In this article I’d like to tell you a little bit about Talking Barbie repair. I know many collectors search for information about Talking Barbie repair. I’ve done it several times. It’s not the hardest thing to do but you need dexterity, prestidigitation and patience. Of course you should also know what to do in the repair before you do your first one.
Before you do your first repair you need some useful equipment. You need governor belts in the right size, the right replacement for the pullstring, the right ferrules to reattach the flower. Some tools are useful for the repair too like tweezers, cotton balls, rubbing alcohol, disposable gloves, locking forceps and package tied. Some acrylic color in the right skin tone is also useful later after the repair.
You see before you can do anything you have to invest some money. Some collectors told me that they just tried to repair the doll without any knowledge and damaged the mechanism so badly that some of them threw the dolls away. I don’t recommend it. Before you do anything become familiar with the repair. I’ve done some videos while I repaired a Talking Barbie.
The range of my videos goes from the buy or not buy decision to the cleaning of the mechanism to the repair itself and then about how to reseal the body again and reattach the limbs again.
Don’t expect that the cleaning is a fast thing to do. It can last several hours depending on the leftovers of the governor belt itself. I’ve had some easy to clean dolls and some weren’t that easy to clean. Some Talking dolls are cooperative and others don’t.
One of my first Talking Barbie was not cooperative. I tested her for days and got not the right speed for the record. I almost became mad but I found a solution for the problem. The easiest Talking doll I repaired was a Talking PJ. She started almost immediately to talk after I did the test. The mechanism itself is kind of engineering art. It’s done in a very clever way.
If there are no injuries from the outside the mechanism can hardly be destroyed but by a father with a screw. The only weak point is the leg knob. The legs tend to fall of the body but only Talking Barbie I heard it from later produced 1970s Barbie dolls too. They all can be repaired with my method.
I’m not sure why this problem is there so often but maybe it’s because of the production process or maybe the attached legs exerted too much pressure to the knobs so that they just broke. I’m not an expert but I try to find the why.
The repair is not impossible
Due to problem that many collectors try to do the repair just so, I decided to do a video series that they realize where the problem is. It’s all about the right technique and the knowledge how to do it right. There’s no need just to destroy the doll just because you want to see what’s inside the upper body.
I’m not a fan of such actions. That’s one of my reasons to make this video.
In my next article I’d like to continue where I stopped last week with the hair topic. Repair is not limited to hair. There are other problems every collector has to deal with like green ears.
The awful green ears
I think there’s almost nobody out there who doesn’t know the problem – green ears – just awfuuuuuuuuuuuuul. It’s not only a problem of Vintage Barbie limited to the years 1959 until 1967. Nope, that’s also a problem of modern collector Barbie dolls with earrings. By the way the problem exists in the human world too. When you buy earrings but not made out of silver or gold, you buy the problem. Costume jewelry earrings tend to have this problem because the metal reacts with our skin. We can’t exclude to sweat or transpire. As long as we do so the problem will occur. In the case of Barbie it’s similar. She can’t sweat but the rubber of the head is/was in permanent contact with the earrings. I don’t know exactly what the early earrings with the pearl ends were made of. I guess it was copper or a similar metal because copper tends to show green discolorations after a while. Think of church roofs. In Germany we have many clock towers roofs or bell towers roofs made out of copper.
Why green ears appear
I think the copper reaction works like this … when the roofs are exposed to nature for a while with sunshine, rain, snow, hail, frost and wind the copper reacts with all the wheather influences. It seems that it’s very a similar thing with the Barbie earrings. The reaction doesn’t come immediately but after a while. Let’s say the child stopped to play with her early Barbie and the Barbie was stored in a garage or on an attic, not really exposed to the elements but let’s say the roof is not well isolated and when there is frost the doll also is exposed to it. Frost has to do with water that changed its physical state then we should have no doubts that the reaction of the earrings comes from the water/humidity on the attic. These early earrings were not tested for any green effects on dolls. As I read again today it was all a matter of costs. It was easy to produce in Japan because the wages were low after WWII there. When we guess they used cheap earrings it’s very clear why the phenomenon appears. They used cheap metal. In the early years Barbie was just produced as a toy, not considered for collectors.
