First post here. Loving all the information I am seeing here!
I'd love to hear opinions and comments here from other pin owners as I move toward a decision.
I am a brewmaster in a pub and I meet all kinds of people all the time. You know how bars are. Through a stroke of good fortune, I have the opportunity to buy a 1976 Williams Space Odyssey table from a customer friend for $350.00 and the money was given to me as a gift by an amazingly cool person in my life so dough is in hand. I know the owner personally and I know that the machine is in "playable condition", at least as far as the fact that they say their grandson always wants to play it whenever he comes over (and the wife was grouching that "it is SO LOUD" when he plays it). They did say that there is writing (in marker or pen - not sure which) on the cabinet front where people wrote on it to keep high scores. Other than those two things, I haven't seen it yet so I can't say. I do know that it is kept in a first floor room (no basement moisture!) and it was purchased at an estate sale some years ago by the current owner. The machine is only about 10 miles from my home and I have access to a van for transport.
I am decently mechanically inclined. I have never worked on a pin before but I really want to start buying and maybe fixing/flipping pins as a hobby. One of my best friends is an installer for Pepsi who has Navy electronics training and spent five years of his life in the late 80s - early 90s as a vending machine/pinball repair guy. For part of that time he was actually a hire of an arcade as a tech. In short, I have a willing teacher who knows his stuff and has training on EMs as well as newer machines so he knows how EMs work and such. The only thing we might be slightly lacking in is if there is touch up painting that needs to be done but I already found stencils for that online if I ever want to buy them. Looks like it's only three colors on there.
I really LOVE the look of the backglass and playfield from looking it up online and I remember the Apollo-Soyuz Project very well. I was an outer space freak in the 1970s as a kid and that part of the table really appeals to me. I also don't mind having an EM for my first (oops, I said first) pin because the first ones I ever played on were EMs. Matt and I went to the 2014 Michigan Pinball Expo earlier this month and we totally loved playing all the old EMs they had there.
Obviously I am going to get more info on the pin and either get pictures or go see it in person. A few questions I am looking for answers to are:
1. I sense that the re-sale value on this machine isn't great. Should that be a deterrent? Matt and I intend to completely shop it, tune it up and go from there. I may end up keeping it or I may end up trying to "flip" it as I move toward something with a rule set I like better.
2. I have read a lot that Williams EMs are especially problematic. Any thoughts on this?
3. There are a few things about this table that aren't totally to my liking. For instance, the kickout holes next to the flippers don't really allow me to practice drop catching and such. Would you guys recommend me trying to find a table with more traditional flipper configuration or is it better to look at this as a "take what you get" situation?
4. If I was going to choose to look for something else to spend my gifted $350.00 on, what do you suggest is the best way to look? Craigslist here in Detroit is lean on machines these days.
5. This one seems like a huge one for me. I can't find a schematic or manual anywhere online. How big a problem is this, potentially?
Bottom line is that I am either going to buy this pin or find another one soon. I'm worried what this might lead to but I am ready to take the plunge! Any and all other comments are warmly welcomed. I'm excited and I am leaning toward pulling the trigger on this purchase.
Thanks and Cheers,
Tim in Detroit