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Gene Sanny’s Amazing WFL Electric Football Project

EF 550

By Phil Hecken

A couple weeks ago, in the ticker, there was a link to uni watcher Gene Sanny and his electronic football projects, which (as you’re about to see) are tremendous.

The Ticker item (May 27th) read as follows:

Gene Sanny has spent the past 10 months creating what he believes to be the most detailed set of WFL electric football teams in existence. You can click on the thumbnails on that page to see full-size versions. Impressive stuff!

Intrigued, I asked Gene if he’d like to go a little more in depth about the project.

We traded a few e-mails, and I was going to do a Q&A segment with Gene, but once he sent me his writeup of the project, it’s pretty self-explanatory. However, before sending me the project, Gene did set things up thusly:

There’s a bigger community than one would think of guys who play all the time in leagues and “tweek” bases to get them to perform better than stock bases. I’m not even close to as good as those guys at actually playing the game, but I’ve been accepted into their Facebook groups because of my painting. They want to know tricks etc. The real key for me is I approach it from a love of uniforms.

I want to recreate the real look from back then — dirty uniforms, retro facemasks etc, and I wanted to get the uniforms accurate. I would always post a pic of mine with a pic of the real team so they could see what I was recreating. My struggle versus what they paint is I was doing a whole league: 12 teams of 24 guys home and away, and they usually just paint their favorite team they use in a league, which could be like 48 players, but it’s all the same team and they’d take their time.

I have precious little patience and I was hurrying to get mine done so I could play. Still they’d rave about them, and I thought “jeez, I should see what I can do if I focused on just one player and went nuts”. I’m going to do that for one figure for an art show they are holding at an electric football convention in July… so we’ll see how that goes.

For all photos below, you can click to enlarge.

So, with a full rundown, I am pleased to give you Gene, and his…

. . . . .

WFL Electric Football Project
By Gene Sanny

Last August I started painting the teams of the World Football League in the form of electric football players

I was three when the actual league began play, so it’s not something I saw and fell in love with and couldn’t let go of — not at that time anyway. What actually happened was when I was in junior high, I got a copy of Football Digest, and in the fan letters section, someone had requested that they print the logos of the old WFL. They were printed in black and white, but they were beautiful, and open to a million options for a young kid who loved football and drawing. I started drawing teams right away, and that Football Digest became my bible for a while. I made up the color schemes and just drew.

A few years previous to discovering the WFL, my dad had bought me an electric football game at a garage sale. I found the game incredibly frustrating, so I walked away from it, but not from the figures. My folks had bought me teams from the JC Penney catalog: the AFC West and the AFC East teams; they were crudely painted.

The Chiefs just had a white arrow on the helmet for example. I started painting the teams into USFL teams, because that was my new obsession at that time. Mine were crude, but way better than the stock ones you could buy in my opinion. I loved those figures and set them up on my desk to look at, I didn’t play the actual game anymore, but I loved those figures.

So, fast forward to last August: I had just finished up six old AFL teams — my first foray into painting the figures since I was a kid. I had found out about water slide decals that can be printed on your desktop printer when I was customizing some McFarlane figures, and thought “Man I could really do up some electric figures using some of the tricks I’ve learned now.” I was happy with the way the AFL teams turned out, but I wanted to try a few new things, like facemasks and adding dirt to the uniforms, so I decided to do the WFL.

I’d seen some images of teams people had painted on Google, and thought “I’m going to do the whole league.” So, I ordered some blank players and facemasks, loaded up on some paints and other accessories. and off I went.

Here are some pictures of completed teams, my custom built field, and some of the tools I use. As some will notice, these are the 1974 teams, but I’ve included some 1975 players on the teams so I could have more “star power” when playing.



The figures are commonly known as the “Fab 5” poses: the originals from back when the game started. There are guys in the hobby now that sculpt their own figures, or modify existing figures, and they are incredibly detailed, but also very expensive. For this project I chose the Fab 5 because first, I love the original poses. They look good pre-snap and post-snap, and because you can get a bag of 11 for $6.00.


These are some of the tools and accessories I use: brushes, big tweezers for applying decals, grass to glue to the bases, old school facemasks (they have new school as well), Testors paint, and not pictured is a head worn magnifying glass, and decal paper. I make the decals myself in a vector art program, so I can do almost anything I want and as clear as possible.




