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My Recent Vist to " HEP " Chris Hutchins High End Pins, Thanks Chris !

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By ctozzi

3 years ago


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  • Started 3 years ago
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  • Latest reply 3 years ago by jayhawkai

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#1 3 years ago

This past weekend I attended a wedding in Boone North Carolina with my wife and friends. I was told by my buddy and fellow high end restorer Jim(Honda350r) that High End Pins, Christopher Hutchins shop was in Matthews North Carolina. So I called Chris and he said come on by I'll show you around my shops. So yesterday on the way back to Charlotte's airport we made a 25 minute detour to his home and business. I must say the operation and scope of his business is 2nd to none. 1st at his home he has 3 different external houses behind his main home where many phases of a restore can begin or finish, his garage is yet another pimped out workshop with over 25 in the works playfields, and a plasma screen hanging on the wall. Just at his home I counted 15-18 pins. We then took a 5 minute car ride over to his dedicated shop where he had upwards of another 40-50 pins ready to start their restore's. I didn't snap as many photos as i wanted since it was Sunday and i didn't want to waste anymore of his family time than needed. I saw alot of games I have never seen before like Hercules which was the biggest pin I have ever seen, as well as 5 MM's ready to start their trip back to better than factory fresh. So here are just a few I snapped with my iPhone. You can see my wife and Chris in the pic with all the MM's as well as a Rocky & Bullwinkle that he fixed after a forklift went directly through the left-hand side. Enjoy, Chris could not have been any nicer or more cordial to me. Thanks Again for taking time on a Sunday to show me around.
Chris

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#2 3 years ago

I would love to see a full walkthrough of those facilities, I watched his full Krull restore beginning to end, my gf thought I was crazy watching a guy sand all day.

"He's not just sanding!!"
"Sounds like he's sanding to me."
"Leave me alone!! I must watch this!!"


#3 3 years ago

Curious, did you notice if it was heated and or cooled in the building storing the pins? Sometimes pins begin to take space in my shop prior to restoring them


#4 3 years ago

Thanks for the photos! The scope of Chris's operation is unrivaled. It's truly a sight to behold.


#5 3 years ago

His shop's where all climate controlled, it was a tad bit warm in the back room with all the pins waiting to be worked on.


#6 3 years ago

That's cool. Did you get a good look at his Krull?!


#7 3 years ago

krull was in repair, he has so many different projects going


#8 3 years ago

What a shop! Chris looks like he needs help man lol. Over 30? projects in there? Much better lighted than I expected also. And what is that all over the floor?? Nothing! man even in my garage I have sawdust and parts laying around...pristine in there


#9 3 years ago

Now we know who has been buying up and hoarding all the "A" titles driving costs up for everyone else


#10 3 years ago
pin-tastic said:

Now we know who has been buying up and hoarding all the "A" titles driving costs up for everyone else

Not how it works, people buy pins and send them to Chris for restoration.


#11 3 years ago

He had so many playfields in various stages or repair I was amazed. His paint building was spotless just like the other facilities.


-2
#12 3 years ago
tracelifter said:

Not how it works, people buy pins and send them to Chris for restoration.

I do not believe that for a second, considering how popular "A" titles are becoming, sure he gets a lot of calls from people who would like to buy a machine and then have him restore it. This way he can sell them the machine and then do the resto. That is a good business plan.


#13 3 years ago
pin-tastic said:

That is a good business plan.

It might be, but I don't believe this is how Chris does it. I've heard that he'll help locate a particular game for you, but I don't think he stocks up on them.


#14 3 years ago

Wow, I don't see how he does this on his own...
Spoke with him and thinking of doing one with him.. but I bet the wait will be a year looking at all of that inventory... Good that he is so busy.


#15 3 years ago

Who pays to a have rocky and bullwinkle restored ?


#16 3 years ago

ctozzi, did you see my WH20 there?


