Cosmic Guerilla Restoration 1

I picked up this glorious looking cabinet last year. It was an eBay purchase and I was surprised that I even won it. I threw in a bid that I was prepared to pay, and to my surprise, no one outbid me.  You can read more about the pick up here.

As with most of my cabs that start their life in the garage, this one has sat unloved for over a year now, so I thought it would be good to challenge myself and see if I could complete the restore in double-quick time, so that I can move the machine on to another collector. I am out of space!

At first glance, there’s not much to do. The cabinet itself is complete and pretty solid, with no major damage, and the artwork really sells itself.

The Universal Cosmic Guerilla
The back of the cab. Plan here is to repaint with chalk paint, then wax it

One point of note is the marquee. It’s got a nice fade to it, which really sets it off I think:

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Nice. Those retaining bars are rusted though, so we’ll need to look at those

Control panel is pretty neat looking too:

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The control panel. All original!

Here’s a close up of that amazing art:

A Cosmic Monster. The stuff of nightmares

As you can see, it’s survived rather well considering it is now almost 40 years old. This is the early Black & White version released in 1979, and so came with an early version PCB game board. Plugging in, not much happened.


Ahah! A dead LED – there’s a clue there…

That unlit LED suggested that the PCB wasn’t getting +12V from the power supply. After consulting the schematics and replacing a dead transistor, I got the LED lit up, but still nothing on screen. After much tinkering around I admitted defeat and sent the board off for repair.

So with the job of getting the game running passed onto someone else, I was good to start work on the cabinet.

The first thing that needed my attention was the inside. Take a look at this:


That wide powdery substance, was in fact mould. Only one thing for it – elbow grease. To remove it, I decided on a bucket of bleach, diluted with 10 parts boiling hot water. Using rubber gloves and an old cloth, this took the best part of two hours, but the results were worth it:

Behind the marquee in this recess was full of white mould.

I gave the cab a good final dose of anti-bacterial spray to make sure the mould doesn’t come back.

Pleased with the results. One Cosmic Guerilla de-fumigated!

Next was removing the bezel. To do that, the control panel had to come off. I discovered that the bolts were rusted solid, so only one thing for it:

Dremel vs control panel. Thankfully I was able to get enough of the bolt to stand proud, so didn’t damage the metal underneath

Here we go:

The control panel just needs a wipe really. The bezel is made from a single sheet of back printed glass so I need to be careful with it, but it will clean up nice

And here’s our stripped cab:

Notice the rainbow of gels on the monitor screen to give the impression of colour to what is actually a black & white game. The good news is the monitor appears to work!

What is especially nice about the cabinet is that the artwork above the monitor is lit up with a strip light behind it, along with the marquee. Amazingly this bulb still worked fine, but I had to remove the upper light to clean the mould out of it:

Before the clean up, the rear light is mounted on that black plinth and extends up into the marquee light above
Here’s the marquee light. I should have taken a before shot, as the whole thing was covered in white mould. Ordered a new strip light for a couple of quid which is on its way

Couple more jobs here:

Shame this bit of t-molding was missing. It’s an unusual size being 22mm thick. Thankfully came to the rescue as always and I got an order in
I had some black chalk paint lying around so decided to repaint the base while the cab was on its back

As I mentioned, the cab is generally very solid. That said, this one area at the back was coming away a bit:

Pretty easy fix this…
Lie the cab down on it front. Work some wood glue down inside the groove and clamp
I’ll leave this overnight to ensure the wood dries fully. The clamps will secure the two edges together nicely

Next up, let’s take a look at the metal work. I had plans to try to keep the nice rusty patina that had developed on the coin door and marquee retainers:

The Universal cabinet’s coin door

I played around with a few products, including T-Cut and a matt automotive lacquer but really couldn’t get a result that I was happy with. So in the end decided to just strip the old paint and rust off completely:

Remove all the hardware from the coin door
Paint stripping the coin door, marquee retainers and a vent plate from the top of the cabinet. All were rusted with faded paint
Decided to respray everything with black hammered finish ‘Hammerite’ brand paint

So while our new paint was drying, I got on eBay to order a few parts that I needed – replacement bulb lamps, a new strip light & ballast and a push switch button which I want to mount on the coin door so that credits can be added.

So there you go. Part 1 of just 2! (If only they were all like this!).

This Universal Cosmic Guerilla will soon be complete, and ready to move on to a new owner. Join me next time to see the completion of this project.

If you like what you see, check out the Restoration Archive Menu at the top of this page.

See you next week!


6 Comments Add yours

  1. Omaha_Arcade_Collector says:

    Looking good! Was the marquee originally that same pink color or did it start off red and has faded over time?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tony says:

    Pretty sure it faded over time. I think the original has a more purple hue about it rather than pink.


  3. Really beautiful cab. Nice work. Looking forward to reading Part 2. Hopefully see you tomorrow at Arcade Club.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great start Tony, love these restoration blogs

    Liked by 1 person

  5. neil1637 says:

    Always a sucker for resto blogs and with a cab as cool as this one, you are really spoiling me.
    Also a game I’ve never played.
    Looking forward to the end result.

    Liked by 1 person

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