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Peter Upton's

Subbuteo Tribute Website.

Subbuteo Team Art - Page 3.

Subbuteo Art through the Ages....

For as long as Subbuteo has existed, people have been painting and re-painting teams for pleasure. Often this results in glossy teams best hidden away at the bottom of the spares box, but sometimes these repainted sides are so good that they put the original Subbuteo versions to shame. 

The Flats.


I saw these teams on ebay about eighteen months ago. I especially like the team on the left, who I assume are Germany. Note that the painter has utilized the standard black socks for the figure on the right, but on the other two, he has painted his own. The best thing about the figures is the green grass painted around the figure and between his legs. A nice touch.

If you have a card or celluloid all white figure (team 21), it should be easy to photocopy your own flats. The only trouble is lining up the backs to the fronts. Perhaps the easiest way would be to photocopy front and back onto paper, and glue both to a thin piece of card. Scanned computer designed versions would also be possible..... 

Perhaps a better alternative is to purchase the version of this figure that is still produced for "professional" players. These are available as white players on a variety of different coloured bases. One place you can get these is World Table Soccer in Canada. 

Early Heavyweights.

These pictures come from a large batch of figures that Colin Moseley sold on ebay. The boxes were mostly numbered, and for the majority of his teams the original painter had bought the standard all white No21 kit. However on the examples I've shown here, the red and yellow striped team was painted onto a Stoke City, and the blue and yellow team has had the yellow added to a No17 Brighton. As you can probably see from pictures, the outer bases have been painted too. This is not a good idea, as it will affect performance. I'm not sure whether these were based on real football kits - from the painter's local league for example. He had painted one team which looked like the 1960s Roy of the Rovers kit, but sadly I don't seem to have kept the picture of that one.


It is very common to find this classic 1970s figure as a repaint. The figure was hand-painted by Subbuteo workers in the first place of course, and the speed at which workers would have been required to paint was probably the main cause of the "Friday Afternoon" teams that are occasionally found with uneven stripes and wonky, blotchy trim. These teams in turn must have lead to millions of school boys thinking "I can do better than that", before proving that they couldn't. The fact that most of us had a few of those small tins of Humbrol paint kicking around from our attempts at Airfix modeling proved a temptation. Probably the only reason my old sides were not repainted is that I had to be choosy with which paints I could afford, and I don't think any teams play in Eighth Army Yellow or Dark Earth.

The figures shown above are pretty typical of 1970s repaints. The first two figures are West Ham (away and home), painted by a fan who had found that Subbuteo weren't keeping up with the latest kit. Both kits have numbers painted on the backs, and the away kit has a badge. In addition, the No 8 and No 11 in both sides have blond hair.  The painter of the third kit has obviously copied the SSG painting style, using the classic three stripes with collar look. Figures painted in this way are often difficult to tell from the genuine Subbuteo production.


Here are a few additional pictures of  much more finely detailed heavyweight repaints, owned by Panos. From left to right we have a Bayern Munich with a lovely clear Commodore logo; a Germany away kit with badge (another blond player); and a very bold Sampdoria. For further heavyweight pictures, you can admire Joe Butt's sides in the first gallery of this section.


I haven't been sent any pictures of repainted zombies, and the only team I own are an uninspired Brighton conversion. Basically, when Brighton switched from their classic stripes to an all blue kit at the end of the 1970s, this owner simply painted a dark blue shirt (with white trim), over his old striped team. Not really worthy of an illustration.

Could it be that these lifeless figures simply failed to inspire anyone to actually take the time to paint them?

As I don't have any pictures for this section, this is a good opportunity to display Trevor Arthur's terrible "zombie team" pun...

These could be a good rival team for Wayne's Superheroes. Zap... Pow... etc...


So we come to the modern figure, and for pictures of the wonders that can be done with these figures, you need look no further than the other pages of this gallery section. However, this figure doesn't seem to have been home painted as often as the heavyweight. I guess this is due to the machine printed nature of later figures - they simply don't inspire conversion. Another factor may be the good job Waddingtons did of keeping up with the kit changes for most of the major English sides. Then again, maybe kids no longer bother with "do-it-yourself" hobbies the way they used to.

So I'll just have to illustrate this section with some more interesting teams painted by Trevor Arthur.


The first picture shows Judge Dread, Melchester Rovers, and Wycombe Wanderers on very attractive Italian Astrobases. The second picture is a scene from "Classic" football movie "Escape to Victory". From left to right, we have an Allied player, Sylvester Stallone in his blue goalkeeping jersey, and a German player. 

More of Trevor's work can be seen at his Yahoo Photo Gallery, and also at the very, very cool Escape to Victory Subbuteo Page, which also features teams by another contributor to this site -  Pierre Chastenais.

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