The Pinball Fix

Harlem Globetrotters

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Harlem Globetrotters

"Although the same players, the generals have been called the 'Boston Shamrocks,' 'Baltimore Rockets,' 'Atlantic City Seagulls,' and 'New Jersey Reds.'"


This cabinet was in pretty rough shape. Using the process explained elsewhere in this website I created stencils for each color, stripped and repaired the cabinet, and then repainted it. I also repainted the legs and internal hardware. To create the stencils, I make a drawing of each color and side on tracing paper and then transfer this to acetate sheets. I made a mistake on this cabinet by using some sheets that were very thin. These were difficult to cut out (thinner is more difficult than thicker sheets that have some rigidity to them). They also gave me problems in using them as they were more difficult to get to lay flat on the cabinet.

After creating the stencils, I removed the legs, door, and any hardware from the cabinet that will get in the way of the repaint. Next, I stripped the cabinet using Citrus strip. I then repaired the dings and gouges using Bondo and wood filler. I use wood filler for most normal dings and Bondo for larger areas that need repair with added strength. I then sand all sides with 150, then 220, then 330 grit sandpaper. Next, I wipe the sides down with mineral spirits to remove any residue. Then I tape off the side rails and any other areas that I do not want to get paint on. On this cabinet I used Krylon brand spray paints. I have found them to be the best overall for the price. You can re-spray at any time and the paint won’t lift. It also dries very fast (usually within 12-15 minutes). The base coat on this game was white. I decided to use a glossy white. This made the game look really clean in the end. Next, I applied the blue to the head. On some games, it matters which order you apply the colors. On this game, it really didn’t matter since there are not any areas where one color touches or overlaps another color. I started with the head and I did the blue first because it provided an “outline” for the red letters on the head of the game. The stencils for the head were made with the thicker acetate sheets and both colors went on remarkable easy. The end result on the head was excellent.

Next, I did the cabinet. some games have the same design on both sides and all that you do is flip your stencil over to do the other side. Other games, such as Gorgar, due to the lettering, actually have different designs for each side requiring separate stencils. Globetrotters, was in between these two. The two sides had the same design, but were applied at different angles. This was necessitated by the fact that the lettering had to accommodate the uphill slant of the cabinet on both the left and right sides. so, I was able to use the same stencil for each side but it had two different markings denoting the side rails, one for the left side and one for the right side. If you look at the game, you will notice that the lettering is the same distance from the bottom on both sides. However, on the right side the “g” is at the “shallow” front end of the cabinet while on the left side it is at the “deep” rear end of the cabinet. As stated earlier, I had a little trouble with these stencils because the sheets were too thin. The blue stencil was fairly intricate and the small areas did not want to lay down flat. To help the stencil lay down flat, I placed old sockets and nuts on it. Also, I did the painting in sections, doing about a fourth of the stencil at a time. It was easier to get a portion to lay day flat rather than the whole thing. so, I would do one section and cover the rest and then move on to the next section. When finished, the sides had more underspray evident than I usually have. Also, there are a couple of design spots (for example, a rounded edge of the basketball), where the stencil was not as “clean” as I would have liked. so, the cabinet sides, while still looking good, they are not perfect.

Finally, I painted the front of the cabinet. Due to the difficulty I had with the thin stencils on the side and the fact that I didn’t have any more of the thicker acetate sheets, I decided to do something I usually don’t do, I taped off the front. The front has a very basic design with mostly straight lines with a few rounded corners. so, I measured the distances of the drawing on the tracing paper and taped off the sections. For the rounded corners, I used frisket paper cut in the desired shape. The front turned out well and the taping actually made the lines really clean and straight. Note, I was only able to do this because of the basic “straight line” design on the front. In the end, the cabinet turned out good. I’ve done better, but it was definitely much better than what I started with. It does have a little more under spray on the sides than some repaints that I’ve done due to the thin stencil, but all in all, it looks great. As always, I am amazed at how good a repainted cabinet looks.


Besides what I explained above, I did the following to this game:

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Cabinet Head After Re-paint

Harlem globetrotters Cabinet Head

Harlem globetrotters Cabinet Head