Flash Gordon: Saviors of the Universe Club

(Topic ID: 65903)

Flash Gordon: Saviors of the Universe Club


By TheShameGovernor

5 years ago



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There are 662 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 14.
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#1 5 years ago

So… let's talk about some Flash Gordon.

Here is a machine I hated in the arcades. HAY-TED. I hated it because my games lasted maybe 30 seconds. I hated it because I loved the movie so much, I couldn't help but waste my precious quarters on it. So now there I was - having no score, having no fun, and most importantly, having no quarters left to buy me some Big League Chew on the way home.

I hated Flash Gordon because I was a child, and I was playing a game for adults.

Fast forward a few years, and now I think it is one of the best machines from that era, and definitely one of my personal top 5 games of all time. Like many great things, some of that is by design, and some of that is by happy accident. Here are two (of many) design choices I think make this game what it is:

1) Pop bumper placement. The short answer - it's ingenious. The 2 main pop bumpers here are not safely nestled up top, away from any real threat. They are dead center, halfway up the playfield, and create a ricochet triangle of death with the slings. The split playfield compacts the area to the point where bad shots are almost always deadly, and good shots are still dangerous. Furthermore, the bumpers guard the kick out hole which is needed to start your 2x, 3x, 5x playfield scoring , meaning the only safe way is getting it back up to the top when you are ready to start. It's a really smart move that never lets you focus on one area of the table, and it's one of the reasons the main playfields on these games are normally just torn to s--t.

2) The inline drop target placement. As anyone who's played a game with inline drops knows, these are the crack cocaine of pinball. Regular drop banks are great, but something about inlines brings out the severe OCD in players. Flash Gordon does a couple things with inlines that are really smart. First, it makes the 'back' two targets essential in building your bonus multiplier. Flash Gordon is a heavy bonus build/collect game, so bonus multipliers are requisite objectives in getting any decent score. By starting the multipliers in the back, you can't ignore this section - quite the opposite in fact - you usually have to start with it because you never know if the next time you lose control (see design choice #1) will be your last. Forcing you to start with the inlines leads to the second smart design choice; its a sucker shot. Bad shots here are punished with either swift drains, or wild balls sent back into the sling/bumper triangle where your mistakes are only exacerbated. It's frustratingly awesome.

There are many more reasons why I treasure this game, but I'd love to here what other owners like about it. Or haters, for that matter. Are the very details that owners love about the game the same thing that turns off others? All opinions are welcome.

Flash Gordon is not a flow-y, combo-y game that you can lose yourself in and just zen-out with. It is a game of controllable explosions. It is a game that fights back with every shot.

Emperor Ming Awaits.
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#2 5 years ago

All of that, and quite the looker too.

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#3 5 years ago

Nice post. I miss mine.

#4 5 years ago

With 10,000 made, I'm sure there is another one out there for you if you ever want one. (Well, 9,999 are out there. Mine's staying

Post edited by TheShameGovernor : Production numbers corrected

#5 5 years ago

I like the green lighting by your vertical drop targets.

My Flash Gordon is a total basket case, waiting to be restored. And it's still fun! Can't wait to get to work on it.

#6 5 years ago

Bally's best single ball game in my opinion!

-Jim

Disclaimer: I might have become jaded in my views by having spent 100's of hours drawing it

#7 5 years ago

Actually, only 10,000 made. And only 9,998 available out there because mine is a keeper too! I can only imagine how much MORE I'll love it once I find a strobe light for it! Anyone have a spare to sell??
Art.

#8 5 years ago
Quoted from heckheck:

Disclaimer: I might have become jaded in my views by having spent 100's of hours drawing it

Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life.

#9 5 years ago
Quoted from heckheck:

Disclaimer: I might have become jaded in my views by having spent 100's of hours drawing it

Well thanks. I always thought a lot of stuff on this game would make awesome tattoo art.

#10 5 years ago
Quoted from radium:

I like the green lighting by your vertical drop targets.

Thanks. There are little splashes of green throughout the playfield, so I thought a couple green light areas would really pop. Most everything else is a mix of incandescents and a couple CT retro warm whites. The green reflects off the metal ramps really well.

Post edited by TheShameGovernor : Stupid subject-verb agreement.

#11 5 years ago

Can someone post pics of the middle of the playfield? Just picked up one, and there is mylar on the playfield. Not sure how much of the PF is damaged, or if it was drawn that way.....

Hard f$%^&g game by the way.

