1951 Gottlieb Mermaid
Been off Pinside for several weeks as the last few months have been very busy with personal affairs (collecting grandkids), work and with the hobby.
Made several complicated trade/sell/buy arrangements that involved a total of 9 different machines with 4 different pinheads dealing among ourselves. Bottom line for me was 7 of my machines leaving the stable and 7 new ones entering.
My collection which was primarily a blend of wedge heads and woodrails is now almost exclusively woodrails.
The ’51 Mermaid is a game that I have seen and played years ago, but a tough one to find and rarely becomes available. Even though it was on my short list to find one, I didn’t have much confidence that I would encounter one that was worthwhile. Interestingly, I knew of several in private collections and fortunately, the timing was such that this one surfaced when we were in discussions.
There’s not much information that I was able to research on the game as the Compendiums and guides have limited detail. The best published information for me was part of Clay’s site, wherein he details the restoration of his. In that regard, I’m appreciative of his experience and suggestions. Thank you, Clay. Additionally, I’m appreciative of the technical assistance from Russ/Pinrescue, who had restored a Mermaid previously and was able to help me get this one working as it should.
The game had been in storage for several years prior to my getting it and the seller was forthright to send pix of the game showing that there was a need for extensive shopping and work ahead of it. On the positive side, of course, is a game with a solid, but worn (very acceptable) cabinet, a wonderful original glass (small flake near the clam on the bottom and some other minute ones), an expertly and minimally touched up playfield with unmolested original graphics, coin box, original schematic, period correct legs and levelers, working low play game counter, no hacks. Only material flaw with the game was a missing 10,000 bell, which is very common for games of this era where they routinely fell off, but fortunately I had an extra one from a different game and that elusive bell is functioning as it should. The animation wasn’t working, but simply needed some oiling and a few new springs….
Really minimal work to get it up and going, all steppers freed up easily, playfield polished up beautifully and it is playing and scoring as it should.
So, my $0.02 - game is a lot more fun than originally thought. I would venture to say that anyone who opines about poor game play hasn’t played one that is is hitting on all cylinders. Game play is challenging with all pops and slings working, bonus working, animation working, etc., and really is a game that brings a smile. Can readily see why the few survivors have extensive playfield wear, but don’t understand why Gottlieb made a limited number of the game.
As with all my games that are under service contract with Pinrescue, a shout out to Russ for his assistance with them, and for hosting the videos that I make of the games. Want to also thank my son, Dan, who composed the music for the video.