probably can get replacement parts. Most Medicom RAHs all have more or less the same body under their clothes (:

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    2. Yes its MedRAH L...
      I was trying to see if there are any MedicomRAH naked body figure replacement on the internet but no luck... I think they are same with the structure of the body figures but the colors are different and I cant seem to find one on the internet...and Medicom has yet to reply...How many days would it take to get a reply from them... THANKS!!!!!!!!! IM REALLY FREAKING OUT!!! :(

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    3. Hi again!
      Unfortunately, the Naked 2 Body is made differently than the old RAHs like L, so you can't use their parts to repair old bodies. (I know because I tried to do that when Roy broke as well!)

      Don't worry about getting a reply. Remember it's a busy time for the figure industry. Wonfes just finished a few days ago. I'm sure Medicom will get back to you soon.
      Also, are you American? Because in the East, it's Sunday already! Even the Japanese don't work on the weekend.

      If they don't reply by next weekend, try writing them another email and explain your problem VERY clearly. Be careful to use correct punctuation and spelling, and write in simple yet respectful sentences. English is almost certainly not the native language of the person who has to read and understand your email and if they don't reply to your message, it's possible that they couldn't understand when you were saying.

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    4. Oh yeah, and believe me I know that freaking out feeling!!!

      When I feel that way, I put the broken parts inside the clothes and pose the figure in a position where it doesn't look broken.
      When Roy's arm broke, I let it hang by his side as if he was relaxing.
      Maybe L could be posed sitting down? Find a pose for him that makes him look like he's not busted! ... it eases the pain.

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  3. Thank you so much!! :D

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    1. It's a pleasure! I wish you every success in getting L repaired!

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    2. Hi!! Its half the success for now :)
      They told me I can ship it now..what is the best cheap shipping service that I can select?
      or what shipping did you choose? Thanks!

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    3. I used Australia Post.
      If you're in the USA, I'd recommend either USPS First Class or Priority shipping. These are the services that I have things from the USA shipped to me by, and in my experience they're very reliable. I've never had anything go missing.
      First Class is the cheaper one, but it's slower than Priority. There's also a limit to how big the parcel can be and a Med RAH box may be too large. If you have this problem, you could wrap the figure in bubble wrap and send him in a smaller box, but I've never tried that personally.
      Whatever country you're from, the deal is probably going to be similar.
      I'd usually recommend using your national postage service... unless you live in Italy. Then for God's sake use a courier!! DHL is good.

      ... and that's just about all I know on the subject.
      One more note, though: for peace of mind, it's worth using a service with tracking.

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  4. Hello, I found your blog while googling for nendoroid repair things. Something similar happened to my Kirito and Asuna nendoroid with their swords stuck in their hands (like your Kaito's ice-cream stick). I tried removing the sword from Asuna's hands and the same thing happened, it broke! So I used super glue to glue it back on... But that didn't solve the problem with getting the sword out of her hand. >__<;; Do you happen to know any ways to get the swords out without snapping them? My friend suggested me to put it in a freezer for around 10 minutes then try to remove it? Will that actually help? :(

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    1. Hello!
      Sorry to hear about your problem.
      I also tried freezing the stuck hand and ice-cream and it didn't help at all, since it just shrinks both parts. It didn't do any harm, though, so you could try. You never know. Sometimes different methods work for different parts. Just remember to be gentle and you won't cause any damage.

      However, I think what would be more likely to work would be if you could somehow heat up the hand part whilst keeping the sword handle cool. You *might* be able to do this by giving the hand a very short dip (2-3 seconds) in hot water from the kettle without getting any water on the sword... be careful though... if you accidentally heat up the sword it'll become very soft and easy to bend out of shape/break, so, again, be gentle and careful if you decide to try this.

      Best of luck!
      It's a problem I have yet to conquer myself, so if you figure out how to fix it, I'd love to know!

      Cheers!
      Sparkey

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    2. Hello again!
      I was finally able to take the swords out of the nendoroids hands. I used the hairdryer method to warm up the hands. It worked pretty well for most parts. The only down side is that a bit of the paint came off and was stuck to the inside of the hands. lol At least for now, I got the 2 parts separate. u___u

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    3. Hi! That's good to hear. I'm glad you managed to separate the parts!
      As for the paint... well, maybe it doesn't matter, since when the sword is on display, usually it will be along with a hand part anyway?

