(Topic ID: 249870)

Continued playfield issues with JJP and Stern

By f3honda4me

3 months ago

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#1846 79 days ago

For what it's worth, I build musical instruments as a hobby, and there is a known issue with lacquer pooling around the guitar tuners on the headstock. I don't know if it is a similar cause here, but with regard to guitars -- if this happens, it has almost everything to do with curing. Here are some factors:

- 3 thin coats spaced 30 minutes apart, then a full nights cure, then repeat the next day. Then allow a few weeks before tightening the guitar tuners on. This allows the solvents to evaporate correctly between sprays. Applying too thick of a coat too soon will trap the solvents as the outer layer "skins." And while reducing the overall thickness of the clear would help prevent the problem, super thin clear coats aren't generally well received in the guitar world (where applicable) because they lack visual depth and have poor wear resistance.

- Tightening a guitar tuner on uncured clear will trap solvents under the nut. These trapped solvents will soften the paint or finish underneath. This will manifest as a flaking clear coat.

- In the luthier world, it's called creep. It happens to glue and clear coats. A thick glue, when squeezed together,will push out slowly over time during the drying process resulting in what is being called pooling here. This is removed before finishing, but a thick, built up clear coat will do this too. The continuous pressure on uncured clear will cause it to slowly migrate toward the outer edges and pool or bubble. The trapped solvents will then leach into the underlying finish, softening it, and making it flake off. If is unpainted natural wood, it is less likely to happen because the solvents leach into the raw wood and disperse better. The hardest part is that creep is difficult to catch because it all looks fine at first until a week or so later when the clear slowly migrates out to the edges.

The luthier community solved this problem a long time ago by applying more thin coats instead of fewer thicker coats, letting them dry between coats, and then allowing it to cure before covering up portions of it with screwed down nuts. Every so often, the issue re-emerges when a manufacturer decides to save time by changing up the process.

I am NOT saying that is what is happening to the PFs, and there are other things that can cause similar problems (like overtightening, bad lacquer chemistry, bad surface prep, etc.), but I can't help notice a similarity between these problems.
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#1852 79 days ago
Quoted from littlecammi:

And at least it's a guitargument and not a cargument.

Ha... At least lacquer on wood seems more similar to me than a 2 part uerthane on steel. But I know nothing about finishing a car and even less about painting PFs.

#1855 79 days ago
Quoted from Shapeshifter:

Very interesting.
So pooling becomes 'creeping'.
I think every washer version, is going to suffer from creeping.

Actually they normally just say "creep" and leave of the "ing"!

I don't really care what they call it though if we could just get a decently dimple resistant surface with a solid clear coat

#1918 78 days ago
Quoted from jfh:

Ok. If you were running Stern, how would you address this situation and what would your criteria be for playfield replacement?

I would keep it as simple as this:

1. I might apply a sanding sealer (a really thinned lacquer) to the raw wood before painting to fill in the pores and make the underlying surface harder. I would use a duromoter to test the hardness of the wood before continuing and see if it was within a predetermined specification.

2. Make sure my supplier is using a finishing process that has the correct amount of time needed to have an effective dry/cure process.

3. Use a durometer to test the final coating. This could be as simple as a pencil scratch test (a set of calibrated pencils that mark paint coatings and produce a quantifiable hardness rating). If the coating was too soft (for whatever reason, including trapped solvents), it would objectively fail to be within the correct specifications and be, per se, a defective coating.

4. Use an ultrasonic thickness tester to test the thickness of the final coating. If the mils fall outside of a predetermined range, I'd fail it.

But I'm not Stern and won't pretend I'm more of an expert than they are on the subject. I also don't know if they are already doing this or perhaps something even more rigorous. I also recognize that they, as a large manufacturer, have a lot of additional factors to consider.

So from a consumer perspective, I suppose if I felt so inclined, I would simply use a durometer designed for paint to measure the finish hardness and compare it against other clear coats from other machines as well as the general specifications from several lacquer companies to see if it is either in spec or out of spec. If it fails, I would consider it defective as a matter of fact and leave Stern's response to its costumers to their own desires.

