Quoted from Platypus:
I like that Shark art and playfield. how many were made? 1980 was shortly after Jaws came out. I was living in the Virgin Islands at the time working as a dive master and many people were fearful of even walking in the water along a beach.
I think there were only about 200 of the Hankin Shark ever made.
Good on him. I can't imagine there are many of them left. Having all five is a real achievement. I'll need to make the trip to Pinfest one year if he brings them again, as I would love to see them in person.
I love how you brand or stamp your parts. It makes it obvious to the customer that your parts are made by you and are the genuine product.
I'm enjoying the updates. It gives an insite into the whole process that one ordinarily wouldn't get to see. Keep up the good work.
Quoted from Homepin:
Intensive training this past couple of days for some of the Homepin staff. Sid has been teaching them the finer points of pinball cabinet assembly and stressing the importance of attaining the highest possible quality every step of the way.
Even without the artwork, I like the look of the prototype cabinet. It looks neat.
It's difficult to see from your photos Mike, but it looks to me like your backbox is a bit wider than the standard backbox. If so, is that to accommodate a future widebody pin without having to do a redesign? Also have you decided whether or not to go with a half size coin door?
Sorry for all the questions, but I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve who has taken a sneak peak beneath the wrapping paper and can't stop myself from asking. I have more questions, but I will refrain...
Thanks for the updates!
Quoted from Homepin:
If you have ever bought an electronic part or trinket, phone case or small electronic accessory or cable the chances are VERY high that your purchase was either sent from, or originated at HuaQiangBei Shenzhen China (pronounced "Hwa Chang Bay") - without doubt the largest electronics market in the world.
Sid & I were there a couple of days back sourcing some electronic parts and managed to grab some footage of a delivery truck being loaded. There is every chance your purchase was treated exactly the same way!! Beware buying fragile items online! The first video is the one I took and the second is Sid's.
We are there at least once a week looking for various bits and pieces. The markets are in central Shenzhen about a 30 minute drive from the Homepin factory.
» YouTube video
» YouTube video
The complete lack of care displayed in that video is shocking...
Quoted from blue95:
A very important addition, I've never had a lot of success with those squat ones
Nothing more important than good planning I say. That Western toilet is a stroke of genius and an absolute must have in the factory. Well done.
It was a good little video and great to be able to see a little of the factory. My only nitpick is he referred to them as pinball tables, but I won't harp on about that old debate.
Quoted from Homepin:
Some have asked me why we have a small coin door on our prototypes. Well, we have been experimenting with various different setups and here are a couple of pictures of what we are currently favoring. A single coin slot on a small door and a note acceptor alongside (we will be including an electronic, programmable coin mech with EVERY pinball machine).
The note acceptor is obviously expensive and for HUO would not be required so we are looking at different ways of dealing with the option.
This setup is not final yet but it looks OK and leaves easy options down the track for different owners.
I like it. It'll set you apart from the competition and make more room for cabinet art. Maybe you can incorporate a decal of some kind on the coin acceptor cover plate.
Thanks for sharing.
Quoted from Homepin:
I usually park my truck (a Nissan dual cab UTE as we would call it in Australia) in a parking lot at the front of my apartment. One morning I found that, overnight, some arsehole had crashed into the rear door and made a mess of it (picture below).
Naturally I couldn't find a note left by the arsehole as hard as I looked (severe sarcasm intended!)
Checking around I discovered that there was a security camera focused directly on the area where I was parked so I made enquiries and eventually found the camera was owned by the local police as they had previously had a few "issues" in the area recently and decided to install a camera. (I was later told they were trying to stamp out a growing problem with prostitutes in the area). Investigations revealed that yes, a policeman said he had reviewed the footage and yes, he knew the licence plate of the car that had caused the damage.
GREAT - I thought. Problem was the next step was for me to personally present at the police station and wait my turn to check the video - present all paperwork to prove it was my car and my drivers licence along with a letter from my landlord saying I was entitled to park where my car was when it was damaged.
Long story short, it just wasn't worth me wasting a day of my time along with that of one of my staff so I just had my regular mechanical workshop (who also do panel work) repair the door.
Total including paint was 520rmb (about AU$100). I estimate the same repair in Australia would cost about AU$500~800
You did well with that repair. $100AU. What a bargain!
Hi Mike, It's been a couple of weeks since your last update. I assume that means you have been busy. Have you anything new to share? Cheers
Thanks for the update
You are certainly building up a stockpile of parts. The fact that you need to make everything, including having to print the various trace colours on the cables, boggles the mind. What a mammoth task.
And the plungers look great!
I have never seen how they make screws and springs like this. Thanks for sharing Mike.
The video is working fine for me.
They did a great job with Brains. It captures his likeness very well. I can't wait to see more.
It good to see a glimpse of some lighting strikes on the cabinet art. Hopefully that will carry through to the final cabinet art, as it will complement the lighting strikes on the EL panel on the backbox.
All great news Mike. As always, thanks for sharing.
Hi Mike, Can you explain the waterfall inside the spray booth? I've never seen that before. Exciting stuff.
Here is a fantastic documentary on the Thunderbirds. It focuses on how they recreated the original puppets and made three new episodes of the original Thumderbirds using old audio plays from the sixties. It shows how they made the puppets and perform the Supermarionation. Brilliant stuff. Enjoy!
I still can't believe how many parts you are making yourselves, from the mechs, right down to the springs and screws etc. Just curious...when TAG is complete, do you have a count (or an estimate) on the number of individual parts you have had to make yourselves for this machine?
I think it is mind boggling having to mould all these parts and make all the custom mechs. Quite an achievement. Thanks again for sharing.
Quoted from Homepin:
That's exactly right. The "unofficial" letter they sent me after I pestered for over a month says they were sending them out for "expert analysis". I haven't heard zip for more than 6 months now.
Remember, there is every chance that these chips ARE in fact genuine T.I. parts as well!!!
Surely they can't hold all that stock without just cause. It is so unfair. It sounds like you are being unfairly targeted for some reason. US Customs are a bunch of morons. Is there any grounds to appeal this?
Quoted from Homepin:
They can do as they please and I can't do a single thing. They don't even have to respond to any letters I send them as they made clear to me when I badgered for a response.
