Hi Readers and sorry about the lateness of this entry, time has slipped away from me this last week, but never worry, we are here now so let us get cracked on with finishing the restoration of this iconic cabinet. If we get it right, we may even get a game or three!
Last time we looked at this cabinet, we focussed on getting the faulty monitor fixed, stripping the cab back to it’s bare bones and cleaning everything, replacing the monitor overlays, along with some other bits and bobs. If you missed this, then catch up here: Zaccaria – The Invaders – Part 1.
So, where to start, well one of the most focal areas on any cabinet is the control panel, and mine really had seen better days. I’ve seen worse, but still, it wasn’t good, littered with cigarette burns, scratched acrylic and peeling paint, the photo doesn’t show just how bad it was.
You can see the worst of the burns are around the edges particularly down the left hand side and along the top right corner, with a lot of paint peeling from the front edge. First up, disassembly, take everything to bits so we can get started;
When I took the leaf switches off, next, a lot of the wires simply fell away, definitely in need of some fresh solder! All of the screws and bolts were heavily rusted so they got soaked in some vinegar for a couple of days, on a sunny windowsill to let nature do it’s thing. In the mean time, I started on the wooden panel. The photos below show some of the issues to resolve, namely the burns and dints/peeling paint;
As it was going to need some form of new paint applied, I took the panel to my local paint shop who dug out the paint catalogues and matched me a half litre pot of paint to the same colour. Then it was simply a case of sanding back the panel, applying filler where needed, sanding further to about 600grit then applying the new paint. I applied 3 coats with some wet sanding at 1200grit in between each coat.
Now, it was time to tackle the control panel overlay (CPO). This was burned and heavily scratched, but the thickness of the acrylic was sufficient to be able to (hopefully) polish out all the badness. The graphics on the CPO are silk screened to the rear of the clear acrylic, so it is not just a case of getting some new acrylic, so real efforts and care, must be taken to restore the original. Armed with nothing more than a couple of grades of wire wool, I set about rubbing, did it work…………
Indeed it did!! Really happy with being able to get this back to this condition. Once I had rid the worst with the wire wool, I applied Novus 1,2,3 to remove the fine scratches from the wire wool and leave the CPO sparkling!
Then it was just a case of reintroducing CPO to CP and re-fitting the now cleaned up buttons and voila…….
Really pleased with how this turned out and a quick test fit back onto the cabinet proved that my paint guy, did indeed know his colours, as it is a great match for the original.
But, look at how crap it makes the coin door look by comparison. I find restoring anything, always has this effect; the shiny new piece making the next part look even worse by comparison. In an aside, I recently had our en-suite, at home, completely re-fitted, which looks amazing, but now it makes the bedroom look tardy, even though the bedroom looked fine before hand !!!
Anyway, I digress, lets get the coin door off and ship shape. I removed both the frame and door, then removed all the coin furniture attached from the rear, to provide the flattest surface to then get about polishing.
Not bad….. But following our previous adage, look at how bad the coin return flaps and the mismatched coin insert overlays now look. Time to fix those. The flaps had the dremel applied, followed by some polish, whilst I set about on the computer reproducing some matching coin labels, based on the existing one on the right hand side.
Much better. The more observant of you will notice that there is a newly fitted red button to the right, which I fitted in place of the cam lock (which was missing anyway). It is wired to the coin mech and is an easy way to credit up the machine. I know some people like to ‘insert coins’ but I would rather just use a button such as this.
Whilst we are touching up the cosmetic side of things, although the main panels of the cab were in good condition, there were some areas that, sadly, were not, and so to these we now turn. At the base of the cabinet, there is a plinth base which elevates the cabinet from off the ground, it is also the part that gets the most damage when moving (read dragging) the cabinet about and it showed. But some more sanding, filling and painting soon sorted that out.
