(Topic ID: 262687)

Gottlieb Atlantis


By leckmeck

38 days ago



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  • 53 posts
  • 10 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 7 days ago by leckmeck
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There are 53 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
#1 38 days ago

I started fixing up a Gottlieb Atlantis last month. It’s a solid example and would make a decent player, but I’m determined to raise its condition to the nines. So it will be getting a whole lot of work. Here’s what I started with. The pictures (from the seller) are a little grainy, I’m afraid.

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#2 38 days ago

It’s hard to tell from the seller’s murky pics, but the playfield is awfully tired. It has some deep, dirty swirling and raised grain. It won’t clean up very well, I fear.

Fortunately, I have one of Wade Krause’s reproductions. Look at those keylines on the inserts! Wade’s registration is tight.

Wade Krause Repro Detail (resized).JPG

#3 38 days ago

Nice coin door shined up like a million bucks. The etched Gottlieb logo got filled with acrylic paint. This is one of those little details I like to see.

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#4 38 days ago

The legs that came with the game took a rust-remover bath. The results are good enough that I’ll probably skip the metal polish.

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#5 38 days ago

Chime unit also shined up well.

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#6 38 days ago

Crusty old leg bolts are a snap to rejuvenate with a little buffing wheel action.
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#7 38 days ago

The plywood lip around the bottom was in good condition, but there was some splintering at the front. I decided to chisel it out and glue in a replacement.

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#8 38 days ago

The original cabinet is decent overall—above average, I would say—but it still has some assorted scrapes, scratches, and graffiti. One of the fish has JAWS carved into it. Another has a large rectangular section of paint missing. It’s just bare wood. I can’t let those things slide when the game is getting a shiny new playfield.

So I’m going to feather these blemishes away. This is a technique I’ve come to favor over doing a total repaint because it preserves most of the cabinet’s patina. But feathering is only feasible if you have a really solid base upon which to build. If too much of the base paint is missing or what’s left is fragile and flaky, forget it. This Atlantis, however, is an ideal candidate for this treatment. The original base is solid overall.

Using a Flip-Pal handheld scanner, I capture the stenciled areas of the game. Because of its small size, I needed to make many, many scans. It took over 40 to capture all the detail on the side of the lower cabinet.

All those images go into Photoshop, where I stitch them together. Each image is in a different later. One layer overlaps the other, with “multiply” as the color-mixing mode. That way you can see both images at the same time. To get correct alignment, the speckling serves as registration marks. One dot is chosen, the top layer is moved until both dots overlap, then the image is rotated (on that dot, like it’s a fulcrum) until all the other speckles line up.

Once all the stencils are stitched together, I trace their outlines. The outlines go into Illustrator, where they are converted to paths. The paths are then exported to DXF files, which are imported into Silhouette Studio, the software used by the Silhouette Cameo, which is a $300 plotter for hobbyists. I use it to cut masking stencils on 4mm mylar from StencilEase.

These masks are now faithful replicas of the original stencil shapes. They’re used to respray the damaged colors on this game. I do this with craft acrylic paint from Michaels. Color options are abundant and cheap. It’s easy to mix colors to get the match you need. Mistakes can be cleaned up and fixed because the hard finish on an intact cabinet is like an etch-a-sketch you can keep resetting.

Before spraying the paint, I touch up the bare wood because these inexpensive acrylics don’t have a lot of pigment to them. After watering them down to spray them with an airbrush, it would take 50+ coats (seriously!) to get the bare wood to disappear. So I fill in the bare wood with a brush. It looks terrible at first, but the airbrush will fix that.

The mixed paint goes gets diluted with distilled water until it can be sprayed, which is basically the the consistency of milk. You can use airbrush medium to dilute the paint, but it costs a lot more than water.

I prop up the cabinet at 45 degrees so it’s facing me like an easel. It’s a good angle to do the airbrushing and keep the stencils in place, which I do with pieces of cardboard and my hand. I avoid using any spray adhesives because they risk taking up paint when you remove the mask. Because the stencil material is so thin, you have to be certain you are applying pressure on the mylar edge where you are spraying. The air will easily lift it and too much overspray will be the result. Some overspray is fine, but too much is unwelcome.

