While I did brush off the springs to remove some rust material I did not perform any cleaning or refurbish steps prior to putting this piece back together. There is an issue with the fit to this piece created by me when I removed the Turret’s front plate improperly creating a swell in the plastic so that it does not sit perfectly flat. It will still close and lock with additional pressure but it is one of the reasons I felt the Laser R.A.T. was ‘Probably Repairable’ as removing the front plate without damage would appear to me to be difficult.
I also assembled this without placing the motor back into the piece. I made a short video of the “deployment” of the piece without the motor I will place at the end of the assembly steps.
Note for direction purposes I use left or right as if seated in the seat of the piece or facing the rear of the vehicle, that in mind let’s get started.
The main parts we will need to assemble are laid out above. The first part to handle is the Front Guard.
Make sure the arm on the left side of the Front Guard mounts over the spring located on the main body. You will want the curved part of the Front Guard to rest in the depression there, however the lower arm will actually be for fitting into the Left Rail.
If I was replacing the motor in this piece I would place it in the slot on the Main Body that resides where the Left Rail would go on top, this would leave the white gear exposed for the Turrets half moon gear to rest on for use.
Instead I am just going to place the Left Rail over the main body. You will see the front notch for the lower arm of the Front Guard as well as the cut out that fits over the spring and upper arm. With this in place you can flip the piece over and insert the two screws for the left side, I find this helps in positioning the remaining pieces without having everything wiggle around.
TIP: Remember to turn your screw driver left a few times to find the existing thread before screwing in the screw. This plastic is soft and old so using the existing threads and not over tightening screws will help prevent any damage or cracking of the plastic.
Placing the Turret correctly is important as there is a stop spot and spring arm that have to be aligned properly for the piece to fully function.
The left axle of the Turret will fit into the Left Rail. If you have a motor in place the white half moon gear embedded in the Turret would contact the white gear of the motor just below the mount of the Left Rail.
The spring arm of the Turret should fall within the area highlighted in the picture above. Once inserted the Turret should stand without assistance, again check the spring arm from the Turret and it’s placement.
It will be visible prior to assembling the piece so check to make sure before tightening everything down.
You can mount the Right Rail by inserting the right axle of the Turret and the lower right arm of the Front Guard. This should be flush with the Main Body and line up with the screw holes on the bottom of the piece.
Again make sure the spring arm is behind the plastic wall and that the Turret lines up with the stop spot. You can hold the piece together and do some dry runs of the mechanism at this point or simply insert the last two screws if you believe everything is lined up properly.
You can then re-attach the wheels and give it a test drive, remember the wheels have slots so don’t force them on make sure they are lined up and they should snap pretty easy. In my case I didn’t put the wheels on but wanted to show you the assembly sans the motor and how it looks.
As you can see from the video the piece “works” and deploys the Turret and Front Guard when activated. However note the absence of the mechanical sound and very quick snap up of the Turret. This is clearly a sign the piece having been assembled without a motor or some other changes made to make it work outside of spec. I have seen this with HARV pieces as well where the arm will swing rapidly and without resistance. While nice that they still move it definitely is not ‘working as intended’ and far from a clean and functional piece most collectors desire.
When the non-working motor was in the piece the deployment would stall as the motor’s gears would provide more resistance than the Turret’s spring arm could over come. Thus creating the ‘sort of’ or ‘partial’ deployment you see so often listed in auctions.
I don’t think this particular Laser R.A.T. is going to end up in much better working order but its sacrifice has been valuable. I know what I need to be on the look out for as far was a true working piece and how I might be able to repair a piece in better condition in the future.