(Topic ID: 233226)

My first (probably overboard) resto, Special Force

By majorrager

2 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 9 posts
  • 2 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by Wmsfan
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider


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#1 2 years ago

Although I'm not a newbie to pinball, I was lucky that my first two machines were steal purchases of great condition huo mid 90's dmd games. I've done a little mechanical and electrical repair, and the full shop job I did on demo man was a beast, but I've never pulled a playfield or stripped a cabinet before.
It's been a few years since I bought a game, and despite resellers generally ruining the local Craigslist deals, I still keep a pretty close watch for interesting games. I just happened to find a special force and a flight 2000 on the same day from two different sellers less than 25 minutes from my house.
I went late on a Saturday to look at Special Force, and the game wouldn't boot. The sellers swore it was working the past week when someone else came to look at it. They didn't know squat about pinball as it was an inherited family member's game, and I didn't know squat about bally 6803 games. Also, I forgot my pinball tool box so I couldn't even change out fuses to check the simple stuff. They didn't want to sell it at non-working basement price, so they agreed to let me come back on Sunday to mess with it.
After poring over pinside for info all night, I went back Sunday and fooled around with no luck for a couple hours. I was about to give up when I read about the little pot on the power board. A little contact cleaner and a couple turns, and "it's alive!" We did the deal and I brought home a game with all the plastics and parts in good shape with not a whole lot of playfield wear. It sat in the garage for a couple weeks before I finally moved it into the workshop to start on it.

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#2 2 years ago

Of course I couldn't get it to boot again no matter what I did, so I opted to buy a new power board and nvram chip from nvram.weebly.com here on pinside. When I got it installed, the game booted right up and I was able to do the factory reset. The only problems were two pop bumpers, two targets, and a couple switches not working.
I started doing the teardown and realized I had nowhere to put the playfield once I got it out. So I checked for advice on pinside and realized I had enough spare junk in the shop to whip up a redneck jig like I saw some others had done.
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#3 2 years ago

After the field was stripped, Mylar removed, and fully cleaned using alcohol and magic eraser, I started tackling the process of restoring the numbers and key lines from the inserts that had worn off as well as the couple other spots where the graphics had worn. The ball falls out of the ramp onto the playfield when you shoot it into play, and the area where it hits was worn away. I didn't try leveling the inserts at all since they were mostly all okay.
Fortunately, I mobile touch-up and paint cars for a living, and have been doing so for twenty years, so I have a full automotive paint mixing system at my house, as well as all the other necessary auto paint equipment. I was able to match the colors I needed fairly easily. I first started out trying to cut number and circle stencils to airbrush them on, but it was taking forever. I then switched to doing it by hand with a syringe, which I'm quick at since that's what I use for auto touch-up.

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#4 2 years ago

After I got all the touch ups done, I taped everything off to prep for clear coat. I had pretty aggressively scrubbed the surface with the magic eraser during cleaning, and had even lightly 1500 grit sanded a majority of the surface, so one final wipe down with wax and grease remover, and I started spraying. It was a total disaster from the first light coat. I guess so much dirt and who knows what else was embedded in the minute cracks in the playfield, especially along the heavily traveled ball routes, it was turning the new clear into a cratered mess. I laid two or three more heavy coats on to give me something to work with.
During the next week or so, while I gave the clear plenty out time to cure, I started working on the side rails, lockdown bar, and legs which were all a rusty pitted mess. On a whim, I decided to camouflage the side rails and lockdown bar. I have never done camo paint before, and hopefully I never have to do it again. It was very time-consuming. Hand-cut stencils and four different color coats made for a long process. I clear coated them after I was done. The legs I just went with matte black.

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#5 2 years ago

The cabinet was faded pretty badly, but otherwise in decent shape. I was initially going to hand repaint the Bally emblem on the side, but decided if I was going to spend a bunch of hours painting I may as well do something more fun than that. I sanded it down, primed, and then painted the whole cabinet matte black. I didn't go as far as repairing the chipped corners and edges, because by then it was starting to feel a little bit too much like work. I then used an overhead projector to mark some stencil patterns on the side. I cut out the stencils from masking film and then sprayed a dark army green. I was going to do the special Force logo on the side the same way, but then decided that would take forever. So I had some vinyl decals made instead.

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#6 2 years ago

More cabinet

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#7 2 years ago

Meanwhile, I sanded the playfield down with 600, 800, 1000, and 1500 progressively to prepare for my next coats of clear. It was mostly smooth, and I knew my final coats of clear would help level it out. After my final three coats cured, I wet sanded with 800, 1500, and 3000 sandpaper. Then 3000 and 5000 grit 3m trizact discs. Finally finishing with cutting with meguiars 105 and polishing 205, and a coat of meguiars gold class wax. I have a badass 3” Rupes random orbital buffer/sander that helped speed the process immensely. It didn't turn out perfect by any means. I probably could've done another couple coats, but I was ready to move on, and it still looks pretty damn good.

Finally, I was on to repairing the broken parts. I ordered new diodes and caps from Great Plains Electronics and soldered new ones onto the switches and pop bumpers that were broken, as well as generally cleaning everything else and changing bulbs. There was one broken plastic at the bottom of the jungle stack that I made a template of and cut out of acrylic. I just used nylon spacers for the legs instead of trying to use the original metal ones.
I then repopulated the playfield with new dropdown targets, rubbers, and bulbs while polishing all of the plastics with novus and the metal with meguiars metal polish. I touched up the backglass around the scoring windows where it was flaking, and reinstalled the side rails using small stainless screws from the hardware store. I also installed new t molding and new power cord with a new mov.
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#8 2 years ago

Next, I folded up the cabinet and used a dolly to go up the six stairs into the basement where the game room is. I did the playfield install up there to save a little weight going up the stairs. It was an easy move compared to the two widebodies I moved previously. I reinstalled the playfield, the whole time mentally preparing myself for it to not even turn on, much less having repaired the broken components. Much to my surprise, after a factory reset, everything worked. I put on the legs, set the angle, and put it in place.
It’s a fun game to play, and I still haven't beaten the factory highest score yet, but it's only been a couple days. Overall, I'm all in less than $900. Not including the countless labor hours, of course. Probably a bit overboard for a B-title game, but I had some fun and learned a ton along the way.

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#9 2 years ago

That camo paint on the rails and lockdown looks pretty cool! Nice job on the resto and thank you for sharing!

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