(Topic ID: 160175)

HEP vs TC restorations. Any differences?


By sadler28

3 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 58 posts
  • 34 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by hoby1
  • Topic is favorited by 6 Pinsiders

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Topic poll

“HEP vs TC”

  • HEP 71 votes
    69%
  • TC 5 votes
    5%
  • Both are great 7 votes
    7%
  • Neither- save your money 20 votes
    19%

(103 votes)

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There are 58 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
#1 3 years ago

Depending when and what JJP announces with the Pat Lawlor design, I may look at a CQ NGG. I've heard/ seen great things about both High End Pins and Treasure Cove, but don't have any personal experience with either. Please let me know if I should go HEP or TC. Or, can't go wrong either way. Or, just save my money because neither are worth it. Any explanations behind the vote would be appreciated.

I'm a noob and can fix very little (learning though) That's why I prefer NIB or completely restored.

#2 3 years ago

Yes very much so. From the info I have heard from numerous sources HEP is superior to TC.

#3 3 years ago

They both are very nice. It seems to me though that HEP is always upping the quality of his restorations, and as far as I know he does more high end restorations than anyone (its his full time gig) If you are sending a game I would go HEP. If you are buying one that is already restored I would just look at condition and buy what is available if it meets your standards.

#4 3 years ago
Quoted from jamieflowers:

They both are very nice. It seems to me though that HEP is always upping the quality of his restorations, and as far as I know he does more high end restorations than anyone (its his full time gig) If you are sending a game I would go HEP. If you are buying one that is already restored I would just look at condition and buy what is available if it meets your standards.

I do not currently own NGG so the company will find the machine for me and restore it

#5 3 years ago
Quoted from sadler28:

HEP vs TC restorations. Any differences?

That's funny.

Big differences.

-1
#6 3 years ago

I don't know anything aboot either of these places other than they are well respected.

My issue would be with a NGG, which is not a game worth putting that much $$ into IMO...all of this is my opinion so if you love the game just ignore it. NGG are 3k all day standard, more if there's no slam ramp damage. The game gets old quick, and that's a lot of cash to begin with, so I'm guessing you're looking at 5K very bottom? Just not worth it IMO.

Good luck either way.

#7 3 years ago

If you are considering spending that much cash I would go for that WoZ on your wishlist.

I would only consider going CQ on a NGG if that was your holy grail pin and plan to never sell it because you'll probably be hard pressed to find a buyer that is willing to spend 5-6k or more on a CQ NGG. I'm going to assume that it would be even more like 8k+ for HEP quality NGG... you are talking about a machine that is better than NIB.

I'm a pin-noob as well and part of this hobby that I really enjoy is the hunt. One thing I've learned is patience...Nothing like scoring a wishlist pin for a really good price then doing what you can to fix it up. There is a plethora of knowledge and people willing to help out on this site. If you're willing to put in the time to do your research and ask for help, I think you'll find it's something that you can pick up on easily. In the end I find it much more rewarding than paying for a machine that's already been fixed up.

Of course HEP machines are in a league of their own and I'll probably never own one. At the very least its a good feeling knowing that you found a game for a damn good price and you made it play and look better than it probably ever had during it's lifetime. Plus you'll have a lot of good stories to tell

#8 3 years ago

TC used to be the gold standard but HEP has long left them in the dust.

#9 3 years ago

You're also forgetting options like Bryan Kelly or Keller. I think Chad Keller still does restorations anyways. All are nice products. All are well done. And can be tailored to your preferences. Example: do you like chrome, or don't you like chrome? Do you like LEDs, or don't you like LEDs, etc.

There are differences between the products of all these restorers, and more. And I believe they all have pretty extensive wait times. Demand > Supply.

#10 3 years ago

HEP - best in the business, most expensive in the business, 2 year wait. I have an older HEP TAF (2009) and even back then his restores were top notch - he has stated that he does even better restores now. HEP has his own cabinet maker, can touch up playfields in house and does stencils (pre-90s games).

Chad Keller - does great work but may be retired? - I own a Monster Bash that he did and it is exceptional.