#12 5 years ago

Here's the middle on mine. This playfield had day one mylar which was the only thing keeping it in decent shape. The rest of the game was beat! Took a lot of curse words to get it back to a fast, smooth player (then there was even more cursing lol).

image.jpg

#13 5 years ago

I absolutely love mine so better make that 9997 available, its going nowhere either. I'm currently restoring it back to as close to original as I can make it. The first picture below is the new CPR playfield installed but currently the playfield is back out of the machine while the cabinet is being done so I can't play it at the moment.

image.jpg

Second picture is the apron signed by Sam J Jones Flash Gordon himself!

image-597.jpg

#14 5 years ago
Quoted from BoP:

Second picture is the apron signed by Sam J Jones Flash Gordon himself!

Thread just got epic in here. That's awesome.

Now, where can I find Max Von Sydow...

#15 5 years ago
Quoted from BoP:

I absolutely love mine so better make that 9997 available, its going nowhere either. I'm currently restoring it back to as close to original as I can make it. The first picture below is the new CPR playfield installed but currently the playfield is back out of the machine while the cabinet is being done so I can't play it at the moment.

That picture really pops. Makes me realize how terrible my playfield plastics look. Are those repros from somewhere? My backglass is toast and has to be replaced, so I was hoping to not have to buy plastics but I think I do.

#16 5 years ago

Just joined the club on Wednesday night...playfield is a bit worn & lots of ball swirl marks that I'm working on now...I'm trying the magic eraser/alcohol treatment but haven't had any success yet...any suggestions on how I can get them out?

This is the first 80's pin I've owned & I'm loving it...great pin! Emperor Ming Awaits!

#17 5 years ago

ME and alcohol (91%) is what I use, but be careful. It will get down to the paint if you stay in one spot too long. You may not get it to perfect. Sometimes good is good enough.

Welcome to the club. Time to teach your BSD what a real tough game is all about!
(Nothin but love for BSD, by the way)

#18 5 years ago

How much pressure did you apply & how long to work on a specific spot?

The outlanes on both FG & BSD are brutal! But that's why you keep coming back for more

#19 5 years ago
Quoted from dj_xwing:

How much pressure did you apply & how long to work on a specific spot?

It all depends on the spot. If I can see any evidence that paint may be already be off (even the smallest specks), then I know that the clearcoat is already nearly gone, and I'll only do a few passes with light pressure. If the colors look good, I'll spend a bit more time/pressure on it. Usually no more than 15-30 seconds on any one section. It will differ from area to area, but one thing is certain - it WILL remove your paint if you get too greedy.

When I start, I pick an area and mask off half of it with a light-tack tape (painters tape). Then when I feel like a spot is pretty good, I check my before/after progress and decide if I think it's good enough - or if I want to take the risk and try some more. Personally, I think very faint balls swirls are preferable to missing paint, so I usually leave it.

After ME and alcohol, you'll get a white haze residue on the spots that you've cleaned. This cleans up/buffs out just fine with some Novus 2. Finish up with a couple coats of wax, and proceed to get your ass handed to yourself on a silver platter.

#20 5 years ago

Here it is in all it's glory!

DSCN1868.JPG DSCN1862.JPG
#21 5 years ago

Here is what I'm talking about...should I even bother trying...or just wax it, play the heck out of it & enjoy every minute of it?

DSCN1865.JPG
#22 5 years ago
Quoted from Methos:

Can someone post pics of the middle of the playfield? Just picked up one, and there is mylar on the playfield. Not sure how much of the PF is damaged, or if it was drawn that way.....
Hard f$%^&g game by the way.

Deerfield??

#23 5 years ago
Quoted from dj_xwing:

Here is what I'm talking about...should I even bother trying...or just wax it, play the heck out of it & enjoy every minute of it?

Looks like a good restore candidate. I would paint out that crazing personally, especially the black since it is a freebie in terms of matching color. But, if you can get the dirt out of the seams, it may clear-coat away. To get an idea, clean a small test area and wipe with naphtha. Wax will likely seal in the dirt.

Toughest touchup I see is the wear around Ming's collar. The inserts need work too but not too bad.

#24 5 years ago
Quoted from TheShameGovernor:

Thread just got epic in here. That's awesome.
Now, where can I find Max Von Sydow...

Ha ha, Max maybe a little harder to get hold of. I managed to get Sam's autograph after finding out a day earlier that he'd be appearing at an event called Supernova in Melbourne (about 3hrs from my place) so jumped in the car and off I went. I thought it would just finish off the restoration nicely.

Quoted from radium:

That picture really pops. Makes me realize how terrible my playfield plastics look. Are those repros from somewhere? My backglass is toast and has to be replaced, so I was hoping to not have to buy plastics but I think I do.

Yes these are CPR plastics. Unfortunately there not currently available on the CPR site but you might find them somewhere else.

#25 5 years ago

No, few months ago from other side of state. Lot cheaper....

