A Guide to Fixing Everything Hasbro’s Dungeons and Dragons Cartoon Action Figures Got Wrong

As much as I love owning these toys from the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon, there’s problems in the manufacturing. Some of the issues can be fixed by doing what I didn’t get right the during my first attempt.

Dungeons and Dragons Cartoon Classics - Eric Packaging ProblemsThe two most problematic figures in Hasbro’s action figure line for the 40th anniversary of the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon are Hank the Ranger and Eric the Cavalier. With the first toy, the arms are not fully posable. No matter how hard I try, I can’t get him to look like he’s in a comfortable pose to fire his energy bow.

For Eric, the colour on his chain mail armour is wrong. As a result, I had to laugh at the packaging since it shows the inconsistency of the product box art to the figure. It’s easy to add some oomph to the energy with either fluorescent or UV reactive paint, but if it can’t glow in daylight, it’s not worth the extra effort. Instead, I recommend using enamel (like Testors) over acrylic paint for improving both.

To be honest, neither holds onto the plastic very well, even after priming. Repainting them comes with a warning: touch-ups may be required. This. issue is especially true for Hank holding his electrified bow.

To begin, I would recommend filing down the handle so it fits loose and when painted, it won’t necessarily rub off every time it’s removed or fitting in. In terms of painting and what brush I used, I dived into what I had on hand rather than get disposable ones from Testors. That way, people who aren’t hobby painters can simply throw them away when done repainting their toys. In order to paint in this medium and have good-looking results, I recommend using enamel thinner and applying two or more coats to achieve a smooth result.

Dungeons and Dragons - Bow - Phase one
Masking out parts of the bow that shouldn’t be painted. And a smaller brush head is recommended over a big one as pictured here.

Hank’s bow needs a lot of work. There are mould lines and it’s cast all in one colour. After using a metal file on where the parts meet, loose threads developed. A sharp knife helped remove them and afterwards, I masked out the parts that didn’t need the primer. I used Green Painter’s Tape.

Unfortunately, Mr. White Surfacer (what I commonly use in model building) didn’t hold at all. I looked into my cans of spray paint and found a primer designed for plastics to do the job, and I painted over that.

Afterwards, I mixed two shades of brown to get the right tone I wanted, thinned it down and I recommend storing the mix in a small container before painting.

Dungeons and Dragons - Bow - Drying Paint
Hanging Hank’s Bow out to Dry after priming (please do it outdoors).

Also, I redid the studs on Hank’s leather armour. Not all of them are shiny, and I corrected that oversight with thinned down silver paint. For those folks who have shaky hands, a silver enamel based paint pen also works.

For Eric, the job of repainting the chain mail he’s wearing to a proper silver blue is fairly easy. The plastic is flexible enough to bend out of the way. I mixed one drop of blue to four parts silver and thinned that down, so applying is easy. Multiple coats are recommended. Sadly, his cape and skirt gets in the way, making it easy to get paint on the other parts. I recommend having a soft paper towel slightly damp with paint thinner to wipe away the oops.

Dungeons and Dragons - Eric Before and After
Before and After Pictures of Eric (with one coat of paint)

Also, I’d wait for each part of the arm to dry before finishing. Anyone doing it all in one go will find the joints stuck together. An X-ACTO knife can help slice through the paint, but it’s best to wait an hour before the next coat. It’s also best to keep that paint mix in a tiny sealable container.

Dungeons and Dragons - Hank with Bow
Testing the look with Hank holding the painted bow (single coat of paint than triple).

Afterwards, once you’re satisfied, it’s best to finish the project with a paint sealer. That way, the paint won’t fade and hopefully won’t chip either. While that won’t help the handle of Hank’s energy bow from regularly being chaffed, I’m considering replacing it with a dowel inserted between the arms, and wrapped with a bit of tape to resemble the grip.

As for the other figures, there’s a minor problem with Diana since she doesn’t have fashion accessories to impede her posability. Her staff should be the colour of river birch, which glows green. I’ll most likely search for a piece of branch, and I’ll then mark it with a green fluorescent marker on it so that her weapon glows in the dark. Alternatively, I’m on a quest to find an appropriate piece of hardwood to whittle down. This is still a work in progress since it also includes sanding so the figure can hold it.

As for Bobby the Barbarian, aside from digging a thin blade to ease the joint, anyone playing with him might want to be careful. He’s the most problematic. Getting him in a cool action pose might cause a broken toy. I’m also considering carving an authentic wooden club for him to hold instead of the plastic one that’s included.

When done, the results will be satisfying and worth putting on display! All I need is more shelf space. Thankfully, NECA sells a 10-pack of display stands (available on Amazon) so I can arrange at leisure. Although what I got done is finished, I still think there’s some missing element to make the set truly stand out–and that’s to build the cart that took the teens to The Realm in the first place!

Author: Ed Sum

I'm a freelance videographer and entertainment journalist (Absolute Underground Magazine, Two Hungry Blokes, and Otaku no Culture) with a wide range of interests. From archaeology to popular culture to paranormal studies, there's no stone unturned. Digging for the past and embracing "The Future" is my mantra.

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