The Thunderbirds home pin game showed up in Brunswick Georgia today. I just made this rambling review so take it with a grain of salt.
Numbers 24 and 28. We bought one for the Pinball Palace. I have been a Thunderbirds fan since the '70s so I got one for myself. The truck pulled up at the loading dock and I asked Kelly which box he wanted. He chose the one that said number 25 I got the other one. I think I won the lottery today.
Just got my game home and put it together it's in great shape. one of the clips that holds the Playfield to the lockbar was broken but that's it. Kelly's was smashed by shippers.
I repair pinball machines for a living. I have unboxed Ballys, American pinball, Spooky, Stern, Data East, Sega, Bally Williams all going back to the 80s. I am very impressed by the build quality of this pin. I really appreciate embedded controllers. It looks like they use through hole for most of the components. The cabinet fitment is very good. Nice heavy metal brackets for the corners with legs bolts. A standard lockbar receiver, a switch in the corner by the leg where they are supposed to be. Very high quality speakers. Not too crazy about the leg levelers I don't think the plastic it's going to hold up. The plunger Rod has a metal end on it that looks amazing. Shaker motor and a real knocker in the head.
The side art is made from what looks like video game overlay material. The definition is great and it looks rugged. The side rails also cover a large portion where finger wear can be bad. One thing that's odd is it only has one coin mech installed, comes set for free play.
The display is a very bright LED orange Matrix looks pretty good. The swing out DMD speaker panel is just like the old Sega cabinets. The Playfield is fairly unique, it looks like a piece of Luan with the same material Plastics are made of covering with all the art. Don't think that will ever wear. It's bright, plays pretty good ball has plenty of speed, spin. The toys and mechs on the Playfield are all well made.
It has pretty standard now controller boards under the Playfield and led boards for lighting. The lighted star post were quite a surprise, they look really cool. Also the mechanism under the apron for keeping the balls from falling out when the Playfield is lifted is really cool.
Unfortunately, the Flipper buttons are lighted and cool but they feel like the cheesiest pieces of junk I've ever put my fingers on. The Flipper mechs have a lot of free play and just feel sloppy. That may be why I don't really like the feel of the flippers aside from the buttons. They just don't feel responsive but I'm going to tweak those and see if I can make a little better.
The Playfield really reminds me of Gottliebs Surfin Safari with all the plastic cake decorating palm trees all over the play field, but I really like the way they shake when the Thunderbird launches, that's quite entertaining. Vacuform Tracy Island also reminds me of Gottlieb system 3 games. The way that the ball launches when it comes out of the Tracy Island pool is really neat. The center ramp is steep, evil and reminds me of Williams Comet.
I like hardcore Steve Ritchie pinballs. Where you pay if you don't make the right shot. This certainly is not that type of play field. I haven't played enough to really get a feel for it but it seems more of a simpler just fun layout for a high-traffic arcade with not a lot of replay value.
The software really feels beta. The voice calls keep getting cut off and the music doesn't really mix with the voice calls. What I really feel it's missing is a good loud voice that tells you what to do like a narrator. But that's just personal opinion.
All in all the fairly solid pin that needs a lot of software work but I think will be very reliable. Unfortunately I just read about software updates and having to send chips back to the distributor to be updated and that doesn't sound good. Need to have a simple end user solution for that.
Thats my buddie Jim helping us unbox.
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