(Topic ID: 179489)

"Nic's North American Pinball Tour" (aka I'm coming to fix your games!)

By NicoVolta

4 years ago


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    #1001 4 years ago

    Here's the original P&N back in 2010:

    18
    #1002 4 years ago

    Visit #39 -> Molly @ Pins & Needles in Los Angeles, CA

    The subjects: 2001, Sing Along, Captain Fantastic, Cross Town

    1 (resized).JPG

    The Cap’n is back… and he’s hanging out in a warehouse…

    2 (resized).JPG

    …with drumsticks in the vending machine…

    3 (resized).JPG

    …motorcycle shop outside the front door…

    4 (resized).JPG

    …shelf containing a half-finished bottle of Chivas, studded trolley handbag, Black Sabbath album, fuzzy monster pinball trophy… what the…?

    “HEY! ANYBODY HERE?!?”

    5 (resized).JPG

    Hey Molly!

    6 (resized).JPG

    Molly is a local fixture in LA. She routes and fixes many of the games at Button Mash, Eighty-Two, and other haunts. As you can see, she has no problem with the mining-lamp headlight thing… and if you do… you can go suck an egg.

    Pins & Needles is actually a warehouse for jam bands. Molly uses one of the street-facing rooms as a flexible work/game space. Her intent is to get it running again as a local hangout and arcade. However, most of the games here are EM’s and fixing them isn’t part of her usual repertoire… which is where I come in.

    7 (resized).JPG

    Molly showed me her EM game-face. Yep, we are definitely ready for this… let’s roll.

    8 (resized).JPG

    We begin with the usual pattern: Relay theory, the genesis of all EM-understanding.

    9 (resized).JPG

    Next, we tear through a stepper. A magnetic metal parts dish is always useful to keep nearby when doing this.

    10 (resized).JPG

    Molly gives the rivets the brightening/smoothing treatment with the Magic Brush. This is one of the most enjoyable parts of EM pinball restoration. Meditation via metal vibration.

    11 (resized).JPG

    Divine lends a hand to check the spring action of the disc wiper fingers. They are a bit dirty. Nothing a qtip and alcohol can’t fix.

    12 (resized).JPG

    The wiper edges occasionally develop sharp ridges as they travel across the rivets. The Magic Brush is used to smooth and polish the surface of each one.

    13 (resized).JPG

    End of stroke switches too? Yes indeed. All switches should get the brush, top to bottom.

    14 (resized).JPG

    Ever seen the backside of the mechanism which opens/closes the doors on Cross Town/Subway/Sky-Line? It is a single coil which pulls in two plungers… each attached to a sliding door. A chime sleeve is used in place of a standard-length one.

    15 (resized).JPG

    Don’t forget the Mother’s Mag Polish back here! Always polish those plungers.

    16 (resized).JPG

    Next, we rebuild one of Gottlieb’s “rat trap” score wheels found on older games until approximately 1967.

    17 (resized).JPG

    Then we move ahead with Gottlieb’s 2001 and its lovely decagon score reel design. Molly’s face reveals the unbridled joy one often feels when working on signature Gottlieb parts. *dreamy sigh*

    18 (resized).JPG

    It was a busy three days of pinball school. We retreated to Molly’s view of the LA cityscape at night, pondering the future and discussing life in this bustling megaplex of a city.

    In my travels, many people across the country scapegoated LA as the root of all evil. Too crowded, too expensive, crazy drivers, an insane place for weirdos and losers, et cetera. Which is partly true. But I did not hear this sentiment about the rest of the country from the people who live here. Perhaps because they are too preoccupied with the positive amenities at their disposal to bother with sour grapes and grousing.

    Los Angeles is too massive and diverse for anyone to fully comprehend. It spans cultures, class, opportunity, and adventure like no other. One can hit the beach, go skiing, or gamble in Vegas with only a few hours travel in each direction. One may experience an earthquake one day and rub elbows with a celebrity the next. Desperation and prosperity exist side-by-side… bizarrely but also amenably most of the time. Food options span the gamut from vegan taco trucks to experimental gastronomic fare unseen anywhere else. And, naturally, the Magic Kingdom itself is nestled within the cacophony.

