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(Topic ID: 177934)

First Playfield resto..complete non-artsy noob......Finished!

By Sonora70

3 years ago

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  • 64 posts
  • 20 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by Pinslot
  • Topic is favorited by 33 Pinsiders


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#1 3 years ago

This is way out of my character, however the weather is terrible (hate winter)and I'm willing to step out of my comfort zone a bit. I bought this Flip a Card back during the summer that had been stored in building for a long time. At $200 I may have paid a bit too much for it but the backglass is in really good condition plus I've heard it's a good pin to have and I thought I could always enjoy another wedge head in the collection. My initial goal was to clean it up and play it. After making a few passes with the ME and alcohol the finish playfield isn't turning out as good as I thought it might. So.....I think I'm willing to try my first restore. I am not where close.

Equipment I have on hand:
Harbor freight air brush
Harbor freight pancake air compressor with cleaner/moisture separator attached
Frisket paper
exacto knife
Createx paints
water slide decal paper
my teenage daughter to help me mix colors

I've read Vid's guide but I'm hoping I can still get a couple questions answered before I begin so that I don't create more work for myself, plus....I would like to end up with a nice looking playfield.


After stripping and cleaning the entire playfield, do I then clear coat the entire playfield before I begin any painting at all?
Second, I'm really nervous about the small print areas such as the "10 points" with the arrow and the "Gottlieb and Co. logo. Vid's guide says to scan these type areas but this part of the process is really confusing to me. Can someone break it down a bit for me?
Any pointers that I would need before I begin?

Thanks for your help, I hope to post progress as well as complete this restore.

#2 3 years ago

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#5 3 years ago

Thanks for the tips. I'm assuming the initial clear coat will serve as the sealer on the bare wood? I would also imagine that it be a very light layer of clear to begin painting on?

#9 3 years ago

Studied the playfield again this evening. Anxiety is building. When scanning and making decals can they be printed in yellow and red as well? Places like the gottlieb logo and "SPIN" are concerning me. Sorry so many questions, just trying to do a pregame analysis. At this point the angel on one shoulder is saying go for it the devil on the other is saying to run away. Im supposing Im going to have to replace inserts....another new challenge.

#12 3 years ago
Quoted from Moonbus:

Vids guide and the input and experiences of others in the restore thread are invaluable.
Regarding the decal / waterslide questions, I just attempted to do a restore almost entirely using decals, there may be some insight for you, documented hereā€¦
Best of luck,

Nice post! Actually read it before I began my project.

#13 3 years ago

Moving forward. The past couple of days I've been researching scanners and clear coat. Although what I would consider "pricey" at $53 for a quart plus a small can of hardener I managed to get some of the PPG JC660. I wish the scanner were that easy. Over the past week I have seen 1 hp 4600 sell on the auction site for $65 including shipping and 1 hp 4670 that is still in process. Apparently these are the only scanners of their type other than the Doxie Flip which only scans picture size areas. I really don't want to get in a bidding war on technology that isn't made anymore. Short of flipping my playfield upside down on my regular scanner I'm investigating some other options. Other options are certainly welcome if anyone knows of one.

Other than collecting materials, my progress has included taking multiple pictures of the playfield and cleaning. After reading Moonbus' post I'm also thinking about my area to spray. I have my little workroom in the basement but may be taking it to the basement garage for painting. I didn't realize there would be that much over spray from the airbrush.

#19 3 years ago

Playfield stripped and cleaned ready to be cleared. I made several passes with alcohol and ME. Then wiped down several times with Naptha to remove ME residue.

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#20 3 years ago

Okay....finally got my first coat of clear down on the cleaned, stripped playfield. I completed the clear about 30 minutes ago. My fear is that I put way too much clear on? My first observation is it looks very "deep". What I don't like is there are several "specks" visible in the finish. What would have caused those to occur? Will they sand out? I plan to go down and bring the playfield back into my shop area for observation and pictures in another 30 mins so that hopefully it will be dry enough to carry.