I keep a running heat gun nearby, which I used to heat-set the paint after a light coat. You can’t spray heavy coats because the solution is water-based. It will bead and run very easily if you spray too much. With a heat gun, however, you can set a light coat in a handful of seconds. Then it’s ready for the next coat. I usually put down 5-6 coats. After that many layers, the touch-ups will have been effectively blended away.

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#9 38 days ago

I think this technique is a great option; thanks for sharing; I never considered using a brush for cabinet touchups but based on your results I'll keep this in mind. I have a nice air brush, so that's no issue.

I do have one question for you. Since the cheap paints have crappy pigment loads, why not just go with Createx or something similar... is it just that the cheaper paints come in a huge bevy of colors and mixing paints to match may be a bit less time consuming?

#10 38 days ago
Quoted from Dono:

I do have one question for you. Since the cheap paints have crappy pigment loads, why not just go with Createx or something similar... is it just that the cheaper paints come in a huge bevy of colors and mixing paints to match may be a bit less time consuming?

You’re exactly right: it’s the bang for the buck. For ten dollars you can get 4-5 shades of the same color and experiment at home.

But the good stuff is nice. I used Liquitex on my last project and was startled by the pigment density.

#11 38 days ago

Your work is seriously beyond words, dude. You give us all inspiration to raise our own standards.

#12 37 days ago

Agreed, it's superlicious work!

On another note about this game on the IPDB, there's a great write-up about a conversation with Jeff Brenner about the design of this game, definitely check it out. Also, don't forget the pin above the right flipper, looks like yours is missing.. for those that like to bounce the ball off the left flip to the right, it's really a godsend to avoid that right drain after the bounce. It stops other shots and bounces from this fate as well.

Wayne Neyens was the absolute best at understanding how to challenge players with a balance of shots and designs that kept us coming back for "just one more quarter".

#13 37 days ago
Quoted from Dono:

Also, don't forget the pin above the right flipper, looks like yours is missing.. for those that like to bounce the ball off the left flip to the right, it's really a godsend to avoid that right drain after the bounce. It stops other shots and bounces from this fate as well.
Wayne Neyens was the absolute best at understanding how to challenge players with a balance of shots and designs that kept us coming back for "just one more quarter".

You raise an interesting subject. Wade Krause’s repro doesn’t have a pilot hole for this deflector pin by the flippers. If I want to install it, I’ll have to drill the hole myself. Eek.

But I think I do want it, especially with all the thought that went into its inclusion. Atlantis is a hard game, and I think most of them that I’ve played were missing this pin.

#14 35 days ago
Quoted from leckmeck:

You raise an interesting subject. Wade Krause’s repro doesn’t have a pilot hole for this deflector pin by the flippers. If I want to install it, I’ll have to drill the hole myself. Eek.
But I think I do want it, especially with all the thought that went into its inclusion. Atlantis is a hard game, and I think most of them that I’ve played were missing this pin.

Interesting, he should have included it; mine had it, and the pix I see on the IPDB show the holes... I just think folks view it as an odd placement of a pin and take it out, or don't put one back.

#15 35 days ago
Quoted from leckmeck:

You raise an interesting subject. Wade Krause’s repro doesn’t have a pilot hole for this deflector pin by the flippers. If I want to install it, I’ll have to drill the hole myself. Eek.
But I think I do want it, especially with all the thought that went into its inclusion. Atlantis is a hard game, and I think most of them that I’ve played were missing this pin.

It has been missing on all of the Atlantis' I have seen. I put it back on one of my Atlantis many years ago thinking I was making the game correct and it worked its way loose within a dozen games. I'd go without.

#16 35 days ago

Really inspiring work! Thanks for posting and commenting to follow.

What did you use to shine up the coin door and chimes so well? I just picked up a Gottlieb Lawman that I'm hoping to do some similar work to.

Ty

#17 35 days ago

I asked Wade about this years ago. His thought was that if one wanted to add the pin, it was very simple to drill a hole! I added one to mine years ago and have never been that happy with it as Mike mentioned, they can loosen up or simply bend over from too much force from the ball hitting it. They end up being problematic if this happens, sometimes sending the ball out over the lane guide! Even using the hardened steel pins that are sometimes found on the games, They still Bend.