Jim McCune - does great work but I haven't owned any

TreasureCove - does great work but I haven't owned any

Bryan Kelly - does incredible work with less wait and is less expensive than HEP. He can repair any cabinet and make it look like brand new. He can clear coat playfields locally, but sends them out for touch ups if needed (if you aren't doing a playfield swap). He prefers 90's games (decals) and later. Here is a game that Bryan did for me last year:

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/creature-porn-a-bryan-kelly-restoration

From a cabinet/playfield perspective (ie - the things you see), it's hard to tell the difference between a HEP/Kelly/Keller/McCune for me (and I'm pretty picky).

You can't go wrong with any of them - just depends on what you want to spend and how long you want to wait.

#11 3 years ago

Can I jump in on the restorers Bandwagon?

I do some very good restorations as well.

Im in the process of a TZ restore which can be followed on my FB page (Pintech)

I use the page to allow clients to follow along with the process.

#12 3 years ago

Treasure Cove does take some fabulous garage door pinball pics.

#13 3 years ago

Thanks for all the feedback. Very helpful!

NGG isn't really a grail pin for me. I love to play golf too so the theme is great. I think my kids would love it too. I'm going into this knowing I most likely will not get out what I put in. Kinda like restoring old cars.

Still on the fence with WOZ. Haven't played one yet but a fellow pinsider has invited me over whenever time allows. That's why I'm trying to wait to see what PL has with JJP. Getting impatient though.

#14 3 years ago

HEP does a great job on NGG

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#15 3 years ago

TC did a great job on my Varkon but they shipped it to me on a pallet that had exposed nails poking through the wood and it did some (relatively minor but noticeable) damage that the game shouldn't have had because of it (this was 100% TC's fault for using an old falling apart rotting pallet filled with nails to ship a game that expensive to me...they never returned my calls asking about the damage...so I haven't worked with them since that time).

I have two games with HEP right now. His work that I have seen on other games is unmatched by anyone. He's the best and its not close.

#16 3 years ago
Quoted from TigerLaw:

TC did a great job on my Varkon but they shipped it to me on a pallet that had exposed nails poking through the wood and it did some (relatively minor but noticeable) damage that the game shouldn't have had because of it (this was 100% TC's fault for using an old falling apart rotting pallet filled with nails to ship a game that expensive to me...they never returned my calls asking about the damage...so I haven't worked with them since that time).
I have two games with HEP right now. His work that I have seen on other games is unmatched by anyone. He's the best and its not close.

Fortunately TC is close enough to me where I can drive and pick it up. Does resale value help in either case? I see on the marketplace that HEP restored pins tend to get a higher price. Hardly ever see TC restored pins listed.

If I do this, I plan to never let it leave my house. I think I'm a pin hoarder

#17 3 years ago
Quoted from sadler28:

If I do this, I plan to never let it leave my house. I think I'm a pin hoarder

We were all pin hoarders when we had 2 machines AS you get more, run out of room, buy a bigger house, run out of room again, then you end up selling them.

#18 3 years ago
Quoted from TheLaw:

We were all pin hoarders when we had 2 machines AS you get more, run out of room, buy a bigger house, run out of room again, then you end up selling them.

Probably not if you've got an $8k NGG -- that'll be sticking around!

#19 3 years ago
Quoted from TheLaw:

We were all pin hoarders when we had 2 machines AS you get more, run out of room, buy a bigger house, run out of room again, then you end up selling them.

Or you end up like me and have two machines hanging out a friend's house trying to figure out where to put them...

#20 3 years ago

Take a look at their photo galleries and see for yourself.

http://christopherhutchins.com/gallery/albums.php
http://www.treasurecovepinball.com/photo-gallery.htm

HEP quality and attention to detail is remarkable.
On the other hand, it might well be that TC offers different levels of restoration depending on your budget. Wait time is also not 2 years.

#21 3 years ago

I have 2 HEP's right now and one in the process of almost ready. I had 1 TC a couple of years ago. There is no comparision when it comes to attention to detail. The TC Theatre of Magic was nice but far from HEP's work. There were issues with TC's and I'm not talking about adjusting switches. My phone calls were NOT met with the kind of positive nature I expected. As an example of HEP's dedication to his work, Chris recently sent me out a set of wired opto's to resolve a problem with my game at no charge. I've had the game for over a year and no questions, no charge whatsoever. He stands behind every restore he does. Drawbacks-Yes. Expect your game to be over 2 years for a full restore. HEP is also the most expensive. If you're going big-go HEP!!!

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#22 3 years ago
Quoted from TheLaw:

We were all pin hoarders when we had 2 machines AS you get more, run out of room, buy a bigger house, run out of room again, then you end up selling them.