#17 3 years ago
pin-tastic said:

I do not believe that for a second, considering how popular "A" titles are becoming, sure he gets a lot of calls from people who would like to buy a machine and then have him restore it. This way he can sell them the machine and then do the resto. That is a good business plan.

Well Chris contacted me on a machine I had for sale, his customer bought the machine from me and had it shipped to him.
He may locate machines for customers but they buy them not Chris.
A better business plan is to do work for a customer, you don't mess with selling or buying.
I can make more reconditioning an Eturd someone paid too much for than I can buying, reconditioning and selling. Remember they can get that game on Ebay for less than I am asking for a game.


-1
#18 3 years ago
pin-tastic said:

I do not believe that for a second, considering how popular "A" titles are becoming, sure he gets a lot of calls from people who would like to buy a machine and then have him restore it. This way he can sell them the machine and then do the resto. That is a good business plan.

Wrong. I have had him restore 3 so far and each time i sent the game.. there have been some cases where he has posted "game here, come get it or have me restore it" but very rare.. i have been asking him for a few "A" titles for a while.. just doesnt happen.

pin-tastic said:

Who pays to a have rocky and bullwinkle restored ?

The guy that sent it to him. A collector or someone that likes that game. I am sure he can chime in here but there are guys that have sent him MANY games...


#19 3 years ago

That alot of MM in one place. Thanks for the pics


#20 3 years ago
pin-tastic said:

Who pays to a have rocky and bullwinkle restored?

The game obviously holds a special place in the heart of the person who commissioned Chris to restore it. The restoration alone will end up costing five times what the game is worth. I think it's cool, though, to see less popular "B" titles such as this get the royal treatment.


#21 3 years ago
tracelifter said:

Well Chris contacted me on a machine I had for sale, his customer bought the machine from me and had it shipped to him.
He may locate machines for customers but they buy them not Chris.
A better business plan is to do work for a customer, you don't mess with selling or buying.
I can make more reconditioning an Eturd someone paid too much for than I can buying, reconditioning and selling. Remember they can get that game on Ebay for less than I am asking for a game.

Right.. actually, one of mine i purchased from someone that sent him a game.. but he doesn't personally buy games and offer them for sale, the x-fer of the game happens first. (So its not like he is hoarding).


#22 3 years ago

he needs to hurry up and get those pins in circulation, the demand keeps going up.

Also really cool that he has a hercules :-), wonder how many of those were made?


#23 3 years ago
JoeJet said:

ctozzi, did you see my WH20 there?

Sorry I did not he had so many games I didn't want to start poking through things. Funniest thing about him is he doesn't even own 1 pinball machine


#24 3 years ago
pin-tastic said:

Who pays to a have rocky and bullwinkle restored ?

That's a whole lot more interesting than MM #78,TAF #57 or AFM #124. A restoration of something traditionally not restored, a restoration where you can't just pick up the phone and order a pile of NOS parts


#25 3 years ago

ctozzi was all:
Funniest thing about him is he doesn't even own 1 pinball machine
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

That doesn't shock me in the slightest. His passion is making pinball beautiful and a work of art above what the factory could ever supply. For a lot of us our passion is to play the beautiful games. He takes more pride in the finished products and making them those wonderful games that we love so much.

I'm wondering how he's going to be able to restore that Hercules. Maybe he'll make a video?


#26 3 years ago

He would be the guy I'd send my restore to......


#27 3 years ago
johnwartjr said:

That's a whole lot more interesting than MM #78,TAF #57 or AFM #124. A restoration of something traditionally not restored, a restoration where you can't just pick up the phone and order a pile of NOS parts

AMEN TO THAT. He has done amazing work on some amazing DE titles.


#28 3 years ago
johnwartjr said:

a restoration where you can't just pick up the phone and order a pile of NOS parts

+2

A lot of 'restorers' tend to be guys who can order parts and hold a sander. Chris's work stands alone.


#29 3 years ago
iceman44 said:

He would be the guy I'd send my restore to....

Me to for obvious reasons.