#18 35 days ago

My original PF had the pin, but I decided to for-go it on Wades repro... hasn't affected playability to my mind...

#19 33 days ago
Quoted from stashyboy:

I asked Wade about this years ago. His thought was that if one wanted to add the pin, it was very simple to drill a hole! I added one to mine years ago and have never been that happy with it as Mike mentioned, they can loosen up or simply bend over from too much force from the ball hitting it. They end up being problematic if this happens, sometimes sending the ball out over the lane guide! Even using the hardened steel pins that are sometimes found on the games, They still Bend.

Thanks for the insight, Mark. It really is a high-speed location for a deflector pin. I can imagine how the force from a back-flipped ball would really knock it silly.

I’m rethinking that pin now, which is also making me consider shaving off that extruded edge on the plastic. The sample games with the half-moon credit unit have a normal wedge-shaped plastic without that elongation. I dislike how it looks.

#20 33 days ago
Quoted from wheyface:

Really inspiring work! Thanks for posting and commenting to follow.
What did you use to shine up the coin door and chimes so well? I just picked up a Gottlieb Lawman that I'm hoping to do some similar work to.
Ty

The coin door and chime unit parts get an Evaporust bath to remove the rust.

Then they get polished with this stuff:

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You can find it at a lot of big box places like Walmart and Menards.

I recommend picking up a pack of terry-cloth shop rags to do the polishing. Paper towels fall apart too easily.

Be sure to buff away all remaining residue from the polishing compound on any zinc-plated parts. I actually give everything a hot-water bath after polishing then towel dry. If you don’t ensure all the residue is gone, this cloudy oxidation effect will develop. It shows your fingerprints all over the place. It looks terrible.

#21 33 days ago

The top edge of this side of the lightbox had a bad chip, so I filled it with some wood putty, sanded it down, then feathered in some white with an airbrush. The top inch or so was resprayed. The speckles are just dots made with a sharpie. The last thing was some Varathane I airbrushed for protection and impart a matching sheen to the touchups.

Restored Wedge Edge (resized).jpg

#22 32 days ago

Looks like it'll be all 10s!

1 week later
#23 24 days ago

I’ve finished respraying the aquamarine color on this side of things. I also feathered in some “white” above the flipper button where hands had worn the paint off. You can see the color blooming above the line where the rails go.

That’s one thing I wish I could remedy: the uneven yellowing across the cabinet. It would be too much work, masking off all the stencils and spraying down copious amounts of white. Not to mention dotting all those speckles with a sharpie. At that point it would effectively be a total cabinet repaint. I just need to learn to love the look and consider it patina.

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#24 23 days ago

Here’s a couple of in-progress pictures of the lightbox when I re-sprayed the aquamarine color.

Earlier I cautioned against spraying overly wet coats. Still, this happened: too much paint beaded up and ran under the mask, leaving splotches. This is where having a solid base is important. All it took was a little detailing/manicuring with some toothpicks, magic eraser, a q-tip, and very minute quantities of isopropyl alcohol. Those splotches comes right off that hard, intact surface with very little effort.

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#25 23 days ago

Did you cut stencils from plastic? I did that a couple of months ago on a Gottlieb Gaucho repaint (Pinball Pimp doesn’t make Gaucho) and it was a pain (lots of leaking under them, resulting in lots of touchups).

Yours is turning out really nice, BTW.

#26 23 days ago
Quoted from goldenboy232:

Did you cut stencils from plastic? I did that a couple of months ago on a Gottlieb Gaucho repaint (Pinball Pimp doesn’t make Gaucho) and it was a pain (lots of leaking under them, resulting in lots of touchups).
Yours is turning out really nice, BTW.

Thanks!

Post #8 has details on how the stencils are cut and the material used.

#27 18 days ago

I clearcoated a couple of the re-sprayed stencil shapes tonight with some Varathane. This flattens the color appearance (by focusing the light in one direction) and makes the sheen blend with the original finish.