It is criminal they can just do that. Fingers crossed that there is someone reading this that happens to know the right person that can assist. How can you be expected to do business in the US when this shit happens. Unbelievable. And it is a shame for all US pinheads as this kind of thing ruins it for them.
Quoted from Homepin:
Here are a few pics I took when visiting the toy factory that we are using recently. They make soft rubber toys from vulcanizing a special coloured liquid that they pour into moulds so they build up the item layer by layer. This means that nothing is painted and all the different colours are fused together making one solid item.
They can't make tiny detail but the finished product is perfect for our pinball toys.
I always enjoy seeing how they make stuff like this. It still amazes me how much is still done by hand. I would have assumed toys like this were made by machines. I'm finding out how much is still done the old fashioned way.
Hi Mike, I understand that the cabs are sprayed with a clear before being sprayed black. Do you intend to paint the inside of the cabs?
Quoted from Homepin:
We don't intend to at this stage. The "green" paint we are using is amazingly expensive. I will revisit that we we have a final BOM and see if we can justify it.
Thanks. If there is room in the budget, it would finish them off real nice. I look forward to seeing the finished cabs.
Quoted from Pinrookie:
This is great. I was born in Hong Kong and I am going back to H.K on 17/6/17 for two weeks. I don't mine to go to those sites and play some new pinball. I hope they are all located in Shenzhen.
It's unlikely that Mike will have the test machines sited by then. (Correct me if I'm wrong Mike) But if so, take a few sneaky pics and a video or two and PM me.
Quoted from Homepin:
It will come down to approvals we are waiting for before we can have a few final toys made. We are going back and forth mainly with the colours of these toys. The IP owner doesn't have any Pantone info so we have to basically guess and that's a bit of an issue at the moment.
What a pain in the arse it must be, and costly. It is quite unreal the lengths you must go to satisfy the IP owner. Are all licences like this?
The right Licence can be a big draw card and sell lots of machines, but with all the hurdles and red tape, I can now understand the appeal of an unlicensed pinball machine.
Quoted from Homepin:
A quick note to say I have taken the advice of numerous people who were pestering me about the "basic" Homepin website and have commissioned for it to be upgraded.
It was basic because I made the original site many years ago myself using HTML. The new one is being done by 'professionals' so I guess that explains why it is taking longer, is currently messed up if you look at http://www.homepin.com and why I am no longer able to change things (as easily) as I did on the old site.
Anyway, just a note to explain why it is currently messed up - all should be fixed within a few days.
My workplace commissioned a website from a "professional". The damn thing nearly took 12 months. What a bloody headache that was. I hope you have a better experience than I did and the Homepin site turns out like you hope.
Quoted from Homepin:
All reasons why I originally made it myself. We will see, this guy seems pretty quick, just that the 'naysayers' have been quick to spot that the site isn't working correctly at the moment...LOL
A good website is a necessary evil. I look forward to seeing the new one up and running soon.
Mike, you might like to speak to your website developer and ask them to fix the issue with the way the products page appears on a tablet. I'm using an ipad and the picture below is how the page loads. The text is over the pictures. (Sorry I would have PM'd but can't figure how to attach a photo to a PM message) This is not an issue on the PC, just the iPad and I would assume any tablet. He may need to optimise the site for tablets.
The site looks good. Nice and clean.
Quoted from Homepin:
Applying the decals to our test cabs getting them ready for final fit out.
Also making a plastic injection mould for a small part in one of our mechanisms.
The black plastic part shown below is one we made from nylon by hand as a test piece.
That art looks great on the cab. Once your custom side rails are on and you have the EL's applied and fired up, that is going to look kick-ass. Can't wait to see the completed cab. A big thumbs up.
When full blown production starts, I don't envy you, or whoever in your team, is in charge of inventory and stock control.
Not only do you need to make sure you have enough of each part, but you need to make sure you have enough raw material to manufacture each part, and simultaniously control the timing of manufacture for each part. Sheesh...it must be becoming a logistical nightmare. And storage...you must be running out of space. What an undertaking.
The payoff is you have complete control and are not at the whim of suppliers. Not a bad position to be in. Well done.
Quoted from jwilson:
The trolling was uncalled for and in very bad taste, but Mike's knee-jerk reaction to immediately stop posting and run away to Facebook isn't exactly the most mature reaction either.
Just report the post and it'll get moderated, which is exactly what happened - but now he'll never know because he ran off instantly. I'll miss the updates and discussion as well, but if you can't be bothered to use the tools the site offers and you just leave, I can't exactly express much sympathy and I'm certainly not going to kiss any rings or beg.
It is not a knee jerk reaction. It is the fight or flight response. When you are stalked, trolled and abused by particular individuals, you get to a point where you just say I have had enough. It is a natural reaction to withdraw for ones own wellbeing. Mike has spent many years fighting, but sometimes you choose the flight response. There is nothing wrong with that. It is human nature to do so.
Hopefully, now that Pinsanity has been permanently ejected, Mike will return knowing that he is free from this troll and safe to carry on sharing this wonderful pinball endeavour.
If giving Mike the ability to moderate this thread will convince him to continue sharing the progress of Homepin, then I am all for it.
If this thread stays positive, then we can keep getting updates. The negativity, vendettas and pinball politics (under the guise of free speech) can be taken elsewhere. It is as simple as that.
Quoted from vireland:
No, I get the metric thing, but why choose mm, when cm would do fine? 20cm seems less ridiculous than 200mm. The ultra-fine resolution seems excessive and silly for humans.
Almost everything here is measured in millimetres, not centimetres. Everything from furniture, to hardware. It may be unusual to those from other parts of the world, but completely normal here in Australia. In fact, seeing something measured in centimetres seems odd to me.
I have to say, I am truely disappointed how this thread has completely derailed. Enough of the bullshit. Stick to Thunderbirds and leave all the vitriol at the door please.
Quoted from oldskool1969:
With all these mechanisms/gadgets, it looks like it will slow the game right down? Could be good if telling a story and hopefully
not Similar to Mavericks paddle wheel lock which is rather laborious.
Suppose we will see how they fit into game sooner or later.
Not necessarily, if these mechanisms are part of a Thunderbirds multi ball. I can I magine a five ball multi ball. Then these mechanisms can operate simultaniaously to release each ball representing T1-T5. It wouldn't slow the play down, only provide the requisite pause before the multi ball.
