Last updated: May 2, 2001 3:00PM EST - T-molding, glass info, sold game to fellow collector

Gyruss/Time Pilot (Centuri/Konami, 1983,1982) (Page 2)


Cleaning and Repair (or, Holy Cow! A project piece!)

    As I mentioned, the game played perfectly once it was plugged in. Unfortunately it didn't look too hot. The table looked like it had been sitting in the salt air of Florida for the last 15 years - the coin box was especially briny - with another game sitting on top of the cocktail glass. The 1p joystick and buttons were not as responsive as they could have been, the topglass was scratched almost to opacity, the artwork was missing from parts of the control panel, the T-molding was actually a structural support for one corner of the tabletop. The monitor had Gyruss burn-in and the artwork under the cocktail glass looked like it had been set on fire and put out with water at some point. The cabinet itself needed some holes filled, and all the screws had heavy rust on them. Inside the game, there was broken glass all over, plus a generous supply of dust and spiderwebs.

    My work was cut out for me.

    The first thing I knew I wanted to do was have the glass tabletop fixed up. Unfortunately, no one on rgvac had any experiences with trying to polish out glass scratches like this, so I called a local glass shop and brought the old glass in to be duplicated. While taking the glass off, I discovered a black-tinted plexiglass piece beneath it. The plexi was warped and so I figured I'd get that replaced too, after all how much can a piece of PLASTIC cost? At this point I discovered the Gyruss monitor burn-in. It wasn't very noticeable with the glass and plexi on, but without them it was quite obvious. I knew the burn-in would be a problem if I switched games to Time Pilot, because of Time Pilot's solid background colors and the use of white clouds. Replacing the monitor will have to wait until I a) get a new monitor and b) learn how to replace my old monitor with the new one.

    The glass shop charged me $60 for the top glass, and another $20-25 for the plexi, but they did a good job on both. I got both home and went to work painting one side of the glass black in places to match what had been done to my original piece. I've since completed the painting, I need only to touch up a couple of spots before putting the glass back on for good. Meanwhile, I had been checking with other Gyruss cocktail owners to discover what the original under-glass artwork looked like. I discovered the original work was silk-screened onto the back of the glass, and that since I had damaged cardboard strips for art, my game must be a conversion. I don't know what it was converted FROM, please use the messageboard if you have any ideas after seeing the pictures on the next page. I've been trying to find a NOS replacement, but I imagine pretty much all the conversion Gyruss games have had their under-glass art applied already. I've made offers to people selling Gyruss cocktails to take the art in to someone to scan, at my expense, so I could have replacement art made, but no one has taken me up on this yet.

    Seeing as how this game came without locks or keys (except the cocktail table-top locks and key) I used a couple of my Bob Roberts keyed-alike locks to keep the cat out. Next I decided to clean everything I possibly could, starting with the exposed metal pieces and the control panels. The glass clips for the top-glass were metal painted black, with exposed and rusted parts. The bolt heads were pretty rusted, and the button springs and contacts were corroded. Rather than replace the bolt heads, I decided to throw everything into an acid bath overnight and let that take the worst of the rust off. It worked pretty well, though it was not fun dealing with the acid fumes. The control panels, buttons and joysticks came apart pretty easily, and I made sure to mark everything I took off so I would remember where it went later.

    Next, I decided to paint the bolt heads, the glass clips, and the control panel's mounting piece. I guess the best way to explain that is to sketch it:

Line-art image of control panel

        The section painted black screws into the cabinet. The artwork begins at the fold and continues on down the rest of the CP. The trick was to be able to sand the rust and bubbled paint off the top section without ruining the artwork on the rest of the CP. I used several layers of masking tape to cover the exposed artwork, and did the sanding by hand. As you can see in the close-up of the cocktail lock on the next page, I didn't do a GREAT job of sanding and re-painting but at the time I rationalized it by saying people playing it aren't going to see that part anyway. I recommend using mouse sander, something that's small enough to be able to control precisely but is powerful enough to get 15 years worth of rust and paint off the metal. The bolt heads look pretty sharp, but I somehow managed to lose a glass clip.

    Once I had completed (carefully) painting the CPs, it was time to re-assemble the pieces. Everything went in fine, though I did have to remove and re-install the 1P joystick - one of the contacts had bent out of place. Next, I re-painted the coin door and frame. That part was probably the easiest of all, as the coin door had no rust, and the pieces came apart quite easily.

    At some point, I found out about Gyruss and Time Pilot being pin-compatible, so I ordered my Time Pilot boardset from someone on Ebay. The boards work GREAT, and the swapping process took all of 5 minutes. As expected, the Gyruss burn-in was a little more obvious because of the non-black background and white clouds, but surprisingly it's something I can live with for the moment. I did investigate the possibilities of wiring some sort of switch so I could have both boardsets in the cabinet, able to switch from one to the other without actually opening the game up. It doesn't look like it can be done easily - I'd have to either have both boards powered at all times (causing more wear-and-tear plus added heat in the cabinet) or power off the game then hit a switch, and go through the power-up again. It wouldn't take much more time than that to open the game up and swap boards, in my opinion, so I won't pursue that avenue.

    I have since removed the majority of the rusty bolt heads for de-rusting and painting. It wasn't too difficult. I also removed the T-molding around the top of the cocktail, and some of the T-molding on one side. I got the top molding replaced though to get the curved areas inside the CP area I had to tack the new molding to the wood until the glue set. The molding on the side was harder - I had the molding to replace it but it didn't look right. I think it was due to the expansion of the wood over the years, remember how it looked like it had been water-damaged at one time?

    As for high-score saving, or a test mode, I'm afraid neither is possible without major, non-factory-spec board renovations. Since I sold this game in April to a fellow collector, I won't worry about it.

Burn-in: If a monitor is displaying the same image in the same place for any length of time, it can cause that image to be permanently burned in to the display. The degree of burn-in is dependent on the length of time the image is displayed, and the brightness of the image. Some games are more susceptible to burn-in than others. Dig-dug and Mr. Do come to mind immediately, because their logos are always up in the same place, and are quite bright compared to the area around them. It is possible to have multiple games burned into one monitor! I've seen monitors with 2 or 3 different game images burned into them. To avoid burn-in, turn down the brightness on the monitor to the minimum acceptable level. Don't leave your games on any longer than you have to. If your game has no "attract mode" when in free-play, set it to require credits - after all, you can give yourself free plays right? Back to the top.

NOS: Stands for New Old Stock. Generally refers to a piece of artwork that has never been applied to the game. Unfortunately, NOS pieces aren't always in "New" condition - they've aged 20 years too, and some aged better than others. Always get a description of the actual current condition of NOS pieces before you buy them. Back to the top.

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