(Topic ID: 300481)

F-14 Tomcat - Is it worth it? EDIT: Bought a HIGH SPEED instead!

By Greenfun13

38 days ago


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  • Latest reply 24 days ago by Knxwledge
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There are 133 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 3.
#1 38 days ago

Hi everyone!

I came across a F-14 Tomcat for sale locally to me. The cabinet appears to be in pretty rough condition, but it is hard to tell the condition of the playfield. Here is the sellers ad, I apologize on his behalf for being in all caps...

"AN EXTREMELY GOOD CONDITION PIN BALL GAME MACHINE.WORKS EXCELLENT, JUST HAVE NO ROOM FOR IT ANY MORE.AS YOU CAN TELL FROM THE OTHER PICTURES POSTED A BRAND NEW ONE GOES FOR $4,295.THATS ALOT FOR A BRAND NEW PIN BALL MACHINE.ONLY ASKING FOR $1,000.NEGITIONS ACCEPTED ALSO."

I would venture that he doesn't know too much about pins, considering you haven't been able to buy a new one since 87! He is asking $1,000 O.B.O... What would be a reasonable offer to make? $500, or even less? I am currently looking for my first pin and don't mind getting one in rougher shape (if I can get it cheap enough!) I am not afraid to get my hands dirty and learn to fix it. I don't plan on flipping it, but I also wouldn't be keeping this one forever. I am not trying to make any money in the future when I sell it, but if possible, I don't want to lose a bunch of money either.

Any advice for this pin newbie? See pictures below:

Tomcat 1 (resized).jpgTomcat 2 (resized).jpgTomcat 4 (resized).jpgTomcat 5 (resized).jpgTomcat 6 (resized).jpgTomcat 7 (resized).jpgTomcat 3 (resized).jpg

#2 38 days ago

I'm local to you and I saw this one. Something I've learned is if a normie says an arcade machine or pin is in working condition, there's a good chance it will still need work. They likely just mean it powers on at a bare minimum, or it might start but have a bunch of other issues. The playfield looks pretty good considering the condition of the cabinet. Considering the prices of pins here in CA I would be happy at $700 (or less) but others can chime in.
Project alpha-numeric games don't come up too often around here it seems, so by the time you figure out what you wanna pay someone might already be loading it up in their truck

#3 38 days ago

Playfield and plastics look good… strip the Mylar, clean the playfield, new balls, rubbers, leds…. Pretty low cost to have a decent machine if the wiring is good. If the wiring is good, I’d say the $1k is well priced. If it needs a bunch of wiring hacks cleaned up, I’d lower the price accordingly.

10
#4 38 days ago

This $1K project is gone in the time you took to post her on Pinside.

If it is a complete wreck underneath you could part it out for more than 1K.

Why are you on your computer and not in your car?

#5 38 days ago
Quoted from Black_Knight:

This $1K project is gone in the time you took to post her on Pinside.

Ad's been up for 12 hours, but someone probably offered $1.5k and the seller is just holding his own little auction behind the scenes lol

#6 38 days ago

Always assume games like this have alkaline damage and 1 or more bad displays. aside from that it probably will clean up nice.

#7 38 days ago
Quoted from Knxwledge:

They likely just mean it powers on at a bare minimum, or it might start but have a bunch of other issues.

Or the GI comes on and that's it. Which doesn't mean a whole lot.

I would consider the game non-working.

But a decent system 11 game for $1k, especially in CA? It's probably gone already.

#8 38 days ago

That would be a great first pin to learn on and have a blast playing. As others have said, probably gone already. If not You should be making arrangements to get it today

The Culver City 1999 vending license tag is interesting, I’ve lived there most of my life and never seen that on a pin or vid on location.

#10 38 days ago

I would grab this at $1000 all day long! It is a system 11... and if it is even minimally working, and if the boards need work, I would still take it at $1000!