    We have become a culture of simplistic and false opposites. Christian or not? Gay or not? Black or white? Rich or poor? Smart or stupid? The reality of life is not such a simple thing… it is textured, multifaceted, paradoxical, and we live it out simultaneously in our imagination and via our diverse physical chemistry which itself is comprised of trillions of smaller living things.

    It would be a mistake to dismiss Los Angeles with a simple adjective and wave of the hand… for surely, it is anything but simple. Which makes it something worth exploring and getting to know a little better. You never know what you’ll find with an open mind…

    19 (resized).JPG

    …it might be something you never expected. Something like Pins & Needles.

    Next stop -> San Diego Pinball Club in San Diego, CA

    #1003 4 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Visit #39 -> Molly @ Pins & Needles in Los Angeles, CA

    The Cap’n is back… and he’s hanging out in a warehouse…

    …with drumsticks in the vending machine…

    …motorcycle shop outside the front door…

    …shelf containing a half-finished bottle of Chivas, studded trolley handbag, Black Sabbath album, fuzzy monster pinball trophy… what the…?
    “HEY! ANYBODY HERE?!?”

    Hey Molly!

    Molly is a local fixture in LA. She routes and fixes many of the games at Button Mash, Eighty-Two, and other haunts. As you can see, she has no problem with the mining-lamp headlight thing… and if you do… you can go suck an egg.
    Pins & Needles is actually a warehouse for jam bands. Molly uses one of the street-facing rooms as a flexible work/game space. Her intent is to get it running again as a local hangout and arcade. However, most of the games here are EM’s and fixing them isn’t part of her usual repertoire… which is where I come in.

    Molly showed me her EM game-face. Yep, we are definitely ready for this… let’s roll.

    We begin with the usual pattern: Relay theory, the genesis of all EM-understanding.

    Next, we tear through a stepper. A magnetic metal parts dish is always useful to keep nearby when doing this.

    Molly gives the rivets the brightening/smoothing treatment with the Magic Brush. This is one of the most enjoyable parts of EM pinball restoration. Meditation via metal vibration.

    Divine lends a hand to check the spring action of the disc wiper fingers. They are a bit dirty. Nothing a qtip and alcohol can’t fix.

    The wiper edges occasionally develop sharp ridges as they travel across the rivets. The Magic Brush is used to smooth and polish the surface of each one.

    End of stroke switches too? Yes indeed. All switches should get the brush, top to bottom.

    Ever seen the backside of the mechanism which opens/closes the doors on Cross Town/Subway/Sky-Line? It is a single coil which pulls in two plungers… each attached to a sliding door. A chime sleeve is used in place of a standard-length one.

    Don’t forget the Mother’s Mag Polish back here! Always polish those plungers.

    Next, we rebuild one of Gottlieb’s “rat trap” score wheels found on older games until approximately 1967.

    Then we move ahead with Gottlieb’s 2001 and its lovely decagon score reel design. Molly’s face reveals the unbridled joy one often feels when working on signature Gottlieb parts. *dreamy sigh*

