06 June 2016

Maddening Payne Medieval Bliss


Back into it. Death is everywhere. I had finally catapulted into the TSPP restoration as my beautiful dog lay dying. It had been a bitter cold winter despite our Broncos' Superbowl victory. Old hips gave way fast to time and suddenly immobility stopped the tail wagging, despite the good barks and daily appetite. Willpower would have nourished his entire survival -true testament that a dog stands like a knight, happily fighting every moment without a care for "only the flesh wounds." They truly all have three legs and a spare. It's all about the madness of living that the game gets played --right 'til the last breath.

"I'm Django the big German Shepherd Dog, who the fWoOfck are you? mWoOF!"
King of Shepherds


The 2015 TSPP resto finally took my new shop's pinball cherry, and the space became comfortable and efficient for good work completed. Just like every game, burn-in testing is the best and I covet the game for days playing it with mad satisfaction when it's finally done. The Simpsons had to go back on location ASAP to earn some more bank for its new rubbers (and relieve the quarter-ops Space Shuttle that was pinch-hitting for it). Time to start working these PBM restorations from the top: queue the Medieval Madness into the new, comfy warm bay. This dude had been open going for -seriously- three years up at my warehouse space. I had tore into it there just as my ex hit me with the papers. Like some bombed castle maddening metaphor, my life started to look the same: all that junk had to come off to see how dirty the field really was, how many broken pieces there are, and how worn out this beautiful game was. Sure enough it was filthy and non-op --need just pay attention to all the details again and things will be right. As usual, clockwise from the left flipper, I had everything torn off back to the 3 pop bumpers. Ramps and pieces were detailed clean as they were removed and the nearby Counterforce PBM became the 'resto-table' for everything to put back whence the big jobs got done. I had to get an entire castle front-piece just to get the swinging door back on this game! Feck! Know what I'm sayin'? Restoration is CLEANING! Start disassembling just to clean it and a) you finally see the stuff that's broken in person and b) you break it cleaning it so must restore it before you continue; a simple formula, sometimes years in the balance before electricity is ever introduced again. Medieval polishing and dirty work --unless you have an intended sword to truly kill it, haste makes definite waste.

Long-open-project awaiting its parts and attention sits original N. location

Right, so it had begun February 2013, hauling back-box pieces back to my home shop/garage, where I was also busy digging mad through a STTNG. C'mon folks, this many vintage games, understand they are all on project phase all the time; I'd (labor to just) get them safely set somewhere to shop them for awhile, always thwarted by parts availability or whatever, ergo jumping around accommodating multiple restorations and as many games as possible simultaneously. Perhaps this is why my ex thought I'd become mad! lolol <wry grin>  METHOD & MADNESS! Listen, get here this far with this crazy many and you'll understand, otherwise stfu and stop asking so many mundane questions before consulting ur gugl. RTfM, K? Which reminds me too, see the picture, I slammed out an RFM playfield resto while I was at it.

O my blissful fresh setup and cool warm shop space gone..

To be clear: in 2013 I had my newly built home shop/garage. Like the 'clergy' influencing the King surreptitiously, the moat gets vastly murkier and the throne usurped by Her Majesty while the Dude honorably fights idiot hoards on his own lands' end. OMGWTFBBQme!

..e'er the other side ye see... WHAT is your name?

WHAT is your quest?

WHAT is your favorite color?

WHAT is the capital of Assyria?

WHAT is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

Anyway, the new shop let me tear into the STTNG setting nicely in warm safety (while playing the Embryon and Robotron every night), running to the MM 50 blocks away at the shop with the rest of the collection setting safely (a serious (stupid biz vent) man-cave away and another few nightmare/solace chapters altogether later nevermind). TWO shop spaces --yay! Anyway, as it always seems, life flashes your picture public while your pants are around your ankles. MEH. Shocked awake again, I at least persuaded her that with this much at stake and age, give me the benefit of moving out the STTNG in one piece rather than the few hundred little ones it was now benched. So I proceeded to tear everything I'd just built down and whittle it elsewhere safe, getting this mofo star trek pin flashing sweet clean playing gtfouttadodgeasap (if it's the last damn thing I take out of my beautiful new heated/cooled garage)!

It was the last thing I moved out after playing it like a madman all night when it was finished...

Fire the Cannons!

