Everyone loves G1, but let’s be honest: these toys were not made to last. Shockwave is probably one of the worst offenders: almost every part of his body is waiting to crack, split, crunch, or shatter. That stern die-cast feel and heavy brick-like appearance are just an illusion… Let’s take a look from the ground up!
Almost all Shockwave owners have experienced this: the die-cast feet wear away at the surrounding plastic, until the foot no longer locks into either position and dangles down from the ankle.
Here’s another common problem. A tiny tab on the interior of the knee hinge breaks or wears down, making his legs collapse under his weight. It doesn’t help that his upper body houses the heavy electronics. Sometimes he can be carefully finagled to stand up, but more often than not…
Things go downhill quickly. That little plastic knee connector can break in more ways than one…
Some of these damages are really a pain in the butt. Those big sturdy looking hinges that swing his electronics box up to his back? Not so much. It’s actually held by one tiny screw, which can lever its way out sideways, and the other side is sure to follow.
And be careful sliding those legs back and forth. I never understood why they designed the thighs such that you have to lift them just slightly forward to slide them, shooting the narrow gap between two plastic tabs with a too-tight die-cast joint.
Then we’ve got the electronics. Other than all the usual vagaries of 30 year old toy wiring, we’re going to talk about one unique design flaw: some Shockwaves don’t have enough wire slack between the circuits in his chest and the speaker in his backpack. If the lights work, and the sound doesn’t, this is an easy fix!
Not far up the line, we come to one of the most irreparable breaks, and one of the most common. Shockwave’s shoulder joints use a strong spring to keep the ratchet mechanism tight. In fact, the spring can prove stronger than the the plastic screw studs that hold his chest plate onto his back plate. The studs rip off inside his chest, and the springs try to fight their way out. Due to the force of the springs, gluing the studs back together is a hopeless cause. The telltale sign is a division of the dome under his arms.
Once the upper part of the torso is wedged apart far enough, Shockwave’s head literally springs off. The large gaps created by the shoulder split allow the tabs on the spring-loaded head plate to pass out of his body.
Some of these problems are completely ubiquitous. For example, the hose that guides the wires from his body to his cannon arm is made of soft rubber. Like any good organic compound, the rubber dessicates, decays, and crumbles away. The best way I’ve found to prevent this is to use a rubber protectant from the auto parts section, such as ArmorAll or Zymöl.
Unfortunately, that hose may be the only thing attaching Shockwave’s arm to his body: the elbow joint that gives him so much articulation holds the arm on by a small pivot. This is one break that looks a little more obvious, but is easier to avoid. Under normal use, you won’t have to worry too much about this one.
The last specimen on our list is one of the most common. The tiny circular muzzle brake on the tip of Shockwave’s arm cannon is glued on as the final stage of its assembly. Somehow, this tip always seems to get broken off. I’m not sure how, and I don’t want to find out, but it happens. You can try to glue it back on… but that superglue is going to react with the plastic and turn the whole thing into a hazy, brittle mess. If you want a nice Shockwave, make sure the muzzle brake looks nice and clear.
But don’t worry. There’s always Robot Heroes!