(Topic ID: 248243)

Fish Tales - First Timer - am I in too deep / should I not bother


By skankingaround

51 days ago



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  • Latest reply 48 days ago by Daditude
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#1 51 days ago

Hi,

After a bit of advice on this one - just picked up this Fishtales in Aus, it was pretty well priced for over here however its pretty rough - usual faded decals and a fair bit of headbox & cabinet damage (drilled holes for the bar that goes over coin door etc). My intention was that I could slowly chip away at things and improve the quality of the game.

its been LED'd and has had rubbers and only has what I think is a minor fault (one LED out, one 'fluttery' flipper.) Cosmetic wise I was thinking I may be able to patch the cabinet, put on some of those fresh FT decals, apply a few playfield decals, new translite and that would improve things. The problem is I've never tackled anything like this before.

Do you think in the state it is in I should

Go down the decal route (boat ramp, spinner, tackle box, rod etc) try and patch / resand the cabinet, maybe look at a fresh translite and decal up or just treat it as is, enjoy it for a few months and move it on? I also have a friend who can give me some free (or cheap powder coating - I've seen a few examples that have come up a treat with this treatment)

No topper. no casting rod, and cabinet has seen better days. also appears as the laminate on the right is coming away

Photos included.

My initial thoughts was this would be a great project but I'm worried I've bitten off more then what is possible for a first timer with no experience (I'm hoping to learn though....) I'm sure I could get back close to what I paid regardless

Long term I'm unsure if this game will be a keeper for me, but could it be a good learning experience?

Thanks and appreciate any recommendations !

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#2 51 days ago

When I first started, I was very critical of every little flaw.

However, I learned that every game doesn't have to be restored to like-new condition in order to be fun and play well.

Clean it up, replace broken or worn parts, put some new rubbers on it, and enjoy it.

#3 51 days ago

I'd fix that flipper and enjoy the game

#4 51 days ago

For me, you have to decide if it is a keeper or not. Get into it and play the heck out of it. If you love it and you really want to fix it up...do it. If you decide it isn't a keeper, then just sell it and save your time.

#5 50 days ago

Buy it, bang it around for a bit, then sell when you have something else you want to get

#6 50 days ago

Depends if you enjoy restoration projects or not. Keep in mind if you go the distance with the game, it's very unlikely you'll get your money back.

At the very least, get the game running and enjoy! It's a fun one!

#7 50 days ago

My first game was a basket case Fish Tales!

My advice?

As said above, clean it up,

replace the playfield insert decals,

Replace rubbers

Try to live with the translite an cab decals

Replace the flipper coil(s) sleeve(s) spring(s)

Have a look at the boards, have any been replaced by aftermarket? If so that's great

If not, is there alot of corrosion?

Ultimately my game was probably worse than yours but when I bought mine it's was 650.00

Do the things that make it play well, asthetics will only eat your time and wallet, a players game is fine

#8 50 days ago

Nice score for your first game! Fish tales is one of the best

#9 50 days ago

Great game, fix whats broke, clean the easy to get to stuff, make sure all the fuse values are correct and play the crap out of it...

#10 50 days ago

Another vote for just cleaning it up the best you can without getting in too deep.....my plan of action would be to get the playfield and boat ramp decal and fix the mechanical stuff so it plays well. The rest I wouldn't worry about, you're a bit new to the hobby to tackle something big, it could turn into a lot of work for a game that may or may not be staying long.

#11 50 days ago

+1 on just cleaning pin and replacing rubbers and broken flipper mechs. Personally I wouldn't care less about a cab drill hole here and there. Putting on cab decals is really not worth the hassle and you're gonna have another pin next to this one fairly soon anyway, and then you can't see the sides of the cab anyway, right
You could remove everything on playfield and clean individually and clean playfield with a cloth and novus 2 and wax the playfield (proper silicone free carnauba wax). This is a great introduction for you to get to know the pin and its parts and how things work and are connected. Don't forget to keep all parts you remove organized and take photos along the way so it's easy to reassemble.
Air pressure blow the underside of the playfield, especially inserts. Preferably outdoors if you can because you'll potentially have a big dirty dust cloud forming and you dont want that in your house.

And replace those flipper bats with the sligthly shorter lightning flippers that are the standard on fish tales.

