I’ve been traveling in both Rome, Italy and New Orleans, Louisianna over the last week—I like my summer destinations hot!—so I’ve been a bit remiss on the dear old bava blog. But today is a travel day back to Italy, so I’ll try to cram in some posts over the next couple of days. There are a couple of updates on the bavacade, which this and the following post will cover, and then some reflections on WPCampus and the grand old UMW Blogs. So lock it in!
At this point the bavacade is well over two years old. I got my first game delivered in April of 2021, Cheyenne, and as of now there are 30 games total in Italy—there are a few more strewn around the US that I hope to collect one day soon. I’ve been working in earnest since September 2022 on cleaning up the 15 games shipped over from the US, and that has been coming along quite well. “Cleaning up” often equates to some structural work on the cabinets to deal with water damage and the like, as well as putting these unruly pieces of furniture on wheels to make moving them around easier. What’s more, on occasion I get the opportunity to do some touch up work on the paint, which I have come to really enjoy. It’s rewarding work overall, I feel like we’re preserving a small piece of the past, although to be fair most of the structural work is left to Alberto, who is a professional and does an amazing job salvaging some of the rougher cabinets.
So the most recent refurbishing has been for Make Trax, the Williams branding of Crush Roller, which was made by Kural. It was a Pac-man inspired maze game where you’re a paint brush being chased by drops of paint, it’s pretty bizarre. At a certain points various animals and objects break on the scene and leave tracks on the freshly painted maze that you need to clean up. It was an early love for me when I played it in the Pool Hall on Grand Avenue in Baldwin, and one of the cabinets I knew I’d eventually get. I actually played the original Crush Roller, not Make Trax, but in many ways the Make Trax cabinet color scheme and aesthetic is more to my liking, and the gameplay is absolutely identical.
The cabinet was in pretty good shape overall, just some slight chipping along the edges, which would be easy to patch. The real issue was the control panel overlay that was cracking quite significantly. It’s not the worst I’d seen, but this is the bavacade, there are high standards!
A couple of years ago I found an original Make Trax control panel overlay and ordered it given it needed to be cleaned up, and while some reproductions are well done, most are not and if you can get an original—which is hard—do it! Anyway, Alberto was already putting it on wheel’s and doing the minor damage patches, so I asked if he could remove the old overlay (which is a pain in the ass process), and add the new-old overlay. He did, and it came out beautifully!
Alberto is awesome! The one tricky part for me was disassembling and re-assembling the joystick to remove it from the control panel. I’d done this once before with Venture, and that one was far more straightforward. Anyway, I disassemble it, realizing it was held together by two e-clips and four springs:
I figured out how to disassemble and re-assemble the joystick without breaking anything thanks to this video on YouTube, but other than that it was a pretty standard strip down and rebuild, especially since Alberto does all the hard work. I mixed some orange paint to do the minor touch up, and used a matte black paint for the front panel, back doors, and the wheel housing Alberto added.
I did struggle a bit with the board putting out some graphical issues and having to consult the joystick video to see where I had gone wrong in the first re-assembly, but both issues were quickly resolved by cleaning the edge connector and flipping the actuator for the joystick assembly around. Also, on the marquee there is what seems like an old school sticker for the TNT Amusements shop that is still quite active and does all kinds of informative arcade-related videos.
I have no idea if this game was actually refurbished by TNT Amusements, or if the marquee was off another game, but I do like that touch. Anyway, with this game’s done now I have more than half the games in the collection on wheels, and I would say almost every machine is now in near-mint condition. There may be two or three that need a bit of work (one of which is a custom job I’ll be blogging about next), but at this point they’re minor clean-ups that will add wheels, much like Make Trax. That means the bavacade is probably ready to add some more games at this point 🙂
Anyway, here is a shot of Make Trax in all of it’s refurbished glory!