    It was a busy three days of pinball school. We retreated to Molly’s view of the LA cityscape at night, pondering the future and discussing life in this bustling megaplex of a city.
    In my travels, many people across the country scapegoated LA as the root of all evil. Too crowded, too expensive, crazy drivers, an insane place for weirdos and losers, et cetera. Which is partly true. But I did not hear this sentiment about the rest of the country from the people who live here. Perhaps because they are too preoccupied with the positive amenities at their disposal to bother with sour grapes and grousing.
    Los Angeles is too massive and diverse for anyone to fully comprehend. It spans cultures, class, opportunity, and adventure like no other. One can hit the beach, go skiing, or gamble in Vegas with only a few hours travel in each direction. One may experience an earthquake one day and rub elbows with a celebrity the next. Desperation and prosperity exist side-by-side… bizarrely but also amenably most of the time. Food options span the gamut from vegan taco trucks to experimental gastronomic fare unseen anywhere else. And, naturally, the Magic Kingdom itself is nestled within the cacophony.
    We have become a culture of simplistic and false opposites. Christian or not? Gay or not? Black or white? Rich or poor? Smart or stupid? The reality of life is not such a simple thing… it is textured, multifaceted, paradoxical, and we live it out simultaneously in our imagination and via our diverse physical chemistry which itself is comprised of trillions of smaller living things.
    It would be a mistake to dismiss Los Angeles with a simple adjective and wave of the hand… for surely, it is anything but simple. Which makes it something worth exploring and getting to know a little better. You never know what you’ll find with an open mind…

    …it might be something you never expected. Something like Pins & Needles.
    Next stop -> San Diego Pinball Club in San Diego, CA

    Welcome to L.A.!

    10
    #1004 4 years ago

    We need more threads like this. Pinside does. The world does. Just a charming read all the way through.

    #1005 4 years ago

    What? No EM challenge? My guess is maybe Molly did some ass-kicking????

    #1006 4 years ago

    Really enjoyed the pins and needles post. Great write up. That location looks really cool. :thumbsupemoji:

    #1007 4 years ago

    Yes plus 1000 for Nics Pinball tour

    #1008 4 years ago

    Borat (resized).jpg

    #1009 4 years ago

    I remember those plastic molding machines, I think Brookfield Zoo in Chicago had a bunch of them when I went there as a kid. Awesome collection to say the least. And beautifully "displayed" with all the other items.

    #1010 4 years ago
    Quoted from Insane:

    I remember those plastic molding machines, I think Brookfield Zoo in Chicago had a bunch of them when I went there as a kid. Awesome collection to say the least. And beautifully "displayed" with all the other items.

    There is one at the zoo by the MN State Fair. Cant remember what animal it did, but we have one at home somewhere. I got to geek out a little watching it do its thing, and explain to my kids (and my wife, and brother, and his girlfriend) the different steps.

    #1011 4 years ago
    Quoted from SirScott:

    What? No EM challenge? My guess is maybe Molly did some ass-kicking????

    Was wondering about this also....lol

    Quoted from Insane:

    I remember those plastic molding machines, I think Brookfield Zoo in Chicago had a bunch of them when I went there as a kid. Awesome collection to say the least. And beautifully "displayed" with all the other items.

    Museum of Science & Industry had those mold machines also.........good memories....surprised I can still remember back to the early 70's.....lol

    #1012 4 years ago
    Quoted from SirScott:

    What? No EM challenge? My guess is maybe Molly did some ass-kicking????

    Lol nope... didn't have any machines which were quite up to the task. Team EM has taken a backseat at P&N while Molly has been preoccupied with her route.

    #1013 4 years ago
    Quoted from nascarrey:

    Was wondering about this also....lol

    Museum of Science & Industry had those mold machines also.........good memories....surprised I can still remember back to the early 70's.....lol

    I thought they did, I haven't been there in, well lets just say, not as long as your memory, but not a ton off. I need to take the Grandson over to the museums.

    #1014 4 years ago

    Visit #40 -> San Diego Pinball Club in San Diego, CA

    The subjects: Grand Prix, Skylab, Jackpot, Cross Town

    1 (resized).JPG

    Quick question: Spring, summer, fall, or winter… which city in the US has lows in the 60’s and highs in the 70’s year-round?

    San Diego! A city where the weathermen have the laziest job in the business: “Yep… another nice day today. Looking ahead to the 10-day forecast reveals… uh… same thing all week.”

