(Topic ID: 225894)

Defender (Williams 1982) - NOS playfield

By g94

7 months ago

Topic Stats

  • 49 posts
  • 18 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 months ago by Baiter
  • Topic is favorited by 6 Pinsiders


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#1 7 months ago

I bought this game in june 2016 from a very gentle Pinside member in the US. It's by far the most expensive game in my collection. The previous owner had got it restored in may 2015. Cabinet had been redone, all assemblies had been revised, or replaced, there's lots of new parts as well, but most important: it had a perfect NOS playfield. I doubt that the previous owner played the game a lot since its restoration, because it still looked like new when it arrived at my place.

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I reckon it got some 200 plays since, but I stopped playing it about a year or so. The reason: the NOS playfield starts showing too much damage already.

And that's where I don't understand the previous restorers. They did such a great job on the cabinet and the assemblies, but neglected the most vulnerable part of the game: the playfield. What were they thinking (or not thinking). Of course it would get damaged if left unprotected, the question not being whether it would happen, but when. And I must admit that I'm surprised myself how fast playfield damage happens.

An overview. There's some mild planking, mostly visible in the black areas.

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There's substantial insert bordering.

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Paint chipping off on drop target holes

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'Is that all damage there is', you might ask. Yes, that's about it. Perhaps you think that I'm overreacting, but my point is that all this damage could have been avoided if they would have walked the extra mile and had properly protected the playfield before populating it.

It simply makes me sad to see all paint gone where posts sat.

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My plan: fix the current damage and protect it to prevent more damage in the future by clearcoating the playfield.

Obviously I have to remove everything from the upper side, but the idea is to keep the bottom side as populated as possible as there's no point in completely stripping it. This is without doubt one of most populated, and as a consequence one of the heaviest playfields in pinball history, so I decided to unsolder all metal assemblies, and added connectors to the drop down assemblies, which will make future servicing easier.

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OK. Weight has been brought back to acceptable proportions . Next I have to finish depopulating the top and will then apply a first layer of protective clearcoat.

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I'll keep you posted

#2 7 months ago

Thanks for posting and good luck with the work. This is a unique and fun game that I hope to own one day!

#3 7 months ago

I made sort of crate to protect all the stuff that will remain attached to the playfield: wire harnesses, switches, lamps...

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Apart from the damage mentioned before, there is some mild insert cupping but nothing substantial that clearcoat cannot fix. Shooterlane is rough and needs sanding.

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I lightly sanded the playfield surface with #400 to improve the adhesion of the Dupont 2K clear.

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#4 7 months ago

I know this game!!!! Awesome to see someone doing it right by it.

I had a Defender I was going to restore with different NOS playfield and the guy who signed the bottom of your pf had a perfect 10 backglass in a frame on the wall that he was going to sell me for a pretty penny. I drive 120 miles to pick it up, bring him some eegee's from Tucson and when I get there he shows me a Defender (still with the original 8 /10 pf) in his garage and says he's going to put the 10 backglass in that and sell me the 8/10 out of that game instead (at a discount ) I'm livid after 120 mile drive to have someone do that but I play nice and buy the 8 because it was still better than what I had.

I then clearcoated my 10 NOS playfield to a glossy glass flat finish like a reasonable person would do, restencil the cabinet to a better than factory 10, put in my perfect new 10 plastic set in it, then put my f'king 8/10 backglass into the game. 5 years later he puts an NOS pf into that game (without clearcoating it first!!!!) and sells it to someone else I know.

Pretty sure the cabinet artwork on yours was a very nice original and unrestored when I last saw it.

I swear my back problems came from moving my Defender when I bought it. Mutliplexed coils meant it has 32 different drive coils and is likely the heaviest game Williams made.
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#5 7 months ago
Quoted from kbliznick:

Pretty sure the cabinet artwork on yours was a very nice original and unrestored when I last saw it.

