(Topic ID: 316793)

Colon, Panama - 7 Pin Pickup - Less than meets the eye?

By hailrazer

69 days ago


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  • 45 posts
  • 18 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 41 days ago by Bandit78
  • Topic is favorited by 4 Pinsiders

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    #1 69 days ago

    I don't know if many of you know this, but 15 months ago I moved to Boquete, Panama. I sold my house, all my games, all my tools, everything and moved. It was difficult because of my love for playing, fixing, and restoring Arcade machines and pinball machines.

    Well fast forward 15 months. Life here in Panama has been wonderful. I love being retired and I love this beautiful country. But I do miss the arcade games and pinball machines. I was starting to get a bit bored. Then what do you know, right down the street the Boquete Panama Barcade opened up. Watch my walkthrough video here:

    So I offered my services and I've been helping Kevin, the owner, with his arcade games. Well one day when working there I was contacted by the woman who sells me coffee. She wanted to meet to give me my newest batch of coffee. So I told her I was working at the Barcade. She asked what I did there and I explained. So she asks "Do they have Pinballs?" I replied they did not because they are hard to find in Panama and very expensive right now. She then told me she knew of one in the area and she would place a Facebook ad and try to find some. Great I said, go ahead. Thinking the whole time that there was no way she would find anything.

    4 days later she calls to tell me that she found 7 of them with a family in Colon, Panama, 7 hours away. I got the sellers info and contacted them. Apparently their father lived in the Canal Zone in1999 when the United States decided to turn the Canal back over to Panama. The US government had set up Rec Centers for the Americans living in the Canal Zone and they were auctioning off all the games from those Centers. Well her dad bought them all and started restoring them. Sadly he died 7 years later. The family sold off a bunch of them but there were 7 left that had been sitting for 15 years.

    I asked for pictures and then made an offer. She accepted and 2 days later I headed out to get them. Here is the pic I received:

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    Now she does not live in Panama so all the pictures and info were sent by her Spanish speaking caretaker. And I don't speak Spanish. So I didn't have a lot of information to go on. I could see by the pics that they were not in great condition so my offer was $2k. Well I arrived this morning and sadly things were not as I would have hoped. The video shows the sad story:

    Yep all of them were destroyed with termite damage.

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    Such a sad thing! I salvaged the electronics, dmd's, and Translites. I probably should have stripped everything. But it was extremely hot in there. And what would I do with it in Panama. There are no pinball machines here and no-one that needs parts. And shipping them to the USA is EXTREMELY expensive.

    20220609_102417 (resized).jpg

    So there's my story. I am home now and depressed. I would have loved to have saved and restored these 7 beauties.

    #2 69 days ago

    Thanks for sharing the story… lotta room in that arcade.

    #3 69 days ago

    Aren't you they guy that had the way overpriced game for sale?

    Glad to see your happy in Panama, sorry you didn't find a pin to save.

    Just cannot remember the game you were selling , great thread though ...

    All the best

    #4 68 days ago
    Quoted from transprtr4u:

    Aren't you they guy that had the way overpriced game for sale?
    Glad to see your happy in Panama, sorry you didn't find a pin to save.
    Just cannot remember the game you were selling , great thread though ...
    All the best

    Well I haven't sold anything in 3-4 years. And everything I've sold, sold for asking price within a few days. So I don't really know if I was "that guy" ?

    #5 68 days ago
    Quoted from hailrazer:

    Yep all of them were destroyed with termite damage.

    Ugh, what a terrible fate for these games.

    #6 68 days ago

    Does the arcade plan to add pinball? When I was in Costa Rica never saw a pinball machine there.

    #7 68 days ago
    Quoted from Pdxmonkey:

    Does the arcade plan to add pinball? When I was in Costa Rica never saw a pinball machine there.

    That was the plan yes.

