Care and Feeding of your Sonar Sub Hunt Game

Updated September 12, 2018

How do you take proper care of these things?

Here are some comments and suggestions.

All in all, these games are quite durable and are able to stand the test of time.
With proper care, your game should still be around for your grandkids to play with.

Basically speaking, your only real concerns in caring for your game are cleaning and storage.


Cleaning focuses on three main areas. The game board, the grid covers, and the box.

Cleaning the Game Board

Fourty years of time can leave a lot of dirt and grime on your game board. Most of this can be easily removed with a mild cleaner and some elbow grease. I commonly use Windex to clean old games with a lot of dirt, and it does the trick in most cases. Care must be used so liquids do not come in contact with the electronics of the game. Do not immerse the game in water or any other liquid. Solvents or other strong cleaners may damage the plastic surfaces. To remove dirt from the recesses inside of the board, I recommend using a vacuum cleaner and a small, dry paintbrush.

Often you will find waxy residue from the grid markers in various places of the game board. The best method I have found is to wipe off as much as you can with a dry paper towel, and then finish the job with your mild cleaner. Remember, wax repels water, so don't expect wax to be removed with any liquid cleaner.

Once the game is well cleaned, it should not require it again for a long time if it is properly stored.

Click for full size pic

Click for full size pic
Cleaning the Grid Covers

Here is where you need to be very careful. The grid covers have to be cleaned after every game and their design and construction are not as strong as they could be. Cleaning wax left from the grid markers may require some degree of downward pressure, and the covers do not have any real support when they are in place.

I strongly recommend carefully removing the covers from the game board and placing them on a folded cloth on top of a flat surface for cleaning. The hinges have small ridges which extend below the main surface of the cover, and too much downward pressure can cause breakage.

Marks from the grid markers should be removed with a dry soft cloth and gentle pressure. Use a mild cleaner only if absolutely necessary. Care must be exercised to prevent scratching.

This is also a good point to touch on choosing the proper type of grid markers.
Please refer to the "Grid Marker" section for more info.

You should also consider how you mark the covers during game play. Cleaning the cover in the corners where the flat bottom meets the raised grid lines is always the most difficult. Try to use smaller marks that do not get residue in these corners, and you will have a much easier time with your cleaning.
Cleaning the Box

If your box is in good condition, it should require very little care aside from proper storage. If it has accumulated some degree of dirt, you can try wiping it off with a slightly damp cloth or paper towel. If your box has stains or soiling, you are probably best off to just let it be and avoid the possible damage that may occur with attempts at cleaning. Remember, it's only cardboard.


Your primary enemies are HEAT and MOISTURE.

Heat causes the grid markers to bleed wax and oil, and this will stain the box and instruction booklet. Attic storage is NOT recommended.

Moisture will stain the box and instruction booklet, but more importantly it can cause corrosion and even rust to form on the metal and electronic parts. These problems are not easy to fix, so try to prevent them and you'll be much happier. Moisture can also permit the growth of mold and mildew on the box, and there is no way to remove them.

The box takes most of the punishment with this game. In making the box top a display panel, Mattel significantly reduced its strength so you must be sure not to place too much weight on top of it. I have seen games where the top has been pushed in and this caused damage to the grid covers.

So, store your game like a bottle of wine. Keep it in a cool, dry place that is also free of dust and dirt, and place it on the top of its stack of stuff.

One last thing.

On the off chance that your game still has one of those non-alkaline batteries from the 1960's or 70's, get rid of it fast! Giving it a decent burial in the recycling bin is the best thing you can do with it.

Feed your game fresh, alkaline batteries and both of you will be pleased with the results.

Copyright © 2018
Jeff Popp
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Copyright © 2000
Jeff Popp

Sonar Sub Hunt ™ 1961
Mattel Inc.