#1919 78 days ago
Quoted from Midway-Man:

This has now been mentioned a few times. The clear coat isn’t the issue with this whole pooling situation. Since the paint does stick to the clear coat wich does eventually crack lose. It’s a paint issue. The paint does come of the wood wich shouldn’t happen.
Stern has had clear coat issues back in 2016 when GB was released. But this issue has been mostly addressed. The issue we have now is a different story.

Possible, but it is worth considering that trapped solvents in the clear could be softening the paint underneath over time making it seem like the paint is the culprit. Also, the fact that the issue seems to be resolved when the paint is removed might be a result of the clear coat solvents no longer being trapped between the dried paint and the dried surface of the clear, letting those solvents penetrate into the raw wood and disperse. Again, this makes it appear like a paint issue, but it may not be.

#1943 78 days ago
Quoted from Chambahz:

There’s this thing, called “the environment”. And as of late, companies are no longer allowed to use super harsh chemicals because it’s bad for this “environment”. So things have changed.

This is true, but only to an extent. I don't mean any disrespect, but there are ways to test thickness of coatings and material hardness both before and after painting -- even with todays' chemical limitations -- to ensure a quality finish. There are also ways that someone's mixing ratios, method of application, and cure times could make the coatings better, worse, or just fail. With my (non-professional) experience of applying lacquer over unfinished, painted, and stained wood hundreds of times, I can tell you that it is reasonable, even with current lacquer compositions, to get a flexible but hard finish that is highly chip resistant and will not deform (pool, or creep, or whatever is used to describe it) when it is subjected to continued pressure the way my new JP LE appears to have done.

#1967 77 days ago
Quoted from yancy:

Where? So far I've only heard good things about LE playfields. Premiums aren't shipping yet. But if there are still issues, I want to see them before my premium ships so I can cancel, if need be.

I have a related issue with my LE, but it is not general pooling around the posts. With the removed artwork, and what appears to be a thinner clear coat, there is no noticeable pooling around my posts. HOWEVER, a manufacturing error caused a side wall to be overtightened. As a result, the edge of the wall was pressing against the playfield where there was artwork underneath. The area exposed to the pressure displaced the clear coat causing it to raise (pool) along the edges of the side wall just as it did with earlier pros in the area around posts and washers that had artwork underneath. I don't know if that meets the definition of "fixed pooling problems" or not, but the issue with deformed clear coats in areas of pressure and artwork still remains in my mind. They just removed the artwork and apparently used a thinner clear to reduce the effect.

#1969 77 days ago
Quoted from Rum-Z:

That may illustrate that Stern will probably have to remove artwork under ANYTHING that mounts to the playfield. Ughhh...

I think they pretty much already do that, so it might not be that bad! This was supposed to be raised above it, but it was incorrectly tightened against it, creating the problem. My obsessive side wants the posts to be centered in that little circle ring though, and they really aren't, so it kind of calls attention to them. I actually think a black sticker above the clear would be less obvious! Either way, these are things I don't notice while actually playing a game.

#1999 77 days ago
Quoted from chuckwurt:

They aren’t. The cut the playfields in house, then send out to one of multiple vendors for art and clear.

Hmmm.... They aren't water jetting them, are they? I can't imagine they are. But they aren't, right?

#2010 77 days ago
Quoted from gliebig:

Haven't taken delivery yet.

What is it, exactly? As someone who owns an odd-ball vintage bowler, I'm curious.

#2018 77 days ago
Quoted from gliebig:

a bowler....[quoted image]

Ahh, nice. Full size then. I got one in a pinball form-factor.

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#2032 77 days ago
Quoted from J85M:

Agreed, simple solution to keep sales pumping is build a quality playfield in the first place and they could warranty the hell out of it knowing end users won’t have any defective issues with them.
I know we have seen art lifting at posts due to pressure supposedly bunching the art but is there any guarantee repeated drops say out of ramps or the crypt kicker in the new Elvira pounding the same area of the playfield won’t start to cause the same problems just over a longer period of time?