#30 3 years ago

The Hercules was so big, he didn't seem to enthused about the restore on that one. The machine took up so much real estate in his shop. He said the shipping alone from Ohio cost $ 1000.00 one way !


#31 3 years ago
pin-tastic said:

Who pays to a have rocky and bullwinkle restored ?

Dudley do-pin right


#32 3 years ago

Fantastic to see the demand for high end restored games is so strong.


#33 3 years ago
gweempose said:

The game obviously holds a special place in the heart of the person who commissioned Chris to restore it. The restoration alone will end up costing five times what the game is worth. I think it's cool, though, to see less popular "B" titles such as this get the royal treatment.

I would do the same for my Doctor Who machine; without question.


#34 3 years ago
TigerLaw said:

I would do the same for my Doctor Who machine; without question.

Someone else had the same idea, there is already a Dr. Who in the queue.


#35 3 years ago

Thanks for sharing the story and the pics.


#36 3 years ago
ctozzi said:

Funniest thing about him is he doesn't even own 1 pinball machine

But he has. The last pin that Chris owned was a TF LE. It didn't last long. It didn't help that his kids showed little interest in it.


#37 3 years ago

Just checked out his website. Very informative.


#38 3 years ago

Cool story. My NOS Gorgar pf is scheduled to arrive tomorrow there. There's no better home for it anywhere else on earth.


#39 3 years ago
pin-tastic said:

Who pays to a have rocky and bullwinkle restored ?

That's the 1st thing I thought of when I saw the R&B too.. Everyone has their Thing..

Maybe someone's Dad gave them that Pin , And it's a keeper 4-Life ,,

HEP is 51 miles from me, I've been invited but haven't had the Tyme.. HEP is a Busy man !!


#40 3 years ago

Definitely need to save up for a HEP TSPP customization.


#41 3 years ago

I think what HEP does are "boutique machines" - in many cases making the games different/better than original, including clear-coating playfields that were never clear coated. And the cost in many cases is as much or more than a normal game is worth. I have never seen him take anything that was too horribly damaged (although I imagine he has, but as you can see from the pictures, he's often taking a "7-8" and turning it into an "11"). He seems to cater to the pinball-as-an-investment market and very rich people who can afford to have pristine machines. Obviously someone who is having a R&B restored is probably paying twice the cost of the machine to have an HEP version. That's going to be a trophy.

There's nothing wrong with that if you're into it. I think that market is different from the traditional, "Let's play pinball" market. I "restore" games to "well-maintained arcade quality" which is light years below what he does. HEP does "much better than new." I'd like to think that even if I had a ton of money to burn, I don't know if I'd want all my games to be super-perfect like that. I'd be afraid to play them. Although I reserve the right to change my tune if I win the lottery


#42 3 years ago

Did you see any JDs lined up for HEP remanufacturing?
Poor JD. I bet even if you had a HEP JD it would only be worth a little more than market value.
JD is definitely undervalued and under appreciated.


#43 3 years ago
PinballHelp said:

Obviously someone who is having a R&B restored is probably paying twice the cost of the machine to have an HEP version

Considering the going rate for an average R&B and the amount of labor alone going into a high-end restoration, I think your 2x should more than likely be 4x-5x.


#44 3 years ago

With a backup that big, and time demands from collectors, it's hard to believe Chris can pull all this off!


#45 3 years ago
ctozzi said:

