New! Dark mode!

Browsing Pinside at night? Getting tired of all the white? Switch to dark mode using the button in the top right (or CTRL-B)!

(Topic ID: 148238)

Fireball II: to turn a lucky garage find into a living room pin

By Jappie

4 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 98 posts
  • 35 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by pinkid
  • Topic is favorited by 23 Pinsiders


Linked Games

Topic Gallery

There have been 75 images uploaded to this topic. (View topic image gallery).

cbc0e428586bd5a9bc503c740c8f706e32291e69 (resized).jpg
685ded8a23e7ecd2031cdb83201c29715a7b3668 (resized).jpg

There are 98 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
#1 4 years ago

A few days ago, I picked up a Fireball II. I wasn't going to buy another pin, but for 50 euro I couldn't resist. Sadly, the backglass is flaking on the underside. Luckily, I have a spare one that looks a lot better. The playfield is in alright condition (mylared) and the cabinet has the usual dents. But it's about 95% unfaded, which is pretty rare for this machine.

A great candidate for a restoration. The plan is to make the machine suitable for my living room. I'm not doing an all-out-money-ain't-a-thing restoration, but do want to make the machine look and play as nice as I can on a limited budget. In this thread, I'll keep you posted on how things work out.

Oh, a warning: this may take a while.

#2 4 years ago

I'm in. Good luck!

#3 4 years ago

Let's remove the mylar! My plan is to clearcoat this playfield, so it can't stay!

I don't like mylar. At all. It makes a game play differently. And an old mylar makes a playfield look dull and keeps the colors from popping out. There is a good thing about mylar, though: it has saved the paint on an old playfield from getting severely damaged over the years. Just check out this part of the playfield, where there wasn't any mylar to begin with. A small quiz: Who notices what the previous owner did wrong while rubbering the machine? Damaged area without mylar

So, the mylar has to go. I could never make this machine as nice as I want it to be without removing it. I decided to take it off with all parts still on the playfield. This way, if things went wrong (a.k.a. the playfield getting severely damaged while taking the mylar off, which is very possible on an old playfield like this), I would abandon the project with a big headache and sell the machine as-is. As you can see, the mylar was in pretty rough shape. Rough and dirty...

To remove the mylar, I chose the freeze spray-method. Knowing the dangers of mylar removal, I knew that from here on, there was no way back. It's all or nothing... Here goes nothing!

If you compare the photo underneath this text to the one above, it becomes quite clear what an old mylar coating makes a playfield look like. The colors look much more vivid without the mylar. The white specks in the pink and black are small damages, but nothing that isn't fixable. Notice that the pop bumper still has a mylar ring around it. So far, so good.

Half time! The upper part of the playfield has now been freed of the mylar. The lower part still has it. Apart from the small specks, no serious damage to speak of. Half time!

Done. Wiping the sweat off my forehead, I can say this went pretty well. Before I started, I was very afraid that the removal would take a lot of the artwork with it. The result: pretty nice!

This is most of the mylar that came off of the machine. Filthy stuff. Out with it! Mylar, anyone?

This place requires some repainting, as I expected. The damage is caused by two too long screws that hold the Little Demon-assembly on the underside of the playfield! Screwed.

This is the place with the trickiest damage. I will be a small challenge to repaint this. But again, very doable. The picture again shows how brittle the paint is in the places where there wasn't any mylar. Damaged demon

In all, I'm extremely happy with the result up until now. This makes the machine a candidate for a beautiful clearcoat. But before this comes one of the jobs I'm not looking forward to: getting rid of the glue that held the mylar onto the playfield. The playfield may look pretty clean, but it's very sticky now.Go fetch!

Stay tuned for more!

#4 4 years ago

nicely done, looking forward to see more!

#5 4 years ago

Sweet pickup!

#6 4 years ago

The mylar removal went really well, congrats!

#7 4 years ago

Great job! The playfield in my game looks similar and I haven’t had the nerve to lift the mylar. These pics are what I want to see.

