(Topic ID: 142850)

Aged Style Restoration


By Gerrard17

3 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 29 posts
  • 19 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by swampfire
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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    #1 3 years ago

    Just throwing it out there is anyone has done or seen a restoration on a machine where certain aged features were left that way as part of the aesthetic?

    As a reference point you can get guitars that have been modified to look aged/used and they come off looking really great.

    Heavy_Relic_Surf_Green.jpg

    The contrast obviously being that you wouldn't actually damage a machine to get this look but for Pinball machines most project or restoration candidates already have some really cool aspects to them from 20+ years of use/abuse.

    My questions stems from a Pinbot I'm going to restore, I was showing someone (who doesn't care one bit about pinball machines) and they said how cool some of the aging is on it from the 30 years of use and now I see it and would hate to lose those things in a restoration. eg. around the flippers buttons the cabinet has been worn right down to a smooth wood finish from all the use. Every restoration thread I've seen pretty much aims to get back to the original if not better condition so I'd be interested to see if anyone has incorporated any of this kind of character into their work or even any suggestions on how one could do this well on a machine. Clear coat over the bare wood? Polish up the legs instead of replacing them due to the scratches?

    resto.jpg

    #2 3 years ago

    I actually do this as a matter of routine-

    I like EM games, I dislike EM games with freshly painted sanded bright white cabinets.

    One bit of warning if your considering going this route. Its a crap ton of work to restore an old cabinet and keep the paint. I literally spent 20+ hours going over a 1973 Gottlieb King Pin cabinet that was SEVERELY yellowed, using magic eraser and isopropanol to sand through the top coat of yellow to reveal aged looking but bright colors. I then hit it with clear coat, filled in all the dings and dents with a filler designed to work this way, sanded it back, and now have a long process with an air brush to fix all the spots missing paint (or that are now filler), and will finally have to re-splatter the cabinet by masking all the color and touching up the white regions (its not white, but its no longer obviously yellow) that I ended up removing the splatter coat when sanding down the yellow.

    Its a lot of work, but its fun, and I can tell you- the finished product is really really cool- its completely retro, aged, appropriate, but shiny new at the same time. Worth it? No way, unless its what you want- and I do.

    The big reason I don't like spraying new stencils, is the PLAY FIELD is NOT white on any of these 45 year old games, so to my eye, having an beautiful aged play field in a spankin new bright white cabinet just looks wrong-

    #3 3 years ago

    Sometimes. For instance, this one was restored to appear as if the ramps, plastics, guides/rubbers were parted out, as was the style at the time.

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/cfthbl-mess-help

    #4 3 years ago

    Was considering if i restore my diner (when cpr relese the playfield) that i would leave the cabinet as it is. As its a bit worn in places ,but in contrast with a gleaming new playfield/ plastics and a showroom esc inside (of the cabinet) i think it will suit it.

    #5 3 years ago
    #6 3 years ago

    While i like restored machines that look like new i mostly like a nice looking playfield, i dont mind faded colors or some ball swirls as long as its not worn to the wood, the rest doesn't bother me as long as the cabinets not full of mold or rotting away.

    #7 3 years ago

    Finally I find a place I belong. I love the patina and old machine has. I hate the look of an old EM that's been restenciled with a fresh clear coated play field and everything is rechromed. It just looks so fake. I mean it's cool that people like that sort of thing, but I'm more into the antique aspect of it. I love getting a game with some initials carved in the side and I think about the history of that. It gives the whole feel of what the machine was when it was out in the trenches earning money. These games were never treated as collector show pieces. They were a machine to play and make some money with. Ops didn't give a shit about the cabinets. I like worn games.

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/anyone-else-like-worn-machines

    #8 3 years ago
    Quoted from fattdirk:

    It just looks so fake. It gives the whole feel of what the machine was when it was out in the trenches earning money.

    Well, when it was new it didn't look like that. When people restore them, they're restoring them to how they came out of the box. So it's not "fake", you've just never seen one new so to you, they only look "right" aged.