    2 (resized).JPG

    Jordan (Heretic_9) invited me to assist the San Diego Pinball Club during this visit. He’s a guy who prefers to remain out of the limelight, so we’ll keep this episode focused upon the group class and games in his collection.

    3 (resized).JPG

    Mark, a local operator, brought a Williams Grand Prix in exceptional condition. His goal was to get the game running well enough to operate on route.

    The 100,000 score reels for players 2 and 3 would occasionally fire together. Typically, this would indicate an issue with a misaligned player-up stepper (which does the job of re-routing the score relays to the correct reels). However, in this case the intermittency was so infrequent it would require disassembly of the harness to check for frayed wires. Not something we could do in a class setting, unfortunately… but a troubleshooting path was established as a homework assignment.

    San Diego class (resized).jpg

    We also covered a few basics under the hood.

    4 (resized).JPG

    Rob, who provided the classroom space, brought a Williams Skylab as class material. It was his first-ever pinball machine. My eyes widened during his introduction as he described its initial condition: No backglass, trashed playfield, badly scratched cabinet, unusable plastics, and broken wires.

    Rob had already spent countless hours (possibly hundreds) working on Skylab. After mentioning he was also at least $1000 into its rehabilitation, I had to restrain the urge to *gasp*. This sounded like a parts machine which, under normal circumstances, would or should never have been brought back to life.

    5 (resized).JPG

    Inside, I found lamp cord attached to various parts of the machine. Rob had carefully traced out the circuit and replaced broken segments of wire with it.

    6 (resized).JPG

    The bonus stepper was misaligned. I re-centered the spider on the rivets and made a few tweaks to the spring tension. After which it was counting up and down normally.

    7 (resized).JPG

    The cabinet flipper switches were a bit dirty. It was a perfect opportunity to demonstrate the “swab, polish, swab” mantra with the Magic Brush.

    Switch cleanliness is critically important to EM pinball machines. The power for the entire circuit physically travels through every connection!

    8 (resized).JPG

    The left flipper end-of-stroke switch wasn’t closing. Flipper coils will be extremely weak if this switch isn’t clean and closed during the initial power stroke.

    9 (resized).JPG

    Rob made extensive work of repainting the playfield by hand. The wood areas were covered with a coppery metallic color. The rest was painstakingly brushed-in and hand-lettered.

    Playfield plastics were manually reproduced, printed, and adhered to the top surface.

    10 (resized).JPG

    The backglass is actually a homemade scan/photograph printed on paper and sandwiched between sheets of glass.
    Like the playfield, the cabinet was repainted by hand.

    Color LED bars were added around the upper ball arch as a creative twist.

    11 (resized).JPG

    At this point I could almost hear the invisible peanut gallery whispering across the internet... "Whyyyy?!? It's not original! Boo! Hiss! Wrong technique!"

    Ah, but they'd be dead wrong. This is a cool machine.

    You see, this is Rob's first pinball project. A machine which you or I would have disemboweled for the parts bin. But Rob didn’t give up or obsess over perfection. He just charged ahead and brought the game back from the ashes… no matter how high the difficulty curve.

    Did he spend too much time and money on this project? Use “non-approved” restoration techniques? Make personal customized changes? Of course he did. And you know what? It was a testament to sheer will and creativity. Rob used this machine to learn how these things work and made it happen, while also making it his own.

    Pinball soul is made of pure determination. This stubborn individuality is exactly what makes our community so awesome. It is the one quality, more than any other, which unites us.

    And that, folks, is why the world is now +1 on the total playing machine count. Rock on.

    12 (resized).JPG

    At Jordan’s storage unit, a Jackpot awaited closer inspection.

    13 (resized).JPG

    Jordan procured an amusing instruction sheet detailing how to change the angle of ejection from the center kickout hole. Bend the tip of the kickout arm with pliers? Simple enough.

    14 (resized).JPG

    This is what “high tapped” looks like. The power wire is soldered to the High Tap lug instead of the default 24 volt lug. I always move the wire back to normal voltage after rebuilding a machine. Otherwise the game is subjected to excess force which wears out the parts a bit faster.