#8 4 years ago

Thanks guys! Glad you're enjoying the thread

#9 4 years ago

What method did you use to lift the mylar? freeze spray?

EDIT: Herpaderp, missed that part where you said you used freeze spray LOL

#10 4 years ago

i have a nos play field if your looking

#11 4 years ago

Congrats! I worked on mine this past fall. I used the freeze method to remove the mylar too. Alcohol and flour got the glue off but took awhile and my fingers are just now recovering. There is supposed to be 1 long rubber up top on the right, instead of the 2 little ones. I notice the left top wrong on a lot of these machines as well. A quick look would solve the mystery, but most owners are too lazy to look it up in the manual I guess. Great game. Better than Fathom IMO.................

#12 4 years ago

You are right about the rubbers, Pinkid! Good one.

On a different note: does anybody know of a game where the pop bumpers are placed closer together than on Fireball II? It really is a tight set!

#13 4 years ago

Just 50 euro's, thats a really nice pickup. Looking forward to the restore!

#14 4 years ago

folowing good find! enjoy!

#15 4 years ago

The Bally KISS machine bumpers seem tight, but maybe 4 of 'em going nuts makes it seem that way. Fireball II is a unique game. Enjoy it and good luck. Sounds like a great deal, even though I have no idea what euros equal in US funds.

#16 4 years ago
Quoted from pinkid:

Sounds like a great deal, even though I have no idea what euros equal in US funds

nearly the same by now

#17 4 years ago

Nice score!!

#18 4 years ago

Alright, time for the legs.

The previous owner kept the game in an unheated garage. The machine itself wasn't really affected by this, but the legs were.
Rusty legs
And again

On a positive note, the levelers came off very easily and the legs are still nice and straight. Perfectly usable with a new coating.
Levelers came off easily

I prepared the legs for a spray coating by sanding off the most prevalent rust, which was mostly on the back side. This way, the surface became smooth. After this, I degreased them and put some paper towel inside the tapped hole. For the coating, I used spraypaint: black Hammerite with 'hammer blow' finish. This stuff is ideal for metal with surface rust. It attaches to the surface well and keeps the rust from spreading.
Legs prepared and ready to be coated!

First, I put two thin coats of the Hammerite on the back side. Waiting about 15 minutes between each coat. After this, I let them dry.
Drying the back side

Once the back side was dry, I put on three thin coats of the Hammerite on the front side of the legs. Again, about 15 minutes between each coat. After this, I let them dry again.
Drying the front side...
Looking pretty sharp already!

The legs are now dry. This finish may not be original, but I love the look of it. It sort of matches the theme of the machine. I like to call the new color 'ash black'. As said, this is not a high-end restoration. I try to get a nice result while keeping my budget in mind.
The result

These beautiful legs of course do deserve new levelers and bolts. I will get these once the machine is ready to be put inside my living room.Check out the finish!

To be continued...

#19 4 years ago

I would bet that with a overnight bath in Evaporust those legs would have been nice enough to use. I have been going thru my pile of rusted legs & what will clean up is amazing.

#20 4 years ago

Thanks for the tip! I'll probably try that for other rusty parts, like the ball shooter assy. Have to check if (and where) I can get Evaporust or a similar product in the Netherlands, though.

For the legs, I'm actually very happy with this new finish. I *think* that Fireball II originally came with anthracite legs, but don't quote me on that. The finish I chose is darker than that, but I like it better than chrome legs on this machine.

#21 4 years ago
Quoted from Jappie:

Have to check if (and where) I can get Evaporust or a similar product in the Netherlands, though

You could try Rustyco, I think it's a similar "Non-Toxic, Non-Flammable, Odorless, safe on skin Biodegradable" product. I've never tried it personally though.

I've used cleaning vinegar to remove rust in non-pinball applications, that worked great and is really cheap, but im not sure if it weakens the metal or anything.

#22 4 years ago

Love those garage finds. Good luck with the game.

#23 4 years ago

I love threads like these. Most of these restoration threads are on high end games worth beaucoup bucks. There's nothing wrong with that, obviously, but it's something special to see someone take the same amount of care into a game that would otherwise had been overlooked.