#21 3 years ago

Pictures of the base coat of clear. Again, MY FIRST TIME EVER spraying clear coat. I'm hoping it leveled out the planking somewhat to make the painting and decal application easier. Tomorrow after plenty of drying time I will give it the feel to see what effect the clear had on it as far as the finish. I believe this first coat of clear may have eliminated some of the painting I was going to do, especially in the "plum" areas. It actually makes it look presentable.

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#22 3 years ago

Should I sand the entire playfield before doing my touch ups?

#25 3 years ago
Quoted from Jjsmooth:

First clear coat looks a lot worse than the second. Use a fast hardener to prevent crap from floating in and sticking. Sand it with 400 or so and hit it again, you will have a much smoother surface to work with for decals and paint...Use a tack rag to clean after sanding.
Also, I don't spray that when temps are below 60 or 65 degrees..

Thanks for the advice.....also glad to know it will get better. Not totally unpleased, but some areas could look better. I have noticed that many of the problem areas are much smoother now than before.

#26 3 years ago

Baby steps....this evening I sanded the playfield using some 500 grit sandpaper. I wasn't sure if I should wet or dry sand so dry sanding won.
After I sanded the playfield I wiped the playfield down with Naptha and decided I would play around a little with the clubs around the circle in the center of the playfield. I took frisket paper and traced one of the good clubs with my exacto knife to make a stencil. After tracing I lifted the stencil and placed it over one of the badly damaged clubs (9 club). It took a couple tries to get it right but once down I brushed some black createx over the stencil. Waiting for the 9 to dry I began touching most of the other clubs with the black paint. After the 9 club was dry I lifted the frisket stencil, really pleased with the result. A couple more to go and I'll have this part of the graphics done. I've decided against using decals in this area when I can use the frisket and repaint. As stated by Vid, frisket paper is great. Easy to trace with an exacto knife and doesn't allow paint to bleed under. Tomorrow evening I hope to repair the 10, K, and A before I apply heat to lock in the createx paint.

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#30 3 years ago

A busy weekend has allowed me little time to get much accomplished on the Flip A Card. Biggest achievement was "figuring out" the HF airbrush. I had to pick up some extra parts to get everything connected and in use. A tip on the airbrush is that you will need some 1/8" and .5 airbrush connectors and air hose. These are not available at the local hardware, nor do I think they are available at HF unless you get the entire airbrush kit with the air compressor. Hobby Lobby has some but get out your wallet. Ordering online on the auction site will save you 75%. But if you want it now....they got it.

I gained a little ground after getting my red paint mixed to match the red under the pop bumpers. By the way.....I believe the "red" on most of the old wedgeheads is more of a shade of orange. Under the advice of my daughter I went back to hobby lobby and picked up a bottle of florescent orange. This with some red added created the perfect match. Another tip I learned was that I needed to first paint the red areas white. I initially painted them with red but I couldn't get even coverage over the areas that had bare wood. I wiped the red off, repainted white, then got a nice coat of red.

I also completed the clubs in the center of the playfield using the frisket paper traced to make a pattern. However I also have a set back. I tried out my new HF heat gun and got the area too hot while trying to set the paint. It bubbled my clearcoat. I'll be re-sanding which will probably require me to re-paint my clubs as well. @#$%! Part of the learning process I suppose. A step forward, a step back. Not necessarily looking for perfection with this pin, however I do want a nice looking player.

My next step is going to be the yellow areas. Because of some of the original paint being gone and the presence of bare wood, I anticipate painting the entire yellow area white first as I did with the red. I'm also going to begin learning photoshop to try to create my 10 point graphics and the gottlieb graphic and get printed on decal paper.

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#31 3 years ago

In the red I can see some spots that should have been filled before I painted. Because this area will be under the bumper I'll accept it as it is but then make sure it doesn't happen out in plain view.