#26 5 years ago

Flash Gordon is awesome. Such a challenge. I find myself playing for that one great ball ... because the rest fly down the outlanes. Bleeeeeeaaaaaaaarrrrgh!

My young son and I got so frustrated with FG, I sold it!

And I regretted it instantly and chased down another. My playfield isn't terrible but I still wish I had a CPR playfield to throw in. Beauty game. Keeper. And my original flasher board works!

"Try again, Earthling."

#27 5 years ago
Quoted from dj_xwing:

Here is what I'm talking about...should I even bother trying...or just wax it, play the heck out of it & enjoy every minute of it?

Yeah, like radium said above, from your pic I see less ball swirling and more crazing - cracks in your finish. You might be able to clean those out, but they aren't going anywhere. Touchups and clearing it might fill those in nicely though. Honestly, there isn't 'that' much wear. - I've seen Gordons that are waaaay worse. How much work are you up to?

#28 5 years ago

Got a couple of pictures of my Flash Gordon. Or what's left of it anyways. Rare prototype orange cabinet!!

IMG_2980.JPG IMG_2984.JPG IMG_2983.JPG
#29 5 years ago

Love the green painter's take to cover the saucer hole. Looks like that puppy needs some TLC (and a new CPR field). FG is too good a machine to let one die!

-Jim

#30 5 years ago

I bet sooooo many of these were trashed and junked -that we would be surprised to learn how many are actually left.

So the big question - How many of us have actually seen the moview? Or any of the old serials? (raises hand for both).

#31 5 years ago
Quoted from heckheck:

Love the green painter's take to cover the saucer hole.

Oh yeah, the green tape mod? That costs extra.

Also check out the right flipper. Some guy sacrificed a piece of elastic off his undies to make that.

And the backbox is loaded with massive mud diver nests!

Quoted from heckheck:

Looks like that puppy needs some TLC (and a new CPR field). FG is too good a machine to let one die!

Will be restoring this one. Unfortunately I can't afford a new CPR playfield, so it's going to be a lot of work. Was hoping to score a used playfield a little less destroyed than this one, but that's probably a longshot.

But, I won't part it out!

#32 5 years ago

I bought the FG movie on Blu Ray. Highly recommended. It's awesome.

One thing I've always wanted to do but never have had the time for, is to mod the game so that it has some of those awesome Queen rock riffs from the movie credits play after the match sequence. It should be fairly easy to do with a cheap digital player spliced into the sound system and triggered somehow off the addressing of the match digits in the credit/match display.

-Jim

#33 5 years ago
Quoted from radium:

Got a couple of pictures of my Flash Gordon. Or what's left of it anyways. Rare prototype orange cabinet!!

Hey, that orange ain't so bad; I believe mine is the LE pink model. I actually saw a un-faded one about a year ago and was like, whoa, that's really red!

Quoted from Methos:

So the big question - How many of us have actually seen the moview? Or any of the old serials? (raises hand for both).

Why yes, yes I have.
I've wanted a Flash Gordon tshirt for the longest time, so I just up and designed one last year.
http://www.octoberbuilt.com/product/death-to-ming-red-ringer

#34 5 years ago

Ming on the backglass must get tired of me shaking my fist in his face and cursing him out....

but can't stop pressing the start button...

2013-03-08 15-57-43 085 (Small).JPG
#35 5 years ago

Bought the t-shirt, it's pretty cool...
bought the movie... its pretty cool too...

1 week later
#36 5 years ago

Bought one at auction last night: $170.

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#37 5 years ago

Here are a ton of pictures of my restore, including mylar removal, clear coating, stripping and repainting the cabinet

http://www.flickr.com/photos/35491845@N02/sets/72157620319325823/

BR

#38 5 years ago
Quoted from MTPPC:

Bought one at auction last night: $170.

Looks like previous owners were either REALLY good at hitting the inline drops, or REALLY bad. Either way, "I'mma shootin' for them!"

Have fun!

#39 5 years ago
Quoted from brightonrock:

Here are a ton of pictures of my restore, including mylar removal, clear coating, stripping and repainting the cabinet
http://www.flickr.com/photos/35491845@N02/sets/72157620319325823/
BR

wow.

#40 5 years ago
Quoted from MTPPC:

Bought one at auction last night: $170.

I got a chance to check mine out. It wasn't booting (low voltage at the MPU), but I reseated the solenoid driver board J3 connector and it's up and running. It has a broken shooter lane switch and one of the pops isn't working, but I'm sure I'll grind through those in a day or two.

Off to buy a rubber kit and some other bits and pieces. woot!

