In my quest for Lion Knights’ castle I have been trying to come up with some of the twelve minifigures included in the 6080 King’s Castle from 1984. In my latest update I got pretty close, but it did require some minifigure surgery to accomplish. I have discussed minifig surgery before, so look back if you are interested in hands, arms or dismantling keyrings, but now an update on the legs – since I mostly dealt with legs this time around.
The main reason for dismantling minifigure pants is the same as with swapping arms, to combine diffent colored legs and hips. The 6080 King’s Castle combines black hips with red legs in many of the minifigures, for example. With minifig surgery you can make such pants by combining parts from e.g. all-red and all-black minifigure pants. Theoretically it is easy: twist the other leg upwards to kicking position and then pull the straight leg outwards. This is best done when a torso is attached, preferably without arms or head, so you can hold onto that. (See Ugly Duckling’s blog post for the source and some details.)
Having done this to around six minifigure pants during my latest building session, I can tell you in practice it’s a little harder. Possible generational differences mean that some pants separate quite easy, while others require a lot of pushing. I was able to separate all legs (including from the 1980s Castle keyring pictured above left) without breaking any, but that doesn’t mean everything went without collateral damage. Unlike swapping arms and hands, which seems pretty routine, the risk of loosening parts in leg surgery is far bigger. Some of the re-built pants became quite loose, although luckily not in the sense that legs would be falling out or that they couldn’t stand up – but still, notably looser than before.
If you look closely at the picture above, especially the legless guy on the left, you can see the pegs where the legs connect to the hips. The greatest risk is damaging these pegs, especially the small bumps at the bottom end of each peg. Probably the legs themselves are quite a bit more robust and a lesser worry. The trick is to pull the leg out straight to the side in a way that puts minimal wear on the peg and the bump on it – don’t bend the peg with the leg and pulling out a straight-down leg (instead of an angled or kicking leg) is probably the least damaging way to go. In some cases it seems quite impossible not to damage the bump at all, but through trial and error you can minimize the risk.
One trick I tried, was helping the process with the flat end of the new brick separator tool. Sometimes pulling the leg out some way was easy, but then it got stuck and I lost my nerve to pull some more – pushing the brick separator into the gap allowed me to pry little by little and ease it out without having to risk more force and bending the peg. Note that in the picture the tool is inserted between the hip and a kicking leg, you should probably try it with a straight leg instead. Finally, I’m not at all confident using the tool for this is wise or the best way to go about it, but just something I did try with some success.
So, this is how I came up with a few of the needed pants for my 6080 King’s Castle (incompletely pictured below). I did discard a couple of the pants for becoming too loose by my somewhat demanding standards, but other than that it was a fairly successful process. I do think I will revisit the topic one day here on the blog, though, once I have some spare pants on hand. I intend to get a little bit more scientific about it. Until then, I’m a bit reluctant about future leg surgery – arms and hands are fair game, though.
Note: You can click the images for larger versions.