#24 4 years ago

Legs look nice!

#25 4 years ago

Those legs came out good.

Don't forget to put a plastic washer between the leg and bolt head, or the paint will chip off in little chunks.

#26 4 years ago

Hammerite do a Rust Remover liquid - for soaking overnight. I've just been using some to remove rust from my Flipper Parade legs. Maybe you could get that in the Netherlands for some of those other jobs. They also do a remover Gel, which I haven't used.


#27 4 years ago

Those chrome legs were wrong for Fireball 2 anyhow. You did the right thing by painting them the original grey color.

#28 4 years ago

Congrats on scoring an awesome project! I've recently derusted some legs using HG rust desolver, available in the Netherlands at Hornbach, but apparently also available online via

Using it on non-plated metal parts required me polishing and sealing them afterwards, but for the legs submerging them for a day and polishing them afterwards was enough. My legs were less rough than yours though (pre-treatment on the right), so results may vary.


#29 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Those legs came out good.
Don't forget to put a plastic washer between the leg and bolt head, or the paint will chip off in little chunks.

Sometimes I buy an old 80's machine that comes with self-painted grey legs that look nice, but I often notice a few small paint chips missing. What can a hobbyist do as a final coat, to prevent paint loss after doing a nice job?


#30 4 years ago

I remember playing this at our local distributor back when it came out... was fun playing a minty fresh game....

#31 4 years ago
Quoted from mof:

Sometimes I buy an old 80's machine that comes with self-painted grey legs that look nice, but I often notice a few small paint chips missing. What can a hobbyist do as a final coat, to prevent paint loss after doing a nice job?


Usually the industrial lead based paint from the 80s is much tougher than a rattle can of consumer paint.

Don't make it too thick around the bolt holes.

Powdercoat paint is much tougher than rattle can too.

#32 4 years ago

Looks like you are doing what I did to my FB II this past fall. I used a Rustoleum brand rust remover and it worked great. I like the look of the dark gray metallic legs. I also like the old school Bally pointy handle shooter rods. Not sure if FB II had one when new, but its on mine now. Remember any one smacking one of those w/their palm to launch the ball ? Ouch !!!!! Keep up the good work. Looks good so far......

#33 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Usually the industrial lead based paint from the 80s is much tougher than a rattle can of consumer paint.

Yikes! They used lead paint into the 80s? I thought it was banned in 1978?!

Quoted from vid1900:

Powdercoat paint is much tougher than rattle can too.

Agreed. If you have one near you, Harbor Freight has decent deals on powder coat.

#34 4 years ago
Quoted from mbaumle:

Yikes! They used lead paint into the 80s? I thought it was banned in 1978?!

Banned from home use.

Still in use for industrial applications (and children's toys from China).

#35 4 years ago

I pay my local powder coating shop $30 to do a set of legs. They sandblast them first and they turn out mint.

1 week later
#36 4 years ago

As said, luckily I already had a pretty good Fireball II backglass laying around. Today I sealed this one with a few layers of Krylon Triple Thick Clear Glaze. In my opinion this was necessary as on the underside it already started to peel off in a few places.

The score glasses on this backglass are not straight, because of Christensens beautiful organic artwork. I went for the safe approach here and masked only the part where the displays shine through (instead of trying to and probably failing miserably at following all the curves exactly).
Masking tape on the score glasses

The other backglass (the one that was on the machine when I got it) was in pretty shitty shape on the underside. Lots of tears and quite a lot of loose paint on that one. I went with the mylar approach on that one: save the artwork that's still there by giving the backside a full mylar. Using the triple thick on that glass would probably have made it a lot worse, because of the loose paint. This has the tendency to curl up when drying from a clearcoat. After mylaring it, I gave this backglass to a friend, who is very happy with it. It will get a nice spot on his office wall.