    Different strokes for different folks.

    #9 3 years ago

    Oh god no please don't introduce "relics" to pinball. Nothing worse than a good guitar that some bozo decides to sand down regardless of if it's modern finish should even wear like old nitro. If you want your guitar to have character buy one of the many models that are done in a thing nitro finish and play the damn thing.

    I like the look of a worn pin sometimes but please don't deliberate damage the thing in an attempt to make it look "cool".

    #10 3 years ago
    Quoted from pinmanguy:

    Oh god no please don't introduce "relics" to pinball. Nothing worse than a good guitar that some bozo decides to sand down regardless of if it's modern finish should even wear like old nitro. If you want your guitar to have character buy one of the many models that are done in a thing nitro finish and play the damn thing.
    I like the look of a worn pin sometimes but please don't deliberate damage the thing in an attempt to make it look "cool".

    I think you might have not read a big part of the post.. "The contrast obviously being that you wouldn't actually damage a machine to get this look but for Pinball machines most project or restoration candidates already have some really cool aspects to them from 20+ years of use/abuse."

    #11 3 years ago

    I would much rather see some wear than a sub par touch up.

    I usually just clean up the game best I can. Replace broken stuff, but i don't try and touch up paint or anything.

    #12 3 years ago

    Fattdirk, I think I see the value in both sides really, like some of the restorations where you've got an old machine to look better than new is pretty cool. I haven't ever owned an EM if I did I would definitely keep the aged look but for the 80's era machines I think I'd apply the same idea and keep some of the character alive.

    Rufessor / Fattdirk - did you have any pictures you could show of machines you have/had with this style?

    #13 3 years ago
    Quoted from jwilson:

    Well, when it was new it didn't look like that. When people restore them, they're restoring them to how they came out of the box. So it's not "fake", you've just never seen one new so to you, they only look "right" aged.
    Different strokes for different folks.

    I'm not saying restore to NIB condition. I'm saying when it's restored past that. Where they put shiny ass chrome on everything and the stencil job is so crisp and clear coated over vs being a little messy with fuzzy edges and splatter like a real game looks like. It doesn't end up looking anything like it did when it was new. That's what I don't like. If someone does a nice period restoration where it looks like the game just was pulled out of the box, I think that's fine.

    #14 3 years ago

    I can appreciate both methods as well. But, "better than new" restorations of EM's don't work for me either. Kind of like an over the top restored 56 Chevy that is way more perfect then GM ever could manage (or even tried to) in 1956.

    The genuine patina of age takes years or decades to develop, and I personally prefer that on my EM's, which is why I take pains to retain it when I do my "restorations". What do I do? I simply disassemble and thoroughly clean everything then put back together. I've never clearcoated a playfield or restenciled a cabinet.

    And, whenever possible I attempt to reuse all of the original parts other than the obvious consumables like rings, bulbs, etc. Recently I was working on a machine where all of the posts had turned chalky. Ordered new ones and started to use them but quickly realized how wrong it looked. Found nice used ones which looked appropriately aged and all was well.

    Fattdirk...absolutely agree with you about the "battle scars" that old machines often have accumulated over the years. I would never paint over carved in initials, phone numbers, and high scores, cigarette lighter burn marks, etc. I feel like these things all add to the character of the game because they reflect its particular history.

    #15 3 years ago
    Quoted from NeonNoodle:

    I can appreciate both methods as well. But, "better than new" restorations of EM's don't work for me either. Kind of like an over the top restored 56 Chevy that is way more perfect then GM ever could manage (or even tried to) in 1956.
    The genuine patina of age takes years or decades to develop, and I personally prefer that on my EM's, which is why I take pains to retain it when I do my "restorations". What do I do? I simply disassemble and thoroughly clean everything then put back together. I've never clearcoated a playfield or restenciled a cabinet.
    And, whenever possible I attempt to reuse all of the original parts other than the obvious consumables like rings, bulbs, etc. Recently I was working on a machine where all of the posts had turned chalky. Ordered new ones and started to use them but quickly realized how wrong it looked. Found nice used ones which looked appropriately aged and all was well.
    Fattdirk...absolutely agree with you about the "battle scars" that old machines often have accumulated over the years. I would never paint over carved in initials, phone numbers, and high scores, cigarette lighter burn marks, etc. I feel like these things all add to the character of the game because they reflect its particular history.