Close ups of the first team I did: The Hawaiians. I showed these two a little closer so you could see some of the details that I included. I’ve always been a helmet guy, so it was important to me to get as much detail as possible. When *I started posting some of my AFL figures, people would comment that they never even thought of painting earholes, and I couldn’t believe it ”“ that’s so much part of the look. So with these I took it a step further. Besides the earholes, I painted the silver rivets that hold the interior padding in place. That’s not so much seen anymore on modern helmets, but they were all over the 60s, 70s, and 80s helmets. Also, I included the WFL decal on back of the helmets ( which the WFL did) long before the NFL.


Southern California Sun: featuring Daryl Lamonica at QB.


Memphis Southmen/Grizzlies: featuring Csonka, Kiick, and Warfield.


Chicago Fire with the awesome fire around the earhole decal.


Houston Texans: This is John Matuszak, who played a few downs before being served papers on the sidelines from the Oilers with whom he was still under contract — he thought he had found a loophole. Just another of the strange WFL stories.


Jacksonville Sharks


New York Stars: This is Jere Brown. I posted this pic on the WFL Facebook page and he’s actually a member and saw the pic — pretty cool moment.


Detroit Wheels: The first facemasks I painted to that point. In 1974 Dunguard produced colored facemasks for the first time, and since the WFL season started in July, both the Wheels and Bell became the first teams in history to wear colored masks — they beat the Chargers by a couple months.


Birmingham Americans: This is where I hit my only hiccup in the process. I had been using old pics, and Gridiron Uniform Databases* website as my guide. I got lazy and only used GUD for the last couple teams. Well, they had the Americans’ blue jersey stripe pattern wrong. The two thicker stripes should be red and the three thinner ones white. I got done and took some pics and thought, “Why do they look like the Bills?” Man, I was mad. I learned my lesson though: only real game pics from there on.


Florida Blazers


Portland Storm: Yup, that’s Marty Schottenheimer, LB for the Storm. I think he might have coached in the NFL too for a while.



Philadelphia Bell: Jim “King” Corcoran



16 17

These are some random match-up pics. This was one of the true reasons for the project: I couldn’t wait to see the teams on the field together.


My custom field metal, next to a regular sized field. I had made a field cover for my standard field that was generic, so I could play any teams on it without it saying AFC or NFC in the endzones. I decided to build a scale field so the players would look more realistic on the field. There’s a baseball field on it because it worked with the dirty look i gave the players. I miss dirty uniforms in football.



The Field: First pic shows it put together, the second I added my sparse crowd around the edge. I found a photo of some soccer fans (because I needed more of a full body shot, and they seemed to be the only fans I could find pics of standing up). I manipulated the clothing colors in Photoshop, created stands, and placed the people in them. The third pic is of the ivy covered brick I used around the inside of the stadium walls. The fourth is of me and my family at the 50 yard line, along with Chiefs super fan Lynn “Weirdwolf” Schmidt, who is huge in this hobby. He makes field covers that are second to none (and he provided me with invaluable knowledge about making motors to run the board) so he earned a spot at the 50.


These are the cases I made for the WFL teams: $8.00 for a case from the dollar store. I’m not even really sure what they are for, but they work great for me. Also, some foam to hold the players in place so they don’t get damaged when moving them around. I made some decals to put on front, and, ta_da: I organized the WFL better than it ever was in real life.



The “Dicker-rod”: I made to measure first downs. The WFL’s was metal; mine is balsa wood and plastic. If you care to learn more about how it functioned you can read about it here.



The whole collection on one field.




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My next project is the USFL. I got one figure that was more detailed than the Fab 5 figures, and thought I’d try to raise my game a little. I sculpted longer sleeves, painted far more detail than I ever had on a figure, and tried something I hadn’t seen anyone try before: mesh jersey look. Michigan Panthers’ Anthony Carter playing in the 1983 USFL Championship game (even got the game patch on the sleeve). I’d love to do the whole league in these figures but it’s just too expensive, so back to the Fab 5 I go, but I’m still going to go for even more detail like this.

. . .