#12 50 days ago

If you are not sure it's a keeper and love the game, I would just get it flipping good and keep cosmetic repairs to minimum. Kind of a waste of money to get the cab nice when everything playfield is in rough shape. I would try to find a topper cheap since it's a big part of the game design but not vital. Looks to be a good game to practice pin repairs.

#13 50 days ago

I would just play it if it runs o.k.
If you enjoy the game, You could always fix it up later once you have more skills, and maybe another game to play.
I did up a rough project f.t. here in n.z., so prices would be similar. 2k for game. 1.5k in parts (new dmd, mpu board, cab decals, coil sleeves, flipper rebuilds, comet l.e.d. kit) and 150 hours of my labor (full strip, cab strip and decal, tumble and polish everything, playfield artwork touchups, clearcoat and reassemble)
i am quite new to the hobby, but have skills from custom cars and bikes as a hobby.
Fish tales does end up looking great when done up right.

#14 50 days ago

Make it work, play it and if you decide you love it and it’s a keeper... then sweat the cosmetics.

I personally find that Fish Tales isn’t worth the pain, lol.

#15 50 days ago

if you do go down the restore path, be aware it will cost $000s, money you may not get back if/when you sell

enjoy your game

#16 50 days ago

She's pretty hammered. Not being rude just stating a fact. The cabinet would be a tear down, sand, bondo, sand, paint and decals. Most people can handle that piece and in the US would cost ~$400 to do. The playfield is another story. $800 - $900 for the playfield purchase and do you choose to do the swap ourself or pay someone. Looking at around a $1000 to pay someone. And trust me, if you do a playfield you'll want a complete plastic kit and new ramps. Restore total ...you'll have about ~$3500 into that machine now add your initial cost onto the restore cost. Does it make sense considering your pin prices are outrageous compared to ours? Now does restoring that make you money if you sold it restored to get you closer to a title you want? Just another factor to consider. I think the prior advice given to just play it because you'll likely move on to another is solid Congrats and welcome to the sickness.

#17 50 days ago

Based on the pics it's a typical Euro container import in terms of overall quality/operator hacks. The Aussie importer would have done just enough to get it semi playable and added some LED's/rubber kit to make it appear it has been "shopped out" then flipped it.

Unless you paid sub $2k Aussie for it, you won't get your money back if you do a full blown restore as it will cost $3k plus for parts (exc labour) and the buyer pool down here isn't big enough to find people that are regularly willing to pay $5k plus on a B category title like Fish Tales.

For a few hundred in various parts instead -

Do a topside playfield teardown, clean everything and replace where needed. Clean the upkicker and ball trough on the underside of the playfield and anywhere the ball makes contact. Especially rebuild the flipper mechs with new components.

New rubber set, new balls, get it 100% working correctly and enjoy playing it.

Then start looking at cosmetics to replace - you'll be surprised how quickly it will add up.

#18 50 days ago

My first pin was a dead Fish Tales as well, 4yrs later and its one my favorites. Fix that flipper and see how it plays. Go from there.

#19 50 days ago
Quoted from CLEllison:

She's pretty hammered. Not being rude just stating a fact. The cabinet would be a tear down, sand, bondo, sand, paint and decals. Most people can handle that piece and in the US would cost ~$400 to do. The playfield is another story. $800 - $900 for the playfield purchase and do you choose to do the swap ourself or pay someone. Looking at around a $1000 to pay someone. And trust me, if you do a playfield you'll want a complete plastic kit and new ramps. Restore total ...you'll have about ~$3500 into that machine now add your initial cost onto the restore cost. Does it make sense considering your pin prices are outrageous compared to ours? Now does restoring that make you money if you sold it restored to get you closer to a title you want? Just another factor to consider. I think the prior advice given to just play it because you'll likely move on to another is solid Congrats and welcome to the sickness.

I bought a Fish Tales that needed a lot of work earlier this year. I sunk in around $1400 for just basic stuff like new translight, leds, rubbers, plastics, topper dome, trim, pf hinges, flipper rebuild kits, pop bumper plastics, new legs, and misc other stuff. Adds up fast and many hours invested. I tried to stay under budget to not have more in the game than it's worth but went over a bit. I really enjoy Fish Tales so worth it to me.

#20 49 days ago

Thankyou for all the posts, it’s really helped me - I bought it with flippers rebuilt, LED’ed, (the seller is going to service the flipper issue for me) it’s almost “fluttery” sometimes works - sometimes doesn’t.

