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Fixing Horri-bull's Horrible Head!

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Old 11-14-2012, 04:18 AM   #1
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There are quite a few G1 figures that sport certain breakage points. *Doing one's homework on each G1 figure is highly recommended, as there are several who have provided some good feedback over the many years on just what issues to look out for regarding each figure. Hopefully, this tutorial can add yet another chapter in that heritage.

This toy is Horri-bull! Yes, you read that correctly - toy's name is "Horri-bull". Though, I suppose if you're checking this thread out, you're not only familiar with the toy, but you're also familiar with the horrible problem that Horri-bull has - his horrible head! Ok, I promise! From here on out, you won't read any more jokes involving the bad pun with this character's name here, so let's dig in here with . . . .

The Fixing of Horri-bull's Horrible Head!

Here's a shot of the culprit, in it's loose/completed state (and as you'll see later, the head's here as well, but just in the cockpit):

Fixing Horri-bull's Horrible Head!-horri-bull-head-fix-01.jpg

Perhaps you had this figure as a kid, and it's gone now, or perhaps you may still have your specimen from your childhood. I share in neither of those, so my first experiences came when I bought the figure from an eBay seller, and it's remained relatively in this same state as when I bought it. As you're reading this, you probably noticed the same problem I did:

Fixing Horri-bull's Horrible Head!-horri-bull-head-fix-02.jpg

As I said, I bought this figure years much later on eBay, and I noticed upon arrival that the head was super tight. I was totally ignorant that others had the same problem. As such, I proceeded to transform mine. The good news for me is that the first transform didn't result in any breakage. However, after that stressful experience (no pun intended, honest!), I noticed what you're surely aware of - the super-tight head transform!

Now, you're most likely in the same boat I am, as I paid quite a bit of money for this figure (and honestly, I can't remember how much, but I'm thinking it was in the $80 range. This figure can command a higher price now, so I feel good knowing that I'm not spending out in the $150 range now!). That being the case, I didn't want to mess with mine too much in fear of breakage and then creating a need to purchase another. I decided to just store mine until a later date.

Well, thankfully, that day arrived as I unpacked my Headmasters. Since I've been working on custom Transformers for a few years now, this sort of thing is a pretty easy fix for me. That being said, I'll warn you now:


From this point forward, what I am going to show you will permanently alter your vintage, G1 Transformers Horri-bull toy. If you attempt these steps, there is no going back to the original state of this figure. As such, alter at your own risk!

Ok, with that disclaimer out of the way, let's get started. Here's what I used:

  1. G1 Transformers Horri-bull toy
  2. Choice of rotary tool/sanding tool/sand paper - in this case, I'm using my trusty Dremel
  3. Small screwdriver or pin punch (obviously, I chose a screwdriver here. The main thing to be sure of is that the tool is the size of the pin, but we'll get to that . . . .)
  4. Pliers

As said, I generally use a rotary tool and/or sand paper to do most of my sanding. *Either of these tools will allow for a conservative approach, as you can always keep taking off excess, but it can be harder to fix it once too much as been taken off.

With our tool kit ready to go, the first thing I suggest doing is planning your job out. After all, we're not altering something here that is easily replaceable. Let's face it - the Jr. Headmaster toys can be quite a pain to obtain, especially in nice shape. Regardless, I don't plan to buy another. That being said, let's see what we're dealing with here:

Okay, so basically what I'm seeing here is that there is a pin connecting the body to the head as well as the cockpit cover. My plan now is to simply remove the pin, sand down the pivot area, and then reinstall everything. With a little care and patience, this should be a pretty simple job. Again, the main thing that I want to do here is to just exercise my own caution as I approach this. I want to be careful not to add any stress to the area removing the pin, sanding down the troubled pivot area, or reinstalling everything.