    How much faster? I don’t know. But I’d rather aim for longevity and cleanliness than the “git ‘er done” method of powering through gunked-up mechs.

    'Tis better to tune up individual parts than overdrive the whole machine.

    15 (resized).JPG

    Williams EM’s of this age often use the “keyhole” style pop bumper parts. You can replace them with new Gottlieb/Bally bakelite and metal yokes… but…

    16 (resized).JPG

    …you’ll need to buy the KT-WPOP-01 kit from Pinball Resource to get the correct replacement plunger.

    On the left is the default Gottlieb/Bally pop plunger. On the right, the later-model Williams plunger. In the middle is the original keyhole-style plunger which would be replaced with a new one from the kit.

    17 (resized).JPG

    The replay plugs in the back were not configured to match the award levels on the card… which I corrected. Does it bother you too when they don’t match?

    18 (resized).JPG

    Finally, a demonstration of the “stealth LED” (warm white conversion) technique on Cross Town. In this first photo we see a deployment of red LED’s in the pops and cool whites under plastics and elsewhere.

    19 (resized).JPG

    Afterward, we have installed bulbs under the plastics and lane guides, and warm white LED’s in the pops and under inserts. The look is much closer to the original appearance.

    Also notice the cabaret lights (under the top arch) were reverted from cool white LED to bulbs. I always install filament bulbs anywhere naked filaments would be visible to the eye.

    20 (resized).JPG

    Before, the backbox was lit with cool white LED’s throughout, including the title marquee.

    21 (resized).JPG

    After the switch, a warm glow pervades the scene. Filament 455 blinker bulbs were added behind the title for a traditional touch.

    Thanks to Jordan and the San Diego gang for a brief but enjoyable visit! I only wish I could have bottled up the fine weather and taken it with me across the desert to…

    Next stop -> Stu of CPR in Phoenix, AZ

    #1015 4 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    How much faster? I don’t know. But I’d rather aim for longevity and cleanliness than the “git ‘er done” method of powering through gunked-up mechs.
    'Tis better to tune up individual parts than overdrive the whole machine.

    Amen, brother!

    #1016 4 years ago

    Hey Rob, nice job getting that Sky Lab back to playing

    #1017 4 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Visit #40 -> San Diego Pinball Club in San Diego, CA
    The subjects: Grand Prix, Skylab, Jackpot, Cross Town

    Quick question: Spring, summer, fall, or winter… which city in the US has lows in the 60’s and highs in the 70’s year-round?
    San Diego! A city where the weathermen have the laziest job in the business: “Yep… another nice day today. Looking ahead to the 10-day forecast reveals… uh… same thing all week.”

    Jordan (Heretic_9) invited me to assist the San Diego Pinball Club during this visit. He’s a guy who prefers to remain out of the limelight, so we’ll keep this episode focused upon the group class and games in his collection.

    Mark, a local operator, brought a Williams Grand Prix in exceptional condition. His goal was to get the game running well enough to operate on route.
    The 100,000 score reels for players 2 and 3 would occasionally fire together. Typically, this would indicate an issue with a misaligned player-up stepper (which does the job of re-routing the score relays to the correct reels). However, in this case the intermittency was so infrequent it would require disassembly of the harness to check for frayed wires. Not something we could do in a class setting, unfortunately… but a troubleshooting path was established as a homework assignment.

    We also covered a few basics under the hood.

    Rob, who provided the classroom space, brought a Williams Skylab as class material. It was his first-ever pinball machine. My eyes widened during his introduction as he described its initial condition: No backglass, trashed playfield, badly scratched cabinet, unusable plastics, and broken wires.
    Rob had already spent countless hours (possibly hundreds) working on Skylab. After mentioning he was also at least $1000 into its rehabilitation, I had to restrain the urge to *gasp*. This sounded like a parts machine which, under normal circumstances, would or should never have been brought back to life.