Based on my experience with a new JP2 LE, I would say that is a (slight) possibility.

#2042 76 days ago

That's me. I also found three bubbles/blisters. But peeling paint that is right in front of my face? That's kind of hard to be okay with.

Check out this top-down photo: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/welcome-to-the-jurassic-park-le-club/page/16#post-5225485

#2050 76 days ago
Quoted from Chambahz:

You ought to relax, seriously.
That playfield is messed up for sure, and I posted support in the LE thread that he should escalate to Stern and expect them to back him up, 100% (just so you know where I'm coming from) -but as I posted there, that looks like a screw ripped through the wet clear and artwork while in the factory.
Owner confirmed that the peeled paint is covered in clear, so unless you know better, I'd say it's not as you described, "paint just flaking off".
I think it's really important to figure out what caused that "tear" in the artwork. If you are somehow correct, then yes, all bets are off and maybe it's best for everyone to wait this out.
But if you're all fired up and yelling "fire!, fire!" when it's just a one-off caused by a sharp screw in the apron that tore through the clear and art at installation, then that's a one-off, and likely not an issue that should frighten potential buyers.
I posted in the other thread that if anyone with a JPLE wants to remove the apron, to see if a screw is located anywhere near there, that might support my theory.
I think the benefit of a place like Pinside is when you have owners helping other owners, not raising pitchforks without much information.
Any other opinions on the cause of that "tear" is welcome, of course!

Thanks. I'm going to work with Stern and get their input. I wanted to keep everyone in the loop since this is important for so many people. But I genuinely feel bad if it makes people miss out on a great game for what could be an anomaly or an issue that could be resolved. It is pretty early, still. I'm not panicked just yet!

#2060 76 days ago
Quoted from Oaken:

Well shiiiit....
Very disappointing

This top-down view captures the wrinkling better: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/welcome-to-the-jurassic-park-le-club/page/16#post-5225485

#2068 76 days ago
Quoted from zaphX:

I'm a big believer in giving people a chance to make things right.

As am I. I have reached out to them already regarding the missing parts on the playfield that they forgot to install and they were great about it. I have every reason to think that they'll be professional about this issue as well.

The part that's weird to me is that I would have expected a scrape or something. Not wrinkled paint with clean wood underneath, nor wrinkled paint that has a hard gloss coat on it. It's almost like it wrinkled before the gloss coat got hard, but it looks like the apron wrinkled it... But why would the apron be installed on soft gloss coat? So I'm not sure how this could even happen. But I'm no expert. We'll see what they say.

#2072 76 days ago
Quoted from Who-Dey:

I am also thinking about a Super Chexx Pro myself. I got two bad playfields right now and i want JP2 and Elvira 3 both but i just cant pull the trigger on a new Stern right now. The bubble hockey games look awesome and plus it will add variety to your gameroom.

I bought the superchex (like 6 months before the pro came out). It's fantastic.

#2075 76 days ago
Quoted from Who-Dey:

Is it more fun with four people or two? Im going to guess four?

Doesn't matter. Everyone loves it both ways.

#2084 76 days ago
Quoted from J85M:

The art has lifted cleanly off the wood, there doesn’t appear to be a gouge or scratch in the wood itself hawkmoon77 can likely confirm that 100% but with no damage to the wood the art has practically rubbed off the playfield.

I've seen no scratches. An overtightened area placed pressure on the gloss coat, which migrated out from under it and caused a raised deformity in the clear, and a slight loss of paint. In another area, paint wrinkled along the apron and the clear coat on that wrinkle has hardened into that shape (locking in the wrinkle, so to speak).

#2097 76 days ago
Quoted from zaphX:

So, a friend of mine recently restored a High Speed using a "hardtop" - reverse-printed adhesive plastic similar to a Radcal. There's an official hardtop thread with pics. I was really impressed with the end result, the playfield is smooth as glass and seems to be impervious to wear and even dimpling.
Personally, with playfield wear and clearcoat shenanigans...it seems to be new games ought to be made with hardtops too.
What say you, Pinsiders? Blasphemy? Or better tech?

