(Topic ID: 202335)

My EM Journey - GTB Centigrade 37 (help & comments welcome)


By spinal

1 year ago



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  • 48 posts
  • 15 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by spinal
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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#1 1 year ago

I've been wanting a Centigrade 37 (C37) for some time now and finally got my chance!

With an awesome sci-fi theme, backbox animation and fantastic art package (along with good game play), Gottlieb released 1600 of these beginning in Aug, 1977, right at a time that would later be known as the peak of Gottlieb's success.

The seller, living in Manitoba, Canada, said he owned it since the late '70s. Backbox is a bit worn but cabinet and playfield look quite good for 88,000 plays IMO. Doesn't look like it has ever been cleaned. Currently it generally works but there are some issues with scoring that need to be addressed as well as other common issues like sticky score wheels, flipper needed rebuilding etc. We'll get to these in due time!

To that end, thanks in advance for any comments, suggestions or help you can provide as I have much to learn!

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#2 1 year ago

Very nice, love the artwork. Em’s are a labor of love for sure, Enjoy the journey!

#3 1 year ago

Comments? Yes, C37 is one of the coolest looking pins ever made. I love the old B-movie Sci-Fi look. I just picked up a Target Alpha for the same reason. Well, and because it is a drop target dream come true.

Congrats, enjoy.

#4 1 year ago

Nice looking machine... I hope you'll keep this one original - ie no sealing the backglass, no clear coating the playfield, no cabinet repaint. It's getting harder to find these machines in such great original condition. Enjoy the game!

#5 1 year ago

Thanks Phat_Jay!

OK so first question I have is that of the correct colors for the pop bumper caps... Looking at C37 YouTube videos and other pics, there are two combinations that I've seen:

1. Most common - blue "1000 points when lit" (A-11826) cap on top of the middle (red) pop and red, 10 pointed stars (A-16838) inside the 2 blue pops.

2. Found on page 118 of parts manual, the colors for the caps are listed as being the same as the pop bodies, that is red cap for center pop and blue caps for blue pops.

Q1: Which of these two configurations was factory? If 1 was factory, is that a mistake in the manual?

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#6 1 year ago

Why did you not post a decent picture of the playfield?

As for the caps, you can check IPDB http://www.ipdb.org/showpic.pl?id=480&picno=23202&zoom=1

But I think you should call Steve Young at Pinball Resource to be sure.

#7 1 year ago

Play the snot out of it while you plan pop bumper/flipper re-builds and order parts. Yours doesn't look hurt.
I have only clear-coated and re-painted a play field that was shot, yours doesn't appear to need it.
Same with back glass, flaking will spread and a triple-thick coat gives peace of mind until restoration.
One without flaking doesn't need it.
I'm going to try Bleche-White to clean a cabinet much like yours, heard good things about it. As you
know there is plenty of great advice here.

#8 1 year ago
Quoted from Taxman:

Why did you not post a decent picture of the playfield?
As for the caps, you can check IPDB http://www.ipdb.org/showpic.pl?id=480&picno=23202&zoom=1
But I think you should call Steve Young at Pinball Resource to be sure.

For sure, more pics coming.

My question stems from me seeing so many different pop bumper cap combinations, the most common of which is different than listed in parts manual.

Here is yet another configuration from Vic Camp's C37 where all caps are red:

http://www.ipdb.org/showpic.pl?id=480&picno=35828&zoom=1

#9 1 year ago
Quoted from fredsmythson:

Nice looking machine... I hope you'll keep this one original - ie no sealing the backglass, no clear coating the playfield, no cabinet repaint. It's getting harder to find these machines in such great original condition. Enjoy the game!

My plan is to keep as original as possible so I'm in agreement

The backglass has a few areas that are less than perfect but good enough for me to keep as is (red on legs & yellow on shirt).

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#10 1 year ago
Quoted from fredsmythson:

Nice looking machine... I hope you'll keep this one original - ie no sealing the backglass, no clear coating the playfield, no cabinet repaint. It's getting harder to find these machines in such great original condition. Enjoy the game!

Disagree. This backglass has marginal areas that are at risk of flaking. I would seal it. Better to retain ink than lose it. Nobody cares about originality when the flakes fall.

#11 1 year ago
Quoted from Taxman:

Why did you not post a decent picture of the playfield?
As for the caps, you can check IPDB http://www.ipdb.org/showpic.pl?id=480&picno=23202&zoom=1
But I think you should call Steve Young at Pinball Resource to be sure.

