Battle stations!

Grabbed a machine I’ve been keeping an eye on for a while this weekend. It’s been advertised for several weeks and just hit the magic $300 mark so I gave the seller a call and picked it up this past Sunday.

Bosconian, released under license from Namco by Midway in 1981, is pretty rare to find in its dedicated form anymore. Lots and lots of them were converted, and the cabinets are made out of some particle board that doesn’t hold up well at all compared to the plywood cabinets used for other Midway games.

This one is only the second or third I’ve ever seen in person. It’s in decent original condition, with plenty of signs of having been on route but no gratuitous damage for the most part. Only things I might repair cosmetically are the plastic strip at the bottom of the front panel that has come loose, and perhaps replace the control panel overlay that has worn badly on the front edge.

It definitely needs a bit of electronics attention. The audio doesn’t work currently, which hopefully is just a common issue with the amplifier. I’ve also noticed the mini map dot for the player’s ship will often end up drawn on the opposite side of the screen from where it belongs, which makes the game a little harder. Going to leave it as is for a while before I dive into troubleshooting though.

The Bosconian went straight to my workplace’s new offices in downtown Portland, joining the rest of the lineup that was moved over the week prior. I also hauled over the former-Bosconian I have, a Capcom Bowling conversion.

There’s still room for more on the opposite wall, but I haven’t totally decided what else to bring in. Will give things a few more weeks to settle out before I add on further.

Fabrication Friday

So I’ve had a Midway Bosconian cabinet for a while that I acquired converted to Krazy Bowl, and then swapped in Capcom Bowling myself. Part of that initial conversion, performed long ago by an operator, was to switch the game from Bosconian’s horizontal monitor orientation to the vertical orientation required for Krazy Bowl. This was done using very questionable materials, with results that looked like this…

Scraps of OSB, a stack of shims, and drywall screws isn’t how *I* would have done it… So I replaced all that with something sturdier. While structurally sound that still left one staring at the guts of the machine while playing it. And, because this was never a configuration supported by the cabinet originally, no premade bezels would fit the thing since the monitor was now mounted several inches higher than usual to allow for the tube neck to clear the back of the cabinet.

So I got a sheet of mat board and a used cardboard bezel from my parts stash and got to work…

First step was straightforward: Cut the mat board down and make a hole for the monitor.

The next part took a little more craftiness. I measured the distance between the tube surface and the bottom of the mat board to determine how much clearance I had. It ended up being about a half inch at the middle of the tube’s curve along the long side. Then I measured from the new crease point in the bezel to the edge of the material to figure out how much excess I had, and trimmed it down allowing for about three quarters of an inch of material to glue to the mat board and hold the important part in place. Trimmed everything and then used a makeshift brake to make the new crease.

Test fit the one half of the bezel to make sure everything looked good, then cut down and creased the other half.

Then spent some time with it loosely taped together to adjust and get the tube centered in the new bezel. After getting it looking decent I glued down and taped the flaps to the mat board, and at the corners where the two halves of the curved bezel part come together.

…And installed!

Project updates part 2

Also converted my ex-Bosconian cabinet from Krazy Bowl to Capcom Bowling with some parts provided by another local collector. Pretty much the same game play but orders of magnitude less obnoxious.

Took some baby steps towards making it look nicer too…

On the recommendation of one of the local collectors’ mailing lists I tried Motsenbocker’s Instant Latex Based Paint Remover.

It did a decent job… Still took a lot of brute force to get the stuff off, but it loosened the paint and left what was underneath intact. I ended up giving up on doing it by hand by the end and putting some scotch brite on a palm sander.

I think I’ll use this stuff to get the paint up off the side art on another cab, but not for a whole side again. I’ve got a jug of 3M Safest Stripper waiting for the other side of the Bosconian, so we’ll see how it compares soon.

Also finished conversion of the gutted Gun Fight cabinet I picked up a while back and delivered it to its new owner.

It has a handful of imperfections I’m not happy with, but they’re things only I would notice.

The custom monitor surround in progress… It turned out looking incredible.

It was a lot of work though. I pressed my Mario Bros. into service as an impromptu brake for the mat board I used to create it.

Spent a couple days at the office under strenuous quality control testing.