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2 weeks later
#32 3 years ago

An update, a frustration, and a question. It's been a bit since I last gave an update on my project. Progress is that I have painted the yellow area around the pop bumpers and really please with the results. Now for the frustration and word of caution to anyone considering this type of resto. After much time spent tracing out all the graphics with frisket paper I began spraying all the "aqua" on the playfield. Obviously the largest area on the field. My color was horrible...not a good match, not even close enough that it would work. Hoping for a miracle or just plain ignorance I proceeded to paint the entire area. Bad mistake! So then the decision, do I try to remove the paint or just paint over it. I thought I would try to remove it all using alcohol and a microfiber towel. (this after the paint was on the playfield roughly a week as I didn't want to see it again after based on the terrible color). Not an easy process, especially wanting to save my frisket paper traces covering the graphics. I quit. I now have a terrible green and white (my base coat of white paint I put on under the terrible green) playfield. I think I figured out the color so now I think I'm going to attempt to paint over the white and green and hope I get even coverage with the new color. Some advice here would be much appreciated before I begin. I suppose I could be aggressive and remove all my frisket and added paint down to the clear coat....I cringe to think I would need to start all over especially with the frisket work. Will my paint be too thick if I paint over the layers of white and bad green? Will the final clear coat layers level everything out for me? My goal is to have the largest portion of the resto finished this weekend...lots of rain in the forecast.

#34 3 years ago
Quoted from CaptainNeo:

you shouldn't have to fill anything in. do your touchups, and then you level it out at the end with layers of clear and lots of block sanding. This is why I end up doing around 6-7 layers of clear by the time i'm done. You clear, block sand. Clear, block sand, over and over till it's flat like glass. you have to use a block sander, or you will never be flat.

#35 3 years ago

Finally got a good match on the aqua color. I painted over the mess I created with trying to remove the first green I painted. I thought with the advice of CaptainNeo I could level everything out with coats of clear if the paint was uneven with the number of coats sprayed on.

To my surprise it turned out much better than I anticipated. Although I have some touchups to do, I'm really happy with my results. I'm not exactly happy with the "10 points" graphics with the arrows under them as I tried to save them by trimming around them. I have to figure out a way to fill in black to make them look better. Or, I may have to paint over them and use decals. I'm thinking for a nice look that's what I'll need to do.

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#36 3 years ago

My next step is going to be to repaint the yellow area below the club circle and add the yellow point above the "A" club. While I'm spraying the yellow I may repaint the Special lane on the right side that was touched up to make it look better. I will also need to determine the color of the odd circle under the pop bumper not painted yet. I'll paint the white areas under the plastics as well. Now that I have the large aqua area painted I'm a bit relieved. I'm especially relieved to see how well the graphics turned out after using the frisket paper. My next "nervous" area is the Golltlieb and Co. emblem. Haven't figured out what I'm going to do with it yet. I did order some laser decal paper from I'll need to find a laser printer somewhere to print off any graphics I decide to print.

2 weeks later
#41 3 years ago
Quoted from PinballBillinFL:

Happy to find this topic! I was searching for scanner info, and found this. Also a noob at playfield restoration with no artistic capability. I was just going to get my 1975 Little Chief working and put it in the house, but.. the backglass was peeling more than I wanted, so I got a new one... May as well get new legs, bolts, and levellers while I'm at it.. And the cabinet is dinged, so I'll repaint it soon.. And after all that, why put up with a less than ideal playfield? So, full of fear and hope I have read vid's guide several times, and just found this.
I have a few questions at this point: You said you clearcoated your playfield. Did you do that with your airbrush, or shop that out? Did it do a decent job of smoothing down the planking you mentioned? I'm nervous that on mine there is some paint that is flaking and/or planked, and I don't want to lose any that I don't have to, and I don't want to clear and then have to do mega-sanding to smooth the raised planking.
I'll be looking forward to more updates!