Here's another nice picture that shows them more clearly. I think it should be like this which matches right up with the manual.

http://www.ipdb.org/images/480/image-22.jpg

I looked at PBR, they have some of the parts listed on their web page but not all of them. Marco does have all of the parts on their web site. Still I would do like you said and check with PBR first to see if he has them all. (Lower price). Each one needs two pieces.

This is a great machine, hope to get one some day. Most of the ones I have seen have worse backglasses.

#12 1 year ago
Quoted from xsvtoys:

Here's another nice picture that shows them more clearly. I think it should be like this which matches right up with the manual.
http://www.ipdb.org/images/480/image-22.jpg

Thanks for your comment. My point is that manual (see manual pic I included in above post) does not match with your pic. Manual says blue caps on blue bodies and red caps on red bodies.

#13 1 year ago

spinal is referring to this:

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#14 1 year ago

OK I getcha, maybe I should work on my reading comprehension!

How about the flyer? It seems to show it the same way as in the pics we have.

http://flyers.arcade-museum.com/?page=flyer&db=pinballdb&id=720&image=1

And every other pic I can find of the playfield has that same setup. I vote that the manual is wrong for whatever reason. Maybe someone changed their mind at the last minute and decided that the alternating colors would look cooler? And then the manual didn't get updated.

The good thing is that you could buy both color sets for the caps for pretty cheap and cover yourself if you want to be able to set it either way at some point.

(ADDITIONAL EDIT)

A few more pieces of evidence.

Marco kit for the C37 includes the 2 reds and one blue.

http://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/PCS1130

There are tons of pics from the C37 owners here. I didn't look at all of them, but quite a few. They all had the same configuration.

http://www.pinballowners.com/owners/480

#15 1 year ago

An error in a manual if far from uncommon. It is actually so common you might be surprised. My first introduction was decades ago when I called Pinball Resource and Steve asked me - "Do you want me to give you what the manual says or what you need for your game".

#16 1 year ago
Quoted from fredsmythson:

Nice looking machine... I hope you'll keep this one original - ie no sealing the backglass, no clear coating the playfield, no cabinet repaint. It's getting harder to find these machines in such great original condition. Enjoy the game!

There's a Facebook EM group I am a member of where the current trend is to repaint EM cabinet's when it really is not necessary. Just be cause you can, and have the necessary stencils, doesn't mean you should. Keep those EM's original!!!

#17 1 year ago

Always thought the operator chic needed a cheeseburger.

#18 1 year ago

Gordon Morison seemed better-suited to do free-flowing imaginative/psychedelic weird stuff versus sticking to realistic characters with traditional features. Her head and body are oddly out of scale. Similar to the triangle-surfer on the 2001 backglass... looks like he crapped his pants.

During my travels, a collector once remarked that a good portion of Centigrade 37's enormous appeal with guys is due to the theme:

"Lesbian Frankenstein"

*spit take* it might be true!

Anyway, congrats Spinal on a classic acquisition. Is this your first pin?

#19 1 year ago

Thanks Nic, not the first EM as I'm also slowly working on a Sky Jump and Abra Ca Dabra. Ball Count Units all need work as well as AS relays which I'm currently hesitant to work on since I've heard how difficult they are. When the time comes, advice would be greatly appreciated Nic as you've done many

Re C37 theme and art, it's one of the best!

Two hot blondes completely surrounded by complex machinery (very Frankensteinesque you're right), one trying to raise the temperature of the other to body temp measured by a blood-red thermometer. And the thermometer is tied into the gameplay - pure genius. Then they pick pink and yellow as the predominant colors for it all. There is no other pin like this for sure and I really appreciate how bold this must have looked coming out in 1977! Genius.

And what exactly does she want to do with her once her temperature is raised? Pure titilation - oh I mean suspense

Yeah chicks are a bit strange looking but better to have a bit of strange on a beautiful woman than main male figure on GTB Atlantis - recent post mentioned that once you see that, you can't unsee it and I totally agree

#20 1 year ago

Playfield pics...

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#21 1 year ago

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#22 1 year ago

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#23 1 year ago

Broken plastic above drop targets and solenoid dust everywhere - easily seen on wood. Doesn't look like this has ever been cleaned.

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#24 1 year ago

Paint loss around double advance and some planking.

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#25 1 year ago

Rubber is original. Expert recently told me that this was close to original color of rubber in 1977 - didn't have white back then. White looks better and the original manufacturer is no longer in business so white is what we use today but white is not factory. Didn't know that!

