I began my Cleopatra restoration a few years ago and logged the progress on the Vintage Arcade Preservation’s Society’s forum better known as KLOV. I wanted to bring it to my blog for posterity. Hopefully someone will get some use from this re-post… I’ve added a few more pictures as well.
What possesses people to paint over perfectly fine artwork is beyond me… I just don’t understand. Maybe this was in an arcade and someone defaced it, who knows.
Looking back at the original pictures I took the original paint for a 30+ year old machine was in decent shape, well on the left side anyway.. the right side of the machine was different story, I can see that the stenciling is still showing through the paint so I’m going to attempt to repaint it.
I didn’t get an original right side pic and the one below is after a first test pass of trying to strip it.
I read an article at PinRepair and it says to pour GoofOff on and let it sit then scrape it off. I tried this on a small area and the stenciling seems to also be coming up although so is the paint.
I used Motsenbachers “Lift Off”. The instructions say to leave on for 6-10 minutes but that is too long, 2 1/2-3 minutes was plenty of time, ymmv. I also learned that it was a one time pass, if the paint didn’t come off with the original pass and I tried to re-apply it started taking off the stenciling. Also, a plastic scraper was the key, rags smeared and messed up the stenciling.
As you can see from the one side that the stripping took its toll but on the other side its acceptable enough for use. I think I have to repaint it since I won’t be able to match the sides and it can’t look worse than just plain white paint, arrgh! The only problem I see with repainting is that the back case is perfectly fine but shows its age, faded colors and all, so they won’t match.
Been doing some research to try and identify the best product to use for stenciling the cabinet however I’m ignorant to what a “matte finish” is and the difference between it and a clear finish. I assume “matte” is similar to tracing paper and can be drawn on?
I came across this stencil material at Stencilease in 7.5mil (.0075) called “Blank mylar” but just am not sure if this is the correct material not to mention they recommend a stencil tool for cutting, this is getting pricey.. But since this is a one timer.. I’m thinking thinner would be OK .005 (5mil?) and I could cut it with a razor knife.
This has now turned into a project after buying some stenciling material, so let the fun begin…
The mylar as it turns out is too thick for a razor knife so the backup option was to use a soldering iron, it sounds crazy but it worked very well, mylar after all is plastic. So I used straight edges and the like to draw on the stencil material. I used 2 sheets of mylar since this was a 2 color machine, one for the Purple and the other for the Red. I needed the stencils to line up so I punched 4 marking holes in both pieces of mylar for reference points and also placed some on the cabinet.
I had a couple of questions that I needed to answer:
– What kind of paint should I use, latex or acrylic?
– How should it be applied to the cabinet rolled or sprayed?
– How to apply the stenciling to the cabinet rolled or sprayed?
The answers to my questions were rolled on latex for the cabinet. I suppose I could have power sprayed it but… and I sprayed the stencils. I created the black flec with a paintbrush and a little “flipping action”. I was unable to match the faded color of the head so I broke down and repainted it white, I’m not happy about it but what can I do..
I managed to find some paint colors that I think are close but as usual paint matching is tough. I’m a little surprised, in 1977 how many paint colors could they have, nothing like today. I don’t remember ever walking into a hardware store and being inundated with paint colors like you do now at Lowe’s and Home Depot.
I think I just have to realize that there just isn’t much I could have done with my limited resources and experience, it wasn’t going to be factory at any point. When its done at least it will be saved and in great condition.
I think it turned out great!
It looks like the original owner left this machine out in a garage or where the humidity could get to it as the coin door looks like hell! I used a brass wire brush and elbow grease to clean the coin door.. what a pain.
The results are decent…
I’ve reinstalled all the trim and what not on the lower portion of the machine and I must say it looks pretty nice.
The playfield tear down is next…