    The problem I see with that is - If you leave the worn cabinet alone, you can always decided to touch it up or restencil it someday, or a future owner could. If you have a playfield with loose paint or major wear, and don't seal in the repairs with a proper clear coat, it will just continue to wear. I am with you on keeping patina and I tend to lean towards original whenever possible. However, I am restoring a '58 Bally Carnival Queen bingo, and in cleaning and touching up the playfield, I will be using a 2 part clearcoat to repair the playfield for good.

    #16 3 years ago

    To be honest the most important thing is how well the table plays. I have played many "restored machines" and while they may look like they just came out of the box they play poorly. Not saying all restores are like that just saying the majority of them that I have played. Too much effort goes into the aesthetics and not enough into function. That being said I love the restored playfields, fresh backglasses, plastics, and ramps. I could overlook a worn cabinet just because you never see it all unless you only have one game. If the games are close together you just can't appreciate a restored cabinet. I don't appreciate a worn playfield because it messes with the playing experience.

    #17 3 years ago

    When I redid my Crescendo playfield, we intentionally left the original Gottlieb logo badge on there without touching it up, and also I did not try to completely eliminate the shooter lane wear, but left a nice wear pattern in the wood.

    #18 3 years ago

    I generally do this with all of my EM restoration projects. For me, less is more. I'll only do touch ups when is physically detracts from gameplay in some way. Otherwise, I try to keep the "patina" largely intact. It's part of the character and history of the game, and it keeps things nostalgic for people.

    #19 3 years ago

    My goal is to return the playfield to a cosmetically appealing feature of the game. Areas worn down to wood get repaired with paint. These areas were worn down for a reason and the new paint will get chewed back up in short order if not protected so it gets cleared. If I'm gonna bother clearing any of it, I'm clearing all of it. Then I usually place mylar over those repairs to keep the clear from getting chewed up.

    IMO this results in better gameplay as the ball is no longer hoping over worn spots and has a smoother surface over the whole field to roll on.

    But most importantly, it presents a fresh-looking, inviting playfield to the player, not a tired looking, worn-to-wood in spots beater of a field.

    I'm more forgiving on cabinets, but when someone covers it in contact paper or latex paint, you gotta do something, and sometimes it requires repainting the graphics.

    #20 3 years ago
    Quoted from fattdirk:

    I'm not saying restore to NIB condition. I'm saying when it's restored past that. Where they put shiny ass chrome on everything and the stencil job is so crisp and clear coated over vs being a little messy with fuzzy edges and splatter like a real game looks like.

    Okay then, we actually agree. I don't care for the "over-restored" games either. Those totally look fake.

    #21 3 years ago
    Quoted from Joey_N:

    If you have a playfield with loose paint or major wear, and don't seal in the repairs with a proper clear coat, it will just continue to wear. I am with you on keeping patina and I tend to lean towards original whenever possible. However, I am restoring a '58 Bally Carnival Queen bingo, and in cleaning and touching up the playfield, I will be using a 2 part clearcoat to repair the playfield for good.

    Oh, I totally agree if that's the case. Anything that needs to be done that helps preserve the machine from future wear (damage), by all means should be done. That really isn't over-restoration....it's preservation.