#11 38 days ago

Decent buy but would be a ton of work for a self proclaimed newbie.

#12 38 days ago

Yeah for $1000 that's a gift. No need for excuses, grab it now and figure your plans out later.

#13 38 days ago

That game will clean up nice! I would buy it if it were local for 1k. Great game...brutal fast...awesome light show.

#14 38 days ago

Thanks to everyone that has replied!

I reached out to the seller and am waiting to hear back from him, but I wont be holding my breathe that its still available.

Also, for future pins that come up, what is the best way to transport them? Fold down the backbox and take the legs off?

#15 38 days ago
Quoted from Greenfun13:

Thanks to everyone that has replied!
I reached out to the seller and am waiting to hear back from him, but I wont be holding my breathe that its still available.
Also, for future pins that come up, what is the best way to transport them? Fold down the backbox and take the legs off?

To answer your question, yes, but yikes....you're asking a question like that and you're about to buy a game that probably needs tons of board work, mechs rebuilt, complete teardown and cleaning, ect. Not saying a person can't just jump in with both feet but man, good luck to you. I hope you get it!

#16 38 days ago
Quoted from Haymaker:

To answer your question, yes, but yikes....you're asking a question like that and you're about to buy a game that probably needs tons of board work, mechs rebuilt, complete teardown and cleaning, ect. Not saying a person can't just jump in with both feet but man, good luck to you. I hope you get it!

hahaha I could see how that could be nerve racking question from an outside perspective but I am the type of guy that does everything myself. From laying tile to building computers from scratch to pulling engines and rebuilding them. I was raised with the mentality, "if you can pay someone to do it, you can do it yourself". I find a repair manual, or other appropriate resources and take my time with whatever I am doing. I know how to solder and read electrical diagrams, I grew up with a Pin*Bot in my parents game room and changed displays and rebuilt flippers growing up. Plus, now that I have found this forum, I feel really confident that I will be able to have any of my questions answered, because so far everyone has been great on here!

#17 38 days ago

Last time I posted a project SS pin at under $1000 in sold within 12 minutes. Someone who had bought from me before literally called me and said he was on his way to pick it up, had cash, and would be at my house in 20 minutes.

https://pinside.com/pinball/market/classifieds/archive/116789

#18 38 days ago
Quoted from Greenfun13:Hi everyone!
I came across a F-14 Tomcat for sale locally to me. The cabinet appears to be in pretty rough condition, but it is hard to tell the condition of the playfield. Here is the sellers ad, I apologize on his behalf for being in all caps...
"AN EXTREMELY GOOD CONDITION PIN BALL GAME MACHINE.WORKS EXCELLENT, JUST HAVE NO ROOM FOR IT ANY MORE.AS YOU CAN TELL FROM THE OTHER PICTURES POSTED A BRAND NEW ONE GOES FOR $4,295.THATS ALOT FOR A BRAND NEW PIN BALL MACHINE.ONLY ASKING FOR $1,000.NEGITIONS ACCEPTED ALSO."
I would venture that he doesn't know too much about pins, considering you haven't been able to buy a new one since 87! He is asking $1,000 O.B.O... What would be a reasonable offer to make? $500, or even less? I am currently looking for my first pin and don't mind getting one in rougher shape (if I can get it cheap enough!) I am not afraid to get my hands dirty and learn to fix it. I don't plan on flipping it, but I also wouldn't be keeping this one forever. I am not trying to make any money in the future when I sell it, but if possible, I don't want to lose a bunch of money either.
Any advice for this pin newbie? See pictures below:
[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