Hard can crack, soft can dimple. I'd say you need to consider the impact from modern games against that surface and try to balance the hardness level.

#2103 76 days ago

Quick Update:

Stern has been fast to respond to my emails. They said they sent my pictures to quality control and offered to send me a bottle of clear touch-up to mitigate the paint peeling issue.

#2112 76 days ago
Quoted from treborlicec:

Hopefully, this is a temp solution until your populated and corrected PF arrives? My friend has a JP Pro with that pooling issue and has been advised by his distributor that he will get a new populated PF shipped to him to swap out. His has no tearing like yours, that I saw.

I believe they are sincere in wanting to provide a good resolution. I suspect my Stern contact is proactively trying to do what he can while we wait to hear back from QC and I do appreciate the gesture. Neither Stern (nor I!) have made any final determinations on an appropriate resolution.

#2116 76 days ago
Quoted from cpr9999:

That’s what they did for me years ago, a jar of clearcoat. This is ok if it is not a NIB game. But NIB - wtf!

It isn't their official/final resolution. Just a suggestion to mitigate the damage so I can play it again. We are still waiting to hear back from QC.

#2130 75 days ago
Quoted from kermit24:

Before Stern swapped out my Ghostbusters PF they sent me a bottle of clear. That won't be the final resolution for those with a truly bad playfield. The frenzy on here, while understandable to a certain extent, is also quite over the top. Give Stern a chance to make it right. Can't speak for JJP as I have not been a customer, but I have not seen an example of a populated playfield replacement from them.

Thanks for sharing that experience. It it's helpful to know that.

#2214 69 days ago
Quoted from Wickerman2:

Cars aren’t wood anymore though...wood is a mysterious substance that no manufacturer has been able to figure out. I can’t come up with any industry that has tried to paint graphics on wood. Nope.

Hand painted art on harpsichords has been around for centuries. Pianos have high quality clear over paint that is tough but flexible. Guitars use clear over paint, stain, graphics, and raw wood.

#2215 69 days ago
Quoted from Chambahz:

Has Stern refused any returns? (Honest question)
Curious to know if anyone has been refused a return and if so, what condition their playfield was in.
It’s my impression that they are replacing these defects, despite not being listed in the warranty.
Interested in hearing if that’s not accurate.

I'll let you know. I sent them photos of the paint peeling on my new LE. They've been reviewing them. But it's only been a week, so I don't have an answer yet.

#2227 69 days ago
Quoted from JohnnyPinball007:

2 or 3 years ago I called Stern about a rivet in the lock down bar breaking and the handle was just hanging. They told me to email a picture. The next afternoon they were calling me on the phone apologizing and offering to not only send the part but to also pay someone to install it.
Has anyone had decent luck with Stern like this? Do they still tend to other issues and only drag their feet with the clear coat issues or do drag their feet with all problems now?

When my LE arrived, there were a few parts that they forgot to install on the playfield, and one of the plastics was chipped. They were quick to apologize and seemed a bit embarrassed about the missing parts. They immediately put in an order to have them sent to me. That was only a week ago and I already got a notification from UPS that it shipped.

The peeling paint is currently being reviewed by their QC people. That seems to be taking a bit longer.

#2239 69 days ago
Quoted from pinballaddicted:

The clear is not the issue with pooling.

I'm not sure I follow. If the clear is soft, and I clamp a washer down on it, why wouldn't that result in being displaced into a pool next to the washer?

#2249 68 days ago

I know this isn't a paint related issue, but with regard to playfield quality...Along with peeled paint and missing parts that were never installed on the playfield, I just discovered what appears to be the wrong colored insert installed on my LE playfield. All RESCUE targets are supposed to be red/orange. Somehow, a clear one got into my playfield. Do they make orange bulbs?

INSERT Problem (resized).jpg
#2253 68 days ago

Thanks... I'll look into it.

#2270 68 days ago
Quoted from pinballaddicted:

I do not think a layer of clear is sprayed first.. check out the photos of all the chipped out pieces.