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  5. Thank you so much for posting this! I just got a Medicom Miku Hatsune and her shoulder joint broke right off! So I used this info to politely ask Medicom about a replacement part. Just sent it minutes ago so I hope they'll be willing to help me! Fingers crossed!

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    1. Hullo!
      I'm glad I could help! Thanks for commenting! (:
      From what I've heard, Medicom usually take a few days to reply, but they almost always do. Good luck!

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    2. Glad to hear it! Wasn't sure if they were still offering the service or not. I'll be patient and hope they get back to me. Thanks for the good smile info too...got a broken figma or 2 that I have since contacted them about

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  6. hI!

    I have a medicom L Rah figure thats given me some serious grief!

    I had him on display years ago, and when I picked him up one day i was mortified to find his legs were hanging loose with no pressure having been applied! It was a nightmare!

    Fortunately medicom did take him back for me and put his legs back on, but when he got back, fresh out of box his arm was off, so back he went!

    After that incident i was too scared to even touch him and but him back in his box where he has stayed for the last 3 years. But the other day I decided to bite the bullet and look at him again, and sure enough, when taking him gently out of the box, i noticed his leg was hanging loose again!

    This had me in tears like you wouldn't believe. It's a particularly sentimental figure because it's the first one i ever got, and my mum helped me get it.

    I contacted medicom again, but they said they wont take it back because they have before, and inferred I have been too rough with it, despite the fact that I explained he's been boxed since he was last with them.

    I asked if they could send me a part, which i would be happy to pay for in full. I asked if they could send me two leg joints, and two shoulder ones, as the parts they used to repair him with all that time ago must have become brittle and at high risk of breaking.

    The problem is they are flat refusing to let me purchase extra parts, or tell me where i could purchase extra parts. They said they will send me the leg joint if i pay shipping of 20 dollars but no more, even though I have sent them photos of my L's shoulder joint, which is showing a terrifying crack in it.

    I'm genuinely upset about it. I've been very careful to be polite in my emails, and have offered to pay for the parts just for my own peace of mind, because im fairly sure if i touch anything it will fall off at this stage. The true phenomenon with these figures is the way they just....are broken, with no force or agitation, they suddenly come apart. But i think the problem at this stage is that medicom simply believe I am treating this figure badly. Maybe they havent held one when this has happened before.

    I'm at al loss for what to do. I'm pretty convinced that the other leg will come of it it moves a millimeter. so when i fix it it could break, and then ill have to contact them again, and pay another 20 to have another piece shipped. Not to mention fixing it looks extremely difficult, and when i asked if they could send instructions on how to fix it, they said no.

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    1. Hello, Grace!
      I am really sorry to hear about your L! I don’t know what it is about that guy, but I think the most common figure I receive questions about is RAH L. It’s a shame Medicom is reacting the way they are, but don’t take it personally. From your emails, all they know about you is that you have an action figure that broke twice – how are they to know that you’re not treating your figure badly?

      As for the actual cause of L’s problems, I would say that it is a combination of bad luck and being kept in his box.

      PVC tends to leach plasticisers over the years and it can become not brittle, but crumbly if it isn’t exposed to the air. When the plastic is crumbly and degraded, the figure can just fall apart. It’s happened to me a few times.

      Something else that can damage figures, particularly RAHs, is leaving them in the same position for too long. It may seem counter-intuitive, but regular exercise is good for figures because it stops the joints freezing up.

      These are two common mistakes made by probably about 80% of figure collectors, so don’t blame yourself. Just writing this now is making me feel painfully aware of the ten or so RAHs I haven’t taken off the shelf in over a year!

      For future reference, if you want to keep a figure safe from harm, the tippity-top best place for it is on a wooden shelf, with a glass door, in a dark room. The wood absorbs moisture and plasticisers, the glass door stops the figure from falling off the shelf, and paint maintains its colour better in the dark.
      That said, I only keep a handful of my own figures this way, because, honestly, it’s kind of a pain.

      Luckily, the fact that you don’t re-pose L very often may actually be an advantage in your particular situation.
      When I wrote my article, I mentioned that it was easy enough to get RAH Roy’s arm to stick back on, but the movement was a bit sloppy afterwards.
      If you don’t play with L very much, then would you consider repairing him in such as way as he holds together, but doesn’t pose that well? If you would, he could be displayed in any number of relaxed positions on his stand for all to enjoy. He just wouldn’t be able to maintain “action” poses anymore.