I have owned quite a few F-14 Tomcats. If you are just starting out on pinball and have not done much in repairs then a project like this is not the way to go. I would not even buy this for $1k or even at all. The cab is just to shot unless you want to re-stencil, but that is a very big pain of a job to do. When it comes to a cab that needs a stencil job then I will just pass and find another machine. F-14 is a very common game and is not hard to find a good one for a good price. Almost every F-14 I have owned you are going to have to put some money into it. Most are going to need a beacon motor and belts, displays, might have acid damage on MPU, flipper work and more. Plus if it does not turn on then you don't know the status of the MPU, Displays, Sound Board, Power Supply, Beacon Motor and more. If you do not know how to fix boards the this can get expensive fast since you have to send boards out to get them fixed or replace if available. If you are just looking to get a game to play and enjoy then this is not the correct path to go just because of the cheap price. This type project is best for someone that knows how to work on every inch of the game and is wanting to do a restoration. I will say for a $1k price it should already be sold.

#19 38 days ago

Eh, not every cab needs to be repainted. If it's sturdy and plays fine, let it be a beater if you want a beater.

#20 37 days ago

With the clear center beacon and the white flashers in the back this appears to be an early production machine. The playfield doesn’t appear too bad. No comment on the cabinet. The concern would be that there are no pictures of inside the cabinet, beneath the playfield or inside the back box. If it “works excellent” why isn’t it powered on in any of the pics?

That said, I bought my F-14 in California about 15 years ago for $700. A very early production model. I had never owned or worked on a pinball machine in my life and was very ignorant as to what I was getting in to. I learned. (I’m still learning.) Even though sometimes frustrating, it was a fun project. For a while, before I got one thing fixed something else would stop working. It was harder to get parts back then. I had to order a used beacon assembly from some guy in Germany. I still have mine today. It looks great and plays beautifully! When I brought it out of storage a while back it had been abused and was home to a family of mice who had had their way with it. I was pretty much starting from scratch. This is where I came for help when I was stumped and I always got it. People won’t always give you the solution, but they will definitely give you suggestions and point you in the right direction which gives you the opportunity of figuring things out and to learn.

I hope you get it. Just be prepared to spend a lot of time fixing and repairing – at least at first. You’ll be completely baffled by an issue, but you’ll love the feeling when you get something figured out. There will come a point when something goes wrong that you will immediately have a good idea of what to look at. I found the F-14 to be a great machine to learn on. Hone up on your soldering skills and your multi-meter will be your best friend. As far as the cabinet goes, you can hunt down some stencils or decals and make it look like new. Be aware that you are more than likely to spend more on parts and tools than you did on the game, but eventually you’ll have the game running like a champ, you’ll be proud of what you’ve accomplished and you will be spending your evenings trying to beat your own high score. Hey, you might get lucky and the thing really does play excellent.

#21 37 days ago

So...did you end up with it?

#22 37 days ago

At that price it was likely gone by the time you posted. F-14s are in $2k territory now. It's a great game, but to me it will always be an $1,800 game no matter how crazy the market gets, but that's my view on the whole era not just F-14. F-14 itself is a phenomenal game that is seriously addicting.

#23 37 days ago

The seller said there was a 'miscommunication' with his dad and raised the price to $1,900. Said he has a buyer at $1,650 but now he isn't responding anymore. He posted up some more pictures of the game turned on. Looks like all 4 displays work.

Told him I could come and get it but im all in at $1,000. Ill see what he says..
Tomcat 8 (resized).jpg

Tomcat 9 (resized).jpg
#24 37 days ago

I always pass on auctions.

#25 37 days ago
Quoted from Gameseum:

At that price it was likely gone by the time you posted. F-14s are in $2k territory now. It's a great game, but to me it will always be an $1,800 game no matter how crazy the market gets, but that's my view on the whole era not just F-14. F-14 itself is a phenomenal game that is seriously addicting.

$1,800 game in what condition though?

What would you offer on a game in this condition?

#26 37 days ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

I always pass on auctions.

I agree. I even told him he should take the $1,650 offer last night and then this morning he says that guy isn't responding. I am holding steady on my $1,000 offer but I wont be holding my breath.