It is normal in other fields to apply a thinned laquer first. It acts as a sanding sealer and fills the pores. This makes the surface a lot stronger and far less prone to damage.

#2305 66 days ago
Quoted from GorillaBiscuits:

No comment from Stern since my Maiden LE was acknowledged to be passed on to QC over a month ago.

A month? Mine has been with QC for a week and a half and I thought that seemed long without an update. I guess I better reset my expectations.

#2310 66 days ago
Quoted from GorillaBiscuits:

No worries, they’ll take care of you especially since it’s a really new game. It does take time. Just continue to be patient and polite in the meantime, which you’re totally being... even in your posts here.
Personally, I’m livid that my 9k LE is having these issues and I’m not getting much a response... but your game is substantially newer and has a multitude of issues, so I’m confident Stern will take care of you sooner than later don’t sweat it!

I'm sorry your having trouble to. I do believe Stern cares and doesn't want this for their customers. Things can take time. In the meanwhile, there's plenty of pinball to play while I wait.

#2326 66 days ago
Quoted from cpr9999:

What happened to your LE?

A few things actually. Some minor stuff like the helicopter blades were hitting the ramp and they asked me to bend it, and a side wall was overtightened, causing it to bend and leave an indent into the playfield.

They also forgot to install some parts, paint is chipping/peeling below the flipper, and they used the wrong color insert in a pretty important place (which basically mismarks an important part of the ruleset).

#2330 66 days ago
Quoted from NeilMcRae:

can't imagine why Stern haven't sent you a courier to pick this game up and drop a new properly made one! It's a shit show.

They may very well do that as far as I know. They are still reviewing the situation and I don't believe want decision has been made yet.

#2339 65 days ago
Quoted from YeOldPinPlayer:

In my experience with other companies getting a specific person to speak with at the company for updates and a specific time frame for resolution is helpful. Sometimes having a specific resolution that you want and communicating that to them politely is helpful.
I've had poor experiences when I simply reported a problem and gave them weeks to respond with no further contact.

Thank you for sharing that experience. I can be too patient at times for my own good. Especially when I like a company and more so when I like the people that work there.

I think the right people are aware. I also think you are right that I need a timeframe. I will take your advice and follow up regularly.

#2350 65 days ago

I posted this in the JPLE thread, but wanted to let people here know as well that two senior people reached out to me regarding the PF issues I had and they are sending my distributor a new populated PF to swap. Based on the communications I've had with them, I have no doubt that this is an important issue for them to get right. I appreciate everyone's advice here. It helped tremendously.

#2352 65 days ago
Quoted from smalltownguy2:

Jersey Jack or Stern? I'm guessing Stern by the reference to JPLE.
-wonka owner #08742206, play field #105, clear coat case #5107

Yeah, Stern. So many people were involved and at such high levels within the company that I had a high degree of confidence that they were committed to getting everything right.

I had good dealings with JJP in the past. Hopefully they will take care of you as well.

#2356 65 days ago
Quoted from PtownPin:

Are they providing the labor to remove your play field and install the new one?

Yes. The distributor will be bringing it over, installing it, and sending the old one back for me.

#2414 64 days ago
Quoted from kvan99:

Ok, I have a theory on this clearcoat issue ( hold your punches), a few years ago I repaired the sanctum area on my shadow. I had read a few instructional posts and went at it, I did the repair per all expert advice, I then clearcoated with a spray can of Krylon or something similar I bought from The Home Depot...it took only about 20 plays or so for the area above the magnet to give in a bit and form a slight divot, which kept the ball from rolling into the sanctum. Another Pinsider did the same repair as me (used my instructions) but used automotive clearcoat and he didn't have any issues hundreds of plays later. So my theory is that someone is using cheap clearcoat that is not in the same league as the automotive clear such as Spray Max 2k stuff. This is just my hunch, I have no proof. I don't think the environmental reformulation has anything to do with that. I just think it's lower grade stuff.

