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(Topic ID: 88241)

Chance at a 1976 Williams Space Odyssey.


By SilverBallKid

6 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 3 posts
  • 2 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 6 years ago by SilverBallKid
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#1 6 years ago

Hi All,

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

#2 6 years ago

Buy it. You'll love it. $350 is good price. I bought my Space Mission last year for under $400. It needed work so I did the best I could rebuilding the pop bumpers, fixing a big hole in the playfield, repainting and clear coating the playfield. It plays and looks great now. I don't plan on parting with it.

The kickers by the flippers are really cool and make for a unique pinball experience. The swinging target can be very deceiving. It'll send your ball off on different paths if your not careful or just smack it back down the middle at you. There's really a lot to enjoy on this machine.

I think you'll find that everyone has a different opinion towards Gottlieb vs. Williams vs. Bally as far as which is more problematic.

From what I've seen, most EM's are fairly inexpensive.

I think if you check IPDB.org you might find the schematics. Also people on here have them as well. I have an original set that came with my machine, but have never scanned them.

#3 6 years ago

OK, I have pulled the trigger on this deal and I pick my first pin up on Saturday. My buddy who is selling it to me sent me some pictures so I can see what it looks like so I'll share them here to see if anybody has any thoughts on what can be seen.

I have some more details now that I got a chance to really talk to the seller about this table:

*The person he bought it from had it for several years during which he fixed it to make it operable. It is set on free play. It fires up, plays and keeps score. All lights work according to the seller. The swinging target is operational.

*The backglass frame was damaged and the previous owner built a new one to house the backglass. I would be curious to know what someone more savvy than I thinks of the look of it. I will post more detailed pictures once I have the table in my house this Saturday.

*The backglass does have flaked/missing paint. I am not super concerned with this as there are reproductions available online that look amazing and I can always spend the $200.00 if I want to replace it.

*The legs have been repainted dark blue from the look of them in the pictures. I will have to decide if I want to strip them and try to refinish them or send them out for re-chroming. Living in Detroit, that won't be tough to do as there is a shop about 3 miles from my house that does this.

*You can see that the paint has been touched up above the bottom kickouts next to the flippers. The guy then just wrote "50" in paint or sharpie on them instead of "500 WHEN LIT". Not sure if I will try to fix this or wait to see if CPR ever runs this playfield. I would totally jump at a chance to get a new playfield for this.

*Cabinet has minor nicks and scratches, but nothing major.

Like I said, I welcome any comments or suggestions. My buddy is going to disassemble it for transport and we should be picking it up around noon this Saturday.

One final question - do you guys recommend a specific place to get new rubbers for this? I see table-specific rubber kits for this all over the internet. Is one source better than another?

Needless to say, I am VERY excited. Saturday won't come fast enough.

Cheers!

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