I'm not sure if this is how it will play out, but it's fun to speculate.
Quoted from solarvalue:
Really? I'm so glad Mike went with hand-drawn, it gives the machine a classic feel and it makes it a unique art piece. I love the art so far, I hope the playfield is in a similar classic pinball style.
AUD $6499 puts it about USD $5200 at the moment. If Homepin can hit that price in the US and the layout is decent it will make for very interesting times, Stern's first real competitor at the Pro price-point in the new millennium.
I didn't think that Mike had released pricing yet? I thought he was aiming for $6000 AUD
It is level with the US Stern Pro price point, but with more features than a Stern LE. Very good value.
Quoted from ultimategameroom:
Just picked up Infinity magazine at Barnes and noble. Has a great interview with Gerry Anderson the man behind Thunderbirds,firebirds XL5 and Capt Scarlet.
What a fantastic magazine. Is that a current issue? You gotta love the little Alien in the right hand corner offering free hugs.
Quoted from ultimategameroom:
Yes I believe it's the current issue.
Just bought it last week but it's from the UK snd I'm in the USA so I guess technically might be last months issue.
I never heard of it before but it's very well done and it covers every series Gerry Anderson was involved with over his entire career. Lots of great pics and loaded with interesting info.
Reading It made me even more excited for the release of the pin!
This was just posted on AA:
"PLEASE - read the following and understand that this item MAY NOT be in the finished pinball machine.
The attached video clip is to show the level of detail Homepin is including in Thunderbirds pinball.
This item IS NOT YET APPROVED by the licence owners and as such, we may not use it in any finished machine - this will all depend on approvals."
"I looked out my office window down to the factory floor yesterday and thought that finally, the Homepin factory LOOKS like a pinball factory!
It's what we have been working towards all these years and here we are, making pinball machines from scratch!"
Quoted from pinballwil:
Looks great, and i love Thunderbirds , i think i was 4 when i saw it first.
So you have to be 50+ to now what it is.
It fits pinball very well with als the thunderbirds gadgets.
When wil you show us a playfield pic Mike.
They are still playing re-runs here in Australia. After all these years, it just goes to show how popular the show has been for multiple generations.
Also, there is a new series which is popular for the kids today. Just this past weekend, one of my friend's five year old boys asked his mum for a Thunderbirds 1 or 2 for Christmas. So, it goes to show that as a theme, the Thunderbirds is still relevant, now as much as it was 50 years ago.
Over the past many years, Mike has spent endless hours on Aussie Arcade and here on Pinside helping others with their pinball problems and sharing his knowledge. In doing this, he has never asked whether or not those people were homosexual, indigenous, African American, Christian, Muslim or Jewish when he helped them. He has always been willing to help the pinball community with technical problems, provide good service with his Homepin replacement boards, and all that regardless of gender, race and sexual preference.
Yes, Mike can be politically incorrect at times, but he has always been honest, and that is more than can be said for many others that have tried and failed to deliver on their promises.
I feel privileged that I will be at Pinfest Australia next weekend and be one of the first people to play Thunderbirds. I'm sure there will be some footage to share. Thunderbirds Are Go!
I must admit, I haven't been called a bogan for a while. Thanks for the laugh. I needed that.
Quoted from rotordave:
That's way too fancy-pants for Bogan status.
True bogans drink:
Cheap generic beer (lots of it)
Then drive drunk to the "bottle-o" for more booze! Rinse and repeat!
You forgot XXXX, VB, Bundy Rum. Oh, and let’s not forget Goon and my favourite, Passion Pop.
Quoted from OLDPINGUY:
So I had to look up "Bogan", and pretty much got it, but asked a mate in Cairns to define.
With my apologies, I mean no offense to anyone.
This is his reply so others might know, as well as to share the diversity between cultures.
In all, at the end Thunderbirds looks amazing! Great work, Mike!
"An Aussie bogan would be be described as a fascinating beast. The majority of the species are hideously repugnant and unintelligent, and yet they manage to breed in ever-increasing numbers and populate an area known as the outer west. It is quite common to find five or six offspring in each family group, often with a different father for each new baby.
Their habitat consists of a weatherboard or brick-veneer dwelling and is characterised by an early-model Holden or Ford in the driveway surrounded by a group of males discussing why the carby is stuffed and the results of last night's footy (a primitive gladiator-like spectator sport enjoyed by most bogans).
The female of the species, while smaller in stature, is far more loud and aggressive than the male. While the males tend to be very friendly and congregate with other males, the females spend most of their time in supermarkets and shopping malls, using a shrill high-pitched call to discipline their children and contact other females.
Males and females rarely interact socially except during breeding season, which is otherwise known as Friday night. During this time, females are allowed to enter the male-dominated area known as "the pub" and display their impressive coloured plumage to a prospective mate.
Herein lies an interesting phenomenon. Males will often fight over a particularly attractive female (pretty rare though) and she will mate with only one male, while some less attractive females have been known to have several partners simultaneously.
Ahhhh. The wonders of nature."
That definition is pretty funny. Partly right, but it missed out the part where we all wear flanno's and ugg boots. Oh and we call our mates c-nts and woman Sheila’s. lol.
Quoted from fridgejam:
I believe there are still design adjustments to be made to the game before final production.
This was posted on Aussie Arcade by a person at Pinfest who was talking to Homepin about these -
Apparently the changes to be made are
Flipper gap to be reduced by 4mm.
Center ramp entrance wider and steeper.
Mole target to be captive ball.
Outlane wire guides to be posts with rubbers.
Thunderbirds 2 toy reduced in size.
Yes, with the proposed adjustments, I think the casual player will have a better time of it. It is a tough machine, there is no doubt about it. I suffered short ball times. But with a wider ramp entrance it will help.
The other thing to note is both machines got banged up in transit and that is why the animated topper wasn’t working and one of the machines was having trouble. The back of the machines were all scratched up. Damn freight mob.
Here is a pic with the glass off. It’s not the best quality photo, but at least there is no glare.
Here is a good review by Koops at Aussie Arcade: (I'd write my own but I’m half drunk and his sums it up for me) (Koops also attached a bunch of high quality photos, but too many to upload...reception and internet is very bad here at Caves Beach- attached a couple)
"The following is all based on the prototype's which contain some non production items.