      What do you think?
      If you can show me some photos of the broken/concerning areas, I think we can probably come up with something!

      Cheers!
      Sparkey

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    2. thanks so much for replying!

      I'm kicking myself about the news that keeping them boxed and safe actually causes this!

      The first time he broke he had been posed the same way for a long time and simply fell apart when picked up, and the second time he'd been in his box for three years!

      Knowing that that could be the cause, im still pretty terrified to actually try moving any of his other parts in case they break! especially the shoulder with that crack in it!
      I'm not sure if moving him will hurt or help so far along!

      Also pretty terrified for some of my older RAHs like ginko, and hei. it's one of those catch 22's. do I play with them now to stop them from breaking, or will playing with them break them because its been so long!!

      Is there any way to protect figures while they're still in their boxes? I own so many, and only have two display cabinets to display in! I read that the plasticizers can actually make figures sticky over time also, which is doubly worrying.

      I'd love to send some photos of the leg to you, im not sure how to go about it though. It's broken right up near the hip, where his leg connects to his butt, it's pretty tempting to make a custom peg for it.

      medicom sent me an FYI about a medicom RAH body, but in the same breath said it couldnt be used to fix L so im a little confused about why they mentioned it.

      Thanks again!

      Grace

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    3. Hello again!

      I think that the best thing you can do is bite the bullet and re-pose all your RAHs.
      After I replied to your other post, I went through my collection and exercised all of my older RAHs, moving all their joints. Ginko and Hei are in my collection as well, and they are both fine!
      When you’re doing this, if any joints seem stiff or stuck, double check that your are applying pressure in the right direction and gently increase the pressure until the joint moves. Sometimes you might need to wobble it very gently a few times to get it unstuck.
      Move all the joints on all your figures. Including the cracked shoulder on L. It might break, or you could be pleasantly surprised. Just be careful and watch the joint as you move it.
      But leaving him alone in his box is not going to help.

      If any joints break, worry about that later. For somebody who keeps their figures in the same poses for years, repairing them adequately (enough to stand in a presentable fashion) shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

      Yes, plasticisers do leach out and make figures sticky! I’ve got a few figure parts which are sticky right now. But it doesn’t bother me, because once the figure is out on a shelf exposed to the air, the plasticisers evaporate and the stickiness goes away after a few weeks.
      According to an article by GoodSmile I read a while ago, you can also wash sticky figure parts with a weak dishwashing detergent solution and it cleans them right off.
      Obviously, this is no good for RAHs, but I’ve never had a sticky RAH.

      It is not good to keep figures in their original boxes all the time. End of story.
      I keep some of my figures that way because I have a big collection too, but I don’t worry that much if things go wrong. It’s part of figure collecting. I keep the really precious ones on display.

      If you are very worried about your figures, I guess the best way to keep them would be in a big tub with plenty of ventilation, stored in the dark. If you’re using a cardboard box, don’t let the card touch any of your figures. I’ve heard vintage My Little Pony collectors complain that the acid from the card can damage PVC over long periods of time (but vintage MLPs are thirty years old, so that’s over a LONG time!). To avoid this, you would have to wrap the figures in acid-free archival tissue paper (which you can buy online), which would also prevent them from rubbing against one another and smudging their paint.
      That’s the best solution I can think of off the top of my head.

      The Medicom RAH Naked2 body is a blank RAH body that Medicom Manufactures for people to make custom figures, but it is built differently from old RAHs. You could switch the heads, but things like hands wouldn’t be able to be swapped over and the joints can’t be used to repair old RAH bodies.

      To show me pictures, just upload your photos to a site like Photobucket or Flickr and then post a link.

      I hope some of the stuff I said was helpful!
      Overall, just try to enjoy your figures and don’t worry too much about breakage. If you can’t display or pose the figures, what good are they to anybody anyway?

      All the best,
      Sparkey

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    4. Oh, actually, I want to elaborate on moving stiff joints. I think what I said above was too simplistic.
      If the joint really won't move, and the plastic looks like it might be beginning to flex, don't force it. It'll probably just break.
      Sometimes joints are just frozen.
      But most of them will come free with a bit of gentle pressure, tapping, gentle giggling and persistence.
      Sometimes heating the joint with a WARM-NOT-HOT hairdryer can get it to move.