I cancelled my 18' shuffleboard order to keep room for pins. We'll see how long the wife is on board when the basement starts filling up with pins and the money starts adding up quickly.

#23 3 years ago

Neither are a good "investment".... its the same as getting a classic car restored, unless its VERY rare you will lose money on the restoration. The reason to get one restored is if you want a perfect example of a game.

#24 3 years ago

Anyone have an opinion on which restorer does the best playing game? I have a couple games in mind that I like enough to consider one of these types of restores, but I'm afraid they might not play as well as a pristine original.

#25 3 years ago
Quoted from chuckwurt:

Anyone have an opinion on which restorer does the best playing game? I have a couple games in mind that I like enough to consider one of these types of restores, but I'm afraid they might not play as well as a pristine original.

They will play better!

#26 3 years ago
Quoted from neverahighscore:

They will play better!

Haha. Well the reason why I asked was that the only very high end restore game I have played didn't play nearly as well (to me), than the dialed in very nice original I had played very recently before. Just seemed off. Hell maybe that's how the game always should've played, but I definitely preferred the play of the original to the restore. Just don't know if I could ever pull the trigger because of this. Now, luckily one of the games I would consider doing this for is an all time great, so if it wasn't what I was hoping, I could sell. Still would suck.

#27 3 years ago

Voted neither because it's truely not worth it for that title. Having said that, I couldn't imagine how many tacos it would take to get neverahighscore to part with that CC ?

#29 3 years ago
Quoted from Damonator:

Bryan Kelly - does incredible work

+1

#30 3 years ago
Quoted from TigerLaw:

Or you end up like me and have two machines hanging out a friend's house trying to figure out where to put them...

I can help you out with your The Addams Family if it's in your way. Just sayin'.

#31 3 years ago
Quoted from chuckwurt:

Anyone have an opinion on which restorer does the best playing game? I have a couple games in mind that I like enough to consider one of these types of restores, but I'm afraid they might not play as well as a pristine original.

I have a good friend that a few years back scored a low play documented HUO TZ, and at the time he also had a very nice restored TZ.

The HUO game played much, much better.

#32 3 years ago
Quoted from chuckwurt:

Haha. Well the reason why I asked was that the only very high end restore game I have played didn't play nearly as well (to me), than the dialed in very nice original I had played very recently before. Just seemed off. Hell maybe that's how the game always should've played, but I definitely preferred the play of the original to the restore. Just don't know if I could ever pull the trigger because of this. Now, luckily one of the games I would consider doing this for is an all time great, so if it wasn't what I was hoping, I could sell. Still would suck.

Having gotten an HEP IJ, I can tell you that there is a break-in period. (McCune actually cautioned me about this.) The brand new clearcoat on the playfield, etc., has a tendency to make the game play a little slow and/or stiff. But after about 100 plays and a good waxing, you'll find the game plays smooth like buttah! It's like any other pinball machine; you gotta work out the kinks.

#33 3 years ago
Quoted from txx3ddq442:

I can help you out with your The Addams Family if it's in your way. Just sayin'.

I am honored to say HEP has my TAF right now actually. PavBall and I are beyond super pumped about it and can't wait to get it back!

#34 3 years ago
Quoted from TigerLaw:

I am honored to say HEP has my TAF right now actually. PavBall and I are beyond super pumped about it and can't wait to get it back!

.....and Medusa? That will also be a stunner! Would like to buy a weekend pass to your game room, how long are the passes good for before they expire?

#35 3 years ago

I have had 4 HEPs and I scrutinize all the restorers work.

Probably will get in trouble here but just giving my honest opinion as someone that has had and seen many restored games at various levels..

This is my list:

1) HEP
.
.
.
2) McCune and Kelly
3) Individual "one off" restorers.. (For example, i think Mike D did only a few? They looked great). Another excellent example is here:

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/fs-sttng-restored

SC204 (Stuart) killed it on this STTNG.. I would say in some ways he went over HEP in what he did.. but in other ways there is no chance to match (for example HEP cabinets and playfields are second to NONE). These individual restorers dont do this for a living so you are lucky if you get your hands on one.

4) Treasure cove (and a bunch of other guys).

I remember seeing Treasure Cove restores on Ebay when i just got in this hobby and was amazed.. but the bottom line is the process to restore games has really been raised to a whole new level with Chris at HEP, so much so that I really dont see them being comparable anymore.