Well, that’s about it. It might seem obsessive, but I can’t even tell you how rewarding it is to look at all these little guys. The guys in this hobby are so cool; they help with gameplay questions, help new guys out, post pics of their creations. No one seems to have a bad thing to say, no jealousy, no problems that I ever see.

It’s kind of a dying breed, and i think that pulls these guys together — keeping the game they loved as a kid alive today and passing it down to their own kids. I’ve not personally met a single one of them, but they welcomed me right onto their Facebook pages. Not every community is like that: for a guy who loves football and creating art, it’s the perfect place for me to be.

. . . . . . . . . .

Thanks, Gene! Tremendous project — and your attention to detail is incredible. Looking forward to the upcoming USFL project (which I hope we’ll be able to feature on the pages of Uni Watch when it’s complete).

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classic scoreboards splash

Classic Ballpark Scoreboards

I’m pleased to continue with a favorite weekend feature here at Uni Watch, “Classic Ballpark Scoreboards,” which are created by Gary Chanko. You probably know Gary best for his wonderful colorizations, but he has been a solid contributor for many years, and this is his new project. This segment will appear every Saturday on Uni Watch.

Here’s Gary (click on image to enlarge):

. . . . . . . . . .

Classic Ballpark Scoreboards – Series II
by Gary Chanko

In this edition Classic Scoreboards lands in the Bronx for a look at the legendary Old Yankee Stadium.

Old Yankee Stadium_BB_UW

Yankee Stadium

Home of: New York Yankees (1923”“73; 1976-2008),
NFL New York Giants (1956-73)
Final game: September 21, 2008
Demolished: 2008-10

Probably more has been written about Yankee Stadium than any other of the classic ballparks from the past, including the various scoreboards that existed in right-center field. I doubt much more could be added to the legend and lore of this green cathedral.

All you need to know about the history of Yankee Stadium scoreboards is covered in this great two part video series: Part I, Part II.

In 1950 Yankee Stadium received its first electronic scoreboard. This is the scoreboard I remember as a kid watching the Yankees play in an endless stream of World Series. And so this version of that became the subject for the illustration. It has all the essential classic scoreboard elements; a Longines clock and a Ballantine Beer billboard.

The graphic recreates the game ending scoreboard for Don Larsen’s World Series Game 5 perfect game on October 08, 1956.

A Few Things to Know

• You may have heard this story before, but Yankee Stadium’s Ballantine Beer scoreboard was never sold to the Phillies for use in Shibe Park.

• Yankee Stadium’s first electronic scoreboard remained in place until 1959. Before the 1959 season, the Yankees installed the first scoreboard to feature a changeable message display. The New York Times provided the specifics: “The board will contain 11,210 lamps with a wattage of 115,000, 619,000 feet of electric cable, will weigh 25 tons (not including the steel supporting structure), will have more than 4,860 push buttons on the master control console and will have a total face area of 4,782 square feet.”

Classic Scoreboards is making a list of future destinations,so if you have suggestions please email me with your suggestions.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

If anyone is interested in purchasing a digital copy of these posters, Gary is working on an online purchase option. In the interim you can contact him directly at

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T-Shirt Club reminder: In case you missed it earlier this week, the Uni Watch T-Shirt Club’s July designs — one for Independence Day and another for Canada Day — are now available. But we’ve decided to end the Canada Day campaign a bit early in order to ensure that the shirts will be delivered to Canada in time for the holiday. The Canada Day shirt will be available until 7pm Eastern tomorrow (instead of 11pm on Monday). Please plan accordingly. The USA shirt will still be available through Monday night.

Here are the two designs (click to enlarge):

You can order Independence Day here and Canada Day here, and there’s further info here. For those who have issues with the “Pandering” NOB on the Independence Day shirt, that topic is discussed in depth on this page.

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Too Good For the Ticker

Too Good…

for the Ticker

Got an e-mail from Scott Jamison, which follows up on a ticker item from June 4th on Elton John.

It’s a bit too long for the regular ticker, so here it goes:

. . .