I clearcoated with an HVLP paint gun from Harbor Freight. One of the purple $12 guns. I used my shop air compressor. It was easy, just have a way to vent. It did a good job and it removed/filled some of the planking. It smoothed it out so that it became easier to trace my frisket paper and it also filled in areas that after I repainted I couldn't see the planking anymore. You can really see the difference in the before and after pictures in the "clubs circle".

I'm hoping to update my progress soon. Lots of extra hours at work this time of year.

2 weeks later
#42 3 years ago

Things starting to slow down a bit at work so I decided I would continue on the Flip A Card this evening. Really glad I saved some of the green I mixed for the playfield because the "10 Points" near the slingshots didn't turn out as well as I had hoped. My first task was to repaint that area and paint over the print. I have ready the new "10 Point" print that I scanned, repaired and printed off on decal paper. I'll slide those on after I put my first coat of clear on after I finish all my painting.

My second task this evening was tracing out frisket paper around all the white areas under where the plastics rest. It was suggested to repaint the white areas to brighten up the playfield. I was careful to trim the frisket so that I could maintain the black border lines around the area. Overall, I'm pleased with the results.

I think my next step is going to finish painting the yellow areas and finally mix some tan to paint over the last pop bumper area as well as the "300 points" areas at the top of the playfield. Once those two final steps are complete I'll complete the project by clearing the playfield, putting the print back on, and then put the final layers of clear on. My goal is to complete soon....spring is near!

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#43 3 years ago

An update to my update. Another slide decal I made was the Gottlieb & Co emblem. I scanned the emblem, removed all the yellow and red, cleaned up the black and printed on decal paper. My plan is to lay down the new yellow, white, and red then slide the new emblem print on. Anyone know of a better way to do this step? Ideas welcomed.

#44 3 years ago

Tonight I touched up the yellow down below the club circle as well as the lane on the right and the yellow in the gottlieb & co emblem. I initially forgot the critical step of painting the areas that have print and areas that have bare wood white first. This is the only way to properly cover those areas with the new paint. I quick wipe with a cloth and alcohol took the first layer of yellow off so that I could apply the white as needed. While painting the yellow area I also drew in the yellow point on top the club inside the circle. I decided not to paint over all the yellow areas. The other areas look good enough and the mixed yellow matched really well with the original yellow. Next will be the tan areas under the remaining bumper and the triangle areas at the top of the playfield that have 300 points in them.

Once the tan is finished it's decision time on whether or not to repaint the purple area. My first inclination is to leave it as is. It's certainly not perfect but it does look good. I keep telling myself this is my first playfield touch up/restore, this is a player machine not a collector's show piece.

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#46 3 years ago

Last night I painted the pop bumper area as well as the "300" areas at the top of the playfield. That small addition cleaned up the entire playfield. At this point I think I'm going to leave the purple as is and touch up the key lines as mentioned by polyacanthus. There are a couple other areas I'm debating on trying to get a little better, mainly the kick-out hole. I'm just not happy with how it looks. It may need some serious sanding. I was hoping that painting it the same tan color as the other areas would help but its still pretty rough looking.

It'll be a while before I get the clear coat on, I want to wait for warmer temperatures so that I can lift the garage door to complete that step. So far, for those thinking of doing this process for first time as I have, I've learned that making extra paint is critical! The paint stores well in the little plastic containers that can be picked up at Hobby Lobby.
Between now and the time I get to spray the clear coat I'll focus on making all my decals to attach after the first coat of clear.

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3 months later
#48 3 years ago

I've let it be for a while because of the time of year. Hoping I'll get back to it soon, I've been staring at it lately thinking how I would like to finish.

2 months later
#49 3 years ago

Okay, back at it. The rainy days have provided an opportunity for me to get back to the project. I started my day today with a trip to Staples this morning to have my decals printed. They turned out great. I took the touched up graphics on a flash drive along with my own laser decal paper. They printed me multiple copies or less than $1.

When I got home I decided to finish my paint touch ups. I shot white in the center of the "D. Gottlieb & Co" decal and also touched up a couple other areas. 20170913_154433 (resized).jpg

After touching up I then decided to add a couple coats of clear in preparation for adding the decals and leveling the inserts.