Behind the newly polished coin door, was the coin bucket, which was also in a sorry wee state, but again, not for long. Sand, prime, sand, paint, sand, paint later…
Another really noticeable part of the cab that needed looked at was the black painted inner faces of the side panels, which were in very bad condition with large pieces chipped out of the plywood and more paint missing than present. Also on the upper half of the cabinet, behind the glass, what was once black had faded to grey and was too visible through the glass. Out with the filler, sand – oh you know how it goes by now…
And whilst I had the black paint out, it was time to address the top and rear of the cab. The top of the cab had a lot of deep scuffs, especially along the front edge, the rear had various chunks out of the lower panel and also the door appears to not be the original, with it having wood veneer finishing, which appears no where else on the cabinet. This too was also heavily scratched in places. So I decided that, even though this is the rear of the cab and the least seen side, it still needed a makeover, and with me doubting the originality of the rear door, I figured I might as well paint this too. This may divide opinion, but I think it looks all the better for it. Before and after shots for you to decide;
Now we really are getting close, it was time to hoover out the cobwebs from the interior and start putting everything I had taken out, back inside. The PCB was actually really clean, so other than giving it a light clean with an anti-static soft brush, I left this well alone, using the adage of ‘if it ain’t broke’….
I also ordered some flat black T-molding from the States as the finishing touch. I’m sorry but I didn’t take any photos when applying this, which is a shame, as I learned from looking at other peoples photos and it would’ve been good to include some of these here. I will take some on my next project and post those on a future blog. But in essence make sure the old slot is free from debris, if it is a bit loose, then hot glue is likely to be sufficient, only in extreme cases would I advocate filing the groove then re-routing. Use a rubber mallet, either colour matched to your moulding or wrap a fluffy sock around the head to prevent marks getting left behind when fitting. Aim to start and finish some where un-noticeable, say at the rear or bottom, and tap the molding into the groove. When you get to a corner you need to either notch out small triangles from the groove, or make small slits in the groove, to allow the molding to expand or contract, to fit around the curve. Take your time and everything will be fine. If you are using hot glue, then only glue as far ahead as you are able to fit the molding, as once that glue dries……
WARNING ! – Full frontal nudity shot coming up.
With everything restored and rebuilt, I stood in front of the cab (in my bright yellow T-Shirt) and admired my work. Gazing through the glass at the yet to be illuminated moonscape and lifeless CRT, holding the mains plug in my hand, I was going over in my head, the connections I had re-wired, the conversation I had had with my TV repair guy, all the things that could go wrong, whether I should wear rubber gloves, wellingtons and stand on a rubber mat, when plugging it in, using a wooden stick to flick the mains switch…. when I formulated a tradition that has stuck with me when switching on all my cabs. I flick the switch with my right hand, crossing the fingers of my left, averting my eyes from the potential exploding parts, tense all my muscles and say a short prayer…..
All in all, I was very happy with how this turned out, for my first ever dabble at buying a non-working cab and restoring it, albeit I did strike quite lucky in the whole. It was time to play some games. Or was it……….
Well the OCD in me kicked in after about game 6, when I couldn’t help but notice that where the moonscape wraps around the cab inside, the edges at each side are hugely visible when the interior lighting was on and the light from the CRT screen. I didn’t like it. I think it looked worse, due to the cardboard getting slightly warped, over the years with the heat form the screen, etc.
So, I needed to try and fix this, for myself, but in a way that didn’t alter any of the original parts of the cab and in a way that could be removed without trace, should anyone ever want to put the cab back to it’s original state.
I came up with making some brackets out of black card that fitted over the edge and virtually disappeared into the black sides of the cabinet. I think that this just makes a much smarter and sharper finish to the moonscape background.
And that really is that. Restore completed. Broken game fixed. I am now the very proud owner of a fully working Zaccaria Invaders Arcade Cabinet. A game that holds many great memories for me, is iconic in every way, from the graphics, the sound and gameplay and is one that everyone can associate with and instantly play.
From where I started to where I finished, I think I did good. I would love to know what you think, of the game, the cabinet or my restoration efforts here in.
That’s it for now though, I’m off to invade some space! Happy gaming folks.