These are my own brain dump in no specific order, and may contain a significant number of inconsistencies
I won't have a massive amount of game play detail as I need to practice more.
In in a similar fashion to the latest stern pin pictures of the side cabinet decals dont do the pin justice.
Originally I thought the cabinet looked too baby blue but in person it is a mix of white clouds and blue sky.
The decals themselves seem to be made from quite thick textured material (see upclose photo).
I'd guess its quite hard wearing in comparison to normal thin decals.
I quite like the cabinet side art with the predominate thunderbird 2 aircraft.
Nice Plungers, coin doors. All quality. All everything you'd normally expect so you don't notice it.
Nice little addition to the coin door is the IR hand logo.
Small things but nice to have in this in this day and age when stern cutting everything not nailed.
This is easily a standout item. I love the sides of the head box.
The electroluminescent decals are outstanding. See video.
I believe the headbox is locked to the main body by bolts inside the head. No turn lock or external latch, all internal. No pic.
Side rails actually cover the front corners also. So good bye to the front decals getting knocked when moving the machine around.
Lock down bar seems to be a standard pin lock
I was told that 1 of the 2 toppers was damaged in transit and that was why only 1 was on.
I did not see the other in action. I don't know if it is or will be tied to action on the playfield (im sure Mike mentioned it somewhere but I cant recall off hand).
The topper actions seems to be that vehicles can slide into and out of view.
Sort of like a moving diaorama.
The translite seems to be reverse screenprinted onto the plexiglass.
It has the speaker panels cut into them ahla circus voltaire.
The art around the speakers and dmd suits the theme and is better than just being stern black.
Backglass Art style. I don't hate it but I don't love it.
I can see why eclectic gamers suggested a retheme to "Team America" for a US release
Stock orange dmd style BUT seems to be made from leds.
I'm sure this is something Mike had also mentioned in the past.
I personally think it could have perhaps been single colored to more match in with the rest of the color scheme.
Say blue? Owners could possibly change it and put a blue gel over it or something.
The other thing was that I could see how all the little pieces goes together.
Once again this could be less noticable by using a gel cover or something. The leds are so bright that they should be able to compensate.
That is a minor issue.
With the games animations and score display it seems to be a standard high speed 2 style of animations.
Example. thunderbird 2's load module door opening.Not sure if I had a recording or picture of this.
I did notice something I mentioned to toads in which when there is a score on screen it will noticably do an upwards "scan" through the score. Pretty sure its in the video I took.
I'm not sure if that was a deliberate effect or software bug. It didn't occur anywhere else that I saw.
Flippers. Standard williams length flippers with a nice little homepin logo.
Standard flipper gap (as far as I could tell).
2 ramps. 1 of them is always available. I'll call this the main ramp.
The other is only available for small windows of time when activated buy the drop targets below it. I'll call this the T2 ramp.
T1 switch. There is a 1/2 loop up the top left hand side. Unsure what this actally does RGR ?
The mole switch. Unsure what this does. RGR ? Any time I hit it it said "too soft" or something. One of the moles was damaged in transit. So it was missing its drill section.
Left outlane has a post. Doesnt seem to have the 3 hole adjustments we are used to.
Right outland does not. Can drain quite easily here.
Slings. Now on the left most prototype machine there were "blinder" plastics covering the metal returns and part of the slings.
The right machine did not have these. See pics.
I forgot to ask sid what the purpose of these were for but he mentioned they were optional.
These made it significantly harder for me to time the shots as you only saw the ball just before it hit the start of a flipper.
The thing is that the design on them is really nice. See pic.
The pool mech. I never got to see this in action so I assume it is a multiball or other mode trigger. I did see that below the T2 model there is a diverter. I assume this is what sends the ball to the pool.
Small things. Clear washers added below rounded nut heads on plastics, What a novel idea!
The main ramp.
I believe this is not the final ramp and is due for redesign anyway BUT I did notice a couple of issues with what we were presented with.
Its size needs to be changed a little. This will reduce the likelyhood of airballs and also make the balls travel over it smoother.
I'd like to see the production one utilise a nicer method of delivering the ball into the top lane area. Prototype one just allows the ball to drop into the area.
I highly doubt the material this particular ramp was made from would be their production grade plastic.
I'd like to see this ramp be a little flatter. I did notice that there was some space above the pops that it could be put into.
This would reduce the steepness of this ramp. I think this would reduce the feeling of it being close.
There was also a colored led strip under oneside of the ramp. Not sure of the design aspect of this. Is it supposed to be like an airfields landing lights? Unsure.
This ramp is how balls are locked.
Once triggered by the targets below thunderbird 2 (big green aircraft) the amp will lower for something like 10 seconds.
During this time if you get the ball up the ramp it will allow a ball to ever the right side ramp where a pin just near the two palm trees will store locked balls. Similar to game of thrones.
Now, the trick here is that to get multiball you need to lock all 3 balls in a SINGLE ball.
There are led lights below the T2 model that illuminate the ramp when it is lowered.
Its huge! As T2 was my favorite I was glad to see it.
The model itself "seemed" to currently be 3d printed as I could make out the layers.
So my guess is that this is once again just a prototype model and not a production one.
No idea what the production version will be.
Would be nice to see the cockpit area or rear jet areas light up.
These seemed to have a slightly deeper finger goove. Trivial but I noticed it.
And then i went and played a range of other pins that had similar buttons so its perhaps my limited pin experience.
I did see a couple of times when work was being performed that there were a couple of arms to help hold the playfield up (just like the ones in a williams)
It also seemed to have a smooth action when putting the playfield back in. No stern hump!
I didn't get to see the entire playfield up so can't comment on anything else inside.
Rear of playfield
I almost forgot about this. It seems like the back of the playfield had el like the headbox sides.
paging : RGR
In short it was brutal to me.
I got in perhaps 10 games but I still didnt know what to do. Given more time (without queues behind) i'd probably read the game card and try and understand what I should be doing apart from shooting ramps.
From watching others is was generally short ball times.
I've gotten use to playing more recent sterns in which everything is so far away at the other end of the playfield, so playing this was different.
The main ramp felt close, but different can be good.
Cabinet is solid.
