Well that’s what I’ve set out to do to my Taito/Nintendo/Mystery Sheriff cocktail from 1979.
If you are unaware, Sheriff was the first game Shigeru Miyamoto worked on for Nintendo. I had played it as a kid but hadn’t heard of it for years until I was reminded of its existence by a fellow collector, Nintendo fan and YouTuber, Nintendo Arcade.
This particular version has the Nintendo name on the title screen but is in a Taito style cocktail cab and has no markings of either company. General consensus after discussing with both Nintendo and Taito aficionados is that this is most likely a prototype of the Taito licensed version of Sheriff, Western Gun Part 2
I’d already cleaned the machine up with a bit of scrubbing and polishing and had the relatively simple job of re-chroming the glass retaining corner clips done but ahead lay a lot of work to restore what was a 1979 arcade cab that’d spent a lot of its life in a pub back to its former glory.
I also have to say I was inspired to document this adventure by the excellent The Arcade Blogger articles written by Tony Temple. So many great restoration projects over on Tony’s site as well as other fascinating stories of arcade gaming history.
So let’s begin…
1. Dismantle everything
Tip one here is to take a LOT of photos of everything before you take it apart for future reference when you need to work out how to put it back together again. This was especially important with a one-off cab that has no documentation or schematics available.
As you can see, a second pair of hands to help lift at times and fetch cups of tea is invaluable 🙂
2. Respray the metal work
I’m not going to do any metal spraying myself but to have it professionally shot blasted and powder coated you have to get everything attached to the metal parts removed. In the case of Sheriff that includes the controls from their housings and the coin mechanism from its surround too. All the metal work had been hand painted in gloss black emulsion at some point and then bubbled and chipped over the years, as you can imagine it wasn’t the best finish.
I won’t be replacing any of the wood work so I will, with no previous experience, make good the various paint splashes, chips, and other damage in and around the wooden top section of the cab. A glass scraper should do the job on the paint and a bit of filling, sanding, gluing and painting should be fine for the rest.
4. Repair the artwork on the top glass
The artwork for this game is silk screened to the underside of the glass. This means there is no option to replace with nice, new, unscratched glass for this project and no reproduction art either. Luckily the glass isn’t in too bad condition given its age so I will aim to repaint the silk screened art as best I can to improve the overall look. Most of the backing is black so that will get the gloss spray treatment followed by a few damaged spots that will be touched up with acrylic paints mixed to match the colour.
Other than the above it will be general cleaning up of all of the inner workings, wire looms, etc. to really make this beautiful and rare game shine like it’s 1979 again.
Please do comment below and see you in Part 2 coming soon…