Broken o-rings...urban legend or truth?

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  1. #1

    Broken o-rings...urban legend or truth?

    I see posts here and there talking about eventually all carded Joes o-rings will break,even the loose Joes o-rings will break I read. I have seen this firsthand one time and that was a misb Zartan which I bought off ebay and half of the o-ring was broken and dried up and was being stretched. The box was obviously left out in the sun too. This Zartan appeared to be very abused. I have never experienced this with any of my moc Joes or loose Joes.

    My first Joe was a 1985 Crimson Guard. It's joints are the loosest I have ever seen in a Joe and it has alot of paint rub, but I NEVER abused it or pulled the top from the bottom trying to find out how far the o-ring would stretch. It's o-ring is fine to this day, as are all my loose Joes.

    IMO, if Joes aren't 'stretched' or abused (left out in sunlight, thrown, shaken if moc, etc.) thier o-ring will NEVER break. I think a handful of people like to say the o-ring will break so they can make themselves feel better about not owning expensive moc figures.

    Conclusion.....urban legend (if not abused of course)

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  3. #2
    The only o-ring I ever had break was on a Gung-Ho. It got tossed around in shipping and must have popped. I had the hook on my Flash swivel come loose but its hardly noticeable. Other than that -- that's about it.

    I think a bigger MOC problem is bubble lift or separation. Generally, I've found that a secure bubble that has not lifted will not lift but if there is even the slightest lift you may have a problem especially if its on the top of the bubble. I try to store my figs horizontally so at least gravity isn't encouraging separation.
    Specializing in the illest shiznata for more than 5 years:

  4. #3
    If you think a small rubber ring won't degrade and break down over time regardless of "abuse" or not you're crazy. (Figuratively speaking of course.) It has nothing to do with legends or myths, it's a simple fact. Everything degrades, especially man made things.

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  6. #4
    Classified CGC's Avatar
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    Jul 2004
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    I can't say anything first hand aboud carded or sealed figs, but I have had several loose Joes whose o-rings have broken. Many of them showed signs of heavy play wear, maybe possible abuse or misuse, but some of them were in excellent overall condition (except, obviously, for the o-ring). I doubt that all carded figs would eventually have their o-rings snap, but given enough time, I think that an awful lot of them probably will.
    This is where my signature would be if I had something to say.

  7. #5
    Unless it is specially treated and/or kept in very careful conditions, rubber does become brittle and/or slackens over a period of years. I have loose, unused rubber bands from my childhood that snap with the slightest pull. Also, even in a figure's natural state the O-ring is continuously stretched between the torso post and the T-hook; it's this pressure that keeps the waist/leg joints tight. Most of mine are still all right; a general worldwide breakdown of O-rings may be ten or twenty years away. A few carded figures may even outlive us. But some day, they will break.

  8. #6
    Member gunslingercbr's Avatar
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    Oct 2003
    Mindbender's customizing lab
    Quote Originally Posted by gutstheberserker
    The only o-ring I ever had break was on a Gung-Ho. It got tossed around in shipping and must have popped.
    I can't imagine a o-ring simply popping because of shipping. they are quite strong and can stand up to the abuse of childrens play, so shipping wouldn't do that IMO...except if it was old and decayed, which happens to them over time, which wuld then be the bigger determining factor in its breaking, not the shipping.

    yes, o-rings degrade over time.

  9. #7
    The rubber o-rings will eventually break. Those sealed on their cards will last longer than those who've been played with, but it's an inevitable future for all of the toys. For what it's worth, carded Joes seem to be holding up better than Star Wars, but many carded Star Wars figures are also older than their GI Joe counterparts.

    That being said, I've only seen one carded figure with a snapped o-ring - a 1984 Firefly.

  10. #8
    Last year I bought the TRU pack with Mutt in it and not until I opened it did I find out his O-ring snapped. I'm actually glad I got it instead of some kid who would have been looking forward to playing with him right away. I just replaced the O-ring out of the surplus I keep. Sometimes the O-rings are just flawed to begin with. I have had other Joes in storage for a short amount of time (3 mo) only to come back and find their O-rings falling apart. Heres something I brought up before and you might want to do a comparison just for the knowledge of it... Masters of the Universe figures. Have any of you seen them MOC with rotting thigh joints. Remember the ruberbands that held their legs on were similar in material only a little thicker. Also I don't think they were stretched quite as far as the O-rings were. However, I would imagine if you see alot of them with snapped leg joints I would imagine you will probably find alot of Joes with snapped rind eventually. The 2 series are relatively the same age. At least loose Joes broken O-rings can usually be repaired easily. Not the same for He-Man . Plus I would look at other vintage lines that used O-rings and see how they held up. Just some thing to think about.

  11. #9
    I have an '82 Breaker and Hawk, and when I got back into Joes and dug them out, their o-rings were very loose, but not broken. I stupidly replaced the o-rings, and Breaker's t-hook snapped. It will take a long time, but eventually they will all deteriorate. At least they are easily replaceable, but we shouldnt have to replace them. Its a poor design.

  12. #10


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