Want a Mata Hari for nothing?

Want a Mata Hari for nothing?

By crashpad

November 20, 2016

1 year ago

This story starts out being about a fellow Pinsider who did me a solid and turns into picking up a free game...

It all started about two months ago when Captive_Ball graciously reached out to me about a Freedom EM that was on my wishlist he’d seen on craigslist in his area. He lives in Houston, me in Tempe, Arizona, and offered to buy the pin and deliver it for a little gas money, stopping by to deliver it on the way out to Las Vegas for a family vacation.

I had him buy it, and took delivery last Wednesday. Despite knowing next to nothing about EM repair, I love the theme and figured it would be a great way to learn about pin restoration and repair. Since he contacted me, I've been listening to the EM Bingo and Pinball Podcast's back catalog, trying to get some knowledge under my belt about EM games. Currently, I only own SS games, and they have all come to me already fixed and restored. Thanks Captive_Ball!

Fast forward to earlier in October. I’d done an interview for our company newsletter on the subject of hobbies our employees have after work that are unique, mine being a pinball collector, and others at my company who also collect, and how we are planning a league of our own to have monthly pinball meetups to play. The article was published this week, and my sister, who scrapbooks, also works at a print shop. She was running a few copies, and the owner read the story and told her he had a Mata Hari SS he’d bought twenty years ago for $50 for one of his earlier print shops sitting in his garage, and asked if I would want it. For free.

I dropped the mic on that one. Told her to text him I’d come pick it up today (Saturday morning). We arranged it, and I went out there with a CR–V for pick up, figuring we’d unbolt the head and put it in the SUV. Turned out he didn’t have the key to the head, and had to leave on an errand. We took it out of the garage and planted it in front of his SUV and covered it with a couple mover's blankets. Next idea was to take the legs off and renti an open bed truck from Home Depot to take it home in.

Instead, I called a neighbor who has a truck and lives in my neighborhood. He also works at the same company I do , and had read the hobbies at home article. Turns out he’s had an F-14 Tomcat all along. He went with me for the pick up, and with the help of my Harbor Freight lift table, we got it into his truck. He had 53 inches available in the bed of the truck, and the box measured 52. Snug fit, but worked fine.

Got it home, and turned it on. It’s got a few issues I can see, but nothing major, this being said without having seen the boards yet. Flippers are dead, the player 4 scoring module is missing, and player 1 and 2 only partially work. The displays flicker, with only parts of the numbers readable. There are a few wear spots on the playfield, but it isn’t entirely blown out, like some MH’s I’ve seen. The backglass is near-perfect and includes the inscription on the dagger. Cabinet is only minor dirty, no real scuffs or faded paint at all. A few of the plastics are warped from heat damage, but they're all good otherwise.

Probably going to drill the lock to get into the back box, then put a new lock in afterwards. It came with the schematics, coin box, and is a find for me. and all for no money. Hopefully I can get it up and running for I’m guessing about $500. It was really exciting to have a wishlist game come to me out of nowhere. Two pins in the same week. Not bad, eh?

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1 year ago
Not bad at all. When I pick up a machine I usually replace the front lock with a new key entry and replace the back box one with a turn key so I don't have to worry about getting the key to make quick adjustments. Particularly with back boxes which open forwards. Good luck with the game!
1 year ago
That is a great looking game, awesome find. I bet you can have that up an running for pennies.
1 year ago
Thanks for the suggestion about the locks Matesamo – great idea, I'll have to do that myself.
1 year ago
1 year ago

1 year ago
Speed wheels!
1 year ago
Nice! I loved Mata Hari when it came out, it seemed so fast and challenging at the time, and that art work...wow! It is on my wishlist as well......one day I'm sure I will locate a nice one.

Well done....it's our job to keep these old machines alive and kicking!
1 year ago
Captive_Ball is an awesome guy. I purchased his HUO Metallica from him last year. Could not have dealt with a nicer person.
1 year ago
Nice story!
1 year ago
Love stories like this, super cool.
1 year ago
Great story. "Mata Hari" is one of only two SS games I own, all the others are EM. It's a great playing and super looking game.
1 year ago
Pinsiders are some of the nicest people out there. It never fails to impress me. So cool to hear a story like this.
1 year ago
Mata-hari for nothing.... chicks for free.
1 year ago
Many enthusiasts start their introduction though this same process via benefit from another collector.
Unfortunately, it does not happen as often as it used to as many collectors are wary of "flippers" and do not feel like participating.
It is hard to find "proteges" that are willing to learn how to restore games, which ultimately is the lifeblood of the hobby, and the true means for the industry to survive during hard times.
It is called "passing the torch".

Good fortunate on your restoration efforts.
The journey will be a memorable one.
1 year ago
Congratulations! Awesome find man! The silver ball karma is rolling around your way for sure!
1 year ago
Congrats. MH is a great game.

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