So is this post about MM, or STTNG?? Eat me, my point is I restored both and more under extreme duress and moved (300lb ea.) around multiple times all while fighting a ferocious killer rabbit! I still have them and both are now 100% restored gorgeous historic pinball machines. Funny how much work I got done, actually, so so many things just fast fixed so they could be accounted for quickly and made safe. HEH, the SQueEkY wheel gets the grease, non? <nudge nudge wink wink> Distressing damsels always detaining and diverting ...DAMNED! (Some other post ...NOT)!

"They took our pinball machines!"

Let's fast forward the troops a couple'o years past all the the bivouac stories and just go to the real battle: getting this rapscallion game to fight back for some fun. :-)

Queue the gathered parts all nicely organized ready, shrubbery in-hand and the cabinet safely set so, let's go! Ni! MY own great new space was now comfy and my grief was now every day ...soothing the worst of my pinball angst I will DO IT AT LAST!

A quick note about that shop bench there, see. That bench was dearly built in 2002 for my brick computer biz in Lakewood. I reinstalled it in my new home garage shop biz 2004, cutting it down perfect fit for that space. It received a building upgrade in 2013 so again got reinstalled sweet new space. Then again after the divorce, down it shuffled stored 'til I got this new garage 2014. Another setup here shown, it's still working hard MDF stacked to the gils with (too many) parts and projects, but the capacitors are in their drawers and the WESD51 has its space and things get done again. BTW, tool #1 in any of my shops is the stereo!

"It's not tragic, you have Merlin's magic!"

So here I am again seriously, all back to the 1 o'clock playfield tear-down. Zounds!

First thing to get this trebuchet wound again, put those new troll door graphics on and replace those two center targets, soldered-in solid with the posh backing foam: BAM! As well, get those restocked SuperBand post rubbers out and make a color choice; (black looks normal nice, purple is cool, but) RED matches the field base: BAM!

This is my first game to really need to repair all pop-bumpers --have to get a new tool. No way to fix these (and I have the 3 new purple skirt replacements) unless I can staple the exposed leads to the underside. Love it, KooL new TooL in hand (a shrubbery), I can pass! Like my Hakko 808, whence in the belt, ya wondere wtf ya been w'out 't!  ID 10 T  Stimpy!
Cannot you cut down the shrubbery with a herring?

PURPLE CAPS worn out filthy with thrashed bodies & mismatched skirts

I **noted something here: the metal ring had eroded holes into the plastic bumper body. It was obvious a razor edge 3x 4x 90˚each of the metal up-N-down was like a grinder --deep internal infestation! As I installed my new metal, I filed down round each 3, all 6 smoothed suspect edges, hoping they will not hack the new plastic housings like the originals. Just an FYI, as it's a LOT of work to get to the three bumpers located under ALL THE RAMP assemblies! Think and plan best you can, Sir Lancelot. I give you pictures for your quest, Tim the Enchanter web-reader, seek and ye shall finde hopefulle. Ye carved in mystic runes..follow, ye men of valor, doubt not your courage or y'er strengthe, behold ...

into it

Note the original ring and the sharp edges that carved these holes in each bumper body

rigid fresh successor and six-side-smoothed-n-ready rings on the ol' bodies

O my yummy! Now I want to play it! Adrenaline finish!

Violet PopBlasts (the website to the game is a long way)

strike the hammer while the iron is hot:  new 26-1200 coil and refreshed bracket/spring/yoke

Nothing works hot on top without a good wire connected underneath! And so it began, using this great new air tool that staples perfectly smooth flush, deep over a tangle of harness wiring. The leads for each bayonet light in the bumper body had to be secured away from each moving mechanism below. These flat wires remained stealthy flush out the underside when stapled tight: I placed shrink on the prepared/tinned wires, getting each pair (all 6) secure for battle.

3 new coils, wired lights, and solid brackets for refreshed bumping!

"There IS a DOORBELL!"

Mmmm ...catapult me into new territory! Nice to have these done, really, as they were the stopping point long ago, knowing I needed to get that tool first and so many multiple parts from many sources. Time.
Time Time ticking ...like sand in a glass, aye!

