10 Yard Fight, 100 Mile Journey

Received a request from Scott for some 10 Yard Fight artwork. Kind of a rare request, but thought it would be fun. Turns out his project was quite the task. Story below from the man himself:

“My story with this 10-Yard Fight cab dates back to somewhere around early 2015. I had arranged to buy two cabs from a friend and he surprised me with this in the back of the truck on delivery day. “If you don’t want it, it is going straight to the dump.” It looked like a cab that might be too far gone. For the record it had the remains of a harness, a monitor tube (no chassis), an ISO/switcher, and a special Taito embossed coin door.

It clearly had a lot of water damage, later I found out the switcher was filled with mud, so at the very least it was probably in a flood. As we got it out of the truck, while leaving a trail of sawdust, I thought to myself that it would certainly be a long term project.

Here it is a few months later, right after my friend had surprised me with a control panel for it. Nice! But you can see it about as it was delivered. (a1)

Fast forward to March 2018, right around Spring Break. For anyone interested in the time gap, I was ready to start working on this cab after it had sat through my own years long “break” from the arcade hobby. If it helps anyone, be careful to whom you send money and rare parts on public forums!

Anyhow, thinking on where to start, the easiest thing to do would be to remove the one bad side of art from the cab. It needed to go: Not only did this side of art have torn off sections, but it also had some water damage and bubbling underneath and around the sticker. The other side of art was (and is) very good. So I started, this is in progress from the picture above. (a2)

Next I tackled (ahem) the structural problems; stuff like sanding, clamping, gluing, and using every bit of amateur woodworking skills I can muster. The main problem that needed correction is that bottom of the cab had a half a foot to a foot line of water damage from the base. Here is a picture after sanding so it is clear how bad things were on the good side (a3). A few hours later I got the wood glue and clamps out to try and solidify the damage without resorting to cutting up the cabinet. The toolbox is for weight during drying and came from Dad! Vintage 1960’s he says, and it’s tools fixed many of our family cars over the years (and mine too). (a4)

There was more work here to mention, to the entirety of the cab surfaces inside and out but it was more of the same, just not as severe. We are up painting! I painted a few coats of primer after carefully masking everything off. Here is another picture. (a5)

I decided that I liked the calm dedication of a simple can of black paint and a paintbrush. An hour here and there, spread out over a couple of days while listening to the radio and drinking some iced tea. Not a bad way to spend a vacation. This will never be a pristine example, but it is mine and I am doing what I can during the two Texas seasons of “cold” and “hotter ‘n hell.” Speaking of Texas, being a collector for so long I made the decision that I like the old tax stickers to stay on my cabs. So, those were carefully masked off until I was done.

I guess this is the best place to bring up the elephant in the room. An honest question would be “Why not CNC a new cab?” Or another, “why take the effort to fix up an unpopular sports arcade game from 1984?” Or even, “why not convert this to a popular Taito game of the same time period like Elevator Action, Jungle Hunt, or even make it into a Choplifter?” Honestly, I don’t really have many answers. Perhaps the result of it being back to what it was originally that feels good. It makes a good story, I guess, like when someone pulls a car out of a junkyard and gets it on the road again. It is also very different from the normal list of titles everyone collects; the best source lists only five complete dedicated cabs worldwide (among active members). Maybe those are my reasons? Maybe this is the type of project that makes no rational sense? Here it is all painted up at the end of my time with it for that year. (a6)

Now we are up to March of 2019, Spring Break. I am excited to get this cab running again and I selected a monitor for the cab, a Wells-Gardner K4600 from the floor of my garage. This is the first time I have done any soldering work since I got the cab and I am very rusty. I catch a couple of mistakes with cap values (47uf instead of 4.7uf…my eyes!) as I am going through my cap kit. Much to my embarrassment, this cap kit takes an entire day for me to accomplish! Yikes! Good news though: it does not blow up on the bench hooked up for a smoke test. Whew!!! (a7)

Next up, I wire in a JAMMA harness (since the original harness was toast) to the controls and my newly purchased switcher. When building out a cab there are always lots of connectors to crimp, and soldering of connectors here and there. It is an economy harness, but I’ve seen worse and I’ve seen better.

At the conclusion of Spring Break 2019, my parts box is exhausted and it has taken me to this point. The build has happily reunited me with the hobby and I am delighted to find after a complete re-arranging of the games that I now have space for one more standard sized upright arcade game. That’s great news!

Soon after another friend came through with a used marquee that I buy from him. I also went by a home improvement store to have some glass cut for the bezel. Here is a picture from the best side with the monitor mounted in the cab and the marquee installed (a8). I did some deep diving into the internet and I came up with suitable images of the original control panel overlay and one of an approximation of the original bezel graphics. Arcademarquee.com kindly was able to get them printed for me using my dimensions for the CPO and my best guess for the glass bezel. I believe this is the first time ever these are offered for anyone else that has this cab. I also ordered some white t-molding since that was what it had originally; new t-molding always makes a cab look sharp and this cab could use all the help it can get!

After printing and everything arrives, and more time passes, it is now Spring Break 2020. I spent a few days preparing the panel with a wire brush this time (instead of chemical strippers, which I don’t like). Fun and relaxing if that can be believed. This is a shot of the panel before paint and the application of the CPO. (a9)

After a day with an razor blade and some careful cutting, and re-assembly with some new buttons and a stick we are complete! (b1) I would wager that this is the best the cab has looked in years. Like usual in the arcade hobby there is more to do. I could use a coin bucket, coin door trip wires, and the two boardsets I have need to be gone through to make one good one, if possible. But the cosmetics are done and that is the hard part. Almost there!”