Reflecting more on that picture of Elton John wearing a Team Canada jersey that you posted Thursday, in case you didn’t know I thought you might be interested in the fact that the timing of that photo coincided with Elton’s extremely successful foray into sports ownership/management, namely of his local soccer club, Watford FC. Under his guise, in a mere seven years Watford not only moved from the fourth division of English football all the way to the top flight (Division One, known these days as the Premier League) ”“ a remarkable achievement in itself ”“ but even qualified for European competition by finishing runner’s-up to Liverpool one season (Watford, by the way, is being elevated to the Premier League in the upcoming 2015-16 season, its first appearance there in around a decade I believe).

A write-up of Elton’s involvement with Watford FC appears on his website (which also has links to his other sporting interests) is here.

Somewhat curiously, that page show Watford’s current crest, which features a “male red deer” that looks suspiciously like a moose to me. But as this shot shows, Watford were known as The Hornets during the period of Elton’s involvement with them.

As a final note, one might think that a team that Elton John owned and operated during the most commercially successful and flamboyant period of his career would play with a measure of grace and flair. One would be wrong. In a primitive case of sports analytics, the predominant philosophy in those days was that most goals were scored in three (or fewer) passes. Hence the development of what’s now called “Route One football,” which consists of little more than lumping the ball as far downfield as possible and hoping for a favorable result. Which is the style for which Watford (among a few others) were particularly renowned. An example.

Scott Jamison

Thanks, Scott. Great Stuff.

OK. Now, onto the ticker…

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Uni Watch News Ticker:

Baseball News: On Thursday night, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers wore these cow-themed jerseys. You can read more here (h/t Jess Heltsley and Brian Kerhin). … As pitchers are finding themselves more often targets for batted balls (or maybe it just seems that way), companies are seeking ways to provide head protection for players (thanks to Michael Pisano, Jr. and James McNamara). …”I may be behind, but did we know about this?” asks Ryan Connelly, referencing this this 1953 Pittsburgh Pirates Turn Back The Clock jersey. … This is great: the Myrtle Beach Pelicans played a scheduled doubleheader yesterday, and the jerseys they wore honored Mr. Cub, famous for his “let’s play two” quip (h/t MiLB Promotions). And here’s how they looked on the field. … Here’s the game worn Jurassic Park-themed jersey that Justin Verlander will wear on Saturday (h/t Toledo Mud Hens). … “Just got word from A’s Equipment Manager Steve Vucinich that the A’s 1965 Kansas City A’s throwback unis will be white on June 27,” writes Richard Palmoa, “unlike the gold they wore for the 1969s in 2013.” … WHOA! In 1979 you could buy the Yankees pinstriped bullpen car out of their catalog, only $8,349.75! (from Bruce Menard). … The Boise Hawks are now a Rockies affiliate. As such, they’ll be wearing these in the accursed color of death for Opening Day in a little less than 2 weeks (h/t MiLB Promos). … Whoops: UVA was wearing mismatched shades of camo (credit Samuel Eastman). … Keep on Truckin’: Last night the Saint Paul Saints wore these tie-dye jerseys for their Grateful Dead theme. Awesome. (Thanks, Paul). … Last night, switch-pitcher Pat Venditte threw in the bullpen and then made his MLB debut. (h/t Joon Lee). He warmed up with both arms. The tv crew had some fun with that. He also faced batters as a lefty and righty. Lefty & Righty. And here he is in action. … Interesting bat being used by Nick Swisher. Anyone know what kind (or type) that is? (h/t Mike Knapp).

NFL/Football News: Miami Hurricanes football, who recently dumped Nike as their uni supplier, now have some under gear with the adidas logo. … “Someone just posted this on my high school class Facebook page,” writes Eric Bangeman. “It’s the 1984 edition of the Gateway Olympians. We were threatened by the USOC for using the Olympic rings in our logo, changing it on threat of litigation. Our school colors were orange and yellow, so those are yellow numbers with an orange outline you’re seeing. Home unis were solid orange. It was quite the color combo, but unique to us. Sometime in the mid-90s they changed to orange and black and have stuck with that.” In case you were wondering, here is what the home unis looked like. … Hmmmm. Is the shirt (and yes, he’s wearing a shirt, unlike in the many photos seen yesterday) Jim Harbaugh is wearing any indication that Michigan will go Nike? (nice spot by Brian Thomas). … Dirty McGirty notes the Rams are wearing Royal blue practice gear with old school logo, and asks, “Foreshadowing for uniform change?” … Looks like Adrian Peterson is now Under Armour (thanks, Paul). … Here’s an interesting Seattle hat (gotta be Seahawks, right?). Anyone ever seen this logo before (h/t Trent Daniel). (Apparently Allen Iverson used to wear one back in the day; via Ry Votro). … Tom O’Grady explains “In early ’90’s New Era worked w/Leagues to create unofficial headwear marks.” … Here is the Rockets version of that Seahawks hat. Kenny Smith’s sig is far L if that helps date it (from Jason Triplett).