      Good luck!

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  7. Hi I am hoping you are still active!! I do inbox my RAHs and re-pose them every 2-10 months. Unfortunately, my Roy's left shoulder completely crumbled at the joint. I then checked his other joints as I was writing to Medicom, and his other arm AND a leg crumbled off. Bummer!! I emailed Medicom and was exceptionally worried about Roy because he's one of the best RAHs I have (in that I treasure him the most, and he just looks SO spot-on to how he should). Medicom emailed me back and said to send Roy, but that they don't have those parts anymore so the pieces will be a different color, and possibly another shape. Was that the same with your Roy? I don't mind much as it will be covered by his clothes, but I'm not keen on him having totally completely different arms and legs? Though it's not as if I can fix him any better!! I thought you may be able to let me know how much surgery he needed and if his parts were totally different. Thanks!

    Also, I was thinking of asking them (very politely) if they could go ahead and replace the joint in the last intact limb (leg) because I am worried that it will follow suit like the other limbs.

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    1. Hello!
      Yep, the same thing happened to me - Medicom warned me that the replacement parts wouldn't match the originals. And they replaced a LOT of parts!
      I knew that was the case from the emails, but - and I'm surprised at myself - I hadn't actually taken Roy's clothes off to see for myself how different the new parts were until I read your message.
      Well, I just checked and they really are a totally different colour and not the same shape as the originals either.
      But you'd never know when Roy's clothes are on. That's why I'd never bothered to check. The uniform is so beautifully tailored that the new parts really make no difference. He looks great!

      As for the as yet unbroken leg joint... based on what Medicom did with my Roy, they would probably replace it anyway, but I suspect it wouldn't do any harm to let them know you're concerned about it.

      I hope that helps!
      Cheers!
      Sparkey

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  8. Hope you are still active. I have a problem with the Medicom RAH Death Note L. I paid a large amount of money for this on Ebay. My daughter who is 14 years old and not a child had not had him a week when she moved an arm and it fell off. I looked at it and it looks just like your photo in your original post showing where Roy's arm was broken. This guy I bought this from first told me that he had replaced the shoulders and hips and that it was fine (before I bought it). I made him an offer for it and he declined and so I ended up paying full price. I find out later that he sent me a message telling me that he would accept my offer and to give him a week as he had original parts ordered and he would put them on (this was after I had already purchased it). He shipped it to me promptly. He is now saying my daughter must have broken it and that it isn't a toy and that she should not have moved the arm. So fom what I can see, you are saying that moving the arms is a good thing. Trust me she loves this thing and was treating it with kid gloves. My question is if he indeed had just a few days before replaced the shoulder, should this have broken with her just posing the arm carefully? He says you should not move them and this contradicts what you say about exercising them. He told me that I was foolish and apparently knew nothing about these figures. My question is, if it indeed had new original parts on it, should it have broken with her just moving it into a pose. I am thinking he just had never fixed it to begin with. My daughter is heartbroken. This was an early Christmas present.

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    1. Hello! So sorry to hear about this!
      RAH L is the one figure I get the most questions about. Everybody loves him, but he's pretty old, so he tends to break a lot.

      To give you the information I think you're after, there's one sure fire way to tell if the shoulders have been replaced.
      Medicom DOESN'T MANUFACTURE parts for RAH L anymore. If the plastic of the shoulder joints matches the rest of his body, then they are the original shoulders.
      The only other possibility is that the seller replaced the shoulders with parts from another original RAH L, which would be totally useless, since all RAH L figures are old and fragile. The plastic just seems to degrade over time.

      In short, if the shoulders match the rest of the figure, I'd be asking the seller for a partial refund to cover the cost of having L repaired by Medicom.

      I hope that helps.
      Cheers!
      Sparkey

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  9. Thanks Sparkey for your quick reply and for not telling me that I am foolish like the seller did. He is confusing me. First before I bought it, he told me that he had replaced shoulders and hips with parts from another figure and that it was fine and did not hurt the value any. Then after I bought it, he told me that he had a replacement shoulder on its way and would take a week to get there and he would fix it. He shipped it right away and didn't wait a week, but told me that out of kindness he went ahead and replaced it and that it was new and should not have broken unless my daughter was playing with it. He doesn't want to do anything to help me out. I did contact Medicom and the replied quickly and told me that they did not manufacture parts for this figure any longer. If I wanted to fix it myself, could I replace that shoulder with parts from another figure like he said he did? Or do you know anyone that might be able to fix it. Luckily Ebay has 100% money back guarantee. So that is looking like an option, but my daughter loves this thing and just wants it fixed one way or another.. You are awesome by the way.