3 months later
#37 4 years ago

Hi guys,

The past months I had very little time for pinball. I've been focusing on renovating my new appartment and basement to something worth living and playing pinball in. This consumed about all of my time. Yesterday was a good day: I put the Fireball II on its legs for the first time in the freshly painted basement a.k.a. gameroom to be. And while I was at it, gave the cabinet a much needed general cleaning.

The boards are at my good friend Marco, who is the best board technician I know of. I hope he can get the MPU working again. It had quite a bit of battery leakage on it.
before cleaning

It occurs to me that cabinets oftenly get overlooked when people clean a game. It makes so much of a difference though.
left side cleaned, right side dirty 1
left side cleaned, right side dirty 2

The result. For me, this cabinet doesn't need to be repainted. The colors are still very vibrant, including the reds. I will have to spend some more time on cleaning the heat trails from the lamps in the backboard, though. Those didn't come off as well as I hoped.
after cleaning

Fireball 2 has some of the greatest cabinet artwork in all of pinball, if you ask me. It teaches us pinheads that the Fireball guy actually takes his orders from the devil himself. Who seems to be having a Hitler mustache on this particular machine.
getting briefed by the boss

I discovered this awesome replacement for a fuse as well. Hope that didn't cause too much damage.

In the mean time, the backglass is waiting patiently in my living room to be installed. Next to his brother, who is waiting to be hung on the wall.
nothing beats family

Next stop: getting all parts off of the playfield and removing the glue that was left behind after the mylar removal.

#38 4 years ago

The filth on the backboard was like a thorn in the eye to me.
From an ugly backboard...

Luckily, I had some paint on hand from repainting the window frames in my basement. The result: a nice backboard!
This was the first time I repainted a backboard. But probably not the last. What a difference!

Also, I got the playfield almost empty. It's still sticky because of the glue though.
almost empty

On another note: If anyone has some plastics or bumper caps for sale or trade, let me know! New ones are good, but used ones are also fine. As long as they're in one piece!

#39 4 years ago

Looks good so far. I really like my Fireball II. Great art and theme. You will like playing this game. Totally worth the effort to get it back up and playing again.

#40 4 years ago

Thanks pinkid! I hope you're right. But, to be honest, it would be a surprise to me if the game turns out be a letdown. Bally had an amazing run of great titles in 1981. I can't imagine that this would be the only bad Bally of that vintage.

1 week later
#41 4 years ago

Alright, time to get this glue off of the playfield. This used to be a very tedious job, until somebody 'invented' the method combining flour and naphta. So this is what I did yesterday.

Step 1: Put flour over a part of the playfield. Make sure that it reaches every part where the mylar used to be.
flour over part of the playfield
Step 2: 'Drown' the flour in naphta ('wasbenzine' in this case, which is similar). Let it sit for about 30 seconds. Not much longer though, because the stuff evaporates quickly. It's very unhealthy to breath in, so ventilate very well. Ideally, use a respirator.
drenched in wasbenzine (naphta-ish stuff)
Step 3: Time to scrape the stuff off of the playfield. I use an old plastic card for this.
scraping the glue off
The result: this part of the playfield is now almost glue-free.
the result
Step 4: rinse and repeat for other parts of the playfield.
upper playfield floured
Apart from the full playfield-mylar, this game also had mylar rings around the pop bumpers. The glue around the pop bumpers was much harder to get off. Also, in some random playfield areas, small amounts of glue were a bit harder to get off. It's important to remove *all* of the glue though. If there is any left, it will react with the 2k clearcoat later on in the process. Pay extra attention to the inserts. They are oftenly a little bit lower in the playfield, so the card might not reach them fully.
glue around the rings is harder to get off
This is what's left of the glue plus flour after the whole playfield has been done.
the residue
Well, that's that for today. The next step will be to get rid of all the remaining flour and other dirt. I'll do that later. Also for the flour, it's important to clean all of it from of the playfield really good. The remaining flour can act like sanding paper on the playfield paint, which is now not protected anymore.

