(Topic ID: 282311)

Abra Ca Dabra

By leckmeck

11 months ago


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  • 55 posts
  • 11 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 months ago by stashyboy
  • Topic is favorited by 9 Pinsiders

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Abr Ca Dabra Fingers (resized).jpg
right-cabinet-repair.jpg
Wizard Arm Perpendicular (resized).jpg
Wizard Hand Detail (resized).jpg
ACD Puzzle (resized).png
Webbing (resized).png
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Aged Label (resized).jpg
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Coin Door (resized).jpg
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There are 55 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
#1 11 months ago

A lucky turn of events in the last week has made this Abra Ca Dabra my next project. It’s a fairly clean and low-miles example, but it will need some detailing to earn the Wade Krause playfield it’s getting. I foresee a considerable amount of work ahead of me, but Abra is a classic wedgehead with one of Gottlieb’s very best art packages. It’s worth it.

IMG_7954 2 (resized).JPG
#2 11 months ago

This game is mostly clean, except for the lightbox; a fair amount of filth has invaded this area because the back door was missing. The worst part is the moldy, dirty spotting that looks like a rash along the bottom. Yuck.

Magic Eraser mitigated the worst of it without removing factory marks. It looks much better now, but I should have worn goggles and a mask. The fine ME particles floated up into my eyes and lungs. Very irritating stuff.

Lightbox Spots (resized).jpg

#3 11 months ago

The dark and ragged plywood edge on the lightbox opening looks like bone marrow! A little paint makes it look a whole lot nicer.
Lightbox Opening Plywood Edge (resized).JPG

#4 11 months ago

The lightbox on this machine is in really good shape. The stencils and base coat are largely intact. No major blemishes or scratches on them, so I will not have to touch them up.

There are a few corners and edges, however, where the base coat has rubbed or flaked off. These spots were filled with acrylic paint using a detail brush, then feathered over the top using an airbrush, which helps the new “base coat” blend in. Afterwards I used a paperclip to lightly etch away the acrylic paint that covered the webbing. That makes these repairs blend in even more.

Before
After

#5 11 months ago

Here’s another spot that needed a little help.

Before
After

#6 11 months ago

You can get a better idea of the soft, fuzzy edge where the feathering begins and ends by examining the airbrushed area at an acute angle. You won’t be able to see this after it’s been clearcoated, which will protect the repairs and make them virtually inconspicuous.

Lightbox Feathering (resized).jpg

1 week later
#7 10 months ago

The coin entry plates were pretty crusty with decades-old soda, but they cleaned up well. It’s nice to have an original set because the reproductions sold by PBR are gray-white, which I don’t like.

I’ve only seen this style of coin sticker (black on red) pictured in Gottlieb’s game flyers. None of my other games have them—and you can’t buy them from PBR—so I polished them up.

Coin Plates (resized).JPG
1 month later
#8 9 months ago

This looks like a great project. It’s great how you throttle your approach depending on the game. There’s an Abra in my area in decent condition- tempting, but I just threw down for a Melody and need to lock off the classifieds for a while. Leckmeck, what’s your philosophy on painting the inside of the cabinet? I’m trying to decide whether my upcoming 2001 paint job should extend to the inner cab, particularly the portions of the sidewalls visible above the playfield. Right now I think it looks fine, so I’m leaning toward leaving that part original.

#9 9 months ago
Quoted from calla76759:

This looks like a great project. It’s great how you throttle your approach depending on the game. There’s an Abra in my area in decent condition- tempting, but I just threw down for a Melody and need to lock off the classifieds for a while. Leckmeck, what’s your philosophy on painting the inside of the cabinet? I’m trying to decide whether my upcoming 2001 paint job should extend to the inner cab, particularly the portions of the sidewalls visible above the playfield. Right now I think it looks fine, so I’m leaning toward leaving that part original.

My last several cabinet restorations were manicure jobs where I kept as much original paint as possible. A couple of spots that were bare wood on the inside were touched up, but 98% of the paint is factory.