NBA/Basketball News: Looks like we’re getting a look at the new adidas uniforms for Miami (who announced earlier they’d be dropping Nike as their supplier). H/T Joe Mueller. … Canes Cove likes his own concepts better.

Hockey News: Much has been reported recently about the Tampa Bay Lightning’s “ban” on opposing team colors, but a Chicago design firm may have found a way to get around Tampa Bay’s “playoff policy” banning Blackhawks apparel in certain sections of the Amalie Arena (thanks, Brinke). … If they’re putting ads on the World Cup of Hockey jerseys, are NHL jerseys next?

Soccer News: As some (many? most? none?) of you are aware, the Women’s World Cup kicks off this weekend, so here is a look at the uniforms of the USWNT. And here are some more. … Netherlands and the US played a friendly, and “I believe the Netherlands quit using this logo sometime between 2010 and 2014,” says Roger Smidstra. … From Kenny Loo, Here are the uni match ups for the group stages of the 2015 Copa America:
Group A: (Notes: Mexico BFBS); Group B: (Notes: CLASSIC BLACK SHORTS for Argentina at least for one match); Group C: (Notes: Everyone has announced new kits for the tourney except for Brazil).

Grab Bag: “I thought that as a journalist you might be interested to know the (Columbus) Dispatch was sold this week to a New York media company,” writes Jason Hillyer. “Another family-owned newspaper bites the dust.” … Ball State has updated their Cardinal logo (h/t Shawn Crull). … Interesting Yahoo article, “Did Yahoo Inappropriately Copy Designs by a Cult Graphic Artist?” (thanks, Marc Malfara). … Apparently there is now a controversy over the Oregon Ducks cheerleaders outfits, and it involves pom-poms and midriff tops (h/t Nik Streng).

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And that’s going to do it for today. Big thanks to Gene and Gary, and to everyone who tweeted or sent in submissions by the e-mail. Will we see the first Triple Crown Winner since 1978 today? Love to see it. Have a great Saturday everyone, and I’ll catch you guys tomorrow.

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.


.. … ..

“I am against all special causes, movie theme nights, etc., being promoted in the form of on-field uniforms and accessories. That includes GI Joke, Stars and Stripes, Pinktober, prostate cancer awareness, Earth Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Christmas uniforms, etc. Leave your Star Wars Night, Insert Charity Here Night here, Insert Charity There Night here, to souvenir equipment signed by the players and sold by auction or in the team gift shop.”

— Bob

Comments (51)

    Thank you Phil for finding this interesting enough to ask me to do a story… you were a pleasure to work with.

    I forgot to add there is an art show in Richmond Virginia at the ADA gallery running July 31-September 15 of electric football figures. My Anthony Carter as well as my AFL teams will be in this show, but there are tons of figures that will be on display. A guy names Chris Bopst in the hobby is putting it on and has been gathering figures from electric football figure customizers from around the country.

    Sensational stuff, Gene. I actually feel a bit sheepish for only showing your stuff in the Ticker in recent weeks — I’ve just had too much other content in the pipeline and have been too busy. I’m glad Phil picked up the ball and has given your work the proper showcase it deserves. Kudos to both of you!

    Thanks Paul…. no need to feel sheepish, i appreciated the ticker exposure as much as this story. it’s just nice to have a place to share this stuff where it’s as appreciated as much as it is here, and i thank you for the site.

    “I got lazy and only used GUD for the last couple teams. Well, they had the Americans’ blue jersey stripe pattern wrong.”

    Gene, I have to disagree with you there.
    Our 1974 Birmingham Americans blue jerseys do have two white stripes between 3 thin red stripes.


    Perhaps you looked at the 1975 Birmingham Vulcans who did have the reverse pattern on the blue jerseys’ sleeves.