Art style is subjective. Some will like it others won't, but hey everyone said the same thing about star wars
Really felt like i'd expect a pin to feel like. It had the weight in it.
There are a few little things that need taking care of but it seems like Mike is getting there.
Quoted from vicjw66:
Did you happen to take a head on overhead pic? Hard to see all the detail from the side.
Looking at this pin, it reminds me of a late 80s early 90s data east.
Unfortunately no. The glass was only off once for a short time and there were people everywhere. I didn't want to get in the way of RGR playing. If I get another chance today, I'll see what I can do.
Quoted from cosmokramer:
Looks like there is an objective based replay (international rescue)...not based only on score or match
You are absolutely right. Every time you make a centre ramp shot, you gain a letter on the international rescue. Once all the letters are lit, you gain a free game.
The other thing I might add is the soundtrack is fantastic. All custom recorded tracks and there are about 18 different songs. The track is changed by hitting two switches on the right hand side of the playfield near the T2 ramp. With the volume up it sounds excellent.
Quoted from beatmaster:
It's cool that there is another option/company.
Don't get me wrong, i really hope homepin succeed but for a first game it should have been more impressive.
from what i saw and videos.
the playfield looks average, shot wise.
center ramp seems to feel clunky/not smooth.
get that led strip on the right side of the ramp out of the game.
ship is way too big for the game and add the other ones, it's the thunderbirds.
no orbit shot, no flow but more of a stop and go game, maybe that's just me.
guitar solo doesn't fit the theme.
multiballs is out of sync with the call out, 5,4,3,2,1 and then release the balls, that could be fix.
needs more call out.
game needs more light.
i'd change that apron for blue.
flipper gap is wide as hell, yeah play better, casual player will walk away after a few balls.
slow death pass and roll over from one flipper to the other not possible most of the time.
a lot of balls sdtm, monster drainer.
some people will like it but for me there is no wow factor.
cabinet and backbox looks good and seems well built.
It has already been said that some if this will be addressed.
Quoted from blue95:
l got to have a few games on it and it was ok, not the best game there, but not the worst either. I also played The Hobbit for the first time and for twice as much money, it's nowhere near twice as better.
I played both The Hobbit and The Thunderbirds last weekend and I kept going back to Thunderbirds. It was more of a challenge. Short ball times, and I will admit frustrating at times, but more satisfaction when I hit my targets.
Added comments below:
I say this to the critics: If you want a fast paced game with lots of flow, then go and buy Star Wars. If you enjoy a machine that encourages ball control, a capture-aim-shoot style of play that requires shot accuracy, then you will find satisfaction with TAG. The more I played, the more satisfying it became, because once you are dialled in (no pun intended) the very clear objectives were very satisfying to achieve.
You don't need a manual for TAG. The objectives are clear, but not easy to accomplish. You need to work for them. It will kick your arse, and that in itself, although frustrating, will keep you coming back for more.
Is it a perfect game...of course not...but it is one hell of a first game from a new pinball company. Mike will make tweaks to the game, improve it where possible and at this price point, it is one hell of a buy if you want a game to compliment your collection.
I'm certain that the Homepin team have learnt a lot from the development of this game. If TAG is not your cup of tea, then I'm certain that Homepin's next machine is not far down the road, and that might be more to your liking.
Quoted from Drenden:
He obviously doesn’t understand how open source licensing works. Open source does not allow people to just steal shit. Credit needs to be given and any core modifications need to be released and made public.
Neither of which have occurred. Thus it’s theft.
You need to start using the word "allegedly". You should start using it, because at this point your comments are close to becoming slanderous IMO.
Quoted from Wolfmarsh:
Only because you tried to tell someone to learn how to use words.....
Slander is spoken, libel is written. His comments would technically be libelous.
Thanks for the education. You learn something everyday.
I actually edited my post 5 minutes after after hitting send to change my wording a bit. Not quick enough though. But I get your point.
I think my point (my opinion) was made none the less.
Homepin has not been prosecuted for anything, and nothing is proven in my eyes. I am not a technical person, so what Ben has shown goes straight over my head. But stating that he is an outright thief without independently verified proof, then i think people need to stop the “libel” IMO.
When you have finished that book Mike, give this one a read. I'm nearly finished it, and I must say it really helps. Good luck with finishing off TAG. I can't wait to play the finished product.
Quoted from swinks:
People found out (how?) .......................... Ben saw it in watching the dmd menu system in videos
and he got called out on it? ...................... Yes but denied and then admitted on AA Forum
What happened then? ............................. Dummy spit on Pinside and de-activated account, then on AA a few people called him out on his attitude so he is having a break from there as well - which is probably good as then get into building games
Seems like Mr. Heck is willing to let it slide as long he gets credit for it? ...................... Mike won't say thanks
Not entirely correct. Mike PM'd Ben. In respecting Mike's wishes, I will not post the contents of the message, but I feel this is important to point out. Mike has indeed THANKED Ben for any parts of the machine borrowed from the design. How this occurred unbeknownst to him and the details were explained in the personal message to Ben.
Most importantly, the machines shown at Pinfest were prototypes only and NEVER intended to be sold. They were clearly labelled as such when the machines when shown. The production machines will be vastly different to anything on the market.
Mike has extended an olive branch to Ben and the matter should well and truely be put to rest.
I don't know about anyone else, but I am excited about the prospect on a new modern take on an EM. If true, and if the idea progresses past proof of concept, then that is exciting stuff. I love the old machines. If the sounds and game style can be re-captured, then the prospect is exciting.
Quoted from Rascal_H:
Anyone think the game has a chance of getting better with Mike running the company?
Is it true Mike has chosen to do a sequel to Dominos for his next game?
Now you're just being a troll with comments like that last one.
Quoted from Rascal_H:
I’m not so emotionally invested in Mike’s success or failure that I need to stick around and beat the proverbial dead horse. I’d wish Mike good luck, but I feel he needs a lot more than that.
Bye bye then.
Quoted from Geddy2112:
I find it hilarious that the only people sticking up for Mike are from Australia and I'd like to see if they buy this game the guy is obviously an amateur and a snake face it..
Because some of us who live in the great land down under, know the man by nature of our associations. You can only make judgements based on words on a page. We on the other hand have broken bread with the man, shared a drink, held a face to face conversation. I think that due to our dealings in person with the man, we understand his idiosyncrasies and can better understand him as a person, rather than him as text on a screen.