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#28 17 days ago
Quoted from leckmeck:

This flattens the color appearance (by focusing the light in one direction) and makes the sheen blend with the original finish.

My rationale for clearcoating the touchups is because I see so many repainted cabinets with inconsistent sheens. The conventional wisdom is these games were not clearcoated in the factory, but I doubt a mass-produced commercial product would ship without this protection.

For example, here is factory paint job on a Jumping Jack that I polished with Novus 2. Look at the consistent sheen that is yielded across the stencil color and the base paint. You can also see hot spots of reflected light on the contours of the webbing. If this game didn’t have clearcoating, some red paint would be evident on this polishing rag.

Polish Red (resized).jpg
#29 17 days ago
Quoted from leckmeck:

My rationale for clearcoating the touchups is because I see so many repainted cabinets with inconsistent sheens. The conventional wisdom is these games were not clearcoated in the factory, but I doubt a mass-produced commercial product would ship without this protection.
For example, here is factory paint job on a Jumping Jack that I polished with Novus 2. Look at the consistent sheen that is yielded across the stencil color and the base paint. You can also see hot spots of reflected light on the contours of the webbing. If this game didn’t have clearcoating, some red paint would be evident on this polishing rag.[quoted image]

I have clear-coated my touch ups on cabinets for years. It definitely blends everything together for consistency. Also agree with you that these games had clear coat on them from the factory. That's one of the major reasons that sometimes the lacquer clear coat turns yellow and is so hard to remove from these games! Especially Gottlieb.

#30 17 days ago
Quoted from stashyboy:

I have clear-coated my touch ups on cabinets for years. It definitely blends everything together for consistency. Also agree with you that these games had clear coat on them from the factory. That's one of the major reasons that sometimes the lacquer clear coat turns yellow and is so hard to remove from these games! Especially Gottlieb.

Do you use clear from a spray can? Or what do you guys use on the cabinets?

#31 17 days ago
Quoted from goldenboy232:

Do you use clear from a spray can? Or what do you guys use on the cabinets?

I’m spraying semi-gloss Varathane with an airbrush. It needs a little distilled water before it can spray, but even when diluted it provides good coverage with only a handful of light coats. I use a heat gun to cure each layer. It sets quickly, depending on how large of a surface area you’re trying to cover. Small areas cure in 5-6 seconds. Larger areas take 20-30 seconds.

#32 17 days ago
Quoted from goldenboy232:

Do you use clear from a spray can? Or what do you guys use on the cabinets?

Leckmeck version sounds a lot more Thrifty. I splurge on the spray cans. Which are now available at Home Depot in my area if you don't find them online for Less. Semi-gloss varathane.

#33 17 days ago
Quoted from stashyboy:

Leckmeck version sounds a lot more Thrifty. I splurge on the spray cans. Which are now available at Home Depot in my area if you don't find them online for Less. Semi-gloss varathane.

I’m going to use cans ($10 at Menards) when I protect the cabinet sides. That’s some major coverage that would take forever with an airbrush.

#34 17 days ago

Well done. Excellent work.

Quoted from leckmeck:

The etched Gottlieb logo got filled with acrylic paint.

This is new to me. I thought that the prices etched next to the coin slots were filled in but it never occurred to me that the logo on the coin door would be too. Was this standard?

Do you fill it in with a fine brush or use a PBR style paint stick?

/Mark

#35 17 days ago
Quoted from MarkG:

Well done. Excellent work.

This is new to me. I thought that the prices etched next to the coin slots were filled in but it never occurred to me that the logo on the coin door would be too. Was this standard?
Do you fill it in with a fine brush or use a PBR style paint stick?
/Mark

When you buy the nice new reproduction doors from Pinball resource, the recessed Gottlieb logo has the white paint in it.

#36 16 days ago
Quoted from MarkG:

Well done. Excellent work.

This is new to me. I thought that the prices etched next to the coin slots were filled in but it never occurred to me that the logo on the coin door would be too. Was this standard?
Do you fill it in with a fine brush or use a PBR style paint stick?
/Mark

I use a PBR paint stick on original doors. You can cut it with either alcohol or lighter fluid to get any excess off of the surface around the logo. I use it on the 60's games pricing impressions.

