How to fix action figures

Updated July 20, 2017

Action figures may become broken through play, accident, or even age. You can repair minor damage, such as scratches, dents, teeth marks and gouges, with some basic equipment and patience. Different techniques allow for the replacement of heads, hands and even limbs. Similar techniques allow for the customisation of action figures to give them different appearances. Consult a professional before attempting to repair a collectable action figure, as you may destroy its value.

Apply epoxy putty or other sculpting compound to damaged areas.

Allow putty to dry, then sand smooth with fine sandpaper.

Paint the patched area with oil-base or acrylic paint to match the rest of the figure.

Soak action figure in warm water or heat joints with a hair dryer to prepare joints for separation. Heads and hands are usually attached with peg-joints (where a small peg fits into a hole or socket), and arms and legs are usually attached to torsos with ball-and-socket joints. Elbows and knees often are pin-and-hole joints. When the water makes them pliable, gently pull the pieces apart. This may require working the parts back and forth. Always use care to avoid breaking the joint.

Use a flat blade screwdriver to open front and back halves of torsos to remove some shoulder or hip ball-and-socket joints. Pry gently to avoid chipping or splitting torso parts.

Replace the part from a similar action figure by heating the joints and gently snapping them back into place.

Replace shoulder or hip joints in openings of bottom torso half. Use super glue to reattach top torso half, securing the joints between the halves.

Paint new pieces to match action figure.

Repair broken arms or legs without removing them from the torso. Use super glue to mend clean breaks in solid plastic.

Use pieces of thin dowel stick or plastic model sprue (the excess plastic "tree" to which model parts are attached) to hold broken pieces together when glue alone will not work. Use a drill with a bit the diameter of the dowel or sprue to drill holes in both halves of the broken limbs. Insert the dowel or sprue into the holes, then push the pieces together and secure with super glue.

Drill out sections of broken pegs and replace with pieces of dowel or sprue. This will repair peg-joints when replacement parts are not available.

Use epoxy putty or sculpting compound to blend repaired areas into the rest of the figure.

When the putty is dry, sand with fine sandpaper, prime it with grey primer, then paint the repaired area to match the figure.


There is no single correct way to repair action figures. Be creative and let the type of repair needed guide your technique.


Wear eye protection and a dust mask when separating figure parts or when sanding and painting.

Things You'll Need

  • Craft knife
  • Flat blade screwdriver
  • Epoxy putty
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Paint
  • Craft paint brushes
  • Plastic model sprue
  • Dowel pins
  • Liquid super glue
  • Hair dryer
  • Drill and bits
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About the Author

Steve Jones has written professionally since 1979. He published "The Right Hand of Command" and chapters in "History of American Life," "The Handbook to Life in America" and "Beacham's Encyclopedia of Social Change." Jones has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism, a Master of Arts and a Doctor of Philosophy in history from Oklahoma State University.