#27 37 days ago

This is still a great deal at more than $1000. The only question is do you want to play or learn about the hobby. If you want to play just pass. If your looking for a pin to learn about the hobby this is exactly what you want. I would open up the conversation with him and see where he will go with price.

P.S. If it was me I would be dropping bills on the glass.

#28 37 days ago

Of course I want to play! but I honestly don't mind finding a good deal and taking a crash course on how to get everything back in tip top shape.

If I had to equate it to a car. I would like to find an old beater that starts up and drives around the block. What I don't want is an old rust bucket that hasn't started since 1999 and needs EVERYTHING replaced before I can safely take it around the block..

#29 37 days ago

Pass on this, it is not a players pin, this is a project.

#30 37 days ago
Quoted from Greenfun13:

$1,800 game in what condition though?
What would you offer on a game in this condition?

1200 would be my absolute max and I doubt I'd even be willing to go that high. 1900 for it is a freakin joke. If they really have a buyer at 1650
let them have it and consider them as having done you a favor. Its clear the seller has no idea what its worth, and if it lingered this long at 1k or more theres a good reason for it. A reasonable deal for a decent pin, even as a fixer upper, doesn't last long.

Minus the cab it does look like it would clean up nice but I shudder thinking about what issues are lurking behind that BG and under that PF

#31 37 days ago

I do no think this was a miscommunication situation, The asking price at $1k was priced on the lower side. Some people just want a cheap game and not concerned about the overall condition. I have heard this type story many times. One time I was even was in a situation where a deal was locked for me to buy and pick up that evening. By noon I got a message that after talking it over with the wife they decided to keep the game instead. I thought that was very odd since the wife is the one that always wants the game gone. Two days later I saw the same machine relisted by a Pinball Retailer for a crazy price. So in the end I think the original seller got a higher offer but did not have the guts to tell me the truth that they sold it to a higher offer. My general rule of thumb is if you do not grab it once it first posted then the chances of getting it are slim to none. Either the seller is working with others or they are waiting to see what the highest offer is going. to be. I would pass instead of playing these kind of games unless the higher price was still worth it. This buyer is getting greedy for a game that is not in great condition. At this point they just want to play the auction game.

#32 37 days ago
Quoted from Greenfun13:

I agree. I even told him he should take the $1,650 offer last night and then this morning he says that guy isn't responding. I am holding steady on my $1,000 offer but I wont be holding my breath.

By looking at the pictures with this game turned on you can see it has a battery issues since its not in attract mode. The big concern is did the batteries leak all over the MPU. With these system 11 games when they leak they get all over the PIA chips. I have had to toss some of these MPU boards in the trash since when you go to replace PIA chip the pads or traces on the board are to eaten up from the acid damage to save the board.

#33 37 days ago
Quoted from Greenfun13:

The seller said there was a 'miscommunication' with his dad and raised the price to $1,900. Said he has a buyer at $1,650 but now he isn't responding anymore. He posted up some more pictures of the game turned on. Looks like all 4 displays work.
Told him I could come and get it but im all in at $1,000. Ill see what he says..
[quoted image]
[quoted image]

Yup that usually happens. He's conducting his own auction behind the scenes. You'll have a better time buying a project from a Pinsider or someone in the pinball FB groups who is less likely to do that bullshit

#34 37 days ago

It's way better to spend extra and get something in better shape. That is pretty hashed. It would look much worse in person.

#35 37 days ago
Quoted from jhanley:

It's way better to spend extra and get something in better shape. That is pretty hashed. It would look much worse in person.

I agree. The seller said he I could have it for $1,250 if I came and picked it up today. Still holding steady at $1,000 but I think I am going to end up passing based on what FIREPOWER1980 said below.

Quoted from FIREPOWER1980:

By looking at the pictures with this game turned on you can see it has a battery issues since its not in attract mode. The big concern is did the batteries leak all over the MPU. With these system 11 games when they leak they get all over the PIA chips. I have had to toss some of these MPU boards in the trash since when you go to replace PIA chip the pads or traces on the board are to eaten up from the acid damage to save the board.