On the two games I did a total repaint, the insides were also redone as closest to factory as I could muster. I sprayed the top half or so and feathered down. This was done so they matched the overall “newness”. Had I not done this, the yellowed layer above the playfield line would have bothered me.

Envious of your Melody project! It (or Sing Along) is the one ’60s GTB wedgehead I still want to pick up. A friend of a friend has one in his parents’ basement he said I could buy, but the circumstances have not been right to get ahold of it.

Has it really been almost two months since I posted here?! Good grief. A work deadline made me stop this project dead in its tracks. My shop is in total disarray. Tools and parts all over the bench. Paint mixes in little vials scattered about. Air brush and heat gun sitting on the floor. It looks like I died suddenly in December.

1 week later
#10 8 months ago

New plywood lip at the front. The old one was mostly gone.

IMG_8127 (resized).JPG
#11 8 months ago

Unfortunately, ACD is one of the victims Gottlieb experimented on using chipboard for the bottom panels. In the worst cases, water damage will turn this panel into oatmeal. In lesser cases, it just crumbles along the edge. This ACD wasn’t too bad in this regard, but one of the corners was missing several large chunks. A router was able to clear out a straight edge against which I affixed a strip of wood that will serve as a brace.

IMG_8129 (resized).JPGIMG_8130 (resized).JPGIMG_8131 (resized).JPGIMG_8136 (resized).JPG
#12 8 months ago

Everybody seems to hate the half-moon credit unit, but rehabilitating this one didn’t give me much grief. I think its bad rep is because you can’t really operate them with your hands. If it weren’t for my score motor testing station, I’d probably be in a bad mood right now.

The metal in this game is clean enough, so I am not going to polish it to a fare-thee-well like I did with my last project. It’s too much work for things you never see.

half-moon (resized).jpeg
#13 8 months ago

I really enjoyed your last restoration project and can’t wait to see this one. I also learn something else I can do to my restorations from your work.

Thanks for posting!

Alberto

#14 8 months ago
Quoted from Peruman:

I really enjoyed your last restoration project and can’t wait to see this one. I also learn something else I can do to my restorations from your work.
Thanks for posting!
Alberto

You’re welcome, Alberto! It’s gratifying to hear my posts are helpful to you. I hope your Domino project turned out well. Are you working on anything right now?

#15 8 months ago

Domino came out nice, thank you, here is the post I created on the finished product:

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/bringing-back-a-gottlieb-domino

Domino is not quite done yet. Waiting for the roto-target decals. I also bought and have been playing around with an airbrush to learn to touch-up the missing parts of the backglass. If I feel brave, I might re-fresh the playfield and clear coat it - but that's way out of my comfort zone.

Taking a break from EM's right now. Doing a playfield swap on a friend's Diner. After that, I have 2 EM projects in storage. A '63 Big Deal and a Solids & Stripes.

I look forward to seeing your progress on Abra-Ca-Dabra.

Alberto

1 week later
#16 8 months ago

The pedestal had badly flaking paint, so I stripped and re-sprayed it.

Pedestal Prep
Pedestal Done

#17 8 months ago

Here are the ingredients for matching ACD’s maroon red color:

• Americana Primary Red
• Americana Tuscan Red
• Americana True Red

Mix to match your cabinet.

IMG_8218 (resized).JPG

#18 8 months ago
Quoted from leckmeck:

Here are the ingredients for matching ACD’s maroon red color:
• Americana Primary Red
• Americana Tuscan Red
• Americana True Red
Mix to match your cabinet.
[quoted image]

When you touch-up the cabinet, do you spot spray or do you cover the entire section?

#19 8 months ago
Quoted from Peruman:

When you touch-up the cabinet, do you spot spray or do you cover the entire section?

I usually respray the entire stencil shape.

1 week later
#20 7 months ago

Yellow/orange is a bugger of a color to replace. It just has no opacity. It took a lot of prep work and many coats with the airbrush to achieve these meager results.

That’s hand-drawn webbing (using a pencil) in the upper right corner. Turned out OK.

