Machine Robo / Gobots are another toy that can be repaired and maintained, and there design lends themselves pretty well to this. For a small toy with plastic parts you’ll find many have stood up surprisingly well to decades of use and varying levels of abuse. Of course with this comes a few typical issues that I’ve found even in my old recently rediscovered Gobots.
Loose Joints: The ease of transformation of many of these figures is a double edged sword, on one side they got a lot of play time with kids transforming them backwards and forwards from vehicle to robot – sometimes several times a minute. The flip side of this is of course wearing out the joints over time so they no longer easily hold a stable position. However this is relatively easily fixed, and if you measured transforming toy success on the number of times it was transformed in its lifetime, then without doubt these toys were super successful.
Worn chrome: Not unique to these toys of course, but a common aesthetic problem due to the high handling usage in transformation and racking up a lot of playtime hours. In many ways it’s just a sign of a successful toy. Some people like to leave that type of wear as it is for that reason, however sometimes it is nice to take one and do a restoration to give it a refresh and re-highlight some of these pieces in the original intended way.
Missing stickers/decals: These can easily go missing over the years, and in some cases it doesn’t matter, but in others the stickers really add some nice detail and character so can be nice to replace those with new copies of the originals.
Missing pieces: Luckily not many of these figures suffer from this problem as many are “self contained” – i.e. they don’t need or come with any additional parts. Some however do come with things like propellers and guns that can be lost. Still not a major issue as of course the toy will “function” however it won’t quite look complete (especially the ones with missing propellers) . There’s not an easy solution to this, but I do have some ideas that I will outline here at a later date.
Cracking tires: The tires on these toys (of the car type models) are made of rubber and sit on the wheel rim – much like a miniature car tire. Over time, depending on where they have been stored, and how much sunlight they’ve been exposed to, these tires can dry out and crack. Some are recoverable and some may need to be replaced, I’ve got some ideas for dealing to this one as well.
Plastic discoloration: Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause some of these plastics from the 80’s (particularly the white ones, but also the blue and red) to discolor and yellow (from white) or darken (other colors – same issue). This discoloration in many cases can be reversed and the original color restored.
Repair & maintenance equipment needed
Below are listed some key things you may want on hand to deal to the above issues:
Repair & Maintenance techniques
Below are listed some of the primary techniques for dealing with the main issues with these toys, I’ll do some blog posts on each.