    -1
    #8 68 days ago
    Quoted from hailrazer:

    I don't know if many of you know this, but 15 months ago I moved to Boquete, Panama. I sold my house, all my games, all my tools, everything and moved. It was difficult because of my love for playing, fixing, and restoring Arcade machines and pinball machines.
    Well fast forward 15 months. Life here in Panama has been wonderful. I love being retired and I love this beautiful country. But I do miss the arcade games and pinball machines. I was starting to get a bit bored. Then what do you know, right down the street the Boquete Panama Barcade opened up. Watch my walkthrough video here:

    So I offered my services and I've been helping Kevin, the owner, with his arcade games. Well one day when working there I was contacted by the woman who sells me coffee. She wanted to meet to give me my newest batch of coffee. So I told her I was working at the Barcade. She asked what I did there and I explained. So she asks "Do they have Pinballs?" I replied they did not because they are hard to find in Panama and very expensive right now. She then told me she knew of one in the area and she would place a Facebook ad and try to find some. Great I said, go ahead. Thinking the whole time that there was no way she would find anything.
    4 days later she calls to tell me that she found 7 of them with a family in Colon, Panama, 7 hours away. I got the sellers info and contacted them. Apparently their father lived in the Canal Zone in1999 when the United States decided to turn the Canal back over to Panama. The US government had set up Rec Centers for the Americans living in the Canal Zone and they were auctioning off all the games from those Centers. Well her dad bought them all and started restoring them. Sadly he died 7 years later. The family sold off a bunch of them but there were 7 left that had been sitting for 15 years.
    I asked for pictures and then made an offer. She accepted and 2 days later I headed out to get them. Here is the pic I received:
    [quoted image]
    [quoted image]
    Now she does not live in Panama so all the pictures and info were sent by her Spanish speaking caretaker. And I don't speak Spanish. So I didn't have a lot of information to go on. I could see by the pics that they were not in great condition so my offer was $2k. Well I arrived this morning and sadly things were not as I would have hoped. The video shows the sad story:

    Yep all of them were destroyed with termite damage.
    [quoted image]
    [quoted image]
    [quoted image]
    [quoted image]
    Such a sad thing! I salvaged the electronics, dmd's, and Translites. I probably should have stripped everything. But it was extremely hot in there. And what would I do with it in Panama. There are no pinball machines here and no-one that needs parts. And shipping them to the USA is EXTREMELY expensive.
    [quoted image]
    So there's my story. I am home now and depressed. I would have loved to have saved and restored these 7 beauties.

    I concur that stripping them of everything would be great. The ramps and wireforms are a hot commodity. Shipping is expensive but when you’re one of the few who has spare parts it’s worth it! I was just buying some wireforms from Croatia. Shipping cost the same as the product but it was the only one I could find!
    You can never have too many spare legs. And the transpires will make great decorations. You could epoxy the termite damaged cabinet sides and display them as art. I did that with a termite rotten Meteor!

    #9 68 days ago
    Quoted from Pdxmonkey:

    When I was in Costa Rica never saw a pinball machine there.

    I played a roached out Bally Playboy in Costa Rica. In a casino across from Hotel Del Ray.

    #10 68 days ago

    I think I will go back. Feeling guilty about leaving them there for the trashman.

    Do you think there would be a need for the complete wire harnesses out of all 7 of them?

    #11 68 days ago

    Gotta figure the Fish Tales topper is worth grabbing even if it appears taped

    #12 67 days ago
    Quoted from hailrazer:

    I think I will go back. Feeling guilty about leaving them there for the trashman.
    Do you think there would be a need for the complete wire harnesses out of all 7 of them?

    Plastic sets and wire harnesses at the very least are worth it! I’ve worked out one international sale where the gentleman just brought the parts along on holiday to America and shipped them to me once he was in the states!

    Pinball parts are always great to have. Even if you sit on some totes filled with parts 5 years, once you’ve got pins on route you’ll slowly start using them. Then you’ll start patting yourself on the back for hoarding a goldmine!

    11
    #13 66 days ago

    I got most of it. Took 7 hours or work and 15 hours of driving in 2 days. I'm whooped. I'll post info, vid, and pics tomorrow. I'm going to bed.

    #14 66 days ago
    Quoted from boscokid:

    Gotta figure the Fish Tales topper is worth grabbing even if it appears taped

    Got the fish but the plastic fell apart. To far gone.

    #15 66 days ago

    Hope you got all the transformers too!

    #16 66 days ago
    Quoted from Pbpins:

    Hope you got all the transformers too!

    Yes I did!

    #18 65 days ago

    Awesome!

