"Mego Melt" is the term used to describe the melting joints sometimes seen on dolls from the 1970s and 1980s. Dolls and action figures made by Mego are notorious for this problem, thus the name, but certainly not the only ones affected. You will often find the Sunshine Family dolls with Mego Melt and today I am treating my Pedigree Gen 2 Sindy doll for it. Mego Melt affects dolls made from both hard plastic and vinyl. As the plastic ages it releases a gas that melts the vinyl. It's a huge problem because it ruins the clothing as well as the doll; when a doll is affected the clothing will often be glued into the joints so firmly it tears when you try to undress the doll. The vinyl can stain or even adhere to the clothing and it's very difficult to remove. The joints will be glued in place as well, causing them to freeze up and not move.
To begin, shave off the melted areas with a sharp knife, like an Xacto knife. Be careful not to cut yourself when you're getting into the small, hard-to-reach areas. If your doll's stringing is loose, go ahead and cut it before you shave the joints. It's an easier process with an unstrung doll. Even if your doll isn't loose to begin with, she may need re-stringing afterward. You are making the arm and leg openings larger when you shave off the melt, so your doll might end up too loose after treatment.
When all the melt is removed, gather white vinegar and baby powder to treat the joints.
Wash the joints thoroughly with white vinegar.
Once the vinegar has dried, sprinkle the vinyl areas with baby powder. Using a soft tissue or paper towel rub the baby powder into the vinyl until no stickiness remains. Some people say this process will need to be repeated every so often, while others say it will fix Mego Melt after one treatment. I advise re-applying the baby powder any time you think the vinyl is starting to feel sticky. Make sure to store your doll in a climate-controlled area, as extreme heat and cold exacerbate the issue.
My Sindy had an additional problem besides Mego Melt: her hard plastic hands had broken wrists and wouldn't stay on her arms. I created new wrists from hard plastic epoxy.
To re-attach the hands I used a silicone ear plug. I kneaded the plug to soften it and pulled off a tiny piece for each wrist. Then I rolled it into a little ball and placed it on the ball in the wrist. Then I stuck the hands back on. These can still be removed, but they will stay on much better and will still turn. I painted the wrists and hands to match, and Voila! Sindy is all ready to dress. I will dress her in a long-sleeved outfit because the wrist repair is still somewhat visible.