This past weekend I attended a wedding in Boone North Carolina with my wife and friends. I was told by my buddy and fellow high end restorer Jim(Honda350r) that High End Pins, Christopher Hutchins shop was in Matthews North Carolina. So I called Chris and he said come on by I'll show you around my shops. So yesterday on the way back to Charlotte's airport we made a 25 minute detour to his home and business. I must say the operation and scope of his business is 2nd to none. 1st at his home he has 3 different external houses behind his main home where many phases of a restore can begin or finish, his garage is yet another pimped out workshop with over 25 in the works playfields, and a plasma screen hanging on the wall. Just at his home I counted 15-18 pins. We then took a 5 minute car ride over to his dedicated shop where he had upwards of another 40-50 pins ready to start their restore's. I didn't snap as many photos as i wanted since it was Sunday and i didn't want to waste anymore of his family time than needed. I saw alot of games I have never seen before like Hercules which was the biggest pin I have ever seen, as well as 5 MM's ready to start their trip back to better than factory fresh. So here are just a few I snapped with my iPhone. You can see my wife and Chris in the pic with all the MM's as well as a Rocky & Bullwinkle that he fixed after a forklift went directly through the left-hand side. Enjoy, Chris could not have been any nicer or more cordial to me. Thanks Again for taking time on a Sunday to show me around.
Chris

Thanks Chris was a pleasure meeting you and your wife.


#46 3 years ago
pin-tastic said:

I do not believe that for a second, considering how popular "A" titles are becoming, sure he gets a lot of calls from people who would like to buy a machine and then have him restore it. This way he can sell them the machine and then do the resto. That is a good business plan.

I don't buy games nor stock them.There is no need to unless I find a great deal which has not happened in years.My time is best spent working on games that already have owners.


#47 3 years ago
PinballHelp said:

I think what HEP does are "boutique machines" - in many cases making the games different/better than original, including clear-coating playfields that were never clear coated. And the cost in many cases is as much or more than a normal game is worth. I have never seen him take anything that was too horribly damaged (although I imagine he has, but as you can see from the pictures, he's often taking a "7-8" and turning it into an "11"). He seems to cater to the pinball-as-an-investment market and very rich people who can afford to have pristine machines. Obviously someone who is having a R&B restored is probably paying twice the cost of the machine to have an HEP version. That's going to be a trophy.
There's nothing wrong with that if you're into it. I think that market is different from the traditional, "Let's play pinball" market. I "restore" games to "well-maintained arcade quality" which is light years below what he does. HEP does "much better than new." I'd like to think that even if I had a ton of money to burn, I don't know if I'd want all my games to be super-perfect like that. I'd be afraid to play them. Although I reserve the right to change my tune if I win the lottery

I don't think you realize how this place works or what takes place here overall.


#48 3 years ago
High_End_Pins said:

I don't think you realize how this place works or what takes place here overall.

You restore pins right? You charge a lot of money for very high end restoration. What am I missing?

Note that I'm not saying anything negative about what you do. I'm just noting it is IMO, a whole 'nother class of pinballs that you put out. For high-end collectors. If I buy a Fish Tales for $1200 and send it to you to be restored, how much would it cost me to have an HEP Fish Tales? It would be a $4-5k+ machine at that point right? Who's paying $5k for a FT? It's a whole different market you're working.


#49 3 years ago

Honestly let's lay it out. It took Jim approximately 30 days to pimp docscott's afm. Assuming he worked 4 hrs a day for 20 working days that's 80 hrs.

Assuming he paid 6500 for the restore and 4000 of that was labor. That's 50 bucks an hour. In my field of work I wouldn't get off the couch for 50 bucks an hour.

I don't know how Chris quotes or his hourly rate but skilled labor and artistry is expensive and I amongst others are willing to pay for that.

Assuming you bought an old car that had a max value of 20k when flawless but the restore cost 30k. Some people wouldn't care because maybe there is nostalgia or some other factor making the cost worth it. Chris brings that service and I'm real close to sending my TZ to him.


#50 3 years ago

If I picked up a MM or something really rare, I could see spending the money to have it professionally restored. For some games it becomes more economical than others. But it's hard to spend $4k restoring a $2k game. Some people will pay for that. Good for them.

I've come to realize there are different types of collectors in the pinball hobby, kind of like there are different kinds of car enthusiasts. Some hobbyists fix up their cars and drive them, others make them as shiny as possible and keep them in the garage or on trailers. Different strokes for different folks. If you're spending twice the value of a game to restore it, chances are you're in the second category.



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