    10
    #19 65 days ago

    Here is the video:

    And pics of what I brought home:

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    #20 65 days ago

    Wow, amazing how that HSII playfield just crumbled!

    #21 65 days ago
    Quoted from Pbpins:

    Wow, amazing how that HSII playfield just crumbled!

    Yea, they all did. The only one that I had to unscrew stuff was the Judge Dredd. It was heart breaking.

    #22 64 days ago
    Quoted from hailrazer:

    Here is the video:

    And pics of what I brought home:
    [quoted image]
    [quoted image]

    You are a legend and a true asset to the pinball community. I know it seems futile and silly, but for example, my Shaq was missing the ramp and a VUK. Thankfully 3 people (2 in Europe) seem to have the parts I need.

    You’d think nobody even needs parts for that game, but when someone finally does, stuff like this is a godsend!

    #23 64 days ago
    Quoted from hailrazer:

    Here is the video:

    And pics of what I brought home:
    [quoted image]
    [quoted image]

    Holy crap dude! I am actually jealous of those bins of parts! So sad seeing games in that condition, but most of those mechs are more than salvageable I'm sure. Be great for restorations or homebrews.
    Is it possible to see about purchasing some of those parts at this point?

    #24 63 days ago
    Quoted from snowy_owl:

    Holy crap dude! I am actually jealous of those bins of parts! So sad seeing games in that condition, but most of those mechs are more than salvageable I'm sure. Be great for restorations or homebrews.
    Is it possible to see about purchasing some of those parts at this point?

    I am going to see about sending them to the US. But I would need to sell the entire lot to one person. It's way too difficult here to ship things.

    #25 63 days ago

    It never fails to impress me what a little soap and water will do.

    These parts look to be in poor shape. But with a little cleaning they shine once again

    And with some more cleaning and a quick buffing they would be sweet!

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    #26 62 days ago

    Started cleaning and organizing a bit. These are the Maverick parts minus the wire harness, coin door, and mechs that stayed attached to the harness.

    20220616_125050 (resized).jpg

    Also after a bit of cleaning I've realized that the ramps that looked rusted are just extremely dirty from the termite trails. They can be cleaned up real good as seen on the Star Trek ramp that I spent a few minutes on with soap and water.

    20220616_125719 (resized).jpg

    #27 62 days ago

    this is the best thread i've read all day. nice job grabbing that stuff!

    #28 62 days ago
    Quoted from bigehrl:

    this is the best thread i've read all day. nice job grabbing that stuff!

    Thanks. I hope it helps people in the future.

    Here is the Getaway High Speed II stuff all cleaned up :

    20220616_175945 (resized).jpg

    #29 62 days ago

    I'm with bigehrl - this is the absolute crazy dedication to the hobby that I LOVE to see. I genuinely WISH I needed the parts you had available, just to reward the effort you've put in to save these parts. Even if you quit working on these parts today, you've brought a net-positive into the hobby. Kudos!

    #30 62 days ago

    That Maverick Lauren Belle boat looks to be in great shape. That’s a somewhat valuable, unobtanium part. Someone’s going to be happy to buy it from you and replace their cracked boat. Nice job!

    #31 61 days ago

    Judge Dredd parts cleaned and sorted:

    20220617_122543 (resized).jpg

    #32 61 days ago

    Bear in mind that if a mech was on the wire harness and I couldn't get it off with a plug easily, I just left it attached to the harness. So you are not seeing all the drop down targets, slings, pop bumpers, switches, etc that are still attached to the harness in the other totes.

    #33 61 days ago

    Fish Tales parts cleaned up:

    20220617_161228 (resized).jpg

    #34 61 days ago

    looks like you have plenty of parts to start a homebrew pin

    #35 61 days ago

    Glad you took that trip back and loaded up! Those parts are brilliant!! Amazing the wireforms look so good

    #36 58 days ago

    Finally done with the major cleanup. This is the amount of work and trash from just stripping the rotting wood off the parts BEFORE I can clean them:

    20220620_122113 (resized).jpg

    And this is the 2 Start Treks parts all cleaned up:

    20220620_181015 (resized).jpg

    20220620_182027 (resized).jpg

    #37 58 days ago

    I'll bet those Borg ships, shuttles, and cannons can be brought back to looking new with some retrobrighting. If you're not familiar with it, you basically put the piece in tub of water with some hydrogen peroxide and place it in direct sunlight with some saran wrap over the top of it, and after a few hours, all that yellowing is pretty much gone! There are a few people who've whittled down a proper mix of hydrogen peroxide to around a 6-8% solution in water. I don't know the availability of H2O2 in Panama, but here you can buy it in dollar stores and also in basic hair product stores, albeit in different percentage solutions. Typically the dollar store stuff is 3% while the hair salon supply stores have it at about 12%. The 3% stuff works well, too, it just takes more time in the sun to achieve the desired results.

    This video is kind of old, and he's updated his technique a bit since then, but it shows you a good idea about how it works and what the results look like:

    #38 57 days ago

    Bummer about the pins. But getting back to your first post. Can you tell us a little bit about your thought process in retiring to Panama and your experience so far? Why did you decide to become an ex-pat? Do you need to speak spanish? How is the cost of living? Housing, food, eating out? Is access to medical care good? What's your daily life consist of? Do you still bank in the US or did you off shore your money? Any problems?

    How is crime there? Is it better or worse than living in a US city? How does Panama feel about private firearm ownership, do you know? Do the locals receive US ex-pats well, or is there friction?

    I have thought about relocating at some point in the future and Panama could be a consideration. Thanks!!

    #39 57 days ago
    Quoted from sbmania:

    Bummer about the pins. But getting back to your first post. Can you tell us a little bit about your thought process in retiring to Panama and your experience so far? Why did you decide to become an ex-pat? Do you need to speak spanish? How is the cost of living? Housing, food, eating out? Is access to medical care good? What's your daily life consist of? Do you still bank in the US or did you off shore your money? Any problems?
    How is crime there? Is it better or worse than living in a US city? How does Panama feel about private firearm ownership, do you know? Do the locals receive US ex-pats well, or is there friction?
    I have thought about relocating at some point in the future and Panama could be a consideration. Thanks!!

    I retired because I was tired of working away from home 4 days a week. Tired of all the stress in the USA. Tired of living to work. I took a vacation to Panama and it was so calm and relaxed. I fell in love.

    Spanish is not a requirement in a lot of the towns. The locals speak a decent amount of English. But learning Spanish will help you integrate and be accepted better.

    Cost of living is about 1/2-2/3 of the US average.

    Daily life was working remodeling the house I am renting for the owner for about a year. Now I spend most of my time with my family and hobbies.

    I bank in the US and here in Panama. I earn 3% interest on my bank account and higher with cd's and bonds here.

    Crime is virtually non existent here. It's mostly crimes of opportunity. So if you are careful, kind, and not stupid you will be fine. I have never felt unsafe anywhere in this country.

    I can tell you that guns are not really a thing here. It takes 6 months - 1 year to get approved for one. And it's next to impossible to bring them in and expect to get them back from customs. So most expats don't even try. And I've never seen a Panamanian with a gun.

    The locals are fine with expats as long as the expats don't act high and mighty.

    #40 57 days ago

    It looks like the nearest collector on the Pinside map is in San Jose, Costa Rica rsolera. There's also a location that has pins there. Maybe reach out to them and see if they know of anyone closer to you who may have some pins.

    #41 57 days ago
    Quoted from Agent_Hero:

    It looks like the nearest collector on the Pinside map is in San Jose, Costa Rica rsolera. There's also a location that has pins there. Maybe reach out to them and see if they know of anyone closer to you who may have some pins.

    Awesome! Will do. Thanks.

    1 week later
    #42 46 days ago

    I managed to save the translites.....sort of. Most of the white backing was coming off. So I cleaned them gently and then glued them to a white foamboard to hang on the walls.

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    #43 46 days ago

    Panama is great

    #44 41 days ago

    Just noticed that I forgot the Riverboat Gambler parts pic:

    20220707_171822 (resized).jpg

    #45 41 days ago

    Lived in Panama in the mid-70s. Played pinball for the first time there...pretty sure it was Air Aces.

    This was my Jr. High School Cafeteria.

    curundu (resized).jpg

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