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    1. Hey, thanks! I'm always glad to be awesome!

      When I spoke to Medicom about Roy, they told me they didn't manufacture parts for him anymore either, but they agreed to replace the broken pieces with non-matching parts which are meant for a newer figure. They asked me if the non-matching shape and colour would bother me, and I said no (I always display him with his clothes on anyway).

      The way I see it, you have three options for fixing L.
      1. Tell Medicom you don't mind if the parts don't match and ask if they can use parts from a newer figure. I don't know what the answer will be, but it's worth a try. You could also ask if there is any newer body you could buy to replace L’s broken parts yourself.
      (FYI it’s probably worth mentioning how much your daughter loves the figure.)

      2. Buy another RAH body secondhand and swap L’s head, neck and hands onto it (to replace the neck, you will have to open up the torso with a screwdriver – sadly, this is occasionally difficult as sometimes the screws have the heads filled in. In that case, you’d have to drill them out, which is messy). The trick with this is to find a body which is a couple of years old (but not too old or it will suffer from the same crumbly plastic!) so it will have the same wrist joints as L. Medicom has updated the way they make wrist pegs since L was released.
      To find an old RAH body, you could try asking around on forums like this: http://bmedicom.runboard.com/f6
      If anybody’s going to have old RAH bodies they can sell you, it’s those guys.

      3. Repair L's arm yourself. If your daughter doesn't mind, you could just glue his arm back on (I recommend using a sealant like Soudall FixAll or something). This will mean he can't use his arm, but at least he'll *have* an arm.
      If you’d like to show me some good quality photographs, we may be able to come up with a better idea than plain glue that will get his arm working alright again. As I mentioned in my post, I did manage to reattach Roy’s arm so that it could move, but would fall down under its own weight. Not too bad in a pinch.

      I hope that helps!
      Best of luck with Medicom. They really are the best option.

      Cheers!
      Sparkey

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  10. Thank you so much Sparkey. I am working today but as soon as I can I will get those photos. Could I buy a naked RAH body 1/6 scale and take the arm off that and put it back on L or would I have to take like you said L's head off and put it on the naked body? Ebay has a naked Rah body.

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    1. Hello again!
      Unfortunately nothing is ever that simple with RAH’s. As I mentioned, the RAH Naked2 body has different wrist joints to L. It also has a totally different skin tone.
      The hands on RAH figures are an integral part of the character depiction, so you can't just swap the heads or the arms.
      What you’d need to swap is the upper arms, shoulders and torso. To do this, you'd have to take both figures apart, which is no easy task in itself since the screws are covered over. Drilling the blockers and paste out by hand may be the only way to access the screws. Using an electric drill would cause strong vibration which would risk breaking joints elsewhere on the RAH body (for example, the hip, which is very fragile).
      Once you get the screws off, I can't even guarantee that the parts from a Naked2 would fit L, because it depends on his build.
      Roy came back with parts from a new RAH body, but they’re not parts from Naked2 - because he’s a little stocky, the Naked2 parts wouldn’t have fitted him.
      However, L is a pretty skinny little chap, so on him the Naked2 parts *might* be OK.
      Here's a photo of Roy (showing the replacements Medicom made) and next to him is a custom Black Jack I made using the Naked2 body. I don't know how obvious it is from the photo, but the torso parts are just different enough that they wouldn't fit together well.
      http://i630.photobucket.com/albums/uu29/green-jelly/RAH%20Roy%20Mustang%20Repaired%20and%20Custom%20Black%20Jack%20RAH%20Naked2_zpsb53wreyg.jpg

      I guess my warning is that if you buy a Naked2 body, the parts might not fit L. And even if they do, it will be fiddly as hell.
      If it was me, I'd probably just go ahead and try it, but be aware that it could be hard and might not work.

      Again, I’d like to stress that Medicom is your best option. If they agree to repair L with non-matching parts, that would be both cheaper and a lot less of a pain in the butt.

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    2. Oh and this L is already different colors where they had replaced his shoulders and his hips.