    #22 3 years ago

    Its like this with many antiques these days. Restoring them can actually decrease their value. Its usually on things that have very few original remaining examples left. In the case of guitars there are sometimes only one example of such and such guitar played by whoever at a certain concert. The same goes for antique cars and motorcycles. I collect Indian motorcycles and its pretty rare to see an original paint bike but they are out there. Even when they are completely rusted and exempt of any remaining paint its still worth more in an unrestored state.
    There will be a time where an unrestored example of many pins will be rare. Im sure there already are plenty of rare titles that fall into this category. If you have a game that is in great original condition I would leave it as it is. My xenon is about a 90/100 as far as the cabinet and backglass goes. The playfield is shot and is getting a new PF but the rest I will leave. Its all preference really. Some love old patina and some love new restored and shiny. I like both but I realize that they will only be in original condition once.

    #23 3 years ago

    I love this thread. I've got examples in my collection from both extremes.

    In the "fattdirk" corner are Strange World, Skateball, Fathom, Time Fantasy, Lightning and Andromeda. On these, I stripped the playfield bare, cleaned up the ball swirl with magic eraser and Novus2, and waxed it a few times - that's it. These games have varying degrees of playfield defects, but nothing unnatural. These are my antique restorations. They may get new plastics, but the playfield, cab and backglasses are original.

    In the other corner are Black Knight and Whirlwind. These got CPR playfield and plastics, new backglass/translite, stencils / cab decals, you name it. These games are no longer antique (unless you count the wiring harness). I'll enjoy playing them, but I would never call these "restorations". I wouldn't say that I ruined the originals; I cannibalized them for parts to make a very nice reproduction of the game.

    #24 3 years ago

    Someone told me something that made me put my paintbrush away, before "fixing" some playfield wear on Strange World: "It's only original once". The rest of the playfield is still vibrant and looks great; so what if the white grid in the middle has a little wear? Painting it would ruin the game.

    #25 3 years ago

    I like them all and can appreciate every ones style and work. I just got into trying to fix a couple of pinballs up.

    I'm seeing the differences in what people are describing through out the threads as restored. To me "restored" is like the factory did it using Factory type materials and methods, trying to duplicate that as close as possible. "fixed up" or "rebuilt" is just that, fixing it up to what you want and how you want. Which I like!! It shows each persons skills or ideas.

    I like the look of a used game! It fits what I think of an arcade and what you found in them, Games in all conditions. So putting the patina in is a cool look too.

    #26 3 years ago

    I love playing a worn game with bright lamps, new rubbers and strong flippers.

    I almost forgot about my Fathom! I bought a CPR playfield for it, and it hung on my wall for years. My playfield is worn to the wood in about 2 square inches total, but otherwise it looks really nice (the new plastics really help). I finally convinced myself that my friend's Fathom needed it much more than mine did, so I sold it to him at my cost. Actually I used it as a trade bribe to get his Abra Ca Dabra, but that eventually got sold in favor of an old Mata Hari - which will be my next "reproduction".

    #27 3 years ago
    Quoted from Gerrard17:

    Just throwing it out there is anyone has done or seen a restoration on a machine where certain aged features were left that way as part of the aesthetic?

    That's my GNR. PF restored and cleared by HEP, powder coating by Espo's, but I left the dinged cabinet alone. The cabs were originally screened, and as nice as the available cab decals are, I prefer the original screened art, even with a far-less-than-perfect cab.

    #28 3 years ago
    Quoted from Riptor:

    Its like this with many antiques these days. Restoring them can actually decrease their value. Its usually on things that have very few original remaining examples left... There will be a time where an unrestored example of many pins will be rare. Im sure there already are plenty of rare titles that fall into this category. If you have a game that is in great original condition I would leave it as it is.

    Interesting idea that we might get to the point with pinball where instead of the word 'restored' adding value to the machine that the word 'original' will be what add's value.

    #29 3 years ago

    Restoring is fine if it can be done non-obviously. Nobody is going to mind if you replace the coin-door or legs with new ones, as long as they look identical to the original. But very obvious restorations - like a clearcoated playfield on an EM - are going to be harder to find the right buyer for. It'll still sell, maybe even for more, but the pool of buyers is smaller.

    So here's an interesting question: what is "too much restoration" for an early Bally (say, '78-'82)?

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