If you haven’t already read the story behind how and why this ended up sitting in my garage, please have a quick read to understand why this cab has some personal meaning to myself. You can find the link right here;
So, here is the cab, as I received it. It didn’t work, although I was told it played blind when it was last switched on. This means that you can hear the game playing, but nothing comes on, on the screen, however you can credit the game and the sounds react to the controls, ie; the fire button, etc.
It was rough around the edges, that much was as obvious as the previous owner’s club, but all the pieces seemed to be there and nothing was too badly broken or smashed, and even more importantly the harder to find parts, such as the mirror and background print were all there.
So first things first was to get the cab stripped out and the working parts cleaned and the broken parts fixed. The biggest fault was likely to be the monitor, from the description that had been given to me, but with a cab nearing 40 years old, you never really know until you start looking in earnest.
Let me point out one thing to you all. I don’t do electricity! It scares me! I also know just how lethal crt monitors can be if you don’t know what you are doing or disrespect them. So if you are like me, please do not start by randomly pushing your fingers into dark places; read up, watch videos online, ask people for help or, as I did, make friends with someone who can help you. Which in my case turned out to be an old TV repair shop, which I had walked passed every day on the school run, yet never thought twice until I needed them. Turns out the owner had previously fixed arcade machines, specifically the monitors, who better to ask for help.
After a chat and reminisce over the good old days, I dropped off the monitor and chassis and let him get to work, whilst I got back to the cab and cleaning some of the parts. The sun was shining, so outside I went with my bucket of hot soapy water, magic sponge, micro-fibre cloths and some polish. No before photos, but trust me, these parts were caked in dust, grime and years of general crud, there was a fair amount of sticky liquid running down a lot of it, likely from a misplaced drink on top of the cab, whilst in the back of a boozer. But with a bit of care, time and effort they all came up lovely.
Here is the mirror, background, moonscape, and other fittings looking like new (ish).. I also removed the inner ‘box’ from the top half of the cab which cleaned up nicely too.
With all that cleaned up, some quick reassembly lets me see how it turned out but also by putting these pieces back together, hugely lessens the chances of them being broken sitting around in the garage.
I got a call soon after this from my new best friend, to say that the monitor was ready for collection, he had done quite a bit of work on the neck board and the main chassis and the yoke needed realigned, but all done and a few components changed to be on the safe side. Back home and back in the cab, again to keep it safe, more than anything, I took a couple of photos to show some of the aesthetic issues that sill needed addressing with the monitor.
So, for anyone who doesn’t know, Space Invaders, when originally released, all had black and white monitors, the illusion of colour to the green bases and red/purple mystery bonus ships, were created by the application of coloured films, placed directly onto the crt screen. As you can see the ones on mine have been both removed and/or peeled away. Also the cardboard monitor shroud/bezel was crumpled up in the bottom of the cab and had seen better days.
I ordered some replacement self-adhesive tinted films from Ebay and spent a good hours or so, armed with a razor blade and glass cleaner, to remove the old residue, before applying the new film cut to the desired size. I then replicated the bezel, from thin black card from my local craft store, using the old bezel to take measurements from. Whilst I know there is nothing I can do about the burn in on the screen, it is only visible when the cab is off and is unnoticeable when playing. Overall I was happy with the results and very pleased about being able to fix (with some help from a new friend) and keep the original monitor. In fact throughout this restoration the only part I have replaced is the cardboard bezel – not bad for a cab of this age!
That’s it for this entry, although there is still some work to go before we are finished so be sure to keep popping back and next time I’ll go over how I turned around the cig-stained and burned control panel, titivated the metal work, broke out the paint and also added my own after-market accessory. Who knows we may even have a game or three as well….
As ever, thanks for taking the time to read through.