#42 4 years ago

I used magic eraser with regular water (might want to use alcohol when attached to machine, it did squeeze out quite a bit of water at times, enough for it to run, I hope all the lamp sockets will be alright but I wasn't too concerned as it's a big project) for pretty heavy burn marks and dirt and it worked great, just for future reference.

Third flour picture looks a little illegal, complete with card...

#43 4 years ago
Quoted from Otaku:

Third flour picture looks a little illegal, complete with card...

Hah! You're right. That does look like a big fat line of angel dust.

#44 4 years ago

The last flour picture looks like the "scar face" version.

1 month later
#45 4 years ago

Jappie, I'd like a Fireball II update...Please!

#46 4 years ago
Quoted from iron00monkey:

Jappie, I'd like a Fireball II update...Please!

Good to hear you're looking forward to follow the progress. I do have to ask you for a little more patience for the next big update, though!

Small update (no photo's): I've taken the playfield to my parents' house. There I have the space to clean and retouch the playfield. After that, it's clearcoat time...

Stay tuned!

1 month later
#47 4 years ago

Right, time for an update for a day’s work. This time I focused on cleaning. First, I installed the playfield in my rotisserie. Still pretty dirty from the glue removal.
Now it was time to take off all the stuff that was in the way. Starting with the wooden slats on the sides, I noticed something unusual. Normally, these wooden slats are fastened by screws through the underside of the playfield. This was the case on a Bally Playboy I once had. But apparently at some point in time, somebody at the Bally factory decided that it was much easier to use a tacker instead of screwing the slats in. The holes for the screws were already in the playfield, but were only used for the first and the last screw. The rest was tacked in place, using very long staples. This resulted in a bit more work for me: loosening the slats was a bit more difficult. And I had to hammer the staples out.
staples instead of screws
All went without problems though. Here’s the playfield, bare on the upper side.
bare playfield
First, I gave the playfield a good general cleaning. After this, I started to work on the details. Ball swirls were my main concern. These were present in places where the playfield hadn't been protected by the mylar. To reduce the swirls to a minumum, I used a magic sponge in combination with good old wasbenzine (naphtha-esque stuff). The trick here is to make small circles with a magic sponge that you keep a bit wet with the wasbenzine. If you do this long enough, the swirls lose a lot of their dirt, therefore becoming a lot less noticable.
before/after 1
The sponge/wasbenzine combo also removes a lot of the yellowing that occurs in unmylared areas.
before/after 2
I’m happy with the results of the cleaning. Once the new clearcoat is on, the ball swirls will be barely noticable. Next step is to repaint the damaged parts of the playfield. The biggest challenge will probably be matching the very destinctive colors this playfield has. Wish me luck...
the next step: repainting...

#48 4 years ago

Very nice job matey. Keep 'm coming

#49 4 years ago

Nice job with the swirls! I know how tedious it can be to use the magic eraser but the results on playfields from that generation are fantastic!
Do you plan to paint the wood or shoot a layer of clear first? It's way easier to wipe of mismatched color when doing the second. Always saved me during my restores

#50 4 years ago

I removed the mylar on my playfield too. Touched up as best I could and used a factory"2nd" playfield protector. The ball does hang up in the rounded cutouts sometimes. I will have to address this issue eventually. Your game is coming along nicely. You will be there soon!! Fireball awaits you.........

Promoted items from the Pinside Marketplace
$ 149.00
From: $ 140.00
From: $ 155.00
From: $ 14.00
Third Coast Pinball
1,950 (Firm)
Machine - For Sale
Peabody, MA
From: $ 18.00
Apparel - Men
Pinside Shop
$ 9.00
Yorktown Arcade Supply
From: $ 25.00
From: $ 45.00
$ 49.99
$ 90.00
$ 149.95
$ 48.00
Cabinet - Other
ModFather Pinball Mods
$ 70.00
Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
ModFather Pinball Mods
$ 29.99
Cabinet - Sound/Speakers
Lighted Pinball Mods
From: $ 24.00
There are 98 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.

Hey there! Got a moment?

Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run thanks to donations from our visitors? Please donate to Pinside, support the site and get anext to your username to show for it! Donate to Pinside