#41 5 years ago
Quoted from MTPPC:

I got a chance to check mine out. It wasn't booting (low voltage at the MPU), but I reseated the solenoid driver board J3 connector and it's up and running. It has a broken shooter lane switch and one of the pops isn't working, but I'm sure I'll grind through those in a day or two.
Off to buy a rubber kit and some other bits and pieces. woot!

wow, nice price. I paid $850 for mine earlier this year. Mine was running and has a great backglass. All original boards and it's an early one with the sounds plus and vocalizer board, no S&T. Serial number is EFG 1047. I started to take mine apart and planning a full resto on it. I got a CPR pf and plastics when they first released them. Twisted Pins stencil kit as well. This will be my first swap on a 2 piece pf. Hopefully it won't be too difficult. My cab has a ton of green mold spores on the bottom, not sure why, the game doesn't have alot of rust. I know I will be replacing that.

#42 5 years ago
Quoted from MrArt2u:

Actually, only 10,000 made. And only 9,998 available out there because mine is a keeper too! I can only imagine how much MORE I'll love it once I find a strobe light for it! Anyone have a spare to sell??
Art.

This is from rgp, apparently the bulb from AFM will work:
http://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/24-8835
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rec.games.pinball/aj9MMzAJrj4
I know it says Xenon but Xenon doesn't have a strobe lamp.

#44 5 years ago
Quoted from TheShameGovernor:

Thanks. There are little splashes of green throughout the playfield, so I thought a couple green light areas would really pop. Most everything else is a mix of incandescents and a couple CT retro warm whites. The green reflects off the metal ramps really well.
Post edited by TheShameGovernor : Stupid subject-verb agreement.

Thanks for starting this thread, you do awesome work. I use CT LEDs in my games as well. Did you use them in the feature lamps or just GI? If feature, did you have to use the Alltek lamp driver?

#45 5 years ago
Quoted from BoP:

I absolutely love mine so better make that 9997 available, its going nowhere either. I'm currently restoring it back to as close to original as I can make it. The first picture below is the new CPR playfield installed but currently the playfield is back out of the machine while the cabinet is being done so I can't play it at the moment.

Second picture is the apron signed by Sam J Jones Flash Gordon himself!

image.jpg 1 MB

image-597.jpg 887 KB

It looks like you chromed the ramps? How hard was it to clean out the star roll over inserts? I had to do only one on EBD and it was PITA, I can't imagine doing 7.

#46 5 years ago

Lovef2k, save yourself some trouble, those star rollover inserts cost about $1 from Steve Young at Pinball Resource. Otherwise I soak them in 91% alcohol for about 10 minutes then hit them with an old toothbrush.

#47 5 years ago
Quoted from MrArt2u:

Lovef2k, save yourself some trouble, those star rollover inserts cost about $1 from Steve Young at Pinball Resource. Otherwise I soak them in 91% alcohol for about 10 minutes then hit them with an old toothbrush.

Sorry for the confusion, I should have been more specific. I was referring to the star inserts on the playfield. Any CPR, or other clear coated pf for that matter, the star will be filled with clear causing the star roll-over not to fit correctly. You have to be very careful and patient when removing the clear from these. If it breaks,you're screwed! I used a dremel with a tiny grinding bit with a diamond tip and very small files to do the EBD. The clear poses an issue here because the thickness of the clear makes the star roll over seem short and therefore a fast ball may not close the switch. The leaf switches have to be adjusted close and a cap is definitely needed on these. I think the star inserts should be masked when clearing but not all agree because it creates a divot in that area.
The next 3 swaps I plan to do all have several of these so I'm not thrilled about it.
Rich

#48 5 years ago
Quoted from Lovef2k:

Did you use them in the feature lamps or just GI? If feature, did you have to use the Alltek lamp driver?

The only feature lights that gave me bad strobing issues were the upper/lower bonus rings, and maybe 1 or 2 others. Most everything else I used color matched 3LEDs from pinball life. I thought about buying the Alltek board, but it seems like a waste for just the bonus rings.

#49 5 years ago
Quoted from TheShameGovernor:

The only feature lights that gave me bad strobing issues were the upper/lower bonus rings, and maybe 1 or 2 others. Most everything else I used color matched 3LEDs from pinball life. I thought about buying the Alltek board, but it seems like a waste for just the bonus rings.

Color matching the LEDs to the inserts is the way to go if you don't want them to be super bright. Using all white might do that, especially if it's a translucent insert, opaque not as much. I have a ways to go before I light up my FG. I was hoping to start on the cab before the weather turned, but it's already down in the 50's here in the day time and breezy which doesn't help. I havn't got started on the cab yet.

#50 5 years ago

i know this is the "club" but anyone selling one?

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