I had procured a few things for this machine (like the staple gun). One thing I had to get were a few LEDs (for many machines, keeping RGBW standard stock). begin rant/ I'll cite an earlier post I made here about how nuts it is IMO to buy 'kits' for whole LED upgrades. NOT crazy about losing the warm aesthetic of vintage incandescent machines, particularly where simple, bright, lights the already there great colors of the plastics. When I can though for the better, I shoot for an intuitive, homogenous taste catered to each PBM; continuity considered, specific placement for illumination, and keeping with overall game theme. There are far too many options for today's gamer --too much such that EM pins get hacked stupid bling and cool things get garish and sick. Upgrade these tasty pinball games with some reserved taste, pleasekthanks.  /end rant ANYway, I got one of those green flexi-direc-LEDs from cometpinball, yanked an old socket from some ol'thing, and wired it to the playfield GI --now the green moat has really cool green underglow!

OMG I have modded my game ... easy cool green moat

OK so I wanted to mention one more thing here about the green moat. Mine was battered broken and repaired by previous ops with hot glue. Good luck finding any replacement let alone removing it from the game. It made sense to me on this game to epoxy the breaks in place, like this photo here where the ball drops in behind the castle. The old ops glue was still working and I just bolstered it and repaired this critical back corner. Another hairline fracture I secured with a nice piece of tin tape --functions 100% and looks great unnoticed from above. Better to have it working than cracked getting worse irreplaceable thing.

L-restored  < FL-11626 >  R-original

L flipper clockwise rebuilt built back to the now-completed bumpers

This is the most fun, the homestretch after the big jobs are complete and the bulk of new #44s and rubbers are in. I make good habit of cleaning parts on immediate removal. Moving in sections, I stack the polished screws (yes indeed a detail here) and shined plastics aside until I can clean the playfield area and replace the lights. These 90s vintage games can have so many toys and parts I find it extreme (and stupid) to remove everything at once --simply too much to get shuffled wrong or lost. It's easy to just section any pinball field into quadrants, doing only 1 or 2 at a time. This MM is a story of a crazy section of my own castled-kingdom gone mad --I'm surprised I didn't lose something important while it was scattered in boxes moving around.

"Big deal! I have another one just like it down the road!"


OK, so I think I lost myself in ultimate pinball madness for about a solid week. Seriously.

I cannot even begin to express to you the satisfaction of this game and its 100 % 'ness.

I could not get enough of this game, loving pinball; it's legend for reason and you know when it gets you in flipping, er, hurling steel at castles. The theme is it --I think not a better metaphor made for flipping steel pinballs around. Classic in a classic game made classy classless priceless gas.

I feel lucky to have gotten a nice cabinet despite all the operational wear. By the time I have all this playfield done and electricity to it (backbox/DMD already years done), I Novus the entire thing and detail touchup all I can. It really starts when you get it, as all games are about condition, condition, condition. Nonetheless, the side graphics look great, it's just the front of the backbox that needs some new detail: insta-paint-room masking mastery!

Behold the Renaissance of Pinball!

Special Dragon Effects by:     Olaf Prot

Dragon choreographed by:     Horst Prot III

Dragon trained to solder and work complicated WPC95 code by:     Uncle Ernie Wigg

Large dragon on the right hand side of the pinball in the first scene, given a thorough grounding in Latin, French and 'O' Level Geography by:     Bo Benn

Suggestive poses for the dragon suggested by:     Vic Rotter

Wing-care by:    Liv Thatcher

Thank You:     Merle Z. Llama IX

12 July 2012

booJ aG ooG ooG ... toboR, I

Get in the Grid

It goes without saying sometimes. Urges to sink into it and let yourself go are always present. In the moments we get caught up in thinking about future things, we quite handily elude ourselves from being in the present. Gifts of reality and being become waste to time and senses dulled. Wherever you are, you are here.

I recently brought 2 amazing cabinets into the fold when wreaking some Havoc with my good Hawaiian friend. I'm super stoked to have these games. Late-generation Atari making good on where video gaming was heading. The cabinet style alone is an awesome step in evolution. Only a minimum of these games were produced as the arcades began dying out and the home cartridge put people on the couch.