Quoted from Ericc123:
Look I'm not trying to pick a fight but I respectfully disagree. Mike started his own Homepin official thread because he wanted people to talk about him and his company, adding a subheading of parts and progress doesn't mean people won't post other things in it. By that logic we need a separate thread for game reviews, price discussion, quality control, customer service etc. Pinside would be an absolute mess if that was the case. I can agree that some of the personal attacks have been a little grey, from Mike himself as well by the way, but if you run a company and start your own thread dedicated to said company than your behavior is fair game.
I'm just surprised at all the personal vitriol. (Not necessarily directed at you, but in general) People don't like TAG for one reason or another, fair enough. I understand that there are people who dislike Mike for one reason or another. Fair enough. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. But I don't understand why some people feel the need to make completely unconstructive and unnecessary comments in a Homepin thread. What's that old saying: If you don't have something nice to say, then don't say it...yes well that doesn't always apply, but perhaps just a little more of that sentiment would be nice from time to time. Negativity breeds contempt.
Absolutely. My White Water is missing the topper, so perhaps one day there is hope that I might be able to cobble together the parts to install one later.
Quoted from Drenden:
What I find funny is that the aussies are for the most part, protecting and sticking up for him when he doesn’t even have allegiance to his own people. You guys are acting like mike and this game are some kind of national treasure just because he’s Australian. You should be asking yourself why he farmed out cheap labor in a communist country instead of employing his fellow countryman like every other pinball company does. That would be something worth a level of admiration. Instead the only thing tying Mike and homepin to Australia at this point is his accent and the place that issued his birth certificate.
Misplaced pride is worse than none at all.
You have never tried to manufacture in Australia. The costs are exorbitant. It's quite simple, there would be no Homepin if Mike had to manufacture in this Country.
Australia has virtually no manufacturing anymore. A good example is our Automotive industry which just closed its last Holden factory this month. It was an end of an era for motor vehicle manufacture in this country and a very sad day indeed.
Quoted from Drenden:
Explain it away any way you want but the US is horrid for manufacturers. High Corp tax rate, unions, federal and local municipalities with their hands in the pot, etc. There are always ways. And Holden closed because the cars were shit. They made their way here rebranded and they were utter garbage.
Rubbish. The Holden Commodore was an absolute classic mate. Top quality, Australian engineered from the ground up, and very well built motor vehicles.
F.Y.I - The CHEVROLET CAMARO is AUSTRALIAN engineered by HOLDEN.
Back to pinball...wages are the killer with minimum wage almost $700 per week + 9.5% Superannuation. And employers pay much more than that for skilled labour. So there goes 500k in wages per annum for a staff of 10. And rent, you would expect to pay $150,000 per annum for the kind of warehouse space here required to build a pinball machine. And that doesn't factor in tooling, insurance and all the rest. So let's say $700k total in expenses per year. When you factor in cost of materials per machine and the profit margin, that is a shitload of pinball machines you would need to sell to break even. I'm sorry but the math doesn't add up.
Where is the "I'm scratching my head" emoji when I need one. I don't get the meme?
This from Homepin Facebook for those that are still interested in the production of TAG:
Another thing that we learned from Pinfest, after one machine had 600 plays, was the flipper coils were overheating. This was traced to the software not being able to process the EOS switch action fast enough on every flip. We had originally intended to fit a flipper control board but decided that it wasn't required.
Now we have fitted that board to each flipper they are autonomous and the coil overheating problem has completely disappeared. (this picture shows our prototype board fitted NOT the finished board - we will now assemble up some final boards for production and modify the wiring harness accordingly).
And this from Homepin Facebook:
We found it quite difficult to get the lane switch adjusted "just right" so decided to replace it with an opto. Now it is rock solid reliable.
This from Homepin's Facebook:
We are almost finished the updating of Thunderbirds playfield plastics. Many small changes, some minor, some major. Many changes because we have shifted things around on the playfield based on our feedback from Pinfest and Brisbane showings.
This from Facebook:
The toy factory stuffed up the first time and moulded the name of the ship (Thunderbird 2) backwards. After making a new mould the fresh samples look great!
Another Facebook update from Homepin for those interested:
"We are almost finished the build of two final sample machines. These are flushing out a few small issues that we need to tweak before we make a full production run. Some small changes to mechanisms to improve the operation and proving the final version of all the boards used.
We are also making the final assembly jigs - things like the wiring harness frame - there is a lot of work doing this and it's very time consuming to get it right"
One of these machines will be placed at a Canadian expat bar in Guangzhou and possibly the other at the Hard Rock Cafe in Shenzhen for some site testing.
There are lots of great updates on Facebook for anyone interested. Here is one of the latest:
"A couple of pictures I took this morning for no particular reason other than FINALLY - after four years of hard slog - there are pinball machines actually being MANUFACTURED, from the ground up, in the Homepin factory!!!"
Quoted from vegemite_nick:
Will be interesting to play. The center placed ramp really does not appeal aesthetically, and being square on, I wonder how well it works (ie does the ball crash into the sides of the ramp?)
Quality and longevity is going to be interesting too, not sure if these are coming out of the same factory that built "those" Lowboys?
Each to their own the aesthetics. IMO the machine looks and sounds fantastic. The entry to the ramp is not exactly square on but accuracy is key on that middle ramp. Build quality and longevity will not be an issue as Homepin are building these on site in their factory and Mike is on site to oversee the whole process. This is not an outsourced machine by any stretch. Almost everything is designed by Homepin and manufactured in house.
Here is a YouTube video recently released.
“PLEASE NOTE: The game play footage in this video is all of our factory machine that has undergone many changes over the past year. You will see in the video the flyover ramp jumps about because it isn't screwed in and it is also one of our 1mm prototypes made "in house". Final machines have a 2mm ramp made by an outside vendor.
There are several other things that might be seen in the video that don't fit with the final machines, one is the audio and sound effects which can't really be heard very well in this video - please accept it for what it is - an overview of the Homepin factory, what we are doing and how we are progressing, IT IS NOT a definitive "screw by screw" description of the final Thunderbirds Pinball machine.
Some of the narration also isn't 100% accurate - again, please take this for what it is and don't read into it things that simply are not meant to be there.”