    Inside, I found lamp cord attached to various parts of the machine. Rob had carefully traced out the circuit and replaced broken segments of wire with it.

    The bonus stepper was misaligned. I re-centered the spider on the rivets and made a few tweaks to the spring tension. After which it was counting up and down normally.

    The cabinet flipper switches were a bit dirty. It was a perfect opportunity to demonstrate the “swab, polish, swab” mantra with the Magic Brush.
    Switch cleanliness is critically important to EM pinball machines. The power for the entire circuit physically travels through every connection!

    The left flipper end-of-stroke switch wasn’t closing. Flipper coils will be extremely weak if this switch isn’t clean and closed during the initial power stroke.

    Rob made extensive work of repainting the playfield by hand. The wood areas were covered with a coppery metallic color. The rest was painstakingly brushed-in and hand-lettered.
    Playfield plastics were manually reproduced, printed, and adhered to the top surface.

    The backglass is actually a homemade scan/photograph printed on paper and sandwiched between sheets of glass.
    Like the playfield, the cabinet was repainted by hand.
    Color LED bars were added around the upper ball arch as a creative twist.

    At this point I could almost hear the invisible peanut gallery whispering across the internet... "Whyyyy?!? It's not original! Boo! Hiss! Wrong technique!"
    Ah, but they'd be dead wrong. This is a cool machine.
    You see, this is Rob's first pinball project. A machine which you or I would have disemboweled for the parts bin. But Rob didn’t give up or obsess over perfection. He just charged ahead and brought the game back from the ashes… no matter how high the difficulty curve.
    Did he spend too much time and money on this project? Use “non-approved” restoration techniques? Make personal customized changes? Of course he did. And you know what? It was a testament to sheer will and creativity. Rob used this machine to learn how these things work and made it happen, while also making it his own.
    Pinball soul is made of pure determination. This stubborn individuality is exactly what makes our community so awesome. It is the one quality, more than any other, which unites us.
    And that, folks, is why the world is now +1 on the total playing machine count. Rock on.

    At Jordan’s storage unit, a Jackpot awaited closer inspection.

    Jordan procured an amusing instruction sheet detailing how to change the angle of ejection from the center kickout hole. Bend the tip of the kickout arm with pliers? Simple enough.

    This is what “high tapped” looks like. The power wire is soldered to the High Tap lug instead of the default 24 volt lug. I always move the wire back to normal voltage after rebuilding a machine. Otherwise the game is subjected to excess force which wears out the parts a bit faster.
    How much faster? I don’t know. But I’d rather aim for longevity and cleanliness than the “git ‘er done” method of powering through gunked-up mechs.
    'Tis better to tune up individual parts than overdrive the whole machine.

    Williams EM’s of this age often use the “keyhole” style pop bumper parts. You can replace them with new Gottlieb/Bally bakelite and metal yokes… but…

    …you’ll need to buy the KT-WPOP-01 kit from Pinball Resource to get the correct replacement plunger.
    On the left is the default Gottlieb/Bally pop plunger. On the right, the later-model Williams plunger. In the middle is the original keyhole-style plunger which would be replaced with a new one from the kit.

    The replay plugs in the back were not configured to match the award levels on the card… which I corrected. Does it bother you too when they don’t match?

    Finally, a demonstration of the “stealth LED” (warm white conversion) technique on Cross Town. In this first photo we see a deployment of red LED’s in the pops and cool whites under plastics and elsewhere.

    Afterward, we have installed bulbs under the plastics and lane guides, and warm white LED’s in the pops and under inserts. The look is much closer to the original appearance.
    Also notice the cabaret lights (under the top arch) were reverted from cool white LED to bulbs. I always install filament bulbs anywhere naked filaments would be visible to the eye.

    Before, the backbox was lit with cool white LED’s throughout, including the title marquee.