    Nice job, though!

    Bill, you have no idea how much i wish that was true… then my Americans would be right….. here’s a link to a game photo of the Americans in their blue jerseys…. the stripes are 2 fat red and 3 thin white:


    i do love your site though…. that’s the only thing i’ve ever found wrong before…. it’s a great reference for me.

    i realize that doesn’t show the americans logo on the helmet, but it is them, not the vulcans…. the Sun didn’t wear that stripe configuration on their helmet in ’75….. but just in case, here’s a link to George Mira’s jersey, and he never played for the Vulcans.


    i do have a photo i can email if you’d like, that i downloaded but can’t find on google again, that has the americans playing the wheels (who only played in 74)where you can see the stripe pattern as well, and you can clearly see the americans logo. i thought if you wanted to see it to update it on your site you could.

    I like how he mentions that we were wrong but of course when he found the error he didn’t submit it to us to help make us correct (and by the way the World Football Uniforms aren’t part of the GUD, they are in the separate WFL UD).

    The GUD (and it’s affiliated sites) are only as good as the accuracy of us and the assorted community that checks us and makes us better. If we are at the point where the community (or a member of the UW community) has decided that we are “wrong” on something but doesn’t have any interest in help making us better, but would rather just mention in a UW write-up “that we were wrong, shouldn’t have been lazy and checked the pictures myself” than I guess the usefulness and purpose of the GUD as evolving reference tool that we all (the UW community as a whole) can be proud of has run it’s course.

    If instead of that it is looked at as ‘a quasi-reference tool that is probably mostly right, but you better not be lazy and check the pictures for yourself’ then we have failed.

    The GUD, that’s our new motto: “Helping people not be lazy since 2011”

    …and I appreciate that in the last two posts you have tried to show Bill the correction, I don’t mean to direct this entirely at you.

    I just mean that if the perception of the GUD is not as a reference tool that can be trusted, but as a guide that’s probably right but shouldn’t be relied upon as a source, then we have failed our mission.

    GUD guy, i’m sorry that i offended you guys… that wasn’t my intent. the reality is, we’re on a uniform site, and one of my teams was wrong…. it might be an obscure league, but the odds of someone noticing the wrong striping were not too bad, so i mentioned it. when i started the project, i referenced game pics (so i would get accurate facemasks on the guys as much as possible) and your site. all the way through i never found any inconsistancies…. so yes, i got lazy and took for granted that your site was correct across the board, and just started using your site near the end of the project. you’ve taken the word “lazy” too personally… i trusted you, and with good reason.
    that said, i was upset when i noticed it, but moved on to my regular day job the next morning, and i forgot to email you guys about it. i finished the project not long ago, and only tuesday of this week got asked to do a write-up…. i did it thursday night and sent it to Phil. i wrote it with the point about the americans included, again, because i felt there was a decent chance someone would notice the error. i haven’t been sitting on this nugget waiting to spring it on the world that you have an inaccurate uniform on your site… i simply forgot to email you. i do concede i should have found a better way to say it though. i apologize, and hope the above reference pics can help you make the changes. i stand by the fact that your site and all it’s branches are incredible, and should be used whenever possible, which i point out to guys in the hobby that paint. this was the only error i ever saw, and i study uniforms very closely. again, my apologies to you and the other gentlemen.

    I didn’t mean to imply we (or I, I should say) were offended… I certainly wasn’t, just pointing out that perception is reality, and if the perception, even if that was the only mistake ever found on our websites (which certainly isn’t the case, they are a work in progress, continually striving to be accurate, perfection unattainable)… if the perception is (whether by you or whoever) that our database can’t be relied upon when needed, then we have failed. The fact the you happened to come across the error is unfortunate and we appreciate the opportunity to now correct it in the database, but what we can’t correct is that your initial reaction (and rightly so, apparently) was that you shouldn’t have relied on our website in the first place.

    No, we’re not perfect and yes, any mistake we come across we’ll try to fix. But the fact is our websites aren’t perfect and never will be, there will always be something that can be fixed or improved upon.

    I guess that this does prove that our website shouldn’t be relied upon, and that means that yes we have failed in that our goal was to be a reference that someone (perhaps someone undertaking a project such as yours is the exact person our website is most targeted to) could go to it to find the definitive history of such uniforms.