Shooter (resized).png

#21 7 months ago

If you look at the IPDB, there are some ACDs that had their gold stencils upside-down when the factory sprayed the front of the cabinet.

Mine is one of them, so I fixed the mistake.

IMG_8257 (resized).jpg
#22 7 months ago

Very nice work!

#23 7 months ago

Did you use a thinner in the Americana paint to spray it?

#24 7 months ago
Quoted from mrm_4:

Did you use a thinner in the Americana paint to spray it?

You can buy airbrush medium at some hobby stores, but lately I’ve been using just distilled water.

#25 7 months ago

Nice light touch on the stencils. And way to go correcting the mirroring error. A few passes and *abra ca dabra*!

Do you plan to clear coat the whole cabinet when done w the touch-ups?

This airbrush work is like a QB sneak compared to a full repaint. Looking forward to what’s next!

#26 7 months ago
Quoted from calla76759:

Nice light touch on the stencils. And way to go correcting the mirroring error. A few passes and *abra ca dabra*!

It actually took *dozens* of passes!

Quoted from calla76759:

Do you plan to clear coat the whole cabinet when done w the touch-ups?

Yes, I do. I like to have a consistent and continuous sheen with few irregularities that are owed only to wood grain, crazing, and other imperfections inherent in the original finish.

The discrete approach with the airbrush is awfully tedious, but I like how it preserves the patina and illusion of originality.

#27 7 months ago

After clear-coating the front, I slapped some hardware on to see how things are shaping up. Unfortunately, it appears this game spent a long time on the wrong size legs because the nice 31" ones it is getting do not completely obscure the damaged and unfaded areas underneath. As a rule, I rarely bother with fixing anything that is obscured by hardware, but the correct hardware won’t hide this ugly stuff. Disappointing. I hate backtracking after putting on the clearcoat.

IMG_8276 (resized).JPGIMG_8277 (resized).JPGIMG_8278 (resized).JPG
#28 7 months ago

Bummer. Sure is a close call, though. One could always use those plastic leg protectors to pad the footprint of the legs a bit. But I say that knowing full well that the rest of your collection doesn’t use those, and that you would never settle for such half-assery.

#29 7 months ago

Regarding the number of passes it took to get coverage: I have been re-reading vid’s guides and he seems polemically opposed to craft paints, favoring createx airbrush paints instead because they have better pigment/coverage. Have you explored that route? I know you tend to buy a near-match craft paint and tune it for your application, which is the Clay approach. Vid’s approach is somewhat scary because it requires mixing with basic primary colors. My paint matching skills are probably at a 2nd-grade level. Anyway curious to see what you think.

#30 7 months ago
Quoted from leckmeck:

Unfortunately, it appears this game spent a long time on the wrong size legs because the nice 31" ones it is getting do not completely obscure the damaged and unfaded areas underneath.

It seems like at some point someone mentioned the reproduction legs are slightly narrower than originals. That would make sense in this case.

With that said, I'm continually impressed and envious of your restoration skills. I love how guys like you and Stashyboy can take a less than perfect original cabinet and make it look like an exceptional original cabinet.

#31 7 months ago
Quoted from AlexF:

It seems like at some point someone mentioned the reproduction legs are slightly narrower than originals. That would make sense in this case.
With that said, I'm continually impressed and envious of your restoration skills. I love how guys like you and Stashyboy can take a less than perfect original cabinet and make it look like an exceptional original cabinet.

I did not know this fact. Sure enough, I dragged out an original set of 31" legs and they cover the damage perfectly. I just need to cobble together a decent set from my crusty, rusty pile and give them a little Evapo-Rust love. Thanks for the tip, Alex! Saved me a bunch of grief.

Monarch of the Sea

#32 7 months ago
Quoted from calla76759:

Regarding the number of passes it took to get coverage: I have been re-reading vid’s guides and he seems polemically opposed to craft paints, favoring createx airbrush paints instead because they have better pigment/coverage. Have you explored that route? I know you tend to buy a near-match craft paint and tune it for your application, which is the Clay approach. Vid’s approach is somewhat scary because it requires mixing with basic primary colors. My paint matching skills are probably at a 2nd-grade level. Anyway curious to see what you think.