Well wow ! I think you are right. I just had a good look and indeed it seems like the original artwork... How crazy is that: by its appearance I was really convinced that the cabinet had been restored and repainted. Me and a friend talked only this week about the nice "original looking" overspray they managed to obtain in some places

But indeed on a closer look there are a few minor scratches, which proves your point. Also because the inside appears original and untouched.

I feel stupid now ha-ha.

#6 7 months ago

I remember talking to Ron Kruzman and he said that NOS pf's pre diamond coated, are easily damaged as the paint is pretty fragile and mild ribbing is common.

That is why he clears them so that they will last for decades.

#7 7 months ago


I cannot guess how many games were played on my EBD since I restored and cleared it, but for sure it are many. The playfield still looks like the first day... I always clear my playfields when restoring a game, it makes no sense to me to skip such essential part in terms of preservation.

#8 7 months ago

I would not use varathane on that playfield. It does yellow slightly and will dull your colors. If you are going to clearcoat, have it done right and do it with autoclears.

#9 7 months ago

Actually I don't clearcoat my playfields myself.

It's not my ambition, not only because I have no garage (hence no chance to build a spray booth) but also because there's an amazing guy working in a car body shop nearby who is doing his magic to my playfields since years. I have no hope to obtain a result that would even be remotely close. Hence I prefer to stick to what I think I'm good at, and leave this delicate work to a professional.

He's using Dupont 2K clears, that's all I know.

#11 7 months ago

I've been touching up some damage prior to clearcoat. Some may find it pointless to try fixing post damage, but I cannot stand the idea to know that it would remain there. It looks like some damage may still be visible outside the post border. And if not: it's good practice for the future... and actually fun as well.

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Before-after. Not perfect but I experienced before that things blend better together once the relief is levelled after clear.

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Left side.

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I also already addressed some planking in the black areas. And the shooterlane is smooth now.

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I think the playfield is now ready for its first clearcoat. I just have to find my box with old bulbs to keep the sockets clear-free .

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#12 7 months ago

If possible, please scan it before you repopulate. I don't think anyone has a good scan of this PF.

#13 7 months ago

Looking good!

#14 7 months ago
Quoted from snyper2099:

If possible, please scan it before you repopulate. I don't think anyone has a good scan of this PF.

Yes I will do that.

#16 7 months ago

No problem, I don't mind sharing. I'm happy to help.

#17 7 months ago

Really hoping CPR or Hardtops will consider doing this important game.

#18 7 months ago

Count me in on a scan too, please.

#19 6 months ago

Whilst waiting for the playfield I've scanned my plastic set and drew plastic protectors in Illustrator. I created precise vector outlines on the plastic borders whilst adding 2pt extra protection where the ball can hit the plastic.

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Here's a combined file with clear protectors for Defender, Barracora and Quicksilver. Ready to be lasercut from 2mm polycarbonate.

I had some space left and added a few extra protector sets for the slingshots and the center plastic on Quicksilver. And also some clear lane guide sets for Eight Ball Deluxe. Drop me a PM if interested.

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#20 6 months ago

I think CPR playfield actually sells Defender Plastics. It' the playfield that is needed!
Doh Misread that - Plastic protectors FTW

#21 6 months ago

I seriously wish someone would start a business to produce plastic protectors on demand. I really need a set for my alien poker and of course no one makes them. I also think the sets that only have a few plastics and not all are a waste.There are many ways a plastic can get scraped up and lose paint besides ball strikes. Your lucky to have the knowledge and tools to make them on demand.

#22 6 months ago

Look who's back, more shiny than ever...

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Obviously still bumpy near some inserts after only the first clearcoat session. Yet I don't think it needs additional clear applied locally.
I'll let the playfield settle for a few more days, and will sand it flat after the weekend.

#23 6 months ago

did you scan it in before clear? My scans are clearer if I scan before I clear, as the clear adds depth away from the scanning surface and things don't come out as clear.

#24 6 months ago

Oops, no sorry, I didn't. Usually I only scan my playfields before restoration in case the damage is substantial and I might need these scans to reproduce missing artwork using design software. Which wasn't the case here.