Here is another Facebook update for those still interested:
"We bundled up a finished test machine yesterday and drove to Guangzhou, about a two hour drive from the factory. Installed the machine in a Canadian Ex-pat bar called "The Brew".
This machine is set up to accept notes and also WeChat and AliPay (much like ApplePay but Chinese). You just scan the QR code with your phone and credits appear on the machine.
All worked well until we arrived back at the factory the next day and the bar owner sent the picture of the trapped ball. Hahaha, we have never seen a ball stuck here before so it's back to the factory floor to make a little bracket to prevent this.
This machine is basically fully finished except for the plastic ramp as the outside vendor cannot make these until after Chinese New Year. This machine still has our "in-house made" ramp fitted. Being the first fully finished test machine out on site should help us track down any small issues like this before we launch into full production.
The final two test machines are being build right now so we can submit them for EMC/CE approvals straight after Chinese New Year."
Another update for y'all:
"We have started to cut cabinet parts for our first full run of pinball machines. Chinese New Year is fast approaching but we will see how much we can get done before it.
These cabinets are all for a full size door for export."
Quoted from spoke:
Loved thunderbirds when I was a kid, I hope to see one of these in the US someday so I can check it out. Are they planning to bring it to any of the big shows?
I don't think that Homepin have any plans yet to take it to any US shows. However I'm fairly sure they are lining up a distributor for you guys. It is just that the first couple of containers are already spoken for. After the first couple of runs, they will start finding their way over to you.
A few more updates from Facebook:
"Our export cabinets are currently being built. The main difference to domestic China ones is these have a full size door. Our pinball cabinets are 100% AAA grade plywood.
The main cabinet is 13 ply, 18mm with a 12mm ply base. No chipboard or MDF is used in these cabinets.
The corners are screwed AND glued for maximum strength."
"Our full page ad in the upcoming issue of Pinball Magazine."
This from Facebook:
"One thing we need to be very careful with is the voltage settings when we are building machines for different destination countries. The transformer taps, fuse and MOV are all different for 230V and 115V countries.
I wonder where these power switch boxes are destined for ?"
Another further comment:
"We are still building our final seven test machines to iron out any final bugs before we go into full production in a week or so. These seven machines will go all over the place as "demo" machines and will still contain small errors/faults/incomplete things. One of the things we are testing for is multivoltage and that is what we are doing here and will ship a machine to a 115V country to confirm. We can't ship ANY finished machines until the CE approvals come back and that is still in progress."
Quoted from vegemite_nick:
Why would you not fix errors and faults??? I can understand "incomplete things", but to say there will be errors and faults sounds like an excuse in advance.
Full disclosure I suppose. I'm sure that they are working to fix any errors or faults they find. That is the point of these test machines is it not.
For those that don't look at Facebook, another update:
"We have been working on making TAG a little easier to play. This has been the feedback from both novice & seasoned players.
The Mole captive ball has finally come together and works well from every angle unlike before and we have added an extra gate at the top of the PF to make the TB4 rollovers easier to achieve.
We have also tweaked the software to allow the T2 ramp to stay down longer making it easier to achieve multiball as well as a few other refinements to the ramp operating firmware.
These small changes are easy to make on these seven final prototypes as there are no art changes or anything that requires licensor approval."
Quoted from jardine:
I can’t help but to think that the longer this machine takes to come out, the more irrelevant it may become?!? Looking at IMDN and even Alice Cooper as the 2 most recent releases, these games playfield artwork, cab artwork, design and shot flow are amazing!! Especially in some recent Stern games.
TAG in comparasion looks old, monochromatic and not a very exciting shot selection. Like you said, trying to reproduce a WMS style machine has worked and you’ve got it on the head....the problem is is everyone else is moving with the times, and as such left TAG or Homepin behind.
Irrelevant...hardly. There will always be a market WMS style machines.
Check out the service manual for TAG. This from Facebook:
“We have been putting together the service manual for quite a while now. This is a sample we will take to the show next week but it is far from finished. When we are happy with the manual we will have them full colour printed and bound. The diagrams and schematics are on A3 folded pages.”
Quoted from tacshose:
I thought mike said he was never selling it to the USA?
I'm pretty sure it was always his intention to sell to the US. It is just that the US was not his target market for TAG.
The next one, well that might be a different story depending which way he goes with the theme. Mike could decide to try a machine targeted to the Chinese market. Alternatively, he could go an unlicensed theme suitable for all markets.
Just throwing it out there, and I know it's not pinball, but I would love to see him build a consumer version of Ice Cold Beer, or a variation of that style game. He has the ability to manufacture something like that if he chose to do so, and that would be fantastic, IMO.
Quoted from Jvspin:
I disagree. If you're purely talking BOM, looks to me like Thunderbirds has more in it than any of the pre Iron Maiden Stern Pros or pre Alice Cooper Spooky's.
The orange DMD is a minus, but the EL back box sides are cool.
What does TNA have in it at $6K?
Game play and aesthetics are subjective.
Quoted from Knapp_Arcade:
The best thing that T-Bird has going for it is the interesting lightning on the side.
TAG is a far better machine than the Spooky's that I have played. (I have not had the privilege to play TNA, so can't comment on that one) The build quality is better than any Stern on the market.
A post from Facebook:
It's great to FINALLY see production start after all these years of hard slog and often heartbreaking setbacks......thanks to all those who have stood by Homepin, you too can be proud that you have been part of this success!
A couple other updates for those that are interested and who don't venture to Facebook:
"Now that we are in full production we can start to see some action in the wood room! We are cutting about 12 playfields a day. We use a 3mm cutter and make four shallow passes to get a nice clean cut. Four playfields are cut from one sheet of ply.
A fresh lot of cutters was delivered today - we use one of these for every two sheets of ply - so eight playfields to one cutter."
Quoted from robm:
Wayne, pretty sure the playfield is lexan or similar material that has art printed on the underside of the material and it sits on top of the wooden playfield. This was Mike's solution to the never-ending discussion about insert problems. Great idea I reckon, plus playfield swaps should be much cheaper if ever required.
"....Yippee...another Thunderbirds Pinball is 'born'...."
"Preparing the coin doors for the International Rescue enameled badge."
