Much like our own bodies, sometimes action figures suffer from a stiff joint.

You don’t have to be a collector to have experienced this problem. Due to either age or a fault in manufacturing, the joints that control a figure’s opposable arms and legs can become difficult to move. Not only is this an inconvenience, but stiff joints are also prone to snapping and thereby ruining one of your favorite figures. While this may be no big deal for easily replaceable collectibles, others may not be so keen on seeing their limited edition Greg Valentine become susceptible to this malady.

Are stiff joints fixable, you may ask? The answer, fortunately, is yes, though the “best” solution depends on who you ask. Here are three of the most popular.


1: Boil some water.

This one’s the most often cited solution. By dipping your figure into boiling water for roughly 15 seconds, you may be able to loosen the problematic joint by carefully turning the part after submerging.

For those who are wary of damaging their figure, running a stream of hot water from a sink can accomplish the same effect if you aim the water at the stiff joint. Many reports say that the water does not necessarily need to be boiling for this fix to work. Do note, however, that it’s recommended to put your figure in a cool area or into cold water afterwards to prevent any mutations.

Oh, and as always, make sure to watch your hands when dealing with hot water.


2: Use a hair dryer.

This is a popular alternative to the hot water trick. By aiming a hair dryer at a stiff joint, you may be able to either loosen the plastic or melt excess paint that is causing the figure to stick to begin with.

Keep in mind that this is more or less accomplishing a similar goal as using boiling water, so all steps pertaining to cooling the figure apply.


3: Use a toothpick to apply soap to the joint.

For those who are more protective of their figures, this will likely be the most appealing solution. Simply insert a toothpick into some household dish soap, rub the toothpick around the joint, and then carefully move the joint around to spread the soap. Simple as that!

Dish soap is specifically recommended for this fix, but hand soap could work if you want to try it out. It should be noted not all action figures contain joints that are accessible with a toothpick, and soap may need to be reapplied regularly depending on the age of the figure. However, if this application does prove to be effective for you, you’ll have a relatively risk free and easy solution to rely on.

As with any advice, we recommend you use your best judgment when deciding how to handle your figures, regardless of what you read online. If your figure’s joints absolutely cannot be fixed in a worst-case scenario, then we’d recommend refraining from moving the part as much as possible. Remember, an inflexible figure is better than a broken one.

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Written by TimM
Tim is a video game aficionado who is fascinated by pop culture. He built his first collection in 1999 by catching all 151 monsters in Pokemon Red, and he hasn't stopped collecting since. His work has been featured multiple times on