How we can solve the problem and treat the ears
Now that we know the reason why the green ears appear, we can solve the problem. Nevertheless the biggest problem is that Mattel used different chemical mixtures for the heads. It seems that the material changed a bit from doll to doll. Bubble Cut Barbie dolls are easy to cure. When you want to learn how to fix them just buy Clearasil cream and smear it onto the ears and put the doll in the sun. The more sun, the better.
With Ponytail Swirl Barbie dolls it’s another story. Although I’m no chemist I assume that the material is different. Why? I tested it and I got a great Ponytail Swirl with original hair do but she had green ears. I wanted to treat her. Result? The procedure lasted more than two summers. In the first one I hardly put her outside on my balcony because I was afraid of forgetting her. In 2017 my Bubble Cut head was stolen by a bird after forgetting it on the balcony over night. That was not what I wanted for my Ponytail Swirl. So sad if she had been stolen. My plan this year was to put her outside in the sun but only for the time I was at home. My first test last year contained Clearasil cream, Benzaknen ( a cream for acne treatment with 10% peroxid for bleaching available in Germany), Remove Zit. I stared with Clearsil and then came to the idea that Clearsil does not work here. So I changed to Benzaknen, had to stop my test during the winter and wait for spring since the winter here is always very foggy and sunless. This spring I put her in the sun with fresh Benzanknen, changed it every day but I had only little success. I wanted to use Remove Zit as well but the summer was over before I had the time to do so. From my experiences on Superstar Barbie I can say that Zit leaves ugly stains. You need another chemical counterpart to get rid of the stains. That’s why I’m careful with Remove Zit.
That was the first video I made about the Ponytail Swirl green ear problem but had no idea that it would last that long to cure her. In the meantime I removed the green ears. A hint from another collector helped. She used Poliboy Gold & Silberbad for her head and the green ears vanished within 14 days. I had similar success. One of my books recommend Haggerty Silver bath for the treatment. Two products available in different countries under different names? Other collectors from the USA have reported that they use CLR (Calcium Lime Rust remover) with the old formula and had success too. A video with my results is planned in the next weeks about my success. I still have to do some X-mas present preparations before I can come back and do full time video cutting.
Problems with the availability of products
I heard from some other collectors that not all products I refered to in this article are globally available. We can e.g. buy liquids like CLR only with a ton of difficulties. We have to pay for shipment, go to the donahue and pay VAT. The limit to import goods for free ends at 22 € including shipping. Poliboy is not available in the USA. That’s why I double checked my books and found Haggerty. Maybe the information is useful to some of you. Remove Zit is hard to get in Germany and the dealer want very much money for it. I got mine several years ago and paid around 30€ . The best before date is soon after you buy it. There’s no label with ingredients on the box.
How to get rid of the problem
Remove the earrings from the head. Treat the head like described above. Some collectors use transparent nail polish before they use the earrings again and paint them with nail polish so that the head and the earring have no contact with each other. You can just let them out and put them on the doll stand.
When a modern Collector Barbie has signs of green ears, remove the earrings and put them in a little bag. Try to avoid contact with the clothing of the doll. I put them in little zipper plastic bags in the box of the doll. Don’t treat the dolls, just let them rest in their boxes. The green often vanishes itself without any procedure. I’ve done a video on this topic too.
When you’re a collector of LEO India Barbie dolls, this information is helpful to you too. I recommend to remove the earrings of Indian Barbie dolls as well because the golden earrings are made of some real metal that can cause pale heads. Only a few collectors know about the problem. Whenever you get Barbie dolls from India take the earrings out.
Can you imagine that you find yourself in a maze and don’t know how to get out? That’s how I feel sometimes when I get new parcels for new projects.
In a positive way you can leave your every day life behind you for a while and spend time with Barbie dolls.
It can also feel a little bit like “Hey, there’s so much work to do.Why don’t you move your ass?”
Sometimes I also feel like a gold digger from the last gold rush, you know somebody who can’t stop to work because when you don’t work today you don’t have anything to eat tomorrow. ( I know a strange imagination)
What makes it even harder is the fact that I’m still looking for a full time job (I wonder if there is the right job somewhere for me. The last job interviews were rather deterrent than inviting)
Hey but nevertheless I continue working on my projects and on new videos, guys. Do you know these feelings?