    After the switch, a warm glow pervades the scene. Filament 455 blinker bulbs were added behind the title for a traditional touch.
    Thanks to Jordan and the San Diego gang for a brief but enjoyable visit! I only wish I could have bottled up the fine weather and taken it with me across the desert to…
    Next stop -> Stuart Wright in Phoenix, AZ

    Wave at all the Zonies on the other side of the freeway who will be headed this way trying to get away from where you are going

    #1018 4 years ago

    Love the Queens games - the cigarette holders on them are useful for rolling up dollars and sliding them in while you play dollar games with friends to see who can light up the most queens - super fun!

    Glad you made it down to PNN too - haven't been there in too long!

    #1019 4 years ago

    Visit #41 -> Stu of CPR in Phoenix, AZ

    The subject: Keeping the hobby rolling

    1 (resized).JPG

    Phoenix… a city as well as a symbol of renewal by fire. It was a suitable metaphor as California’s temperate weather and breezy beachfront properties faded into the rear-view mirror, only to be replaced with searing 110+ degree desert heat. I didn’t realize how pampered-soft my skin had become from Kelowna all the way down the west coast. This was burning lava hell hot!

    Nevertheless, I was on an important mission: Documenting the ongoing preservation of pinball!

    2 (resized).JPG

    This is Stu. He is showing us a few proof prints of the playfields he created via CPR, known as Classic Playfield Reproductions.

    CPR is in the business of creating entirely new playfields, plastics, mods, and backglasses from scratch to replace the worn out parts in the classic pinball machines we own and love.

    Basically, this means Stu is a pretty damn important guy in the pinball hobby. He is to playfields and plastics what Steve Young is to pinball parts… indispensible!

    3 (resized).JPG

    Up close, we can see the amount of detail present in the Sorceror proof print. Everything is checked closely before silkscreening and CNC work.

    4 (resized).JPG

    Closer still (Voltan Escapes Cosmic Doom pictured here), it becomes evident how much manual labor is required to get the stippling effect just right. The bubble-edges must be done by hand, one dot at a time. No Photoshop-shortcuts taken here.

    5 (resized).JPG

    On the opposite wall, several hanging plaques display Stu’s plastics work. Many more lined the walls around the house. He’s obviously been a very busy guy in Pinball Land.

    6 (resized).JPG

    When printing and cutting a plastics set, one must consider the utilization of space within a single sheet to reduce production costs. Two different plastics sets were able to fit on this sheet with room for a few extra keyfobs.

    If you are a serious pinhead, you probably already know the names of the games… aye?

    7 (resized).JPG

    Stu’s gameroom was pimped out in classic UV-reactive darkness w/wall art and floor tiles. Note: Going with this design motif is never a bad decision.

    8 (resized).JPG

    Gorgeous classic Bally machines dominated the other row.

    9 (resized).JPG

    A traditional concession stand divided the space between the arcade and indoor theater.

    10 (resized).JPG

    And finally… the glorious artwork. Look at that color saturation! This Skateball playfield and plastics are courtesy of CPR’s fine efforts.

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    Another quality game and CPR production: Medusa. Fantastic work… draws you right into a fantasy world under the glass.

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    More outstanding work displayed on Silverball Mania. A treat for the eyes.

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    Fathom’s gorgeous blues set the scene underwater. I can’t decide whether I like Fathom, Centaur, or Medusa best from the Class of ’81.

    14 (resized).JPG

    Flash! Ahh ahhh! That’s one fantastic-looking art package, isn’t it? Meanest Bally ever made... super difficult game!

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    CPR's 1978 Bally Star Trek playfield was given a subtle upgrade: Glowing nacelles. They light up and rotate colors whenever the “warp speed” shot is made.

    16 (resized).JPG

    The creative touches are not limited to playfields alone. Stu’s Centaur was studded with silvery nails in place of the original paint. Hey, it’s a biker theme… works for me.

    17 (resized).JPG

    As a graphic artist, Stu often designs logos and graphics for other companies. He created this award-winning logo for XPin as well as the “evolution evolved” tagline.

