When you have a Talking Barbie from the late 60s you probably know the problem. Her legs fall off. Without a word, without any explanations. I don’t know how many of them were produced but I think up to 80% have this problem.
The fallen off legs were treated in different ways by different persons. Some re-glued the legs back to the body, some repaired the legs with screws. Be careful here when you want to repair the mechanism. When the screws are too deep in the body the Talking Barbie will never be able to talk again.
I admit I have seen some really creative solutions to the problem but seen from the point of view of harming a doll or not I got different answers to the problem. A lot of you emailed me about your experiences with Talking Barbie and the leg problem. Some told me they bought Talking Barbie legs and the legs fell off again a while. The ones glued back with Gorilla glue had the biggest problems. I have no idea in which decade it was done but now the arm and leg knobs seem literally to crumble away.
I can give you the advice to be careful when buying used Talking Barbie dolls. It’s often the easiest way to buy them from first owners who never reglued them to the body. You can be sure to fix them properly and you even have a chance to repair the mechanism ( if you are as crazy as I am).
Since I got so much feedback I wanted to make another Video about Barbie and how to fix her legs. It’s not really hard. You only need to have her broken leg knob piece, some MEK, a paintbrush and some patience. In my latest video you can see an instruction how to reattach the legs.
When you ask my about the cause of leg problem I can only assume that it could be a material weakness. The forces having impact on the leg knobs must be huge. We have two different materials here that have an impact on the leg. It’s the rubber of the leg and the Barbie body. I think they don’t like each other and that might be the reason for the reaction. Maybe you can imagine it like a magnet and the two don’t like each other. I hope this explains Talking Barbie and her leg problem a bit better to you.
Sometimes it’s hard to explain but in the last week I had the idea to tell you a little bit about a comparison between Kissing Barbie and Talking Barbie. I have repaired both and now I’d like to tell you a little bit about my little comparison.
My background of repairing Talking Barbie goes back almost a decade. In the meantime they are hard to get in Europe. Sometimes you find one but in other times it’s very hard to find any repairable Talking Barbie. Talking Barbies have one very big problem. Their legs tend to fall off. It’s a material problem. The PVC of the body reacts with the rubber of the legs. That makes the front part of the leg knob very fragile. Don’t worry. It’s just the front part. It can be repaired. It’s just important that you don’t throw anything away from the leg knob.
The amount of time needed for the repair of a Talking Barbie is hard to estimate. I was asked more often to repair a Talking Barbie for other collectors but I never did so because it’s really hard to estimate how much time you need for a repair. You never need exactly 7 hours. This comes from the fact that every doll is different. The problem is that you never know what’s inside the doll. A doll is not just a doll. Every Talking Barbie is different. It depends on different factors like the storage of the doll, the conditions she had over the last decades. Was she always stored in the same climate? Was she stored in a cellar or attic?
All these factors have an impact of the repair. Even the fact if she was dressed or not can play a role. You don’t know where the o-ring has left a black trace of something very guey. Even when you manage to reassemble her properly you don’t know if she will start to talk immediately again or if it will take a few hours until she is willing to speak again. The mechanism is a fragile construction like I already mentioned in this video here
The Kissing Barbie is an often overlooked doll. Some collectors don’t like her because of the discoloration of her breast/neck part. Others appreciate her but she has also a problem. She tends to break too. Her problem is in her body unlike the Talking Barbie legs. In my opinion the metal stick in her head is the weak point. That’s why you seldom find working Kissing Barbie dolls. Like mentioned in my Kissing Barbie video mentioned below I share some of my ideas what causes the problems.
And yes, I managed to repair her some weeks later but I would not recommend to repair another Kissing Barbie. I think it was a one time thing.
I can’t recommend to repair her. I think she was not planned to be ever repaired. The plastic is very thick and that makes it very hard to cut precisely into the body. She has 4 stabilizers in her body which are hard to cut through. Even the opening itself is very time consuming. I don’t know how long I needed for the opening but I think it was more than one hour. That’s a lot of time for a Barbie. If you have a better idea how to open her let me know in the comments.
This is a typically question that comes up every now and then when you talk with other collector about the topic.
The Talking Barbies I talk about here were first introduced into the market in 1967/1968. They have a pullstring mechanism that makes a record spin inside the doll in miniature format.
One of my Talking dolls ( no Barbie but a normal Walking -Talking doll from around 1990) also had these little records. More abilities to do something leads to less space inside the doll. Maybe I’m a little bit old school here but I like these dolls. Maybe that’s why Talking Barbie began to fascinate me later.
Almost every collector I know likes them but not all of them are aware what to look for and what not. I for example have another look on Talking Barbie than someone who just wants to have one in his or her collection.
I want to repair them when I buy them. I’ve only bought one Talking Barbie just for fun. The other ones were bought to be repaired.
When you buy a Talking Barbie there are several things you should look for. The main thing to do is to check if you see an offer if the doll is complete or not. I don’t recommend to buy incomplete dolls because you will get problems to find the missing parts. Keep in mind here that these dolls are popular. They are sought after. If you are unsure if the doll you are interested in or not, ask another collector. Some of them are friendly and willing to help.
One of the weakest constuctions of Talking Barbies are her legs. They tend to fall of all the time. In my opinion this is a construction problem. Maybe body and the rubber of her legs did not like each other? I’m not chemist but I can assume.
Some daddies came up with solutions for the fallen of legs. Some used screws to fix the legs but inside the body they damaged the mechanism so that the doll won’t be able to talk anymore. Practically it looks like this inside:
Last week I made a short post about Talking Barbie who is talking Swedish. Today I show you a video about the Spanish version. She is obviously repaired to talk but the quality is poor and the doll is talking a bit to fast. I’m not able to understand what she is saying although I speak Spanish. Anyway, here’s the video…
While writing this post I think of another collector who told that she wanted to repair a Talking Barbie doll (from 1967, the ones with the pull string in the back) but had no idea how to do it. She had no instruction, no parts for the repair itself and wanted every information for free. I gave her the advice not to repair the doll until she knows exactly what to do.
Later I got a message that she had opened the body but the parts were flying around.
This made me think. Maybe I’m overorganized but I study instructions how to repair things and order replacement parts before I do anything. Although the repair itself is not hard, the reassembly is a bit tricky. You have to test before you glue everything in, you need the right kind of glue. No, you can’t use every glue. You need to know about the material of the body. When I give this advice to anybody I know why I do it. You also need a bit of technical understanding and manual skills.
I have repaired several Talking Barbie dolls and I know what I’m talking about. Here’s the last one I repaired.
I heard from other collectors with no instruction that they didn’t manage it.
I recently found the time to finish another repair. I think I got her two years ago but somehow I forgot that I had prepaired everything last summer. I only needed legs and I found them two months ago. So here she is… a nape curl Talking Barbie repaired to speak. This was my first repaired Talking Barbie doll. I already have repaired a Talking PJ and a Talking Truly.