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  11. I had already asked and they pretty much said no. I told them what happened and that it was a Christmas present for my daughter, but they said no. I may have to glue it on and she just not be able to move it.

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    1. Hello!

      That's a shame about Medicom.
      Oh well – on to the glue option!
      Thanks for the photo. Just FYI, that replacement shoulder looks super-ancient, so I'm not surprised it broke!
      Also, ouch!

      Now, glue... or... actually, I have an interesting idea. I'll get back to you once I've done some experiments.

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  12. Thank you Sparkey! You are our hero. :)

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  13. Hi Sparkey. Did you ever figure anything out? I am resigned to having to fix it myself.

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    1. Hello!
      Yes, I did figure something out! It's easy enough, but a bit complicated. I'm in the process of writing it up.
      I'll let you know when it's up.
      Sorry for the wait!

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    2. Hello!
      Sorry for the long wait on this, but I have written up full instructions for how to repair L's broken shoulder!
      Have a look here: http://figurefixer.blogspot.com.au/2015/11/repairing-one-of-those-pesky-broken-rah.html

      Best of luck!
      Sparkey

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    3. Thank you so much!!! I'll see what we manage. You have been so so helpful.

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    4. Wow! I can't believe all the time you spent on figuring this out and sharing with us. You are beyond awesome!!!! Thank you again so so so much!

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    5. No problem at all!
      I really enjoy the process.

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  14. Hello! My name is Leo and I have a bit of a problem...

    My fiance's Max Factory Big O figure's rubber joints have begun to dry rot. I'm not too sure if this is because he's had it for several years or if it is because we live in the horribly humid state of Florida in the US. Either way, the poor thing is on the brink of falling part.

    I was wondering if you had ever dealt with anything of the nature and how you would try to fix it. Currently he is trying to contact their [GoodSmileCo] customer support, but just in case they decide that it was our fault and won't fix it, I would like to ask you for any advice you may have.

    Also, another thing that has always been 'broken' on his figure is that it has some effect parts in the chest that do not come out fully.

    http://images.goodsmile.info/cgm/images/product/20110119/3077/12761/large/244c872cc8d8d4f1261f1d3a2b69cc96.jpg

    As pictured above, the shoulders and upper half of the torso lift up reveal these silver and gold cannons that lay sunken into the chest when not in use. The problem is, they do not want to come out to lay flat with the chest as they are shone in the picture. They have never done that. So I was wondering if you have any advice in how to open up or loosen up pieces that are 'stuck'.

    Here is a link the product page for the Big O figure:
    http://www.goodsmile.info/en/product/3077/MAX+Alloy+Big+O.html

    Any advice that you may be able to give us would be much appreciated.
    Thank you for your time,
    Leo & Pat

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    1. Hello, Leo! Thanks for your question!

      In my experience, soft plastic does tend to harden with age, no matter what the weather (though it's generally worse if conditions are warm and esepcially if it's been in the sun). This is because plasticisers naturally leak out. People often notice it when they buy a figure which has been stored in its original box for a few years -- the plasticisers form a sticky layer on the surface.
      Anyway, I've never tried it personally, but I've read that you can soften plastic back up by covering it with silicone spray and sealing it in a bag for a few days. Apparently, silicone spray is full of plasticisers, which can be absorbed back into the plastic, fixing the problem.
      The main issue here would be that ALL the plastic parts of the Big O would be susceptible to absorbing plasticisers, so you'd have to be careful not to get the silicone on anything but the target parts (if you can take the figure apart with a screwdriver and isolate the dry-rotting joints, that would do the trick, but I know that's not always possible).
      The other issue is that afterwards, the figure might be a little sticky, though GSC says you can clean that sort of thing off with a soft cloth, a bit of warm water and dish soap.

      As for the jammed parts in the chest, it's not clear to me exactly what the figure should be doing that it isn't. If you could show my a photo of Pat's Big O, then I can compare it to the product photos and get and idea of what is actually wrong.
      Are those canons supposed to spring out by themselves?
      The only thing I can say without more info is that heating the whole torso gently with a hairdryer, grabbing hold of the problematic parts with pliers and gently wiggling them free might fix it. Do be very careful if you decide to try that though, as pliers can easily damage PVC.

      Anyway, I hope that helps a bit! I've never really dealt with a problem like yours before!
      If you want to show my some pictures or ask other questions, as always, feel free to do so!
      All the best,
      Sparkey

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