I fought with craft acrylic gold/yellow ten years ago on my first project. I think I shot 60 coats to build enough opacity to obscure a bunch of damage on a 3 Jokers playfield. Of course, that made the gold area on the playfield higher than the surrounding areas, so I had to level things with clearcoat. It was the worst ordeal.

I tried Liquitex instead of Americana for this project. Same feeble pigmentation struggle! Vid’s probably right. I should look into Createx. Mixing to match will be more of a challenge (and more expensive) but will probably be worth it in the end.

#33 7 months ago

The coin door is all done and looking good.

Coin Door (resized).jpg
#34 7 months ago

My previous Abra Ca Dabra project came with a nice original backglass, which I kept for this project. Unfortunately, it also has an old Triple Thick job that wasn’t masked, so there is a wavy refraction effect when you look through the windows for the score reels and replay unit. The Triple Thick is now old and brittle, so you have to score it with a hot knife before scraping it away with an X-ACTO blade. If you don’t score it, the backglass ink comes off in chips with the Triple Thick. I learned this the hard way and had to touch up some keylines around the half-moon unit. It took 90 minutes just to do this one area, so each of the score reel windows will probably take an hour apiece. I’ll have to break them up across multiple sittings. It’s intensive work wearing a magnifier head set. Hard on the eyes.

IMG_8309 (resized).JPG

#35 7 months ago

Since I can’t use the reproduction 31" legs because they are too narrow, I went digging through my pile to find a decent original set. Turns out the legs that came with the game only had light surface rust, which was easy to do away with.

IMG_8312 (resized).JPG
#36 7 months ago

Following! You always do such great work! Looking forward to seeing the bar raised once again.

2 weeks later
#37 6 months ago

All the relays and steppers in the lightbox are cleaned and rehabilitated. I glued back the original labels, but a couple of them are missing, so I used leftovers reproduced for my last project. They looked too clean compared to the original labels, so I rubbed my dirty fingers over the top, singed them with a soldering iron, and doused them in coffee. Now they look nice and crummy!
Aged Label (resized).jpg

1 week later
#38 6 months ago

I’ve scanned the stencils on the lower cabinet so I can trace them and cut masks for the airbrushing work I need to do.

It’s very interesting what is revealed when looking at the cabinet with this level of detail. The webbing in the first picture is not really black at all. It looks likes clear lacquer that has been mixed with some kind of solution. It has an almost sedimentary-like appearance. Is this the result of the lacquer solution not being properly mixed before spraying? Or too much dilution? Evidence of cost-saving measures? Operator error? Can webbing fade? Who knows.

Elsewhere on the cabinet, however, the pigment of the webbing is much darker. It still looks a bit watered down. See the second picture.

Getting webbing to look factory-like is one of the more devilish details to get right on total repaint jobs. Often it looks too heavy because most canned solutions come out in dense globs that are jet-black. That doesn’t compare favorably to webbing that is very fine and wispy or because it has the kind of diffuse pigmentation in the first picture.

The next time I undertake a total repaint job, I might try to recreate this style of “diluted webbing.”

webbing (resized).pngWebbing (resized).png

#39 6 months ago

All the stencil shapes have been traced in Illustrator and are ready to cut.

A couple of the shapes are too wide or too long to fit the 12×24 limitations of my plotter, so they had to be sliced. It’s a bit of a puzzle now.

ACD Puzzle (resized).png
#40 6 months ago
Quoted from leckmeck:

I fought with craft acrylic gold/yellow ten years ago on my first project. I think I shot 60 coats to build enough opacity to obscure a bunch of damage on a 3 Jokers playfield. Of course, that made the gold area on the playfield higher than the surrounding areas, so I had to level things with clearcoat. It was the worst ordeal.
I tried Liquitex instead of Americana for this project. Same feeble pigmentation struggle! Vid’s probably right. I should look into Createx. Mixing to match will be more of a challenge (and more expensive) but will probably be worth it in the end.