Also fails in the test menu. Perhaps I’ve slightly overpaid for this one - you live and you learn but 3.5k doesn’t get you much down under.

DMD is fine and other then the flipper it seems to play without any other issues. My last purchase was a NIB stern which I sold for close to what I paid for it so I went down a different experience this time.

I think I’ll order the cheap decals for a minor cosmetic lift, (tackle box and boat ramp) give it a good clean up. If my mate powder coats for free I may get this done just because and treat it as a bit of learning experience. (Only got room for one game for now)

After all this is done I’ll assess the cabinet situation - might be best to let someone tackle this one. Really appreciate the comments, figured this would be a good machine to learn a few basics on.

Knew I should’ve waited for the shadow...... Fish Tales seems pretty popular here so hopefully I won’t lose too much on it.

Cheers

#21 49 days ago

Considering the playfield wear, you probably overpaid a bit, but with each purchase we become more savvy and less rushed to buy.

Fortunately the seller is helping repair it, so that adds some value. (sounds like a loose coil wire)

Study up on cabinet repair and decalling, and see if that is something your willing to "tackle", and fish on!

#22 49 days ago

There are different forms of pinball people. Some like to mod out their machines and spend lots of time modding and little time playing.

There are some who say you don't play the cabinet, backglass or playfield artwork, you play against the raw machine. These folks play it till they beat it and move on to another title.

Some just play and enjoy a machine as is and keep it around.

Then there are those who like to bring an old machine back to new as in full restore, and those that are in between.

There are those who enjoy the technical aspect of bringing a dead machine back to life and then after a while move on to another project.

You need to decide who you are in relation to pinball and pinball machines. Did you buy to play or to fix it up? What do you consider fun and fun to learn?

#23 48 days ago
Quoted from skankingaround:

Thankyou for all the posts, it’s really helped me - I bought it with flippers rebuilt, LED’ed, (the seller is going to service the flipper issue for me) it’s almost “fluttery” sometimes works - sometimes doesn’t.
Also fails in the test menu. Perhaps I’ve slightly overpaid for this one - you live and you learn but 3.5k doesn’t get you much down under.
DMD is fine and other then the flipper it seems to play without any other issues. My last purchase was a NIB stern which I sold for close to what I paid for it so I went down a different experience this time.
I think I’ll order the cheap decals for a minor cosmetic lift, (tackle box and boat ramp) give it a good clean up. If my mate powder coats for free I may get this done just because and treat it as a bit of learning experience. (Only got room for one game for now)
After all this is done I’ll assess the cabinet situation - might be best to let someone tackle this one. Really appreciate the comments, figured this would be a good machine to learn a few basics on.
Knew I should’ve waited for the shadow...... Fish Tales seems pretty popular here so hopefully I won’t lose too much on it.
Cheers

I always thought the cab repair was a big undertaking but I bought an orbital sander and realized it really isn't...you disassemble the head, you take out the pf and coin door and have at it. sand, spray it and decal it. But I have to tell you this game is not worth all that effort unless you want to practice on it. Just decal the playfield and boat ramp, add some leds and have fun....sell it later and get a better one down the road if you really like it. I'm on my 3rd FT, each slightly better than the last. I also paid more for each time I bought one. I like the game a lot. I bet you I will eventually sell this one too and get an even better one down the road.

#24 48 days ago
Quoted from skankingaround:

Thankyou for all the posts, it’s really helped me - I bought it with flippers rebuilt, LED’ed, (the seller is going to service the flipper issue for me) it’s almost “fluttery” sometimes works - sometimes doesn’t.
Also fails in the test menu. Perhaps I’ve slightly overpaid for this one - you live and you learn but 3.5k doesn’t get you much down under.
DMD is fine and other then the flipper it seems to play without any other issues. My last purchase was a NIB stern which I sold for close to what I paid for it so I went down a different experience this time.
I think I’ll order the cheap decals for a minor cosmetic lift, (tackle box and boat ramp) give it a good clean up. If my mate powder coats for free I may get this done just because and treat it as a bit of learning experience. (Only got room for one game for now)
After all this is done I’ll assess the cabinet situation - might be best to let someone tackle this one. Really appreciate the comments, figured this would be a good machine to learn a few basics on.
Knew I should’ve waited for the shadow...... Fish Tales seems pretty popular here so hopefully I won’t lose too much on it.
Cheers

What does The Shadow go for around there?

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