So the trick is in the details here. What is meant by cheap? Usually, "cheap" refers to using a lacquer with less solids and more solvent. The solvent is cheaper. Quart to quart, a cheap lacquer will produce thinner finishes. Which sometimes is desired. Higher solid lacquers are generally more costly.

But the real story is in the formulation and application process.

Regarding formulation, a high grade instrument laquer will generally contain a larger amount of plasticizers. These small molecules surround the long polymer chains and prevent them from wrapping into each other to form crystalities that can make the surface brittle. Usually, having a subpar formula isn't really a cheap thing so much as it is the wrong formula. For example, one could easily use an expensive formula that is so hard, it will produce spider web cracking over time. This isn't necessarily cheap, just wrong!

The last real factor is in the category of application (which also includes prep and cure). For example, if a guitar shop wouldn't even buff out a guitar in less than 10 days because the finish is still too soft, it makes me wonder if anyone is bolting parts to a PF within that time. And are suppliers correctly communicating the hold times they used so the assembly people can time it right? And even if they are, the wrong spray schedule could trap solvents and produce a host of other issues that change cure times. I honestly don't think it's an issue of Stern being cheap with the paint. I think it's more in the category of a costly manufacturing issue that they would like to resolve.

Bottom line for me is that even with cheap laquers and formulas that could stand to be tweaked, movement in a clear coat after application, lifting, peeling... I'd look to my application/cure process first. It's almost definitional... If it's still moving and hardening it's not really cured yet because that's all "cured" really means: it's stopped moving and has hardened up.

Like I said before, I don't know PFs. But on a guitar, if I sprayed some heavy coats, and let the surface tack up in a few days, I could install a guitar tuner over the gloss. It'd look great. Over the next 2 weeks, the soft clear would migrate (creep) out around that guitar tuner and puddle. It would get harder too as it continued to cure, but trapped solvents would soften the paint under it. The soft clear might stick to the underside of the guitar tuner too. As a string put tension around the post, it would slightly angle it up and away from the headstock surface opposite the string. The laquer, stuck to the bottom of the tuner, would lift in a moon shape along with the post it was attached to and likely chip where the thicker part of the puddle met the thinner part of the lacquer. On the other side, the post would move slightly into the bubble where the lacquer creeped. That bubble, now hardened, would likely crack or chip away. I know this because I've done it. On a banjo. Not a PF. So maybe that's different.

And just for transparency, I am just a hobbiest. I defer to the experts in this field.

#2419 64 days ago
Quoted from sohchx:

Wow!! Now that's customer service!!! Is your distributor local to you?

He is local. The store is owned by a great guy and a long time pinball fan. It's called Little Shop of Games.

#2527 63 days ago

Has anyone tried to remove a post from an area where there is pooling but no chipping? I'm curious if the bottom of the post is stuck to the clear when trying to remove it.

#2536 63 days ago
Quoted from Dr-pin:

I would consider warming it with a heat gun or such before i tried the removal.

That's good advice for protecting the PF. If you happen to notice that it is stuck without warming it though, I'd be curious because it would pretty much completely convince me that the parts were installed before the clear cured.

#2570 62 days ago
Quoted from bigd1979:

I then flattened out the pooling

Did you sand it out, or were you actually able to manipulate the cured surface with pressure?

#2572 62 days ago
Quoted from bigd1979:

No sanding.. it flattened out with hair dryer on low . I just basically followed a thread someone made on pinside. Not sure who it was but it seemed to work overall. Seems to me the digital printing is moving under high pressure areas like slings and such.

Curious. I never heard of a lacquer flexible enough to do that after curing. In fact, I can't even imagine how to intentionally replicate that. You learn something new, everyday.

#2618 58 days ago
Quoted from o-din:

Perhaps a similar warning about washing their t-shirts is in order?
[quoted image]

That shirt wouldn't have faded if they had used automobile paint.

#2660 56 days ago
Quoted from o-din:

Well I've got one downvote from Hawkmoon although I think he's still holding a grudge from when he found out I wasn't an original 1960s hippie like he was.

Not holding a grudge. Not sure what the hippie reference is about. I just happen to like jp. That's all. No worries.