I have a new lot that I’d like to show you . Here are some pics for my new Barbie and Barbie body projects …
I’ve created an account for my youtube channel in the last weeks to enlarge my circle of viewers and followers. I hope you like the idea that you can reach me better and see more of my videos elsewhere than on youtube.
Nobody says it’s always easy with the repairs. Sometimes you just need patience. This is true in my case at the moment too. I have repaired a Barbie doll in the last weeks and then the right color for my repair was missing. I ordered acrylic colors and found out that they didn’t match. So I ordered another color from where I bought it the first time. Since it came from overseas I needed patience. Almost done and then the next problem. The second leg didn’t want to stay on the doll. The hip knob tends to break again and again due to old glue that was invisible and therefore hard to remove. Exhausting….. but nobody said it’s always easy to be a good Barbie doctor.
Several years ago I got in different lots a Twist n Turn Japan body (from 1967) and in another one the right head. I restored the doll down to her waist but the legs of the body had bite marks and the joint was coming out of the knee. In the last weeks I was lucky enough to find the right body with good legs. So in the next weeks I can finally finish a repair project that lasted several years. It’s good to know that my search has come to an end.
I will tape how to clean the MOD Barbie and how to do the rest that two dolls become one.
I’m back from my vacation and want to talk to you about a serious topic. Again I heard from a case of bad work. I can only warn you. When you want somebody to restore something for your collection, check at least twice. You can never be careful enough. The best advice I can give you is to inform yourself how things are done and then ask the concerning person questions how to do this or that. Then you might be able to check if he/she understands the work. When I’m asked for advice I always tell people that there is a risk when you restore something. You don’t know how things were stored from the owner. The material doesn’t tell from the first sight. Of course the material can change and you don’t know it. It’s always your risk when you restore something.
Concerning a reroot it looks like this…
If the restorer tells you that big holes in the head are normal, think about asking another person to do it.
For all who always wanted to know how a knee joint works but never damaged a Barbie doll to find it out, here is the result. (I already got the doll with the broken knee joint.) I haven’t destroyed the doll myself. I think the pics explain how the position is held and why we can bent the knee joint three times.
I don’t know whether anyone of you knows the problem but I assume you do. I bought Collector Barbie dolls for many years and for some reason I don’t know some of them developed green ears. I have to say I don’t like green ears at all. I know it has been a problem for decades. I the first owner of some of the Collector Barbie and I stored them all the same way. This is what I did when I saw green ears. At first I removed the earrings from the doll. Most of them had no hooks at the end in the head. So it was easy to remove them. Then I cleaned them with a cloth for costume jewelry. After that I put them in a tiny plastic bag to be sure that the earrings don’t stain the clothes. I put one of these little silicone bags inside the box before I put the box with the doll in my shelf. Then I forgot about the issue. When I looked into the box again….surprise the green was gone. This is so strange. I really did nothing and now it’s gone. I realized the green in an early stage.
Maybe this makes a difference!? I hope my post can help anyone.
Maybe some of you had the problem of sticky hairs. Barbie dolls from the 1980s often have this problem. Sometimes even when they are NRFB. The cause for the stickiness is the softener that is contained in every doll head. I have no idea why and I’m not good in Chemistry but I know that it (the softener) managed to get from the head into the hair. The good news is that you can get rid of the stickiness. It’s no problem. At first all you need is a bowl with lukewarm water, normal hair shampoo (the brand doesn’t matter) and conditioner. Dip the the head of the doll into the bowl. When the hair is wet put a mixture of shampoo and conditioner mixed together in one of you palms and massage it softly in her hair. Then put the hair in the bowl. The important thing is that the hair has to be in the bowl for at least twelve hours. For the next step you need a big cooking pot. Fill it with water, put it on the stove and switch it on. Wait until the water is cooking. Then put the hair and the head in there for 5 minutes. Insure yourself that the hair doesn’t touch the walls of your cooking pot. It’s going to melt when it does touch the walls of your cooking pot. After that you can remove the the head from your cooking pot. Use a guest towel for the drying process. Put the doll towel and wait until the hair is dry. Then the stickiness should be gone. If not, repeat the process for a second time. My doll needed the process two times.
Please consider that you should only do the process with dolls from the 1980s. When you do it with Fashionistas the result might be that your doll is bold. The method of how the hair is fixed inside has changed in the last decade.