    To that end we have failed. Maybe I’m too much of a perfectionist, but when it mattered, when our site was up at bat in the bottom of the ninth, down two runs, with the bases loaded, we swung and missed.

    Best DIY Project ever. Obsessive attention to detail is what makes it fantastic.

    Man oh man. Thanks, Gene, for taking us through your process! What fantastic work – it’s generous of you to share both your finished work and some insights into your techniques. I’ll try to get down to the Richmond show.

    I’m right there with everyone else! Bang up job! I’m afraid if you ever did the Arena Football league that no one would hear from you for years :)

    Thank you everyone…. it’s a great feeling to read all the comments…. this place is truly a home for people like us who nerd out on obsessing over details, and that’s exactly what i do when i paint and decal these guys. i figure if they can pass the muster here, then i did everything right :)

    Don’t feel like an ass The Jeff, because they are…. on purpose. Even though it doesn’t seem right, i tried to go as authentic as i could, which included the decals on the helmets… stripes and logos both… being darker than the jersey blue. different pics look inconsistent between day and night games, but most pics i found had the helmet decals darker than the jerseys. here’s a link to show what i mean:


    Great work, Gene! Always wanted to take on a project of this sort, but never seem to have the time. After seeing your results, I’m gonna find a niche and make time for it. Thanks for the inspiration!

    I found the game incredibly frustrating, so I walked away from it, but not from the figures.

    I hear ya. I walked away from it once, then got the painting bug and got into it again, only to walk away from it a second time. Now my teams are sitting around waiting to be repurposed. So many ideas, so little time…

    I don’t need my linemen any more, so if anyone can use them, let’s make a deal.

    It just occurred to me…Chicago has a rich uniform history in this sport. Fire, Blitz, Bears…is there another city that has so many great looking teams from so many different leagues? Throw in the Bruisers from the early days of the Arena League:

    Absolutely stellar work, Gene!

    Nice work.

    I honestly don’t care for electric football as a game, but I *really* enjoy looking at well-painted figures such as these. It all makes for quite an impressive visual spectacle.

    Gene you did a great job on the Bell helmets and even had the Liberty Bell crack going the correct way. Most people never even noticed this but about half of the Bell helmets had the crack facing the wrong way.
    I noticed this as a kid when I was wiping the helmets clean with Bob Cologna the equipment manager. I asked Bob about this and he told me the second order of decals came out backwards but he didn’t have enough of the correct ones and didn’t know when the new ones would arrive so some guys have the wrong crack on their Bell.
    He told me I was the first person to notice this that none of the players had.I went over to my father’s locker and told him what I had discovered, despite having an economics degree from Maryland the King was unable to follow the story, the decals all looked the same to him.

    That was my only complaint with Gene’s otherwise amazing project.

    I am a Charlotte native who happened to have been born in 1974 so I’ve always had a fascination with that team. I even found a WFL Charlotte Hornets t-shirt online.

    Interesting trivia: the New York Stars moved mid-season to Charlotte in 74 and played one game as the Charlotte Stars before becoming the Hornets.

    Charlotte made the playoffs that year but money was so tight they couldn’t afford to travel for the game, and were replaced by the Philadelphia Bell.

    Maybe…. I’m wanting to run with the 1974 teams as a league, but I could do the Hornets and Wings to add to them, as those 2 teams were not just duplicate cities of the 74 teams…. meaning the Birmingham Americans /vulcans, Portland Storm /thunder etc.

    Link for Basketball News: “Looks like we’re getting a look at the new adidas uniforms for Miami” reads “sorry, this page doesn’t exist”

    Link was there and working last night. Guess the guy deleted his tweet — sorry, I didn’t make a screen shot.

    Nick Swisher is using a Marucci bat (you can see the top of the “M” logo) in a lighter brown finish that shows some contrast.

    Here is a different photo showing the other side of the bat: link

    Three unrelated things:

    1. Watford’s nickname is the Hornets, although I can’t remember if the nickname came first, or the black and yellow color scheme. The red hart (which does look like a moose for some reason) is the symbol of Hertfordshire, where Watford is located. This follows two common patterns in English footbal: clubs frequently adopted elements of community crests as their emblem (Man City and Man United used to have remarkably similar logos, because both were adapted from the City of Manchester crest); and informal nicknames were often based on club colors (Blackpool, which wears orange, is known as “the Tangerines”, for instance).