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#26 1 year ago

Glass looks original and lockdown bar is a mess! Can't wait to get cleaning.

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#27 1 year ago

Flipper buttons look original too - is this normal for them to get this deformed? I guess it has been 40 years!

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#28 1 year ago

Someone took lit cigarettes to those flipper buttons.

#29 1 year ago
Quoted from MikeO:

Someone took lit cigarettes to those flipper buttons.

Or a lighter.

#30 1 year ago

looks like got a good example, most had much more wear.
i always like the art but the game play is SUB-PAR imo. it is a game that no matter how i set it up it was just to easy to beat ever time. believe me i really wanted to like it. if i had unlimited space i would get another (i had 3) just for the art but with limited space just can not justify the space for a ART game

#31 1 year ago

Hi boilerman! - yeah, I read through the pinside reviews and it's mentioned often that C37 is ultimately too easy of a game. I have never played (nor seen firsthand) a fully tuned-up example so thought I'd find out for myself but I can already see signs of that being the case. For example A and C rollovers spot each other.

However, I'm finding lately that learning about how they work and beginning to learn how to restore them is as much fun as playing them. So for me, at least at this point, game difficulty is not the highest priority. More importantly, my 2yr old son just loves pinball and, although his skills are improving rapidly, C37 has still got some legs for him

Now speaking of restoring, you're just the man to ask...

What approach do you recommend for doing tiny, spot touch-ups on the cabinet say for a single blemish or scratch but that will be almost indistinguishable from original?

My current view is that if I can see it's been touched-up then I'd rather not touch up at all so I'm interested in learning about methods that may include perfect local color matching, airbrushing etc. (difficult I know but I'm interested in reading up on them).

Any links to sections of threads on pinside to get me starting to read? (some threads have thousands of posts and there are many approaches). Any suggestions/pointers appreciated

#32 1 year ago
Quoted from spinal:

Hi boilerman! - yeah, I read through the pinside reviews and it's mentioned often that C37 is ultimately too easy of a game. I have never played (nor seen firsthand) a fully tuned-up example so thought I'd find out for myself but I can already see signs of that being the case. For example A and C rollovers spot each other.
However, I'm finding lately that learning about how they work and beginning to learn how to restore them is as much fun as playing them. So for me, at least at this point, game difficulty is not the highest priority. More importantly, my 2yr old son just loves pinball and, although his skills are improving rapidly, C37 has still got some legs for him
Now speaking of restoring, you're just the man to ask...
What approach do you recommend for doing tiny, spot touch-ups on the cabinet say for a single blemish or scratch but that will be almost indistinguishable from original?
My current view is that if I can see it's been touched-up then I'd rather not touch up at all so I'm interested in learning about methods that may include perfect local color matching, airbrushing etc. (difficult I know but I'm interested in reading up on them).
Any links to sections of threads on pinside to get me starting to read? (some threads have thousands of posts and there are many approaches). Any suggestions/pointers appreciated

It’s funny you should ask that question because I really have been wondering about the same thing, and it was triggered by some of the comments here. I have a few machines and while the cabinets are fairly decent they have the usual wear and scars from their years of use. I had been planning to do some spot repairs like you said. But after reading lots of different threads and looking at the cabinets closely, I am thinking that it will be nearly impossible to make a good spot repair that won’t be instantly recognized for what it is. Because of all sorts of factors having to do with the paints used, the age of the paints, the difficulty of color matching, etc it will be very difficult to do. If you don’t nail it perfectly then your new result will look worse than before because the repair will stand out and look ugly. So I have been leaning towards leaving it as it is, giving the game the vintage look and of course preserving its originality. Also, a good cleaning often makes a huge difference in the overall look and it’s easy to do and doesn’t affect originality.

The alternative is a complete cabinet repair and repaint with stencils. Maybe even clear coated afterward. Then, you have a really nice-looking old machine that is like new. But as some have pointed out, you have lost the originality of the piece. For myself, I see the value in both sides.

#33 1 year ago

I leave nice originals alone because preservation is important. However, if they aren't nice (and a lot of them aren't) a full resto is the only way to recapture or exceed the original wow factor. Otherwise they are in danger of being forgotten or neglected as time marches on.

Personally, I prefer to turn ugly ducklings into enhanced restorations. Clear coat, stealth LED, cab repaint, tuned coils, polished metals, enhanced lighting, even subtle game logic tweaks takes everything to a whole different level of fun and amazement.

