How to fix and swap Sindy doll legs

My desk with Sindy bodies, tools and spare limbs

Sindy was swingy, and not in a good way!

Last week I sorted through all the Sindy dolls, spare bodies, legs and arms that I had in stock and fixed them up. One of the dolls had very 'swingy' hips and I replaced the elastic band inside to fix them up. I decided to make a video to share the process, as I've done it a few times now and developed a knack for it.

Swapping legs

It almost sounds like a dance, but swapping legs is just the process of removing a damaged leg and replacing it with a better quality one. Sometimes the feet have been chewed by Gnasher or the knee mechanism has snapped and juts out of the rubber flesh, or the surface is split or spoiled. Replacing a spoiled leg can really revive one of these dolls and make them like new again.

Chewed and damaged Sindy doll feet

Restringing hips

This era of Sindy (from 1974 to around 1988) actually has thick rubber bands to hold the ball jointed legs securely inside the hips. However, the common word for replacing any of these inner workings is caled 'restringing'. I guess this is because earlier dolls (although not Sindy) often had string or cord elastic inside the bodies. 

Sometimes the band inside the hips gets over-stretched and the legs and body will not stay in position when you want to pose them. In this case you need to find a replacement band from another dissembled doll and replace the loose one. You can also use cord elastic as a substitute but this post is about the former method.

Sindy hip elastic in a bag

Process

I've shown the process of how to remove the legs, replace the elastic band and reassemble the legs and hips in this video. If you're familiar with fixing Sindy dolls, you can fast forward to 5:34 for the key quick tip on reattaching the second leg. This is the hardest part of the process because you need to keep the elastic stretched at the same time as working to pin it in place.

Here is the process in list from for reference as well:

  1. Open out Sindy's legs to reveal the ball joints. 
  2. You will see a small screw in each joint. Unscrew.
  3. Remove the screw in the first leg and gently tug and pull to remove the ball shaped cap.
  4. Inside you will see a small metal pin running through two white bits of plastic. Poke the pin out using a small sharp metal tool such as a mini screwdriver. This will release the thick elastic band and the legs will be released from the body.
  5. Repeat the process for other leg (assuming you want to replace the whole elastic band).
  6. Take the replacement band, place it between the two white bits of plastic on the first leg, and push the metal pin through to secure it.
  7. Reattach the domed cap. Make sure that the cap is flat against the surface of the leg (remove the ends of any plastic prongs sticking out).
  8. Place the leg against the doll's body so that the elastic band emerges slightly on the other side. Make sure you attach the left leg to the left side with the feet facing in the right direction.
  9. Keep the torso of the doll at right angles to the leg - as if she is doing the splits. Rest the leg against the edge of the table - in front of it, between you and the edge of the table. The torso lies on the top of the table near the edge. This way you can lean against the leg to hold it in place while you use both hands to attach the second leg.
  10. Put the second leg and metal pin within easy reach.
  11. Take a pointed metal tool similar to a small screwdriver and push it through the hole in the elastic band (so that it just sticks out the other side of the hole).
  12. Place the second leg at right angles to the body and gently lift the end of the elastic band over the two white plastic pieces. With your other hand, take the metal pin and push it through the white plastic bits and the elastic band. Remove the metal tool from the band.
  13. Replace the final cap and screw it in.
  14. Finish!

Share in the comments below, if you have any questions or tips of your own about the process.

3 comments

  • Hi Reana and Catherine, Good question! I actually got the bands from other dolls. I tend to swap out dodgy limbs and heads until I end up with really beaten up Frankensteins and then I pinch their hip bands.
    However, I have found some dental bands that are recommended. They are called ‘dental monkey bands’. The manufacturer uses animals to indicate the different sized bands. I haven’t tested them yet but when I do I’ll post another video.

    Frankie Sinclair
  • Excellent video, you make it look easy, I am sure it would take me at least 99 minutes and lots of swear words to do that.
    Where could I get the elastic to repair my doll.
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    Catherine Burgess
  • Hi there where do you get the bands from? I have tried eBay and Esty but with no success. Cheers

    Reana

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