The Naked Robot

So I have to make a roundabout story when explaining the significance of this post. A few weeks ago I soaked up some awesome audiophile setup with a good friend. We decided to steep our ears in an uncompressed perfect listen to the album, I, Robot by the Alan Parsons Project. I have been obsessed with this tune since that evening. I'm not sure if it was the literal games just coming in or the fact that this night my friend just pulled the album out of the random to impress my ears with bliss. Regardless, by the time I found the nice video with the apropos Japanese animation, I had the CD here to listen to through my Apple tree. I queue it up and I think about how I love to collect this vintage technology. Trust me, years from now when they look back on the origins, you'll see big, wooden games with art and innovation doing only one thing .. entertaining your brain with a simple game. Literally, we were standing up and associating with these newfound computers doing real-time visual things in COLOR! Blossoming Solid State circuitry and the Integrated Chip were transforming into true Processing and doing. Most importantly we were now i N t e R a C t i n G with it all. Like the rise of the desktop computers, our lives were merging the screened opiate into the world of one-on-one play. Starting with a simple tennis match on an oscilloscope we soon found ourselves touching virtual, video worlds through a start button. Joysticks, knobs, and balls we begin to fly through the scenarios, pitting 1-to-1 action with a ... program.

Sark would be proud. Hard to find the Trons or Flynns in this video game preservation. Commodities are continually battering the history --the wood is still getting chucked into the landfill. Gratefully, we have a dedicated group of people who continually offer their best skills and space to keep these things alive and thriving safely stored for the future. Kudos to U bros ... you're all my heros in this hobby.

Future Tense..
Perhaps in the mix here is the generation of a logo for this venture :/
Playful thought and timing decided the Quarter Byte logo you see: the marquees were staring right at my face with the idea!

You are an unhappy Interface Robot (#1984) in rebellion against "Big Brother" and his EVIL EYES. The evil eye dictates the law. The evil eye will kill you if it sees you breaking the law. Your mission is to destroy the evil eye.

01 April 2012

Effectuate Havoc

Major score

Sometimes U just have to bid and move - wreak a little cash and get what you want. Play your patience and perhaps you’ll get more than you bargained for (it always wins they say). Perhaps you’ll die trying. It’s OK, you certainly get at least a few free lives for your quarter. The moral is to keep trying ... keep pushing for the better score. Keep playing the game. Make as fast as you can back to your ship after you spin your damage - get in and get out. Wax-on, wax-off.

> > Game On! < <

30 August 2011

Knocked out! A Golden Era Gottlieb!

Brilliant Harry Mabs

Wow! From an 1982 Orbitor 1 to a 1950 Knock Out .. very cool. It’s been amazing to see the innovations on the play fields on these pieces just acquired. I purchased this from a gentleman who had found this in a pawn store, says he’d never seen anything like that before and just couldn’t resist the wow factor. He got his very first home standing game real quick-like after the store said “today only or the curb!” Thank his stars he wanted a project - an amazing great find.
D. Gottlieb & Co. dominated the 1950s pinball market - it’s why we know the name so well. Often referred to as the Golden Era, some truly inspiring innovations began in these years. We take it for granted today that the flipper had to begin with the 1st pin with one. Harry Mabs put a coil under such a flipper bumper and made it a reality in the famous Humpty Dumpty in October 1947. All of the technologies developed on the field to that point, such as the bumper itself, were perfectly complimented by this idea of ‘shooting it back up the middle’. Moving “from chance to skill”, the game seriously hasn’t looked back since the invention. Unlike the actual ‘pins’ that we see no longer, the flippers are now the real base of the pinball game.

So this is a December 1950, D. Gottlieb & Co.
Knock Out
Serial # 047946KO
The 28th pin made with the new flipper design from Harry Mabs, it’s famous for its manikin boxers inside a miniature playfield boxing ring. Please refer from Michael Shalhoub’s wonderful set of books, “The Pinball Compendium, 1930s-1960s” for more information. There’s also a great restoration page for this pinball @ Sands Mechanical Museum.

Not sure if you caught those #s: that was 28 pinball machines from October 1947 through December 1950 -one man at one Co.. Add Genco, Bally, Williams, and Chicago Coin to that 3 year tally and you would flip out! (And you thought they built games like crazy in the 1980s!)

Here are some ‘before’ pictures (having just set it up in my shop). I’ll update this as I can when restorations are completed. I’m just stunned at how cool this pinball is! Holding the wood rail and pressing the side buttons, gathering all the imagery that Roy Parker hits you with ...this will be a true joy to see working again!

