The arms on my LEGO minifigures are loose. How can I repair these to remain in place when I move the arm to the location I want it to stay in?
I have been experimenting to find the answer to this question, and today I have finally found it. I stumbled across a youtube vid of a child explaining his method, and mine was built off of his. His idea is to take labels, cut them into tiny pieces that are stuck onto the arm at the point where it connects into the torso. This works, all too well. Here's the problem. The arms get incredibly tight, as a result of there being too much pressure. This pressure slowly puts stress on the torso, and within weeks you will notice the modified figures busting open at the seam off the torso. This is generally on the sides, at the base, and it slowly cracks it's way up to the armpit permanently destroying your figures. I found this out the hard way when 10 of my superhero figures were destroyed. Still, I am thankful because this lead to my discovery. Once the figures had been destroyed, I quickly removed the labels from all the others I had done, to stop them from suffering the same fate. What I realized was that once the arms had been doctored, after removing the label (I used small pieces of a cat hair roller, and I'd advise you use this because I'm not sure labels are sticky enough) the arms retained Their clutch. This is a result of the stickiness staying with the arms after the sticky paper/cat roller material had been removed, but it feels like a perfect arm. The clutch is there, and you will not have to worry about the torso cracking. So now that you know, don't make the same mistake I did. This is what I would advise.
- Remove the loose arm.
- cut a small square off the cat roller.
- place it on the connected part of the loose arm.
- insert it into a torso that you have double of, or don't care about.
- set it down, and wait an hour.
- remove the arm, take off the sticky paper.
- carefully insert arm back into the original torso.
Now you have a perfect arm. It has amazing clutch, and best of all because the clutch comes from a sticky texture instead of immense pressure, your torsos will stay intact.
You can replace the arm with a new one by carefully removing the old arm and snapping in a newer one. Please note that this should not be done too often, as the procedure will damage the connection and could even crack the torso.
LEGO never intended the arms to be replaceable. It is not like snapping and unsnapping bricks, however it can be done a couple of times with no ill side-effects.
In my experience the most times you can replace an arm on a minifigure without making the connection permanently damaged is 3. Maybe 4 times if you are lucky and you find an arm that is very tight.
The best tactic is to take care of minifigures carefully. Constantly moving their joints will make those connection loose. If you are working on things like stop-motion videos where you are frequently adjusting the joints, it is best to use cheap minifigures. You can still play with more valuable minifigures, but it is best not to constantly move their arm around. Arms get loose faster than legs, so while you can put the minifigure in sitting, standing, or running position many times before the joint will get loose, arms are a bit more delicate.
I have done this many times over the years, and it is a fantastic solution.
Separate the parts, and take a very tiny amount of crazy glue and put a dab inside the joint. Let it dry overnight before reassembling so you don't accidentally glue the figure together. The super thin layer of glue will put extra mass into the connection, and because it is crazy glue, it won't easily wear off. Because it is inside the joint, it is completely invisible when assembled.
You might want to mask your parts, as crazy glue dripped on Lego will permanently mark it, and I would suggest practicing this technique a few times on junk parts or trashed figures, because when I say very tiny amounts, I mean it. Lego fits very tightly to begin with, so even worn Lego is only going to need a little bit of material to fill the space.
Like others have said - liquid crazy glue. But I must warn against putting glue on the arm itself, put the crazy glue on the socket in the torso. I speak from unfortunate experience when I say that putting even a little too much glue on the arm can cause even more damage to the joint, and if you put that tiny amount (and I mean tiny) around the inside of the socket it works much better and lasts much longer.
What worked for me for Playmobil minifigures was the following. Use transparent glue that dries in a matter of seconds (sometimes called "superglue"). Apply a small drop under the armpit (as if applying deodorant :-) and keep moving the arms while the glue dries (say for some 30 seconds). If the arm is still too loose, just repeat this a second time.
This does leave a tiny mark of glue on the armpits, but it is subtle enough that it doesn't bother me.