Ankle strain

One thing that’s been bumming me out lately is that as my MOTUC figures age, their ankles get weaker (if they weren’t incredibly weak in the first place). I love ankle articulation, but if it’s going to have a hinge, it really needs detents (for ratcheting). I have Tri-Klops on a shelf over my desk just for fun, and getting him to stand up straight was a huge pain.

I find ball-and-socket ankles are often firmer, for whatever reason. Plus you can do the old clear nail polish trick if they’re not.


Pic of the Day > Hunting Down Croc by nobudius_5192


Pic of the Day > Penny from The Walking Dead by McFarlane Toys by Colonel Raines


  1. _RZ_

    I use adhesive putty to strengthen the ankles. I tried most of these ideas mentioned before, and found this was cheapest and easiest, and best of all you can remove it with no harm to the figure. It costs under $3 for a package and I simply cut teeny little slices out with an Xacto- like paper thin- and push it into place (and out of sight) with a toothpick. Use small bits until it's tightened. I've been using the white Scotch brand stuff ($3) since 2005 and it doesn't seem to break down or discolor like Blue Tac. Plus you can easily get it out with unwaxed dental floss and a toothpick.

  2. Kevin

    Here's something funny. When I first read this article, I thought you wrote "Tri-Flops." 😀

  3. Ben

    I too had issues with my MOTUC collection continually falling off the shelf. I was paranoid that either one of their weapons would break or something. I bought the Grayskull bases, but they didn’t stop them falling over in the Summer heat. So now I utilize small doll stands that connect around the characters waist. Yes it is noticeable, but now my characters never fall over and I can place them in some fairly dynamic poses.

  4. Dark Angel

    There are a number of ways to deal with loose ankles; I'll try to speak to this as best I can, and will provide some links along the way.

    First off, when dealing specifically with MOTUC figures, there is a cheap, easy thing you can try with may tighten up the ankle joints to your satisfaction: Simply heat the joint up with a blow dryer or by dipping it in boiling water, then "pinching" the joint as tightly as you can between your fingers while it cools. If you are in a hurry, the liberal application of cold water will obviously make things go a bit faster. This will not result and a super-tight joint, but it may be enough to suit your particular needs.

    If you want a permanent fix, the first thing you need to learn is how to disassemble your figures, then either the superglue or clear nail polish trick. An excellent disassembly tutorial is available on Figure Realm:… Once you can disassembler the ankle joint, you can "paint" the inside of the ankle and/or the disc portion of the joint with clear nail polish or brush-on superglue. I prefer the nail polish method as it is more forgiving of mistakes/slop. Once the polish or glue dries, reassemble and enjoy your figures new, sturdy ankles.

    Note that Figure Realm also has a tutorial on tightening joints with superglue, but I do not recommend their method. That's all I have to say about that.

    Finally, if you aren't comfortable taking your figures apart…well, just don't. You can still apply temporary methods like the rubber band trick mentioned above. Protip: rather than use the clear rubber bands that come with your figures, you can get tiny rubber bands intended for use as hair ties in most department stores. wrap those around and tuck them into the opening in the figure's ankle articulation – you'll lose most of that side-to-side articulation, but the forward/back hinge should tighten up due to the added friction.

    • dayraven

      thanks for posting this DA, i was about to when i saw that you had already. disassembling the joint is the easiest way to make sure you don't get any screw ups like can happen w/ the super glue trick, and it leaves things looking perfect. i know some folks are reluctant to try taking their figures apart, but i swear to all of you, it's easier than you think, and less risky that you fear. the only thing that is really a variable is how warm to get the joint before you pop things apart, and that's easy to judge… if it won't slip pretty easily out of place, it's not warm enough. if you're using the same hand strength you use to break crab shells w/ a cracker, you're not warm enough. the plastic should pull easily, like ripping apart a warm barguette. the cute little barbell in the ankle is much stronger and less flexible that the ankle surrounding it, it should not bend or move hardly at all at the same temp that leaves the leg soft and pliable. hope that helps.

    • dayraven

      sorry, BAGUETTE, not BARGUETTE

  5. cmyaj

    I'm late to the MOTUC party (price was keeping me away until I found some at Big Lots); the looseness of the ankles on a couple of them surprised – & then annoyed – me. Granted, these were older figures, but how was this not fixed after the first batch of figures came out with wonky joints?

    • clark

      Yes, cmyaj, you have hit on questions that plagued fans of the MOTUC line for years. If we're paying $30+ (after shipping) for what is described as a high-end collector line, why do we continually have issues like loose ankles? Why can't this be fixed?
      I believe they have gotten better, but the first real improvement was seen with Vikor, three years into the line, but there are still issues with today's figures.

    • cmyaj

      Both of the figures with bad ankles that I picked up seem to be using the same parts, which just confounds me even more – if Mattel knew these parts were faulty, why continue to use them not just on the one figure that first had the problem, but to also go on & reuse it throughout the line? Sounds like a bad business practice to me, but it seems (from what I see around the 'net) that this is par for the course from them. I like the figures just fine, otherwise, but I'm kind of leery about putting them up on a shelf for fear that I'll find them shattered on the floor one day.

      Makes me glad I never entertained joining the subscription.

  6. ferris

    I haven't had any problems with my handful of MOTUC figures, but the Silk Spectre I just got either faceplants or tips over backwards constantly. Getting her to stand up is like trying to balance a spinning plate or something.

  7. I totally agree. In fact, I was noticing how many people complained that their Octavia’s had loose ankles, but mine feel fine… When I handle the figure. When she stands, her weight tips them over so easily that they might as well be really loose!

  8. Bigbot

    I used to use clear rubber bands on the ankles of several He-Man figures, but it's noticeable and after a while they become brittle and snap. I'll probably pick up some clear nail polish and try that out.

    • clark

      Yeah, I have a clear rubberband around a couple of ankles on my MOTUC guys too. I've tried the superglue technique, but never have great results with it. All that really ends up happening is I have white crusty glue that is visable, and joints that quickly are just as bad as they always were.

  9. pemberto82

    **coughcough** NECA Hudson **coughcough**

    • NECA Predator hips are some of the worst!

    • Bigbot

      My Big Red can really only achieve one post standing straight with him leaning forward all the way and his feet counter balancing those loose hips. Once you got him doing crouching poses it's all good though.

    • My worst is Lost Predator. My best are Warrior and Shaman, who have remained good.

  10. why is ankle articulation so damn hit or miss! i have figures on my desk that are strong and fine after years and others that are pretty new that will fall over if not leaning on somebody

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