Quoted from J85M:
I think that first stamp is actually 2015
You hit the nail on the head though, no one knows how they are managing all these issues and how much care is being put into them except Stern themselves, all we know is its starting to feel like Stern don't care.
Quoted from Crash:
Yes it is in fact 2015. Wow, freaking incredible! Selling first-run rejected playfields from 2 years ago and passing them off as new just because Stern thinks they're all of a sudden good enough! Someone needs to start a class action against this company.
I can see why you would think that from the picture, but on very close inspection, it is definitely 2016. This makes sense since GB was not produced in 2015.
To completely fair, the PF looks great. The colors are spectacular, the clear is nice and shiny, and no hint of ghosting. Only PF issue so far is minor chipping in the ball launch lane. What is interesting is that in direct light, I can see what I think are clear coat brush stokes. This leads me believe that mine was an originally bad run PF that they stripped the clear off, and manually reapplied it. Look specifically at the reflection of overhead lights (and ignore the craters )
Now, with all that said, I did have a handful of relatively small issues that should never have passed through QC including; PF front hooks that did not match the slots. The PF would not fully seat in the down position without pulling on the front of the cabinet and pushing on the PF (I ended up bending the hooks per Stern's recommendation). One of the lock bar latches was not mounted in the correct spot, I had to redrill and mount it about 1/2" lower.
The conclusion I have come to for myself is that I simply do not trust Stern's QC at all and accept that buying NIB is a roll of the dice. If there is a complete failure, I feel pretty confident that it will be handled (have positive experience with failed Node boards and Ecto goggles). But everything else will likely be an annoyance that I will have to be ok living with or fixing myself. I don't think there are many cases where the risk is worth it anymore. My next planned Stern purchased was switched to MMR.