That said.. the prices are very different. Nothing wrong with a TC restoration if that level of restoration is what you want. I will also say that they appear to be good guys for the hobby (aside from the negative comments above) and were pioneers at the beginning, and they deserve respect for that.

Condition is king.. and you get what you pay for.

You certainly will not get what you put into it when you go to sell (usually) but with HEP you do get that name recognition so there will always be buyers.. see Teekee's thread trying to sell a Tron LE for one!

#36 3 years ago

Bryan Kelly - does incredible work

+1

#37 3 years ago

Keller does amazing work!

#38 3 years ago

Look what popped up on ebay..

ebay.com link » Like

Your chance at NIB...

#39 3 years ago
Quoted from Bwilson:

Look what popped up on ebay..
ebay.com link » Like
Your chance at NIB...

I hear he's throwing in the acid eaten board for free

#40 3 years ago
Quoted from TheLaw:

I hear he's throwing in the acid eaten board for free

Always wondered that. Did they ship with batteries? Dang... that would suck.

#41 3 years ago
Quoted from Bwilson:

Always wondered that. Did they ship with batteries? Dang... that would suck.

Yeah...although by that time they were lifted off the board a bit.

#42 3 years ago
Quoted from TheLaw:

Yeah...although by that time they were lifted off the board a bit.

If you're buying a NIB game I think maybe buying a new CPU too is the least of your concerns

#43 3 years ago

Where's Gary when you...oh, never mind.

HEP just a notch above Rattle Can Renovations™!

#44 3 years ago
Quoted from Bwilson:

Look what popped up on ebay..
ebay.com link » Like
Your chance at NIB...

And to think I passed on a NIB for $1300 back in the day.

#45 3 years ago
Quoted from Bwilson:

Look what popped up on ebay..
ebay.com link » Like
Your chance at NIB...

I'm sure they'd let me buy it with a money back guarantee if anything is corroded out

#46 3 years ago
Quoted from sadler28:

I'm sure they'd let me buy it with a money back guarantee if anything is corroded out

Yeah doubtful.. I just thought it was a funny coincidence with this thread.

#47 3 years ago

Treasure Cove made their name in the past by focusing on comestics and having some tricks to make games look very nice back in the day when replacement parts were not nearly as common. They could clean and polish, did all the things to make the playfield and cabinet look great from just slightly far away. They were doing things like painting shooter lanes wood color to make them look better, etc back when people weren't really paying attention to that level of cosmetics.

They also were smart and knew to use natural light to take their photos.. so they have their rep for their photos taken in front of the white garage door in the driveway as they did that for all their albums.

Basically, Treasure Cove made a name focusing on great cosmetics and really making games look nice in their stock form. TC would do touchups, etc.. but wasn't really a place that really did hardcore playfield art and clearing.

But when HEP came onto the scene, he took it to entirely new levels. He makes games BETTER than new. His playfield touchups and reworks set him above, and then the level he took the 'cherry perfect' to in every piece of hardware in the game set a new high water mark. Chris added incredible art restoration to meticulous rebuilding of every element of the game to build games that are simply another level.

Of course you pay for that type of 'show car restoration'.. but HEP is like going to a custom car builder to get a concours show car.. while Treasure Cove is like having your local mechanic rebuild your car after an accident. It will look good, but its still just a restored/cleaned up stock car.

Treasure Cove had some ups and downs over the years.. but Allan has added a lot to the hobby and has shared lots of his tricks of the trade over the years as well.

TC and HEP are not even in the same tiers of product.

#48 3 years ago
Quoted from Bwilson:

Always wondered that. Did they ship with batteries? Dang... that would suck.

Even all those NIB Black Knights and Hyperballs that were sold in 2009 did not have battery damage when opened.

I guess batteries were better made back then.

#49 3 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Even all those NIB Black Knights and Hyperballs that were sold in 2009 did not have battery damage when opened.
I guess batteries were better made back then.

Yeah, but is NGG 'back then' enough?

#50 3 years ago

I have commented on this before, and it is coming from someone with 2 HEP, 1 Keller, and 3 Heatherly restores, it just isn't worth it. What you should do is find an excellent original example because they ARE out there. Be patient. It is not like you would be getting your restore anytime soon anyway, but that is just my opinion.

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