It's pretty simple really. It's individual personal opinion / expectation.
I basically answer it this way now: If I were to literally give away CPR to any of the individuals who scrutinise our "gold" selections (claiming "hit and miss" or "should be bronze" or "results are all over the place" or whatever)... and move the entire shop to their backyard... let's pretend they learn the entire proper playfield making process instantly... and they own CPR and they personally produce playfields for a year for the hobby... I truly believe this would happen:
I have a theory they would look at their completed runs of 100+ playfields at a time, after all their effort and strive for perfection (they "got this" right? - finally into the hands of who can produce true flawless playfields, as they want and dream)... and they would end up seeing that all their playfields turn out "bronze" in their eyes.
They'd be flipping board to board, going OMG ... bronze... bronze... bronze... hunting for ANYTHING to be a gold... that flawless diamond... and they MIGHT find 2 or 3 out of 100 made. They'd quickly learn that practically no board is flawless... every playfield ends up with something you can hunt down and point at. Then a lightbulb moment would happen. Their PERCEPTION and EXPECTATION would change. They'd learn that a 97-99% "flawless" *IS* the pinnacle, and you grade downward from there. There is no 100%, top to bottom, flawless playfield. If there are, they are flukes, and very very rare. Even after trying with every drop of your soul to prove/produce every one of your playfields will be flawless. One would learn the voodoo of a wet silkscreen press quite quickly, laying down 12 colors across 6+ days, individually. Same goes for mass clearcoating of hundred(s) of playfields a month.
So in a nutshell, my gold is completely different from another person's gold - in their eyes. That is what is happening. If I had any one of those people here as my grader, wearing those "glasses" ... my runs would be all graded bronze, in their eyes. Because they are essentially hunting for flawless, as they flip board to board.
To me, hearing the claim that various CPR golds bought across different titles, fluctuate wildly in quality results... just isn't true (to me). It is to THEM, though. I get that.
Because gold is a catch-all in the "97-99% flawless" percentile. They are our best candidates/results/examples of the run, culled with the least amount of flaws. The LEAST amount. None are claimed to be flaw-LESS. Any playfield maker claiming flawless, or any different/better overall results than CPR, is lying. When the rest of the front face is sooooo good and sweet, this idea of the whole panel being "tainted" by some little thing that's way smaller than a dime ... just isn't reality. If we're going to call THAT bronze, then all our runs are bronze under that criteria... and there would never be a full priced playfield at CPR ever again. They'd all be "discounted with flaws" ... and it just gets silly / futile at that point. A utopia that never can be reached. Not in volume playfield production on any reasonable timeframe that the hobby can accept. Goodness, many think CPR is too slow as it is, getting these runs completed !
If we were to make artisan small-batch "near-one-off" type playfields, babied from top to bottom in a way I cannot even imagine, to make one flawless specimen after another to reach the utopia... then sure, that model MIGHT work... but CPR would be putting out 50 playfields a year, not 1200. In the end, would that even solve anything? Is true "flawless" that valuable in the grand scheme of a populated, lit, playing game ? As opposed to the same playfield with a little random nit on it ? Does it truly matter? To some, absolutely. I just wish that we all learn it's a pipe dream for playfield mass production to be that way. We've been doing this for 14 years now.
Anyway, it's always good to communicate on this stuff. That's our reality from this side of the equation. I realise there are polar opposite views on this topic. No worries.
Classic Playfield Reproductions