The stunning restoration of a rare PSG Subbuteo team

Subbuteo teams have been around for over 70 years now.

The players have graced living rooms and dining tables for decades and throughout that history there has been one constant – children have gleefully painted over teams to convert them into their desired kit.

It’s all part of the joy of Subbuteo as a child but it does mean collectors often have to try to restore painted teams to their former glory.

Adrian Hollands recently bought a rare Paris St Germain lightweight team on Facebook Marketplace but there was one big issue – the kit had been painted over.

It was a sad sight for such a lovely team but amazingly Adrian has managed to completely restore them. I thought that was well worth a share and he kindly shared his tips on restoring teams that have been painted. Hopefully it helps some of you out.

“I saw the team for sale on Marketplace included in an early 90’s boxset and thought ey up….there’s something surprising there.

“I thought I’m having that so a tenner later it was mine. Once I had the team in my hand I noticed there was something hidden under the horrendous paint job – presumably the previous owner was a Leeds fan.”

“After asking advice on various forums, sunlight and hydrogen peroxide was one of the methods mentioned, but as there’s been no sunlight for months and I couldn’t wait I’d remembered somebody mentioned WD40 a few months back so I dropped one in an egg cup full to see if it destroyed it or not. Much to my surprise it didn’t and I noticed bits of paint dropping off so thought I’d fill a Tupperware box up with water and a very generous amount of WD40 and drop the whole team in overnight.

“Lunchtime the following day I got them out one by one and carefully wiped them down with a cloth and the majority of the paint came off. The bits that didn’t and the hard to reach bits I decided that instead of using a craft knife and potentially scraping the original paint off I’d use a wooden kebab skewer and give it a bit of elbow grease and chip away with the pointy end and hey ho here you have the finished article! There were still bits of white paint however that I couldn’t manage to remove in the folds of the shorts and arse cracks so I just touched them up with a light blue sharpie.”

Stephen Hurrell
Stephen Hurrell
Stephen is the founder and editor of The Hobby Online and The Hobby by Subbuteo.Online print magazine. He is a giant nerd and specialises in Subbuteo, retro football kits and consumer stories. A journalist and editor of 15 years, he has written about football for some of the UK's biggest publications.

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