Agreed, it was much more effective with the shorter wings...first time I tried it with the larger sized TVC version, I nearly took out the family dog.I didn't have a problem for a long time, then one day...poof one wing popped off and wouldn't stay on. I performed the fix detailed above (which I had to do many years ago on one of my vintage TIEs). A couple of weeks ago...poof, there went the other wing.
I think (and this is just a theory) that Hasbro had to use more powerful springs than the original (decades old) design for the larger panels. These springs exert more pressure and therefore, over time, cause the mechanism to fail.
IMO, the whole "wings popping off" feature should have been abandoned long ago. I mean, when I was a 10 year old kid it was kind of cool, but it also worked better then.