As part of refurbishing some Amiga 1000s I’d picked up, I wanted to clean up the cases which had yellowed over the years.  I’d tried retr0bright on the cases and whilst this worked in a few instances, in others I either got a bleached effect or I just couldn’t get all of the staining off.  Plus some parts of the cases were scratched, which retr0brite doesn’t help with anyway.

I’d been looking for something to respray the plastic with.  Conventional plastic spray paint seemed to be too messy and too thick – you needed special primer and then a plastic top coat.  Cases I’d seen sprayed had lost their texture and looked obviously resprayed.  I found some Vinyl spray paint which purported to do exactly what I wanted – change the colour of plastics without needing a primer and because the coats were very thin it didn’t affect the texture.  However, when I tried some of these paints I just didn’t get a particularly good result – I found even with very thin coats that the paint never seemed to really dry properly and would just get wiped off with IPA or other cleaners.

I kept searching and eventually stumbled onto Kolorbond.  This was paint specifically designed for plastics – specifically uPVC window frames – but also including ABS which is what the Amiga cases were made of.  I contacted the manufacturer and asked if they would colour-match against a piece of the Amiga case (the memory slot cover).  They said they would, and supplied me with a 1L tin of Matt-finish Kolorbond, along with WindowPrep which is used to clean the plastic before spraying.

Kolorbond WindowPrep

I stripped the Amiga cases down then started to spray them, first with dust coat of Kolorbond and then two “proper” coats which was enough to cover all the discolouration and the light sanding marks from where I’d cleaned up the scratches with wet & dry.  These are the pictures I took along the way.

Keyboard before:

A1000 respray keyboard base before A1000 respray keyboard top before

RAM Cover and Front Panel before (notice the original colour behind the RAM cover)

A1000 respray RAM cover before A1000 respray front panel before

Top cover and rear panel before (again, notice the colour staining – very bad on the rear panel)

A1000 respray top cover rear panel before A1000 respray rear panel before

One coat applied, getting better

A1000 respray RAM cover during A1000 respray front panel during

and the completed parts

A1000 respray keyboard side after A1000 respray keyboard top after

A1000 respray front after A1000 respray rear after

A1000 respray one case and keyboard after

I have to admin to being a little apprehensive about spraying these A1000 cases and possibly ruining them, but actually I’m really pleased with the results.  The only problem I had is that there was some “Commodore” text on the front panel which I had to spray over, but I think I prefer the look without this anyway. The colour match is almost perfect and the original texture of the plastic has been kept.  The paint doesn’t chip or peel off and also doesn’t wipe away with IPA.  They just look like new again.

Now on to building them back up into working machines again.

This computer was purchased by my Dad back in 1982.  It was pre-ordered by him in 1981 but delivery delays meant it wasn’t shipped until something like June 1982.  I remember it shipped with the pre-release OS1.0 ROMs (quickly upgraded to OS1.2) and a “Provisional User Guide”, which I still have.

It was originally a Model A and has a Revision 2 motherboard.  The hole on the left side of the keyboard was supposedly for expansion ROMs and was delivered uncovered as in the pictures.  Later models had this hole covered.   Note the early style text (“bbc microcomputer”) on the clear plastic function key strip.

This machine was upgraded to [almost] Model B spec a little later – an additional  16K RAM was added (to total 32K) and the user port, 1MHz bus and Tube connectors fitted to the motherboard.  I think it’s still missing a couple of logic chips for the Tube interface but I can’t quite remember.  A little later still, a Solidisk DDFS disk upgrade was fitted along with a 5.25″ 40/80 track floppy drive.  Then a Watford Electronics RAM/ROM board was fitted, with 3 banks of “sideways RAM” and a couple of extra ROM sockets.

I found this buried in the loft.  It still has it’s original packaging which was just a plain brown box and poly inserts.

When I powered it up the PSU went pop due to old capacitors which had gone bad.  Once they were changed it had some strange display problems which were eventually cured by replacing a couple of RAM chips.  The Watford RAM/ROM board was rattling around inside the case so I had to remove it – I’ll leave fixing that for a later date.

I stripped the machine down completely and retr0bright’d the case and cleaned up the motherboard and keyboard.

It now works perfectly and looks nice and clean too.  I’ve since sourced some joysticks and will set it up at some point to play Elite on it again.

BBC Top 1

BBC Left Side

BBC Right Side

BBC Top Case Open