By Generation: MMC Bovis Elbow Fix and Replacement Guide

Discussion in 'Tutorials and How Tos' started by David Hingtgen, Nov 18, 2013.

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  1. David Hingtgen

    David Hingtgen Chromaticon

    Jul 1, 2002
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    Ok, here's how I tweaked my replacement Bovis elbow to (hopefully) prevent any smooshing of the teeth. Lots of words, 10 minutes work (most of which is removing and reinserting pins). I will do the same to my Fortis when it arrives. So far so good, no visible damage at all to the teeth, and it's "clickier" than the smooshed one was.

    If you've already transformed your Bovis and the "teeth" on the upper elbow are fine--you don't have to worry, it's not going to happen in the future. If it's going to ever happen to yours, it'll happen the first time you transform it. And if you haven't ever transformed it yet---here's how to prevent it.

    Note: DO NOT BEND THE REPLACEMENT ELBOW (or a fresh-from-the-box Bovis'). Not until you've disassembled it etc. Bending it just once "as is" is enough to do some damage. You need a perfectly flawless elbow to start with. And I'm not going to move my Fortis' elbow even 1mm after I open him up, it's going straight to disassembly.

    1. First, remove the original elbow+forearm from your Bovis. It just slides off to the side. And of course, get your new/replacement arm ready to work on.

    2. Ok, on the upper part of the elbow joint---the "geared" part with the teeth. About "3 teeth down" from the top on the front side (referencing the "factory" joint positions). There will be a little protruding square of plastic in between the teeth. Slice it off:



    3. Comparing my "smooshed" elbow to the brand-new one, there was no difference at all on the grey part of the elbow---the very slight offset "mashing" on the ridges on the grey piece seem to be how it comes out of the mold, or is assembled by the factory, so I saw no point in doing anything to the lower elbow joint.

    4. Next, remove the pins from the elbow. No hammer etc. needed. Just push them out with another pin, a nail punch, small round needle file, etc. Could probably even use a ball-point pen. Get them out about half way, then use needle-nose pliers to grab the exposed ends and twist them all the way out. You technically don't need to remove both pins and totally disassemble it, but I find it easier to work on this way. If you have no experience with pins, these are about as easy as it comes and would be a good "first try".


    5. So, once you've got everything apart, you should have the center piece of the elbow by itself. While I believe it's perfectly symmetrical top/bottom and front/back, the factory alignment is: The small sprue scar on the very end is on the top/outside, the 2 small circular ejector pin marks in the center, are on the front.

    6. The "inner workings" of this piece are simply a flat expanse with a ridge down the middle, on either side. The ridge is the "pawl" of the elbow's ratchet. I've photographed at an angle so the ridge catches the light, and "from behind" so you can see both ridges protruding out on either side of the center "bar". You only need to work on one, and remember to make that one the upper one:



    7. I used a very thin sanding stick (320 grit?) and sanded this ridge down SLIGHTLY. It sanded down faster than I expected, so literally like 5-10 swipes may be more than enough. I sanded down the center of the bar just a little more than the ends. I also applied the tiniest little bit of lube to the ridge. I used moly lube as it was on hand (and is black), and I wanted a grease rather than an oil. How little? A blob about 1mm x 1mm, spread across the bar (and I really only used about half of that blob). It's a geared joint, the lube is going to be squished down to a microscopically thin layer when the parts move together, so any excess is just going to be squeezed out and attract dirt/dust/lint etc. You need a paper-thin coating over that ridge, nothing more. Do not "oil" the joint like you would the Tin Woodman. You'll just end up with an oily Bovis.

    8. Reassemble! Just go slow with the pins, checking them each step of the way to make sure they're going in right---from the outside: entering the black centerpiece, then going into the geared part, then entering the centerpiece from the inside(exiting the geared piece). I pushed the pins in most of the way by hand, then finished pushing them in flush with a needle-nose pliers used end-on. Reattach the arm and you should be good to go.

    So here's my Bovis with his new elbow that doesn't get smooshed teeth:


    Easier, alternative fix using an original/damaged elbow:

    A quick and easy thing you can do instead is to take a Gundam inking pen/Pigma Micron etc. (NOT a Sharpie!) and just ink in over the smooshed gears---it will make them "deeper black" and shiny again, and it will at least LOOK a bit better)

    Original "smooshed" elbow, with a little bit of slicing/scraping/filing away at the teeth to try to restore their shape, and then inked in:


    Most of the look is the inking, it was more effective than trying to re-shape the teeth (sorry, didn't take any pics after reshaping the teeth but prior to inking--but it looked pretty "rough and grey" comparatively).

    If you want to try to re-shape the teeth a bit---a knife-type needle file is very useful for getting in between the teeth etc. One like this:


    Also, after shaping etc., and before inking---try to "burnish" the teeth/grooves. I just used a toothpick. Try to smooth out the plastic a bit.

    (David Hingtgen replied to some inquiries from various members. Those have been mirrored below. ~Superquad7)

    No, no one's ever had problems with the left arm AFAIK. It must just be a .001mm difference in the molds.

    I never tried it without lube. I only have the one spare. So I did everything possible to ensure it'd be enough. I wasn't going to try the minimum, find out it wasn't enough, and have 2 smooshed right elbows. The gears will get stripped the FIRST time you move the elbow---you only get one chance to "do what you're gonna do".

    As for lube-only procedure: I'd still disassemble it, to apply the lube directly to the ridge/pawl. Packing the joint full of lube from the outside is going to lead to a messy dirt-filled elbow over time (unlike say Herc's hips, this joint is exposed).

    Best method I found was to use a round needle file. Could always try "traditional" pin-removal methods like punch+hammer to loosen it up first.

    If not---there's always my second post. Still clicky and looks good, just AS clicky or good-looking.

    Top of the ridge, I'd say probably 50% of the exposed area was "touched by the sanding stick".

    The center bar is the center of the centerpiece of the elbow joint. The whole piece is an "H" when viewed from the front or rear. Both pins pass through it. The ridges are on either side of the center bar of the H.

    Lube--as little as possible. Just a tiny dab along the ridge. Anything more will be a waste, and just attract dirt.

    Frankly, everything is "just a little bit". Sand just a tiny bit, lube just a tiny bit. Makes a big difference.

    I PM'd MMC before posting this. I had already let them know a while ago I planned to do a guide like this when I got my replacement elbow. And they preferred I make a separate post so they could link to it/refer people to it more easily, rather than it getting buried inside the main Feral Rex thread. So, for those who need it---it's here.

    * * * * *

    TFW2005.COM members Shatterblast and Transformed help shed some light on this:

    From Shatterblast: Evidently not, as mine has had no issue with it. It does seem relatively common, though.

    From Transformed: MMC has already said this problem may continue still with Fortis.


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    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 21, 2014
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