    XPin creates LED numeric displays for classic pinball machines to replace the higher-power plasma versions and provide new color choices. Some of their displays add a seventh digit for keeping track of higher scores than the originals could... a nice upgrade!

    18 (resized).JPG

    Stu’s Embryon features a wicked set of seven-digit green displays for the scores (ball count and credit displays were kept orange). I remember buying my own set of green XPin displays after seeing a photo of this same machine in 2015. A perfect color choice for the spooky biological theme.

    19 (resized).JPG

    Stu took a different route with Spectrum: Blue, red, and double green to match the backglass. I’d probably go this way too if I owned one. Or try all-purple.

    20 (resized).JPG

    Speaking of which, this Playboy achieved a perfect pink color match by layering tinted gels over white XPin displays.

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    Pictured are some of the gels which can be used to dial in specific colors.

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    Of course, no collection would be complete without some of the greatest Bally EM’s in the house.

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    Behold the one-and-only matching upper arch decal for Wizard! I’m remaining hopeful that, someday, Stu might release this as a custom upgrade. It extends the artwork in a way which looks original… love it.

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    Lots of pinball going on in Phoenix… CPR, XPin, Starship Fantasy (they make Bally ramps & such), plenty of local collectors and players, and heck even Alice Cooper lives around here… he’s a serious pinball guy too.

    Keep up the awesome work, Stu. Pinball needs yu.

    I’ll be back before long. A collection like this demands repeat visits… but can we wait until after summer? *whew*

    Heading home... only three visits left...

    Next stop -> Alan “Pecos” and D&D Pinball in Tucson, AZ

    #1020 4 years ago

    awesome! thanks for all you do Stu!

    Really wish I had grabbed a gold Skateball when they were around!

    #1021 4 years ago

    Sorcerer playfield looks sweet!
    Cant' wait for that to get made.
    Thanks Stu!

    #1022 4 years ago

    I have a shuffle bowler project I'm working on if you're interested while you're here in Phoenix

    #1023 4 years ago
    Quoted from AZDbacker:

    I have a shuffle bowler project I'm working on if you're interested while you're here in Phoenix

    Oops... sorry... the story lags behind reality by a few days. Am a bit further down the trail now.

    #1024 4 years ago

    this is a great !
    hope to see more !
    great job nicovolta

    tommycrum

    #1025 4 years ago

    I one upped ya, Stu.

    15005045628951487301948 (resized).jpg

    #1026 4 years ago

    Time for another Krull reference...

    krull (resized).jpg

    #1027 4 years ago
    Quoted from Jjsmooth:

    I one upped ya, Stu.

    no bad santa action on that machine.

    #1028 4 years ago

    Visit #42 -> Alan (Pecos) and D&D Pinball in Tucson, AZ

    The subject: Downshifting for the return home

    1 (resized).JPG

    We begin with a Tucson in Tucson at a ParkTuscon meter baking in the sun. Still BLAZING HOT in the daylight but by evening the weather was lovely thanks to low humidity and distant windstorms w/lightning flashes.

    Mysterious and hostile though it may be, the desert is not without its blessings and fascinating contrasts.

    2 (resized).JPG

    You won't find any 20-sided dice at D&D Pinball. It is named after the original owners who established it, not its roleplaying namesake ya nerds!

    (I was one)

    3 (resized).JPG

    D&D has the enviable position of being located in the middle of a hip, walkable, and slightly weird downtown neighborhood. It sits equidistant between “The Hut”, a quirky tiki bar, and the “Surly Wench Pub”, a tavern with goth music & burlesque shows.

    Tucson is to Phoenix what Austin is to Dallas… in the early 90’s. You’ll either love it or run screaming to a suburban gated community for Netflix and pizza.

    4 (resized).JPG

    At the far right we see new owner Rob (NobleTucson) and his partner/co-owner Constance. