I understand people being "nitpicky" (not my word) and so be it. The hobby is vast and wide with its expectations. Seemingly playfields are still one of those "holy items" that have been bred over time to be "grail" pieces... and combined with that ideology, the high-end restorers are out there doing absolute 1-on-1 magic with playfield restorations (and 6-12 month clearcoat processes)... it's led to this vision of perfectionism that just won't die. We've experienced it since we started in 2004. I don't see it going away any time soon. But it's OK. It's out there. It's just a weeee bit off from reality. Even if the individual perfectionist was handed the keys to CPR for a year to try themselves. They'd learn, and learn quick
What happens is exactly what you see here... the rare exceptions get trotted out for scrutiny and critique - BUT are made to passively appear as "the norm". As if this is "what to be expected" or "standard fare" with CPR playfields, or repro playfields in general. That is something I simply MUST comment upon.
Think about it this way: For the single examples shown here... I can show you 100+ that DON'T have those blems. The reality is the ratios in real life are staggeringly the opposite of the meme being portrayed (for better or worse) here, when only the exceptions get posted - not the norm.
Of course nobody is posting closeups of when everything is fine Why would anybody take a picture with no issues? Sure, there have been people in this very thread that have posted their happy open-box joy pix. But it's rare people come to give happy reviews. That's the internet in general. Displeasure is a much much much higher motivator. We get that. We also want readers to clearly understand that too.
There were hundreds of CPR TAFs made and shipped. You are seeing a dozen chronicled in this thread with uncaught blems - that in almost all cases, by customer request, were flipped with another one in exchange. I do all the grading personally - and even my eyes miss things that don't stand out.
Just remember that these are (mini-)mass production items at their core - not guru artisan one-offs. While we certainly strive for the best possible outcome (and I truly believe we get there), these are amazing results, based on the vast majority of the runs. Aside from a CNC machine, these are essentially a batch of individual handmade items. Like acoustic guitars in batches of 100-200. Far too little to be fully automated mass production, but too many to be artisan one-offs. Therefore we cannot enter the space, or meet the expectations of the aftermarket restorers/clearcoaters - who spend 6-12 months babying ONE playfield for a customer. Delivering 100.00% "perfection" . It just can't and won't happen. BUT - we can come damn close. Really damn close. Every playfield travels back and forth through a beastly antique classic silkscreen press, 8-16 times (depending on layers in the artwork). Prior to even silkscreening, there is a ton of handling and transport around between production steps. What I'm trying to express is the sheer amount of careful journeys that these boards go through. Careful as we are, and as semi-precise as analog silkscreening is, there will always be little nits and blems here and there. ALWAYS. No producer is immune from them. No producer. In fact, while we're all discussing cosmetics here right now - we tend to forget structure. Somebody mentioned IPB TAF playfields... well please note their CNC cut was done with a single (large) router bit (not 6 different bits, like ours)... so a lot of the cutouts are simply the wrong shape (most notably the chair hole), and from what I have been told - none of their openings were beveled for ball entry, as on the originals. Plus no IPB playfield was ever dimpled - front OR back. None I have ever seen , anyway. I won't even comment on the quality/material/origin of IPB's gameboard wood... So there is a lot more to this than cosmetics. We were determined to be the first and last TAF repro run that got everything right, as best as we could. The original/best artwork, the right/exact colors, the right/best wood, the right/original-tool inserts, and the exact milling/CNC cut. All other runs, before and now, simply don't have all those down. From what I have been told, even the 'other' TAF run out there right now, doesn't have proper insert installation... all the insert holes on those are thru-holes (like bulb holes), and the inserts aren't backed by a traditional wood lip foundation. That is a future ticking time bomb waiting to happen. Please everybody, just know when CPR is on the case, we're a team of 9 dedicated to producing the best & most thorough authentic pieces we can yield. Nothing has changed in 14 years. But everything is built oldschool and original. Hands-on and loud/dirty. The way it should be.
The meme of a virtually perfect & gorgeous playfield being discovered with an eyelash-sized blem suddenly being "junk" or "bad QC" and suddenly undesirable , written off as tainting the whole playfield as an overall poor quality piece (when our heart and soul actually went into it, equal to all the others)... is a meme that must die. Soon. It's just not reality. I'd challenge anybody to go visit the 30+year commercial/professional veterans at CCC, and start peeking through their racks of brand new Stern playfields... let me know what you think. You'll be surprised that a little shop up in Canada doing repro from scratch actually blows their consistency out of the water... and they are a FACTORY with a legacy in the industry, history, and staff of dozens working on their stuff fulltime. They are supposed to be the professionals! I mean... they are right? But lo and behold - they can't manage to get a playfield out the door that doesn't have numerous little cosmetic blems of dirt, debris, dropouts, blotches, and trash in the clearcoat. Almost. every. single. one.
Hundreds of CPR TAFs are out there now. You wont' really hear from many of the other owners who have nothing to show. This is the reason I have to speak up and at least balance the perspective a little bit from our side. These little blems shown above, are individual (non-repeated) occurrences in hundreds made... so I want to snuff out any FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) that this is anything to expect as the norm. I've spoken up in past years with this same message.
The general ongoing rule for receiving a new CPR playfield: If you get a cosmetic or structural blem that you think we didn't catch, want to dispute, then take some pictures, email them to us stating your case, and we'll take next steps to make you happy. That may mean a variety of solutions. The most common one is simply exchanging the playfield for another one. Right down to a no-quibble full-money-back return. So everybody is free to completely abort, if necessary. We'll never stick a person with their playfield(s) if they aren't happy.
Classic Playfield Reproductions