Tomorrow I plan to sand the playfield, add the decals, and drop some clear on top the inserts for leveling.

The playfield looks darker after clearing, however I believe that is because of the lighting change from one location to another.

The picture of the cleared surface shows some "specks" in the clear, I'm hoping sanding will remove those.

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#50 3 years ago

Got up this morning anxious to wet sand to see how my playfield was going to look. Wet sanding did the trick. All of the specks are gone and the finish is nice and smooth. This gave me the initiative to go ahead and level the inserts (cupped really bad) and try to get my decals on. Leveling the inserts was an easy task, took me nearly 165 ml of clear to level all of them. I had a package of pipets I used to pull both parts of the clear and fill the inserts. As stated by Vid, I made sure I used 2 separate pipets to draw the clear and the hardener as I didn't want to end up with a can of glass.

After I leveled the inserts came my next goof up. I began trying to apply the decals. After about 4 attempts and not liking the looks of my decals, I noticed that the graphics were printed on the protective layer of the decal sheet rather than the decal! No wonder they weren't sticking and looked gray. Another trip to Staples and I had good looking graphics printed on the correct surface. (if you're going through this process, be sure to remove the protective cover, it's on there pretty tight). When I got home I applied the decals using decal setting solution as mentioned by Vid. I must say I am impressed with the results.

At this point in my playfield restoration education I've learned that much can be cleaned up and made nicer after sanding the clear that's applied after the touch up/painting is done. The borders of the paint colors are nice and smooth and appear "factory".

I'm eager to complete the process with my final coat of clear. That will happen in a few days. I want to give the inserts plenty of time to cure before sanding those. I figure approximately a week and I'll try to smooth them down and do the final. Will update then.

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#54 3 years ago
Quoted from Yelobird:

Love these types of threads and people sharing both the good and Bad of their ordeal. When printed the water slide decals at Staples did you bring in the paper or did they have it and print there? I have never seen it at the store by me but I know their print equipment is much better than what I can do at home. Also, did you use any type of setting solution to apply them? Thought I remembered something like that in the Vid thread but reading 500 pages again would be to much effort. lol

I bought the laser decal paper online and took it with me to Staples. Their printer is top notch, much better than mine and the decals were perfect size as well. I used some decal solution I bought at Hobby Lobby.

4 weeks later
#55 3 years ago

FINALLY! I took advantage of the last few days of pretty weather before winter to finish the playfield resto. My final steps included securing the decals, a couple more touch ups and then shooting the final layers of clear coat. Since the last picture posted I sanded the entire field to get as flat as possible including the inserts. My clearing process was a little different this time because of the decals. Per Vid's guide, I shot a very light layer of clear, waited 5 to 10 minutes then shot another very light layer so that they would dry quickly without lifting the decals. After another 10 minutes I gave it a final good coat of clear. This last layer created work. I opted to clear it outside on a pretty day to keep the fog out of the garage. Not a good idea! My final sanding included removing gnats and multiple specs in the clear. I sanded with 600, then 800, then 1000, 1200, 1500, and finally 2000. I then buffed using a compound I received at one of our local dealerships and then buffed again with the Meguiars swirl remover. That really made the shine pop. I'll now wait a couple weeks to begin re-populating the playfield.

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#57 3 years ago

This was a great learning opportunity that required a lot of risk taking and stepping out of my comfort zone. Is it where near. BUT, I have a game that's going to be in my collection that would have probably ended up being a parts machine. A great experience and I'll be much more confident in my next project.

#58 3 years ago
Quoted from QuietEarp:

Nice Work! You are an inspiration. My 4 Square in the other room is getting jealous.


2 weeks later
#62 2 years ago

Populated, in play and among the collection! Plays nice. Never really played a FAC before this one, it's a keeper.

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#63 2 years ago

I was short a couple lane guides and new flipper bats. Ordered those from Steve, should be here Monday.

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