So, carefully (do I need to stress that again?) I use my screwdriver to push the pin out. I'm unsure if all specimens are like mine, but I was able to identify the grooved area on mine as the side on Horri-bull's right (for those who are unfamiliar with pin removal, I highly suggest reading up on this article):

Again, I'm unsure if mine is the "typical" specimen, but I noticed when I removed the pin, it didn't take a whole lot of effort. I exerted just a tiny bit of force and was able to successfully push the pin out. Hopefully, you can see from this photo a little better that the grooved side of the pin is exposed now that I've managed to push it out a bit:

From here, I'm simply going to take my pliers and pull the pin out completely:

So the pin is out, thus making it much easier to get to the problem area. Could you fix it without the pin removal? Possibly. I just think getting these pieces apart helps me gain much better access to the problem area than leaving things together. I think if one is way to squeamish to remove the pin, I can certainly understand that. However, I'm getting ready to take a rotary tool to a toy I paid nearly $100 for and one that may prove even more expensive and rare to replace. Obviously, I'm fairly confident in my abilities here. Either way, as stated, I'm preparing to permanently alter a "vintage" figure here, which is something that I don't take lightly (you know, just in case that you thought that I take these types of things lightly).

The pin is out, and next is the disassembly (which is much easier):

With the parts separated from the body, it's much easier to see everything going on as well as being able to get to it. Still, I asked for some help with the inspection:

Kreb is showing me where exactly I should do repairs, and since he's so bull-headed (!), I figure I'd better get started. First, I'm going to sand off just a small portion off of the pivot part on the bull head:

Now, just so you know how I'm going about this, know that I'm not turning on my rotary tool wide open and just grinding away at warp speed:

Originally Posted by Dogbomber View Post
*snip*May I know how do you use Rotary Tool to slowly shave/smoothen the neck part?
Rotary tools typically have speed settings. I find that this is often a comfort and control type of thing based on the tool's settings. Mainly, I wouldn't want to have it wide open as a rotary tool will eat through plastic quickly! Conversely, too slow of a setting will pretty much just make a mess.

But basically, figure out your target area, choose your bit and setting, and cut away. Take off a little at a time, and continually test the part until it's fitted. In the case of taking away plastic from anything, once it's grounded off, it's just that - gone. What I'm going to do with both areas is take a very conservative approach (just in case you hadn't gathered already that I intend to be careful):

Now, you'll notice that I'm not putting my setting on just nothing, but it's got a lot of room to go up in speed. There's a few reasons for that. One is that going too slow can be just as bad as going too fast, as it'll just basically rough up the plastic without even taking anything off; this results in just making the problem worse. Also, I can always start out slow and speed up if need be (which I actually ended up setting on speed level 3 or so).

The goal is to take away enough plastic to fix the problem, but not so much that's going to make the joint very loose, or rough up the hinge so badly that it's an eyesore.

So, off I go:


Ok, I took off just a tiny amount. I've blown off the shrapnel (more bad puns!), and you can see here that my sanding job is successful:

Now, I'll repeat the same type of action with the hinge on the body. However, this time what I'm doing is getting into the grooves that the joint has damaged (after all, this is the stress point, so mainly I'm just wanting to make it bigger to alleviate the stressing)


After blowing off the shrapnel again and cleaning the area off (a small, damp napkin is sufficient here), I'm ready to do a test fit. In order to see if the parts work, I'm going to reassemble the parts, and carefully transform the head to see if it works or if I need to do just a little more grinding:

Since the pin on mine was loose enough to slide in and out, I'm going to refit the pin for the test as well:

So, let's see if my "hard' work paid off:


(and here we go *drumroll*):

Success! Now, you may look at these images and say, "Well, I still see stress marks!" That may be, but the main thing I'm looking for here is the ease of transformation and if there's additional stressing. The test transform went well the first time, as the head is tight, but it's not stressing as I transform it. I can take a hairdryer and remove those small stress marks. If it turns out that I do need to readjust this, since I was so conservative with my sanding, I still have the option of taking more away. Kreb at least approves . . . for the time being (I think?):

Head on!

Originally Posted by Sol Fury View Post
I actually did that exact thing. Took a lot of careful work and fit testing, but it moves a lot more smoothly now. Very little tension in the joint. Possibly too little in fact, but this is one of the occasions when too little is a good thing.

Here is a link to the thread where the problem was original discussed: Design Issue of G1 Horri-Bull
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Originally Posted by Autobot Burnout View Post
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Originally Posted by Dean ML View Post
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Last edited by Superquad7; 11-15-2012 at 05:56 AM..
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