LEGO

Grayskull Restoration Project: Elevator Rail

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For Christmas this past year I received a vintage 80s Castle Grayskull. This was one of the very top items from my childhood that all my other friends had and I did not. Apparently it was gained for $35 at a comic book shop on Black Friday (20% discount was in full effect).
I’ve decided to start restoring it the best I can, using non-traditional methods when appropriate. Follow along as I restore this Grayskull to its full glory. In this article, I 3D printed the elevator rail.

When I received the Grayskull, the jaw bridge door was missing the bottom left corner peg. So I replaced that ($15) It was also missing the throne, the throne latch mechanism, the weapons rack, most of the weapons, the flag pole, any of the cardboard inserts, and the elevator rail. It did have the elevator and the little gargoyle however. It also had the original turret gun, the training gauntlet, and the ladder. I felt this was a decent place to get started.

I ordered the Throne, throne latch mechanism, and door from Beastor’s Basement online store. I started looking high and low for the elevator rail, but I found that it’s rarely sold alone, and getting the complete elevator, with rail and gargoyle was pretty expensive. Then I came across Thingiverse and found they have a free .STL file for 3D printing a Grayskull elevator rail on there. I downloaded and sent it to the 3D printer.*

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This rail is made by user Dagwood. We’re limited on our filament color choices so I went with white. One of the things I love about the free-wheelin’ Thingiverse community is that people will see a design and then offer up improvements without seemingly trying to gain anything from it. Dagwood stated that his clips needed sanding to fit in, so user Megoman designed improved Elevator Rail Clips (print two of them) so I printed those out too. Now that I had the pieces together, I needed to paint it.

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I am not a Master at any of this. This is in fact, my first time. But I’m hoping by sharing my experience this may offer help and or inspiration to someone else embarking on something similar. With that out of the way, my main goals were to A) apply a paint that would not add to the width of the rail, thus rendering it inoperable. B) won’t be messy or difficult C) be fairly accurate in color. I feel like it would be unethical to sell this Grayskull with contemporary parts unless one were to be very forthcoming that it included non-vintage parts.

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I started with a yellowish Paint Pen. It applied well to the 3D printed plastic, but it was too yellow. I had brought the original claw foot base with me to the art supply store to try and match as best I could. But the yellow is way too yellow. Sharpies also work great for coloring plastic. But this orange was too red. Also, it goes on to the plastic just fine, but overall it remains “tacky” for a long time. And I ended up getting a lot of Sharpie ink on my fingers just from handling the rail. Finally I colored the whole thing in orange sharpie, and then covered that with the paint pen. I only did these two coats to the flat surface that faces out. The back of the beam would never be seen.

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After getting the color as close as I could, it was time to attach the two halves. Dagwood presented the rail in two parts, so it would fit on most 3D printer beds, and he built in a notch in the middle. This notch will not keep the rail together on it’s own, it will require glue, but the notch does help line it up and keep it straight while the glue is drying.

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I heard super glue is just fine for glueing 3D printed parts. Here I tried Gorilla Glue, I wanted something permanent. This bottle of Gorilla Glue has a brush and a dropper. The glue held the plastic pretty firm, but it did discolor the paint job. So I did some touch-up.
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I needed to put the hole for the string into the rail, so I used the “drill” bit and this smoothing tool on my Dremel. It was pretty easy to do.
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Next I placed the pegs into the Grayskull peg holes. I was able to then shimmy in the rail without having to bend or force the rail. Once the rail is in place you can then apply glue to the clips to permanently attach it to the rail.
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I was lucky that my Grayskull acquisition included the original Gargoyle. I used a string leftover from a playmobil grappling hook. It all works! I thought this was a great project to try out combining a 3D printed object and an original vintage item. There wasn’t too much to screw up. The elevator does go up and down, but it’s not smooth like silk. And honestly, I wouldn’t recommend this particular part if a small child was playing with this. This is perfect for display, but not regular play.
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What do I have left? I recently got the weapons rack, but I need to track down a few of the weapons (long handled axe, pistol, and sword) I need to print out the sticker flags and the cardboard inserts. I’ll keep you posted on my quest.

In the meantime, check out our prior MOTU articles. Mostly about the 200X series.

* I don’t have a 3D printer, but my local library offers 3D printing at cost. You just pay for the filament used. This rail cost under $3.


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