Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Medieval Madness redecal

I redecaled my Medieval Madness backbox yesterday.

Top left side there was a lot of damage, large part of the backbox artwork was missing.
It probably was just peeled off once on location.
About 10x10cm had been repainted (blue and white lightning).

The other side was in very good condition. But I was going to redecal both sides to keep them similar. Doing one or both sides is only a little bit more work, and you never know the decals look a bit different. Better to do both sides.

I had bought new backbox decals many many years ago. I think 6 or 7 years ago - the first time MM cabinets were reproduced. All this time I had them laying around.
I don't intend to sell my MM ever, so I was not in a hurry to install them.
The game plays great without them installed :)
And machines have backboxes so close to eachother in my gameroom you couldn't see the damage anyway.

But anyway, it was still on this 'to do' list for so many years.
What mostly annoyed me was that these decals were still laying there, I had to move them around when I searched for something, had to take care not to damage them, ..

A while ago I started to make time to do all the things I ever planned to do, and yesterday these decals were planned.

So I rolled my pinball cart underneath the game and tried to get it outside.
Using some pieces of wood I was able to get the game mostly outside. Just a little part was still inside the door frame, I could just pass.
The back legs were in the grass..

I already have some experience redecaled pinball machines, I did two Indiana Jones pinball machines last year. Then I burnt the decals off. Using a heat gun (paint stripper) I heated the decal so it becomes flexible and with a putty knife I removed pieces of it. It is quite a mess. With the small putty knife you tear it in small parts. You especially have to take care not to heat it too long, because then the decal just melts (or burns) and gets stuck into the wood. Especially with the putty knife you have to be careful not to put the molten parts into the wood. If you do, sanding it away will take a long time.

Anyway, this time I tried to be even more careful and do an quicker and better job.
Yes, quicker and better. If you want to be fast removing decals and burn them, cleaning and sanding later takes you much more time. I really wanted to remove the original decals and leave as little glue or residue as possible on the wood.

With the heat gun on the lowest setting, I just quickly went over the decal. Similar to flamepolishing, I did not stop on a particular spot. Then using the putty knife I got the decal loose on one side of the cabinet, as you can see in the picture below.

Success ! It removes from the wood nicely and almost leaves no residu.
Instead of using the putty knife further, I now decided to remove it with my bare hands. Used the paint stripper one time to go over the whole decal, and then started to pull with my bare hands. I was amazed how well the decal came off !
Instead of small strips you get with a putty knife, now really big parts came off nicely. I think in about one minute I had removed the whole side decal !

The other side also went as smooth as this. Only the area that had been repainted took more time.

Once the decals were removed, I used the heat gun and putty knife to remove most of the glue residu. It wasn't very much (less than a quarter of the whole surface).
Did the same on the repainted part - using heatgun and putty knife I made it as smooth as possible.

Then sanding. I sanded both sides so they were completely smooth. Only one hole in the backbox had to be filled with wood filler.

It was starting to rain a little so I put some sheets over the game (to protect the boards), moving the game back into the gameroom wasn't something I could do fast because of the uneven floor..
So because the wood was in such good condition, I decided not to use a white primer paint. It would take a long time to dry, sand, ..
I just took a can of black paint and painted the edges.

Let that black paint dry for about 1,5 hour. Let the game sit outside in the garden (luckily it didn't rain much more). The paint was pretty smooth, to be sure I went over it with sandpaper so you couldn't feel any edges.

Putting the decals on was easy. The image print was really large, I had about 1 centimeter over on every side. So I didn't have to be extremely careful aligning everything.

I first cut off the top edge and used paper tape to secure the decal in place.
Double checked that when I rolled it down, it aligned like it had to be.

The original glue of the decal almost didn't stick. The decals were starting to become too old. So I used a spraycan of glue on the cabinet first.
Then I put the decals on. Slow and easy, starting on the top (where it was held in place with paper tape), and using a soft cloth I pushed the decal down onto the glued wood.
Repeated this on the other side.. Success !

Here's a photo of the decal glued in place.
Then using a hobby knife I cut the edges. Took a black marker and went over the edge of the cut (so you don't see a white line where the decal is cut but it's also black).

Cutting the edges was the most dangerous part of the whole job. Because the decals were already a few years old, it had lost some flexibility I think. When I folded it around the edge of the cabinet it just started to break (in an irregular line).
So very careful I cut it as straight as possible.

I had also painted the heads of the bolts black. They weren't dry yet. So only in the evening I put them back in.

I think it took be about 3 hours in total to do this redecal job. Not bad !

Btw - those who expect to see the update of my 365 photography project will have to wait. I still make pictures, but haven't found time to edit and upload them. Started to review them but haven't made any great pictures, they're all snapshots. So I decided not to post them. Will keep this blog for pinball-related things only from now on. I'll post some pictures on my facebook page, but only if they're worth posting.

Only interesting thing to post about it, is that two pictures I took were published last week in a newspaper ! A new restaurant will open behind our corner and the whole neighbourhood was invited to the presentation. A journalist interviewed us, but her photographer was stuck in traffic.. so I made pictures for her that were published :)

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