Space Duel to Major Havoc Conversion

Cabinet Artwork Replacement:


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Last update: Aug. 21, 2011

View Major Havoc on KLOV

Atari 1983: Color Vector, 1 or 2 player

Conversion Project Sections...


Things You'll Need :

The blue plastic applicator (shown below) came with the new sideart package. Everything else came from the hardware store.


Removing Sideart:

I started by lying the cabinet down on top of cardboard on the garage floor. Starting at the edges, I used the heat gun and putty knife to remove the old vinyl sideart. Woodgrain is boring as heck but it did a great job of keeping the wood in nice condition for 30 years. Removing all of the vinyl and old glue took me about 45 minutes for each side. Be aware that the heat gun will likely cause the old vinyl to produce smoke so you will want to keep the garage door open and maybe also set up a fan to blow it away from you as you work. To remove the old glue, I applied the "Super Remover" with the big putty knife, waited 10 minutes, then scraped it all off. After the surface had dried thoroughly, I filled in a few minor scratches and flaws along the edges with the Bondo, sanded it smooth, and wiped away the dust with Acetone on a clean rag.


Applying Sideart:

Since the old vinyl kept the wood in good condition for 3 decades, I considered that proof enough that it was not neccessary to primer or seal the wood before applying the new vinyl sideart. I started by laying the sideart sheet onto the cab side and then centering it and aligning it. The alignment is not critical because the decal is oversized to allow at least an extra inch on all sides all the way around the cab. After aligning the artwork, I placed a flat laminated piece of 1/2" thick melamine sheet across the center (aligned front to back) of the sideart and then weighed it down with paint cans and other junk. Next, I peeled back about 18 inches of the backing plastic at the bottom end. I applied to the cab by using the blue plastic applicator to smooth the vinyl downward a couple of inches at a time so as not to trap any air bubbles. Once the artwork was stuck along the bottom, I removed the weights and board. The next task, sticking the remaining larger section was tricky due to its size. I allowed the entire upper section to roll itself back up to the point where I could reach under it and pick up the corner of the backing sheet right at the point where it was already stuck. Whatever you do, do not try to start peeling and sticking the decal from the top end first. That would be a big mistake. Using the applicator and always working on the entire width (cab front to back), smooth down a couple of inches at a time. Only pull back a few inches of the backing sheet at a time. Take your time. Rushing yourself here will create air bubbles or even wrinkles to occur. Sorry there aren't pictures of me actually sticking the decals down. I couldn't do the work and hold the camera at the same time and, frankly, I was more concerned with doing it correctly than I was with taking pictures so I just forgot to do so.


Wrapping The Edges:

Some people like to spraypaint the edges of a cab black, apply the artwork, and then cut the edge of the vinyl flush to the edge. In my opinion, the paint is an extra step that requires masking and takes too much time. I also do not like the way the edges look when completed. My preference is to wrap the vinyl around the edges. That is super easy to do and protects the wood from moisture along the edges that might otherwise get into it when you clean the machine with a damp cloth.

You have to take extra care along any corner or radius. All you have to do is make simple radial cuts in the vinyl using a very sharp Z-Acto knife, press the sections down and then trim them off. I like to trim the vinyl just short of the T-molding slot. To access the edges, just tear/peel a strip of the paper protection layer off all the way around. Leave the bulk of the protection paper on until the cab is 100% completed and moved back into your game room location. That way, you'll be less likely to scratch or gouge the new art when you are doing the other side of the cab or moving the cab out of the garage and into the house.


After I completed applying the sideart to both sides, I applied the front kickplate section. This piece was a bit trickier because it is inset. You can't just lay it on top, stick it down, and cut around it. I had to measure the cab width precisely and then very carefully cut the artwork sheet using a large metal square and an X-Acto knife. I cut the top and both long sides but I left the bottom edge alone. Next, I laid the piece onto the kickplate area, aligned the top decal edge right into the upper corners such that it met the underside of the control panel. I then weighed down the bottom section, peeled back part of the top section, smoothed it down with the applicator working from the top down, then removed the weights and continues to peel and stick working again from the top down. Once it was all stuck, I wrapped the bottom edge and cut off the excess. Also, I used the sharp X-Acto knife to cut out the speaker and coindoor holes but simply cutting along the edges of the holes using the holes as a guide. All three holes can be cleanly cut in just a minute or two.

Applying T-Molding:

Installing T-molding is really easy. The only thing that you have to know really is that you have to notch the center strip when wrapping the molding around any tight radius. I use standard sidecutters to cut out little triangular sections to form the notches.

Next, just tap the molding into the cabinet slot using the rubber mallet. My mallet was hard plastic so I put some soft Gorilla tape over it.


Keep some tension on the molding as you wrap around a corner and tap it in until it is flush to the cab edge.


When you get to a concave radius, push the molding a little into the curve as you tap it into the radius.


Once you machine is moved into its final location, you can peel off all of the paper sideart protection sheets and T-molding protective plastic.


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