It's not always the brand of paint when it comes to pigment loads... surprised you had issues with Liquitex, as that's right up there with Createx for quality. Yellow and yellowish colors, no matter what the brand, have a tough time with coverage in my experience. I'm a big Createx guy... switched from Americana and all those other 99c brands a long time ago... some of the colors are decent, but why screw around?

#41 6 months ago
Quoted from leckmeck:

I’ve scanned the stencils on the lower cabinet so I can trace them and cut masks for the airbrushing work I need to do.
It’s very interesting what is revealed when looking at the cabinet with this level of detail. The webbing in the first picture is not really black at all. It looks likes clear lacquer that has been mixed with some kind of solution. It has an almost sedimentary-like appearance. Is this the result of the lacquer solution not being properly mixed before spraying? Or too much dilution? Evidence of cost-saving measures? Operator error? Can webbing fade? Who knows.
Elsewhere on the cabinet, however, the pigment of the webbing is much darker. It still looks a bit watered down. See the second picture.
Getting webbing to look factory-like is one of the more devilish details to get right on total repaint jobs. Often it looks too heavy because most canned solutions come out in dense globs that are jet-black. That doesn’t compare favorably to webbing that is very fine and wispy or because it has the kind of diffuse pigmentation in the first picture.
The next time I undertake a total repaint job, I might try to recreate this style of “diluted webbing.”
[quoted image][quoted image]

The last repaint I did, I mixed Montana Marble effect silver with Montana black webbing into a touchup gun, set wide open with low pressure. mixture with a capful of lacquer thinner. Seemed like a pretty good match for the early 60s game.

#42 6 months ago
Quoted from stashyboy:

The last repaint I did, I mixed Montana silver in Montana black webbing into a touchup gun, set wide open with low pressure. mixture with a capful of lacquer thinner. Seemed like a pretty good match for the early 60s game.

Great idea. Similar to how I did it back a while ago... used silver and black

Quoted from stashyboy:

The last repaint I did, I mixed Montana silver in Montana black webbing into a touchup gun, set wide open with low pressure. mixture with a capful of lacquer thinner. Seemed like a pretty good match for the early 60s game.

Good call... I used a similar approach with silver and black lacquer paint acquired from a place that makes specialty lacquer for arrows and shot with a gun... you can get close by experimenting with PSI and other adjustments. It's worth it when you get it close... sure beats the novice webbing out of a can.

#43 6 months ago

I've found that the Montana Marble effect is pretty close to efficient, but has an uncontrollable amount of opacity/lightness in the black. For Abra, it looks like you could be spot on with using their silver pigment (maybe then with a light mist of white coated over it).

Not the most precise suggestion, but it might get you closer to that original look.

#44 6 months ago

I resprayed the wizard’s arm this afternoon. You can see there is a pretty bad scratch through his spell-casting fingers that have crude touch-ups.

Before
After

#45 6 months ago

Really nice work, that looks fantastic... I like how your touchup sheen is spot on, well done!

2 months later
#46 4 months ago

There were a couple of deep scratches that ran down the middle of the right side of the cabinet. It was a bear to fix. This side-by-side, before-and-after picture collage is fairly high resolution, so you can use Pinside’s magnifier view to really see how bad things were.

I just need to correct some egregious overspray at the bottom around the wizard’s hand. There’s just too much.

right-cabinet-repair.jpg
#47 4 months ago

Awesome work!

1 week later
#48 3 months ago

The gratuitous overspray has been fixed. You can see where things began, where I went too far, and how things turned out. Now it’s time to lock this side down with some clearcoat.

Abr Ca Dabra Fingers (resized).jpg
#49 3 months ago

What is your preferred clearcoat?

#50 3 months ago
Quoted from FlipperFanatic:

What is your preferred clearcoat?

Lately I’ve been using this.

pasted_image (resized).png
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