#37 16 days ago

I don't think I've ever seen signs of original paint on the front. Has anyone? I can see how some would flake off over time but I don't recall seeing any remnants.

#38 16 days ago

As a follow-up to using spray cans of varathane on Gottlieb games, I would caution folks to go easy on the coats. Light coats will dry quicker, and have less chance of the chemical dryers in the varathane, interacting with the original lacquer on the playfields and cabinets. I have had experiences where both of those things have happened. Yellowing lacquer after you've already color matched to lighter colors, ruins the time and skill you took to make sure everything was correct.

#39 16 days ago
Quoted from MarkG:

Do you fill it in with a fine brush or use a PBR style paint stick?

I use a small paintbrush and smear acrylic paint into the etching, then squeegee the top with a flat edge. Leftover paint gets detailed away with a variety of things: paper towel, toothpick, q-tip.

You have to detail it when the paint is wet. If you try to fix it after the paint has set, it breaks off in chunks, taking some of the paint out of the shallow channels. There’s a reason why this paint doesn’t survive well over the years. It’s fragile.

Quoted from MarkG:

I don't think I've ever seen signs of original paint on the front. Has anyone? I can see how some would flake off over time but I don't recall seeing any remnants.

My Spin-A-Card appears to have original paint in the etched logo. It looks quite old and some is missing.

I looked at some flyers on IPDB. Most product photos have too much reflection on the coin door to make it out, but Jumping Jack has a shadow that makes it apparent.

Jumping Jack

#40 16 days ago
Quoted from MarkG:

I don't think I've ever seen signs of original paint on the front. Has anyone? I can see how some would flake off over time but I don't recall seeing any remnants.

Now that you mention it, I'm not sure if they came from the factory that way.

I'll have to inspect several of my games. I may even have an NOS coin door sitting around to compare to.

#41 15 days ago

Here is the coin door on my Spin-a-Card. The paint in the etching has been there for a long, long time.

Spin-a-Card

#42 15 days ago

The ragged ply on the edge of the lightbox veneer is a trap for dust and dirt over the years. A little acrylic paint makes it look a lot nicer.

Veneer Edge

#43 15 days ago

I can’t picture where this part is?

Quoted from leckmeck:

The ragged ply on the edge of the lightbox veneer is a trap for dust and dirt over the years. A little acrylic paint makes it look a lot nicer.
[quoted image]

#44 15 days ago
Quoted from goldenboy232:

I can’t picture where this part is?

It is a little disorienting! That’s because the lightbox is upside-down on my bench. The paintbrush is leaning against the lever that is used to secure the lightbox board insert.

#45 15 days ago
Quoted from leckmeck:

It is a little disorienting! That’s because the lightbox is upside-down on my bench. The paintbrush is leaning against the lever that is used to secure the lightbox board insert.

Oh, now I see it! Ha ha, I couldn’t figure out what that was.

#46 15 days ago
Quoted from leckmeck:

Here is the coin door on my Spin-a-Card. The paint in the etching has been there for a long, long time.
[quoted image]

Thanks leckmeck for hunting that down and for the flyer image. I appreciate the effort and the documentation.

#47 12 days ago
Quoted from stashyboy:

I have clear-coated my touch ups on cabinets for years. It definitely blends everything together for consistency. Also agree with you that these games had clear coat on them from the factory. That's one of the major reasons that sometimes the lacquer clear coat turns yellow and is so hard to remove from these games! Especially Gottlieb.

Yep, clear lacquer.

#48 12 days ago

Lightbox seaweed resprayed today.

IMG_8670 (resized).JPGIMG_6460 (resized).JPGIMG_8162 (resized).JPG
#49 12 days ago

Uh oh, looks like the Creature from the Black Lagoon has invaded your project! Either that or you may want to get checked for some kind of weird virus that's going around that might turn your skin green.

#50 11 days ago
Quoted from leckmeck:

Lightbox seaweed resprayed today.[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

or jolly green giant. Super work. Wish i had your skill at color blending/matching

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