#2662 56 days ago
Quoted from o-din:

No grudge either. We all have our own tastes and mine has always been a bit more edgy than most. I don't expect everybody to understand and am not trying to put anybody down. I tell it what works for me.
And that hippie reference? While you were seeing Hendrix live, we were little kids supporting the cause with what we had to work with.

I hear you. The game does have a lot of objectively good things about it when compared to other games of its kind. But I can't argue that you actually like those things. If you don't, you don't.

And for what's it's worth, I was born in the 70s. Watching Hendrix live was a bit before my time.

#2665 56 days ago
Quoted from o-din:

I got the wrong Hawkmoon. Is he your dad?

I don't know any other hawkmoons. "Hawkmoon77" is a reference to a U2 song.

#2670 55 days ago
Quoted from o-din:

Seriously, something struck me as odd Hawkmoon had bought a JP. It kept ringing in my brain something was off.
I had read your playfield troubles 77 and said, no, not again.
You see you guys do have more in common than you might think.

I want to say it's a crazy coincidence, but some of these problems seem to occur with some degree of regularity.

#2672 55 days ago
Quoted from TaylorVA:

Are new JPs, with altered playfields, displaying issues?

I've had a few QC related issues with my JPLE, but the overwhelming majority of people have said that theirs are okay. Also, Stern has contacted me and indicated that they will address the issues I have. The level of support I've gotten through Stern has given me a high degree of confidence.

#2709 52 days ago
Quoted from Spelunk71:

So Stern just let me know they will replace the playfield on my Met with some hairline clearcoat cracks around an outlane post. They gave me a choice between a populated playfield swap and an unpopulated playfield. I opted for the latter to avoid the hassle of the swap (undoing/redoing mods, playfield protection, etc.) and because the damage is currently not too bad and seems to have stabilized.
I am satisfied with this outcome. Stern has done right by me (assuming I actually get the new playfield soon!) and hope others with similar issues get taken care of. This is the second NIB from Stern I have purchased, and they also swapped my ghosting GB playfield. These clearcoat issues are definitely concerning, but I do feel like--at least in my case--Stern is standing behind the product. Once it seems like the vast majority of playfields going out are problem-free, I won't hesitate to buy another Stern.

Glad to hear it. Stern offered to swap mine out as well.

#2710 52 days ago
Quoted from IronMan8Bit:

Good news I'm on the fence about a new JP and I feel like I change my mind about 2-3 times an hour... lol.

It's the best game, all around, that I've ever played.

#2712 52 days ago
Quoted from IronMan8Bit:

They offered you a swap on your JP? If so that makes me feel even better about pulling the trigger.

Yes. They are sending a fully populated PF to my local distributer, who will bring it over and do the swap for me. No down time.

#2729 47 days ago

So I thought this was pretty cool of Stern...

They already said they'd send my distro a populated PF because of the problems I had. One of those problems involved a missing part.

The new PF was expected to take a few weeks. So they sent me the replacement part in advance so I could enjoy the game the correct way while I waited. They didn't have to do that, and I didn't even ask for that, but they did it anyway.

#2733 47 days ago
Quoted from extendo:

That is good to know, what was wrong with the PF exactly?

Missing parts, a peeled paint (probably from bad apron install), wrong color insert, some pooling wherever the side walls touched the PF (3 spots that I can see), and some other nit-picky stuff. Thankfully mine appears to be an anomaly.

#2741 46 days ago
Quoted from Tranquilize:

There is a thread dedicated to this. I'd recommend checking it out.

This is so bizarre to me. Warming a clear coat is not supposed to make it do that. Are they not using laquer?

#2751 46 days ago
Quoted from Fytr:

A buddy of mine just took delivery of a JP2LE and put it on location. Having seen/played the game the clearcoat looks perfect (no pooling), the art has been removed from around the posts as others have noted on the LE playfields as well.
Going simply from my personal opinion I would also say that the clearcoat is a lot thinner than what Stern was producing prior to this. I don't really have an opinion on whether thinner CC is good or bad at this point.