#36 37 days ago

Seller just got back to me about my $1,000 offer and said this:

"THE LOWEST WE CAN POSSIBLY GO IS $1,100....I CANT DROP THE PRICE ANY MORE THEN THAT MY BOY...ITS NOT BRAND NEW I GET THAT BUT IT WORKS EXCELLENT AND IS IN GREAT SHAPE AND PERFECT CONDITION....ANY LOWER AND I START TI FEEL LIKE A SUCKER AND IM GETTING PLAYED..."

Hard to believe that thinks it is in excellent condition based on the cabinet condition alone.. Not sure what to do here. Wish I had someone local that could go with me and help me check it out, I would even offer to pay for your time.

Still thinking I should probably pass on this even though it might be a good deal to a more experienced pinhead.

#37 37 days ago

I can't believe no one has scooped this up. At that price there is plenty of room to turn this in to a beauty, I would be on this like a fat kid on a Smartie. I do like working on pins just as much as playing them.

#38 37 days ago
Quoted from Greenfun13:

Seller just got back to me about my $1,000 offer and said this:
"THE LOWEST WE CAN POSSIBLY GO IS $1,100....I CANT DROP THE PRICE ANY MORE THEN THAT MY BOY...ITS NOT BRAND NEW I GET THAT BUT IT WORKS EXCELLENT AND IS IN GREAT SHAPE AND PERFECT CONDITION....ANY LOWER AND I START TI FEEL LIKE A SUCKER AND IM GETTING PLAYED..."
Hard to believe that thinks it is in excellent condition based on the cabinet condition alone.. Not sure what to do here. Wish I had someone local that could go with me and help me check it out, I would even offer to pay for your time.
Still thinking I should probably pass on this even though it might be a good deal to a more experienced pinhead.

Why not go check it out and see how it looks? If the board isn't covered in battery acid, if there aren't any major issues, it's certainly worth $1,100.

On the other hand, they made a million F14s so if you don't think a project is a good idea, may as well pass (just like you should pass at $1,000).

We can't tell you what to do here.

#39 37 days ago

That thing has definitely been around some moisture. Just the rust on the outside tells me that. It's a gamble but it would have to a least play a game. I would have to see how many codes were coming up when you booted it up.

#40 37 days ago
Quoted from jhanley:

That thing has definitely been around some moisture. Just the rust on the outside tells me that.

That is my biggest concern as well. If the legs are that rusted, and the outside of the cabinet looks the way it does, makes me wonder what the insides look like.

I know a thing or two about electronics and I am not afraid to get my hands dirty, but I feel like I am too inexperienced to know exactly what I am looking at if I was to go and check it out.

#41 37 days ago

I just don't understand why you'd take it at 1000 but not 1100.

Saving that 100 clams isn't gonna make you any more experienced at pinball refurbishment or any more prepared to deal with a project like this.

#42 37 days ago

If you like your stuff nice I don’t think you would be satisfied.

#43 37 days ago

I would still pass. This seller is playing games and is not being honest. We still don't know what the right side of the cab looks like. Usually when pictures are not shown it's not a good sign. This game for sure has gotten moisture damage. I would also question acid damage on the MPU board. One of the pictures shows the game is the programing mode which is a sign that the batteries are dead or have leaked. The game probably did not boot to attract mode when first turned on. I have had to thrown away some system 11 boards due to battery acid. When they leak they spread acid into the pia chips. When this happens the pads and traces on the board are destroyed when you go to remove the chip due to the acid damage. I would inspect the MPU to the max to make sure acid did not attack these chips.