Chuck Dietch (ckcsm) in Lansdale, PA owns an automotive body shop (I visited him during my original pinball tour). He has the techniques and equipment to do INCREDIBLE cabinet repaints which greatly exceed anything Gottlieb ever did on the factory floor. Chuck's clear coated Surfer cabinet was velvety smooth and dazzling to behold... just oozed quality from every inch. I'm still envious!

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#34 1 year ago

Remember to remove any #44 bulbs from the backbox and replace them with #47 bulbs or LED bulbs. Those #44 bulbs make the backbox feel like a toaster oven on full blast and they can do serious damage to the backglass paint. Also, remove any non-adhesive mylar trim platters around the pop bumpers. No need to replace the mylar trim platters - a few coats of wax around the pop bumpers will protect the playfield. And the game play will be a lot faster...

#35 1 year ago
Quoted from spinal:

thanks in advance for any comments, suggestions or help you can provide as I have much to learn!

Looks great! Now you have a pin with a mechanical backglass animation. Less drop targets than you are use to but it should be fun to sharpen up your nudging skills with that open right inlane.

#36 1 year ago

Mine has the same set up for the pop bumpers with only 14K plays

I do love the looks of this game and enjoy playing it even if sometimes is easy to get the score way over 100K

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#37 1 year ago
Quoted from NicoVolta:

I leave nice originals alone because preservation is important. However, if they aren't nice (and a lot of them aren't) a full resto is the only way to recapture or exceed the original wow factor. Otherwise they are in danger of being forgotten or neglected as time marches on.
Personally, I prefer to turn ugly ducklings into enhanced restorations. Clear coat, stealth LED, cab repaint, tuned coils, polished metals, enhanced lighting, even subtle game logic tweaks takes everything to a whole different level of fun and amazement.
Chuck Dietch (ckcsm) in Lansdale, PA owns an automotive body shop (I visited him during my original pinball tour). He has the techniques and equipment to do INCREDIBLE cabinet repaints which greatly exceed anything Gottlieb ever did on the factory floor. Chuck's clear coated Surfer cabinet was velvety smooth and dazzling to behold... just oozed quality from every inch. I'm still envious!

Thanks Nic
I'd rather do some good paint matching and blend into the original finish but sometimes you need to just bite the bullet and go for it.

#38 1 year ago
Quoted from fredsmythson:

Remember to remove any #44 bulbs from the backbox and replace them with #47 bulbs or LED bulbs. Those #44 bulbs make the backbox feel like a toaster oven on full blast and they can do serious damage to the backglass paint. Also, remove any non-adhesive mylar trim platters around the pop bumpers. No need to replace the mylar trim platters - a few coats of wax around the pop bumpers will protect the playfield. And the game play will be a lot faster...

Agree, #47's on order and it's one of the first things I do now. Also agree on the trim platters, I remove them when I rebuild the pops and don't replace with adhesive ones - just wax like you said. Thanks for your comments.

3 weeks later
#39 1 year ago

To the left of my coin door frame is a metal pin/nail with a couple threads hanging out almost like it was holding something. I recall seeing this on another pinball machine as well.

Does anyone know what that nail is for?

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#40 1 year ago

Could you post a picture of the inside, where that nail goes through.

#41 1 year ago
Quoted from Darcy:

Could you post a picture of the inside, where that nail goes through.

Nail does not go through cabinet so nothing to see.

#42 1 year ago

that pin is so when the coin door is open the pointy edge of the coin entry plate doesn't ding the wood. open the door all the way and watch what touches the pin head dead center.

#43 1 year ago

Thanks! Were they put on from the factory?

#44 1 year ago

Yes, factory.

#45 1 year ago
Quoted from boilerman:

that pin is so when the coin door is open the pointy edge of the coin entry plate doesn't ding the wood. open the door all the way and watch what touches the pin head dead center.

Yes, stops the door from gouging the cabinet. It looks like it misses in the pic but door cannot touch cabinet paint.

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#46 1 year ago

Yea thats always a little bugger to remove while doing a cab repaint. Siderail nail etc

#47 1 year ago

Vacuumed playfield with my trusty vacuum attachment - I don't think this machine was ever cleaned! Also vacuumed front of inside of cab - I stopped halfway and took a pic to show the contrast.

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#48 1 year ago

What card is it again that is missing here (where staples are)? Where can I buy one?

Also, I recall reading that machine serial number is also stamped between these staples on Gottliebs but don't see one here. Anyone know what range of years Gottlieb stamped serial numbers here?

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