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Midway SAMI step rebuild

Midway’s SAMI, or Surface to Air Missile Interceptor, is an electro-mechanical game from 1970. It’s also one of my recent acquisitions. The game has received a lot of coverage recently, with at least two nice examples showing up on eBay and an EM game feature in the July issue of GameRoom magazine. I couldn’t be happier with my example, but it does have a few issues, including a missing step. You can see the step (or platform) pictured in the promotional flyer below.

SAMI flyer

Due to its massive size and height, a missing step makes this game pretty tough for little kids to play. I would need to recreate the step so my boys could enjoy the game and with Fall quickly approaching I wanted to get this done ASAP! I had nothing to start with other than some basic dimensions from the void at the front of the cabinet, but a request for help out to fellow collectors yielded great results.

Another collector and SAMI owner, “lostarcade” on KLOV, had access to his game and was kind enough to take a ton of pictures of the step. He also worked up a quick drawing for me to reference. Thanks! This is exactly what I needed to get started. I quickly cut the needed parts from some sanded surface plywood and a 2×3 I had on hand.

I positioned and mounted the front panel blocking with glue and staples, adding some extra blocking just in case as it wouldn’t be visible anyway. I used a biscuit joiner and biscuits to add a little strength where the two pieces of cut plywood join. Then plenty of glue and staples to hold it together, with clamps in place while it dried overnight. The blue tape is holding some small pieces of plywood I glued back into place after they lifted from stapling.

The next step was patching, sanding, priming and more sanding before I gave the front and bottom a nice coat of black oil base rustoleum paint. I opted to only paint the edges of the top panel because I would be gluing on rubber matting anyway. This would prove to be a minor mistake later.

Once the first coat of paint was dry I gave it a light sanding, wiped it down and painted the final coat. Once that was mostly dry, I sized the rubber matting a rough cut the shape. I then used a straight edge to clean up the rough cut edges. Next was a thinned down coat of contact cement to both surfaces. After it dried out a bit I carefully matched up a corner and rolled the mat onto the plywood. With a pair of work gloves on, I rubbed out all the air bubbles. I used a large flat piece of MDF and clamps to clamp the surface and allow it to set overnight. I’ll need to wipe off the excess glue and touch up the edges (that I should have painted black!), but I think it turned out great. I’ll install the two leg levelers and the step will be ready to bring SAMI back into the game for my kids!

Special thanks to The Arcade Flyer Archive for the use of the Midway SAMI flyer image. Take a minute to check out the site, tons of info.

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