All parents should be trained as toy mechanics before they accept the gig. For, no matter how many high-quality, wooden, German toys you give your young ones, at some point they’re going to fall in love with a fragile, mass-produced hunk of plastic. Knowing how to fix it will save money and forestall its trip to the landfill.

This is my son’s Buzz Lightyear action figure. (I’ll admit mine’s in the original box in the garage.) The wires that connect the upper arm “laser” button to the LED in his forearm are routed through his elbow joint in a less-than-perfectly engineered fashion. They’ve been severed four times. The first three times, I soldered them back together and kept them running through the elbow joint. The fourth time, I decided I’d had enough of that, drilled some holes, and routed the wires outside the elbow entirely. With a bit of braided wire tubing it looks pretty cool. Doesn’t Robosapien look sort of like this?

About a year ago these figures became hard to find in toy stores. When they returned they had a poor substitute for Tim Allen doing the voiceover. It’s pretty unholy sounding. That’s another reason why I’m willing to repair this guy as many times as necessary.