Meantime here’s a nice game restoration walk-through. :)

28 August 2011

Roadtripping II

GTS-2/Game Transport Shuttle : 25CENT Arcade Express II

12 states - 3260 miles - 15 days - 11mpg - 9 games

Missions accomplished. Sometimes you have to just do it.

14AUG11 0900 MDT : I wish I could have left today -must get all this work/plan here done so I can be away so long.
(thinking I gotta stay back here already)
15AUG11 0430 MDT : an extra day to finish stuff here and pack smartly, get some rest. Early loaded with guitar and tools, hook the trailer up at the shop 10 minutes N and strap down the games. Grab a #3/coffee and hit the interstates’ sunrise somewhere in Nebraska.
(thinking I gotta get back here already)
15AUG11 0733 MDT : 89306, Sterling, CO $52.02
15AUG11 1217 CDT : 89517, Elm Creek, NE $75.20
15AUG11 1527 CDT : 89710, Omaha, NE $65.81
15AUG11 1827 CDT : 89863, Colfax, IA $51.80
15AUG11 2100 CDT : Calls fwd - got to get a room for safety’s sake tired - I’ll get there, Chicago, sometime before noon -- not in one-shot this time with the trailer.
15AUG11 2124 CDT : 90031, Geneseo, IL $61.24
(thinking I gotta get back home already)
16AUG11 1130 CDT : Chris! Great day conversing shops and games and all folks between. : ) Tapper is now -literally-on the tongue. 2x now, stunned collector comments ahead!
16AUG11 1849 CDT : 90172, Orland Park, IL $49.15
16AUG11 2250 EDT : 90349, Marshal, MI $50.93
16AUG11 2330 EDT : sleep Holiday Inn, Chelsea, MI.
(thinking I gotta get back home already)
17AUG11 1100 EDT : Shane! Thanks buddy .. good conversation the whole day with games and good time planning and chatting real-time. Thanks for picking up and holding onto these 2 games for me!
18AUG11 1400 EDT : check-in Detroit digs, drop T/Tranquility Base Arcade, contact friends Gratiot Ave, steak dinner & good beer, crash
19AUG11 1200 EDT : Bill! Killer BBQ lunch and greet .. back to Gratiot Ave for the pinball! : )
(thinking I gotta get back home already)

19 AUG 11 1800 EDT : Alan! Wow have we got a lot of catching up to do. Games are played and much is talked about and then midnight. May the force be with you!
20 AUG 11 1100 EDT : Bill! Ahhh the gameroom! Mad Planets and Q*bert, in the house! Thanks for picking up and holding on to the Food Fight. Awesome.
20AUG11 1641 EDT : 90576, Roseville, MI $65.83
21AUG11 0730 EDT : I-94.. I-75.. I-70.. I-44.. HWY43..
21AUG11 1046 EDT : 90777, Troy, OH $67.29
21AUG11 1354 CDT : 90985, Marshall, IL $66.48
21AUG11 1731 CDT : 91183, St. Clair, MO $63.96
21AUG11 2226 CDT : 91414, Joplin, MO $72.60
21AUG11 2330 CDT : Grove, OK .. drop T/CoC .. home by the lake. Lots to do.
26AUG11 2000 CDT : 150 miles rural hunting old pinball = success!
27AUG11 1045 CDT : 91668, Grove, OK $ 58.65
27AUG11 1055 CDT : home-packed Tundra move stuff shuffle loaded bed/trailer hitched/all strapped in tight.
27AUG11 1500 CDT : Brent! Tempest glass, KC. Awesome gameroom! Thanks for the time!
27AUG11 1620 CDT : 91843, Olathe, KS $69.39
27AUG11 2035 CDT : 92064, 237 HWY 232, KS $77.50
28AUG11 0000 MDT : 92276, Burlington, CO $ 83.04
28AUG11 0130 MDT : Deer Trail 50 miles shy rest stop safe sleep wacky nice to be back in the dry not humid breeze gonna close my eyes 20min sleep 4hrs surreal.
28AUG11 0530 MDT : curb landing and good doggie greetings! Kiss the wife. Tempur... . . . z z z
(thinking I’m glad I’m back home already)
29AUG11 1400
29AUG11 2100 MDT: ...steep in good ale, play home pinball gems, comfy digs with the wife. Home.


“For it is in giving that we receive... it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” -a prayer of St. Francis

For Bob & Elaine