#44 37 days ago
Quoted from FIREPOWER1980:

I would still pass. This seller is playing games and is not being honest. We still don't know what the right side of the cab looks like. Usually when pictures are not shown it's not a good sign. This game for sure has gotten moisture damage. I would also question acid damage on the MPU board. One of the pictures shows the game is the programing mode which is a sign that the batteries are dead or have leaked. The game probably did not boot to attract mode when first turned on. I have had to thrown away some system 11 boards due to battery acid. When they leak they spread acid into the pia chips. When this happens the pads and traces on the board are destroyed when you go to remove the chip due to the acid damage. I would inspect the MPU to the max to make sure acid did not attack these chips.

This guy is on the way to grab the game right now OP. Better hurry up and get there first.

#45 37 days ago
Quoted from frisbez:

This guy is on the way to grab the game right now OP. Better hurry up and get there first.

All the power to him! I told the seller to take some pictures of inside of the head when he gets home. If I lose out on this 'deal' I wont lose any sleep over it. This is going to my first pin and while I don't mind a project, I also don't want to pick up something that I regret buying.

#46 37 days ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

I just don't understand why you'd take it at 1000 but not 1100.
Saving that 100 clams isn't gonna make you any more experienced at pinball refurbishment or any more prepared to deal with a project like this.

That was my initial offer before a lot of people (far more experienced than me) posted on this thread about the condition of it and got me second guessing myself.. Plus, I don't have access to a truck right now and would have to squeeze it into the back of my Ford Focus hatchback. I looked around on here and found other people that successfully fit a pin in the back of the same car, but it is not nearly convenient as having a truck..

#47 37 days ago

I was in the buy it now club, but now I'm gonna say pass. Not because of the $100, but because the seller is crazy. It "plays excellent", but it clearly hasn't been played in quite a while. He says it's "in great shape and perfect condition". In what world? Can the seller SEE the machine he is trying to sell? I agree with the moister comments. Even the ball rails have corrosion on them. Because the seller is so up in the ozone and not being very forthcoming is reason enough to turn him down. He got greedy and missed his opportunity.

#48 37 days ago

sounds like you don't want this game, for $100.00 and the lack of truck for an easier move ... looks like you decided !
go with your gut!

#49 37 days ago

Sounds to me like the seller got a lot of responses and figured out it might be worth more than $1k. Then it sounds like he started playing games and trying to get an auction going, and then people bailed and didn't want to deal with that situation.

Probably still worthwhile at $1100, but the seller sounds pretty squirrelly, and this is probably not the best situation for a first-time game buyer to jump into. I don't think I would trust this kind of seller to actually stick to any deal, so if you do go, be prepared to walk away if you don't like the way things are going. Just because you show up doesn't mean that you are in any way obligated to buy. And don't expect any help from this guy when you're trying to disassemble and load the game.

This might be an ok deal for an experienced pinhead who knows how to grab 'n go and fix things up, but like I said, the situation is just a bit too weird for a first-time buyer.

#50 37 days ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

Sounds to me like the seller got a lot of responses and figured out it might be worth more than $1k. Then it sounds like he started playing games and trying to get an auction going, and then people bailed and didn't want to deal with that situation.
Probably still worthwhile at $1100, but the seller sounds pretty squirrelly, and this is probably not the best situation for a first-time game buyer to jump into. I don't think I would trust this kind of seller to actually stick to any deal, so if you do go, be prepared to walk away if you don't like the way things are going. Just because you show up doesn't mean that you are in any way obligated to buy. And don't expect any help from this guy when you're trying to disassemble and load the game.
This might be an ok deal for an experienced pinhead who knows how to grab 'n go and fix things up, but like I said, the situation is just a bit too weird for a first-time buyer.

I think you summed it up perfectly.. I don't think I would trust this seller as far as I could throw him. (Not to be discriminatory, but you should see his profile picture.. he also has a drawing for sale from his ex-cell mate / friend that is currently doing a life sentence...)

I am anxious to get my first pin and start learning the ins and outs on properly taking care of and restoring one, but I am afraid that this specific deal might be a little over my head mixed with a somewhat sketchy seller..

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