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Vectorbeam Space War Restoration – Part I

The Space War I purchased is a fantastic game and a definite keeper. While the game is fully working it has some serious cosmetic issues. Since I just love a good restoration, I decided it wouldn’t be too difficult to clean this one up and make it look like new, so I started a full restoration on the game. First step was to strip the cab down and assess the damaged areas. I pulled the pcb, monitor, power supply, control panel, coin door, etc. Everything had to go. I put the smaller parts and hardware in one plastic tote so I can easily find them later. I brought the cp inside so I could take that apart and clean it. The rest would stay outside in the garage until I was ready to work on it. A few things worth mentioning; the power supply is mounted on the side of the cab, high enough to keep it away from any water, excellent. There were a few mfg assembly issues that were obvious mistakes that they simply didn’t fix. For example, the bezel support bar was installed incorrectly, but left that way, why? Also, you’ve got to love the heart of your system!

While taking the bezel apart (it was a multiple piece assembly) I pulled off this crazy color monitor overlay that had been taped to the back of the cardboard. I didn’t recall this on the game I played at CAX, so I called up my friend Mark H, a local with a nice working example of this game. He told me that the overlay was actually an aftermarket part sold by Wico in the 80’s. The idea was to convert your B&W vector game to a color vector to compete with all the color games on the market at the time. Price was $1.29 (or something like that). If anyone has a catalog and can scan the page, let me know!

Now to check out the damaged areas of the cab. While not too bad overall, there were three parts that would need replaced. I prefer to cut and replace parts rather than build them up with bondo. I think it takes less time and I don’t have to do as much sanding to make it look right. The top, back, left corner; the right side where the cp sits and the bottom, back, left corner were bad. Plus the bottom few inches had drag and water damage. Hard to tell in the pictures, but the swelling was bad enough to make replacing the bottom an easier solution than bondo.

With the cabinet stripped I turned my attention to the control panel. What a bizzare assembly this thing is. It has a flourescent fixture, the instruction plexi, a harness and multiple button assemblies all mounted together as one unit. It’s very heavy. I started breaking it down so I could clean all the parts and repaint the cp itself. The marquee sits on the front of the cab just below the control panel. The top marquee is metal and does not light up. Probably done this way to keep the wiring all in one spot.

I’m amazed at how complex this control panel is. Light fixture mounted to bracket, which is mounted to control panel, with clips and bolts galore. Each part was pretty dirty, especially the plexi instructions. Either someone spilled something on it at one point, or its just the 30+ years of crud build up.

That’s all for now. In the next part I’ll show how to disassemble and clean the button assemblies.

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