It does appear thin. Under the right lighting, you can see on mine the difference in height of the different colors of the graphics printed on it. The clear is not thick enough to fill in that height difference.

#2784 41 days ago
Quoted from AUKraut:

Yes, it's a problem, but a different problem than the pooling/chipping that 95% of this thread has been about. This was human error/carelessness during the assembly by putting gouges into the playfield and NOT a clearcoat/ink adhesion issue causing pooling.
Apples and oranges.....

It looks like a dull drill bit to me chipped the holes during the cut-out process. If that's the case, it's a shame it wasn't caught before printing and assembly. Or maybe it was caught, but was within acceptable levels. Hard to say. Either way, I hope ercvacation get's it resolved to a point he's happy with. And even if not, other than the one larger chip, I think the rest could be repaired very well with sandpaper and clear (not that he should have to do that with a new pin, but in a worst case scenario...).

#2861 36 days ago
Quoted from razorsedge:

No worries mate! ... just unbox it, pull the rubbers and loosen all the posts then pack it up again. .... Have the unboxing in 12 months time when it should have been released! (just remember to firmly, but not too firmly, tighten all the posts back down again Lol)

30 days is usually plenty for getting a good quality clear.

#2909 35 days ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

It's not about doing a playfield swap. It's about having a NOS playfield to "throw in" on a future sale of the game if someone complains about the playfield in the game that's being sold.
Nobody really cares about these playfields and minor imperfections most people can't or won't notice, it's all about resale. Nobody is swapping their playfields, they are just sitting on the NOS ones they get from Stern. Plus, they "got something outta Stern" which also provides some peace of mind.

So... After talkng with Stern about my issue, I had the distinct impression that they know that people intend to do this and why it's their new default offer.

#2934 35 days ago
Quoted from JWP72:

UPDATE: Well yesterday I received my new IMDN unpopulated playfield. And it's stamped June 28, 2019...with no indication or paperwork that this has been recently clearcoated. So I have to assume that this replacement is going to do the EXACT same thing as the one I already have. This is extremely disappointing. My current playfield has 10+ posts with pooling plus cracking. So I swap playfields and have this happen all over again??

I wouldn't make that assumption. It is very possible the problem is cure time and not chemistry. To have an older and thickly coated clear coat with plenty of time to cure may be better than a new thinly coated clear coat with only a weeks cure time.

Besides, you can always clamp something to the surface in a hidden area and see if it develops a pool before you repopulate the entire field.

#2986 32 days ago
Quoted from snaroff:

Stern apparently corrected this issue on the LE's & Premium's...

Not all the LEs.

#2989 32 days ago
Quoted from romulusx:

If anyone is considering buying a Wonka ,do so with confidence.
I just got a Wonka SE that was built 10/30 and it’s playfield is perfect!

I've seen 2 new Wonkas at my distro. Both were perfect. Also one YBR WOZ that was perfect, other then it arrived with Wonka pinblades in it!

#2990 32 days ago
Quoted from woody76:

Just left the nashville show.
Played a JP premium that is a newer run. The clear coat was so thin the playfield art impressions were showing through it. Did not have a chance to touch it but guarantee you can feel it with your fingers.

My LE is like that and it still had problems.

#2997 32 days ago

I think some people here are angrier than that.

1 week later
#3150 24 days ago
Quoted from Fytr:

Looks like the some old shed out back (no contaminant or strict moisture or temperature control), or the one with the playfield QA station where the light table used to inspect inserts isn't even plugged in, it becomes obvious that Stern lacks the processes and training to create a quality product consistently, at volume.

This all the way. When I first started using laquer, I didn't have any ability to control humidity, application thickness, or any of those other variables that most people ignore but are laid out quite specifically on the side of the can. I had trapped solvents, poor adhesion, and soft finishes. A proper environment is critical for any type of specialty finish.

2 weeks later
#3190 9 days ago
Quoted from PW79:

Anyone get a new populated PF yet?

Not me. I emailed them and was told it is "backordered". From what I hear, best chance is sometime in Jan.

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