    2. It appears that King Corcoran is the unofficial mascot of Weekend UniWatch, which I think is a fine thing, indeed.

    3. The best line in the wonderful WFL electroball story is “I organized the WFL better than it ever was in real life.” Brilliant!

    Jimmy Corcoran’s recollections of his father are my favorite completely unexpected aspect of Uni Watch.

    Thank you for that explination, Cort, about the crests vs nicknames. I should have put 2 and 2 as I have ventured through the different levels of play. I know it probably would have been extremely meta for Oxford United to call themselves the Oxen, yet I personally think with their crest it would have been fantastic! Plus, I think Oxen are vastly under represented in sporting mascots/nicknames.

    Great stuff Gene! These football players are absolutely amazing and I’m glad to see a longer feature today. Back in the ’80s I used to hand-paint Subbuteo players and it was a lot of fun and I can relate to your project, but your stuff takes it to another level.

    I would love to paint Subbuteo players, but man, are they small. I take the electric football guys, paint them like soccer players, then glue them into bottlecaps. They don’t curl the way a real Subbuteo player does, but they slide very well.


    Those figures are absolutely amazing works of art. Just reading the article brought back memories of snowy New England weekends laying on the floor having a electric football tournament.

    Side note on your boxes from the dollar store: Sorry I don’t know what they are used for either but, a couple of other folks and I, use what I think are the same type of boxes from our local dollar store to keep model railroad cars in. I get get anywhere from 2 to 4 cars in them with the padding and can label the outside of it so I can read what is in the box (much easier to read than the cases they came in).

    While $8439 for a bullpen car might seem like a bargain today, in 1979 a new full size sedan only cost about $2500. So in today’s dollars that bullpen car is more like $85,000. Doesn’t seem like such a good deal all of a sudden.

    Milwaukee Bucks uniform unveiling will be at approx. 2pm. I personally can’t wait.

    I’d rather they announce the arena deal at 2 pm so we can see these uniforms past 2016

    Regarding Uruguay in the Copa America, doesnt change kit, uses the same as last years world cup (puma)

    Re: the Pirates Turn Back the Clock uniforms- they wore them for one game last season.


    I don’t understand the neo-Irish Rainbow colors. What are the blue and the black in reference to? They seem kind of out of place in the green, white, and gold uniforms. Also in the photo sets for both the home and aways there is a close up of three really short stitched blue lines. Where is that and what’s it about?

    Really enjoyed seeing WFL players
    ….I was Birmingham’s radio pbp announcer in ’74 and ’75….Great memories…and your work is very accurate….

    Gene’s attention to detail is great! I like how he has almost no crowd in the stands, this was the case with the Bell. I have a picture of me as a ball boy against the Steamer in 1974 and there are only 750 people in the stands at JFK. It was like a scrimmage. You could hear everything the players were saying on the field.
    Some lineman kept saying King your a punk, I’m gonna kill you! My father said at the line of scrimmage right before he called signals “Are you shitting me? you can’t beat eggs!” not only were the Bell players laughing but some of the Steamer players were laughing too, The Bell lost that game but there was some crazy stuff that went on with my father on the sidelines. I may submit that story to Phil in the future

    Thanks Jimmy….. I love hearing your stories. That game you mentioned against the Steamer…. was that the game that was a crazy downpour? If memory serves, and it was just brought up again here recently in the ticker, that’s the game Rick Eber admitted in a Sports Illustrated article that he had tacks taped to his hands to help catch the ball because they “needed a win.” That’s a story that always stuck with me as well as a story about the Bell having to ride a school bus to the stadium, and the back door popping open and some players falling out…. at least I think it was the Bell. Man that game you mentioned would have been great to witness, huge stadium and no crowd, and hear all that stuff you mentioned :)

    Yes, that was the Rick Eber tacks game, I was standing right there when he was arguing with the ref. A photographer standing next to me asked me if he heard that right? that he had thumbtacks on his fingers? They looked like band aides to me but it happened right in front of the Bell sideline

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