I only planned on scanning the playfield before repopulating, as requested above.
Note that I always try to keep the layer of clear as thin as possible, most will be sanded away anyway.

#25 6 months ago

Inspires me to start moving forward with Warlock, TF and Flight 2000 retouching

#26 6 months ago

I would love a copy of the scan. My defender is going to need some work.

#27 6 months ago

As said I'm happy to share. Even better: I will stitch the scans together by hand, as it should, by manually rotating and positioning each scan pixel perfect. In my opinion the automatic stitch functionality in Photoshop doesn't do an accurate job. Photoshop CC will rather imagine pixels to visually fit the different parts. The result for sure looks good, but it is no exact carbon copy of the original.

#28 6 months ago

that would be awesome. Anytime you need a scan of something. let me know, as I have probably 400 playfields scanned in. Most of mine are not stitched together thou. But I have every section if you need certain parts.

#29 6 months ago

I need a Bally Wizard! if you have it...TIA

#30 6 months ago

The playfield has been sanded. The insert borders had some cracks and glitches. Not anymore

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Only remaining job is to fix some light damage in the pink borders round the Baiters drop targets, and then the playfield will be ready for its final clearcoat.

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#31 6 months ago

If anyone has a Defender that is Shit out of Luck and want to sell - hit me up!

This game is sexy.

#32 6 months ago

Only remaining were the bright pink borders round the Baiters drop targets. Not an easy colour to match (it looks brighter than original on the photos, but that is because the playfield is sanded - it should be ok when cleared).

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The wooden border was next. I decided to slightly deviate from the original design (as it is a little clumsy imho) and to airbrush a thin wooden border matching the cutout instead.
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The playfield is now ready for final clearcoat.

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#33 6 months ago

Very nice work. Your collection is one of the nicest group of games I know of!

#34 6 months ago

Thank you sir. As said earlier I admit that I'm a little obsessed by games from this era. I wish I had the room to collect them all

1 week later
#35 6 months ago

The final clear has settled for a week. I'll sand and polish the playfield tomorrow, and will then scan it, as promised.

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Everything is ready for rebuild. All plastic parts cleaned, guides regrained, metals and screws polished. I'm really eager to get the game back together...

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#36 6 months ago

do you have tape on the edges of the PF? Why, you're going to have a ridge there the rails should cover it but it just seems odd.

#37 6 months ago

I didn't want any clearcoat in the screw heads that hold the crate, nor in the gaps. The tape will be removed and indeed the rails will cover the "ridge", which will be hardly noticeable once sanded, since I always try to keep the layer of clear as thin as possible.

#38 5 months ago

Playfield is sanded...

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... and polished...

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... and scanned.

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#39 5 months ago

Here's the scan.

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#40 5 months ago

Hey, new to the thread here! If I want to start retouching playfields like a pro, how do you recommend I start? Your tools looked pretty fancy!

Congrats on your incredible job with this game!

#42 5 months ago

Playfield rebuild has begun. Playfield guides and wires are back in place.

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I decided to remove these decals on the standup targets. Some were already getting loose and they didn't look very original anyway.
I also replaced the bare GI wire next to the target bases with insulated wire. Things were way too close to my liking.

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Almost there

#43 5 months ago

All posts, lamps and switches are back in place. Topside is ready, apart from the plastics.

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Next I'll put it back in the cabinet to test lamps and switches. Or the other way around

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#44 5 months ago

Great thread!
My Defender playfield is in about the same condition as yours was and I've been looking forward to doing the same level of restoration.
I feel inspired now

Nice work!

#45 5 months ago

Looks amazing, this game is such a great art piece. That and space invaders.... drool.

#46 5 months ago

It's alive!

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Time to put the playfield back in the cabinet and get the coil assembly's back in place.

#47 5 months ago


#48 5 months ago

amazing job here!

thx for sharing!!!!

#49 5 months ago

Looks fantastic! I'd love to get one of these games some day.

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