Bally World Cup Soccer 1994 – Restoration – Part 2 (Cabinet)


This is part 2 of my restoration attempt of a World Cup Soccer 1994. In the first post I did fix the coin door and the playfield. The playfield was already in great condition but I did install a playfield protector. I was not really sure what to do next. I could just fix some small things and just accept it the way it is. Or go all in and fix everything. I decided to do the later. A full restore of the cabinet. So I dissembled everything. As this is my first time doing this I did google a lot. And asked other persons for tips as there were so many things I just could not figure out. May main concerns were.

I also had a friend running a car repair so my legs, siderails and lockbar were sent to him to be powder coated.

  • Can I sand the cabinet good enough
  • How do I fix the broken wood of the cabinet
  • Can I remember where to put all parts
  • Am I able to install the decals without issues
  • What is leg protectors
  • How do I clean all cables and boards
  • How can I fix the legs, lockbar and siderails

Tools and new stuff

There were some tools and other things I had to get. Restoring the cabinet is quite some work and you will need the right equipment.

I did also use

  • Sand paper 180 and 400.
  • Spray bottle with T Red spirit. To remove decals
  • Ferrule
  • A long ruler in metal
  • Sharp hobby knifes
  • Roller and paintbrush
  • Some stands used when leg was removed


Getting started

I started by removing all parts and putting the playfield in my home made stand. Use a cover as there will be both dust and paint. Take many photos. You will not be able to remember where all things are located. At least I do not. After all stuff were removed I sanded with a machine and made sure there were no dirt left. It looked great. There is a lot of cables attached to the backbox. You will have to be at least two people to move the playfield out of the cabinet.

Sanding, painting and removing the old decals

This is the boring part. And the most time consuming as you will have to sand, fill and paint many times. But if you do this correct and well done the effort will be worth it. If you paint the cabinet black and have some small scratches left it will show. Even the most tiny dot may be visible through the vinyl later on so my tip is not to cheat here. I started by sanding the inside. The next step was to remove the old decals. I used a heat gun to make the decals loose. When the decals are staring to loose just use a scraper to remove them. You will end up with a lot of very old glue all over the cabinet. I did try to sand right away but this is not a good idea. It just gets stuck. Use a spray can with T-Red and spray. You will have to use a lot of spray. Now use the scraper to remove all glue. The more you can remove the easier the sanding will be. You must get rid of all glue!

When you have sanded once start by using filler on the large damaged parts like corners or drilled holes. I did use Hagmans 2 component filler for the worst parts.  Some use epoxi resin (found in hobby stores) to fix large holes. On the main cabinet I used normal wood filler found in any store. Just keep sanding until it is perfect.

Now it is time for painting. Make sure it is clean. It might be overkill to paint the inside of the cabinet and backbox. However I did this anyway. I have used a roller and primer paint and later semi bright black wooden paint from Jula. I did use a paintbrush in the corners. I did two layers of primers and 3 layers of black. Make sure to do some more filling after as you will see some scratches only after you painted with black.

Applying the decals

This was the part I was most worried about. The decals are very expensive and if things go wrong there is no way of fixing things. There are two ways of applying decals. Wet or dry. Some people recommend you to use the wet method if you do this for the first time. By using wet you will have a chance to modify your mistakes. The drawback is that it will take a longer time to dry. If using the dry method (I used this method) you will only have one chance to apply. However it is not as complicated as you may think. Take your time, measure and work slow.

  • Be two persons when applying the decals
  • Watch some youtube videos so that you understand how this is done
  • Make sure you attach them perfectly before staring
  • Do not cut the protective paper. Fold them instead as there might be small parts of paper that may be stuck under the decal.
  • Use a filt scraper with some textile.

The decals I bought were from Ministry of Pinball. These are the official Bally decals. You may find other more inexpensive decals in other various places but from what I heard the quality may be poor. However I have not tried them myself. I was also told that before the official Bally decals ere printed in the US. Nowadays they are printed in Italy by Pedretti. There seems to be some problems with the quality and especially the black color not being as black as you may expect. As far as I can see my decals looks good. I have not compared them though.

I started by putting on the decals on the backbox. They are smaller and you do get some idea how it works. Start by sticking about 20 percent of the decals. After this fold and start attaching the rest. Again… Watch some videos like.

The hardest decal to attach was the front. I had to do this vertical and the space in the coin door makes it difficult as the decal very easy gets folded or misplaced.  When the decals are in place you will have to cut the extra vinyl sticking out. Make sure to cut them about 1-2 mm with an extra space as you do not want the vinyl to loose. Use a long ruler to get it perfect.

Putting things back

Time to put all things back. As some parts may be very dirty you want to clean all parts. I did use a ultrasound cleaner for all metal parts. And also steel wool. Some plastic parts like the buttons were replaced. The board were cleaned with Isopropranolol . All cables were washed in my dishwasher. Not sure this is a great idea but read that other people did the same. Regarding stickers there is a guy in Holland that have many files that you can print. He did some new stickers for me as well.  You can find his site here.

In the next post I will put the rest of the things back, mount the legs and siderails as well as installing the playfield again.