23 May 2010

The Dinoking Dilemma

So I recently bought D-328: Dinoking. As mentioned, it is a very nice set and in great condition. Here's a gratuitous photo of the giftset. 

There happened to be 2 distinct downsides though - (1) the shells were a little sticky from age; and (2) Gouryuu and Kakuryuu had head and leg joints that were so tight that they simply cannot be transformed.

Before I go on, a little bit of etymology for the uninitiated (like I am). I include below the Monstructor equivalent names for the Dinoforce members and also a translation of the meaning of each Dinoforce member, kindly provided by Goktimus Prime of OZ Formers.

Icepick = Gouryuu = 剛竜 ("Hard Dragon")
Slog = Kakuryuu = 角竜 ("Horned Dragon")
Bristleback = Gairyuu = 貝竜 ("Shell Dragon")
Wildfly = Yokuryuu = 翼竜 ("Winged Dragon")
Birdbrain = Rairyuu = 雷竜 ("Thunder Dragon")
Scowl = Doryuu = 土竜 ("Earth Dragon")

Back on the case. Now, (2) is an issue because a Transformer that cannot transform is not a Transformer, no? The problem is compounded further by the fact that I cannot combine Dinoforce into Dinoking if Gouryuu and Kakuryuu cannot transform. That's just unacceptable.

Studying the joints closely, I see that they appear to be either tight and unmovable due to age and having never been transformed in years and years or in Gouryuu's case, due to a case of rust - the pins that hold his head and legs together appear to have rusted.

First I tried to 'force' them and hope that they budge. However, after applying force that was unnaturally strong for toys of this nature on both pieces, I thought I'd better stop for fear of breaking them (bearing in mind the amount of greenbacks these each guys cost, if I can even find replacements).

That was Tuesday. I'd all but lost hope. Last night, after E and I had much fun putting Sixturbo, Sixliner, Sixtrain, Sixbuilder and Sixwing together and using them as our army in a role play fight in which E's Sixturbo emerged victorious, we decided to try the Dinoforce joints again. After, combining so many robots, we were in the mood to combine one more - Dinoking!

Gratuitous shot of Sixturbo, Sixliner, Sixtrain, Sixbuilder and Sixwing together with the other Scramble City combiners we played with (see why we need Dinoking?).

E suggested, 'hey, why don't we soak the joints with Zippo Lighter Fluid?'. I thought for a moment and said 'why not, its so volatile we know it'd evaporate and not stick on the toy. And we also know from our sticker removing experience that it does not damage plastic of this nature. Let's give it a go!'.

We began pouring Zippo Fluid onto the hole where the pin the holds Kakaryuu's head in place is. We were hoping that it will filter down to the rest of the pin and hopefully either dissolve grime that was preventing movement or simply lubricating the pin so that Kakaryuu's head can move. Zippo dries off pretty fast, so we repeated the process for about 15 minutes. Result! E could now move Kakaryuu's head back and forth and there was less and less resistance. I was really happy, but I knew that we were only halfway there because Goryuu is going to be the real challenge.

Picture showing Kakaryuu with his head already sucessfully moved down. Once we managed to move the head a little, we started pouring Zippo Fluid down the openings at the back of his neck.

The issue with Gouryuu is this - all of his pins (totalling 2 actually) were rusted. We suspect it was the rust that prevented his head from being folded down and his legs from being folded back. At the very least, we needed to fold his head down to combine into Dinoking.

As with Kakaryuu, we soaked his pin openings with Zippo Fluid. The following pin openings were soaked over a period of 30-40 minutes.

About 25 minutes into the process, we began to be able to swing Gouryuu's legs back and forth. As we repeated this a couple of times, lots of rust coloured Zippo Fluid can be seen flowing out of the joints of the legs and from the pin. By lots, I mean, lots. In fact, the rear of the legs is still stained a little brown from the rust fluid because we were not able to clean all of it off. See pic below.

By this time, Gouryuu's head still would not budge, not even a micro inch. It's just stuck tight. E and I each separately applied an amount of force the would surely have broken any TF's limb off, but Gouryuu's head still would not budge. We were at it for more than an hour - soaking with Zippo Fluid, trying to move the head, soaking with Zippo Fluid again, trying to move the head again...

No result. We stopped after an hour and 15 minutes. I helped E do her nails - French finish! We finished with the nails and then E suggested trying to move Gouryuu's head again. By this point, it must have been 2 hours from when we started to fix him. We tried for another 10 minutes with no results. But soon, E cried out 'hey, I moved it a little, very little'. Now, there was a very slight gap between the head and the body. We poured Zippo into that gap like there was no tomorrow. After another 20 minutes of effort, we were able to move the head back and forth!

Yes, we have succeeded!!!

It was no easy task. There is also a lot of rust in Gouryuu's head pin as can be seen from the brown residue between his neck and body in the below photo.

We can now transform Gouryuu and Kakaryuu. Here they are in both modes.

The highlight of the night, combining Dinoforce into Dinoking and standing him next to Monstructor! (photo taken by E)

Day shot of Dinoking and Monstructor... watch out Teletraan-1!

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