Another Facebook update:
"Doing some final testing and sorting a few small issues so we can speed up production."
"I have great hopes for our China sales - mainly with our next machine which will target this market. The picture shows one of the Homepin staff showing his Grandson how to play TAG. The kid was enthralled by the whole mechanical thing as well as the flashing lights. Like most kids, he has only ever seen video games, never a mechanical machine like a pinball."
Quoted from BobLangelius:
Pinball is completely new to the Chinese. You will have to put in a lot of effort to educate them so they understand the game. Reminds me of the “ isn’t it time for a simpler pin” thread.
Not sure what themes are going to fly in China... maybe hello kitty?, Doraemon?, maybe “ how to play pinball “ ?, maybe Supreme (every third thing in China says supreme on it)
A video game game conversion would be a good place to start.
According to one article I read, China’s games market (PC and mobile games) will grow from $27 billion in 2017 to $35 billion in domestic revenue by 2021. Those are huge numbers. It would be good to see even a small fraction of this market exposed to Pinball. The challenge is getting it into the hands of the people.
A recent update from Facebook: (IMO - What a great idea!)
“Not sure if this is a first for pinball? We are screen printing the entire underside of the playfield with information such as placement (and name) of switches, lamp, PCBs and mechanisms. Also information about which wires are running through particular holes etc.
This helps us for assembling the machine and I hope it will help people in the future when servicing.”
From Facebook earlier this morning:
"The two Thunderbirds Pinballs we air freighted to the Tacoma show for Nitro Pinball are set up and running!"
Quoted from dgarrett:
Any reaction/feedback from the two setup at the Nitro booth at the Tacoma show June 10-12?
Like all pinball machines, there are those that liked it and others not so much. The general impression from most people who commented was they were impressed with the way the game looked and sounded, however there were a few complaints that the flippers were underpowered. I'm sure Mike will sort that out.
Not surprising that the theme didn't grab some people, but as Mike has said repeatedly, US is not the target market for this one, so that is to be expected.
I think generally it was reasonably constructive and positive and Mike should be proud.
I would love to hear from any of the German Pinsiders. Do you think they find these Hitler Reacts videos funny?
Thanks for the photos. It looks bloody nice to me.
Quoted from Lysurgeon:
The game is clunky as hell, feels cheap as shit, and none of the shots feel good. The ball constantly gets stuck on the lock post. The middle ramp is flimsy and super thin, im guessing the ramp will be thicker and clear in the production version. The flipper buttons are very uncomfortable. This game needs a lot more work.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but the comment "feels cheap as shit" is way off the mark. It felt far from cheap as shit when I played it. Anyone that has followed the development of Thunderbirds over the years and from previous comments made by those that have looked under the playfield can see it is made up of quality parts. It felt and looked solid to me when I played. Way off the mark on that one IMO.
It was a proto ramp when I played, so I can’t comment on that one. The flipper buttons do have a different feel, but you get used to it. Gameplay, like any machine, is each to their own and everyone will have a different opinion on that. Some will like it and others won’t. That is the nature of the beast.
Quoted from Lysurgeon:
Have you been inside the machine and actually handled the parts with your own hands? Yes, the game feels cheap, and at 5432.10, it isnt much cheaper in price than a stern pro.
I myself haven't been under the hood. There are those here on Pinside and on other forums that have. None of them have made any comment that it was cheap as shit. It certainly didn't feel or look that way when I played and examined the playfield with the glass off. Like I said, everyone is entitled to an opinion.
That’s because American Pinball are not having to make the parts themselves. They are getting their parts shipped in from outside suppliers off the shelf. Homepin don't have that luxury. They have had to build the factory from the ground up and learn how to design and build the parts that make up the pinball machine. That takes time and money and more time.
This from Facebook:
An explanation of why EOS adjustment is important in a Homepin pinball machine. If not set correctly the flippers won't work correctly and will feel weak.
Quoted from rooky79:
Homepin just put a post up on Faceache showing the multiball sequence. I don't want to shit all over this guy's effort as it's been a long hard road to get it where it is, but I don't know, it seems a bit dated to me or is that what they are going for?
Yep, like snakesnsparklers said, that is just like the old Tv series and a key feature and fits the theme perfectly.
Quoted from Jvspin:
Lack of LCD makes a game look dated, but it's been only 1.5yrs since Stern released their first LCD game.
I’m sorry, but am I the only one here that thinks these LCD screens are not a big deal? I am yet to play a machine that I enjoy more because it has an LCD screen. IMO, I feel in most of the cases so far it detracts from the experience for me.
Quoted from PopBumperPete:
sorry but TAG screams for color
that multiball animation would be outstanding in color,
True. I do quite fancy a colour DMD. I think that was the plan originally, but shit happens. But whether or not it is colour or monotone it is still a DMD with nice and simple animations & visual aids to signify the modes. Easy to see at a quick glance etc.. I struggle with the LCD's a bit because of all the information on screen. I'm sure they'll find the right balance, but give me a simple DMD any day, colour or not.
Quoted from pauloz:
Along with the shame they should feel for the what they’ve done to the initial pre order guys in Aussie who still haven’t got their games 5 years on. There are more prototypes of this game than any game in history.
On the flip side (pun intended), the pre-order buyers should at least be pleased by the quality shown in the video. It looks bloody good inside and out.
For anyone interested, there are some photos and videos and info posted in the last week on the Homepin Facebook page that show the new second factory, some of the assembly line, vacuum forming and so on. Quite interesting stuff. I can’t link the videos here directly, but here is the link to the site. (You don’t need a Facebook account to see the content).
Quoted from twitami:
OH, ok. Interesting to see how that works. Based on the way it looks, i am not sure how it could do that--or maybe the one i played that is a mock-up section.
There is a mech under the playfield that raises the ball slowly during the multi ball sequence. In the show, the swimming pool parts in two and Thunderbird One takes off. As a kid, it was one of the things I loved to watch. The pinball machine simulates this sequence.
Quoted from cliff_clavin:
If it were me, I would pay for the shipping, get my game and put this behind me. It is well worth the cost of shipping to put the stress and aggravation behind and to get your long awaited machine. Life is too short.
Anyhow that’s just what I would do.
This is obviously going around and around in circles. Take the sea freight option; January is a little over a 100 days away and it will come and go in a flash.
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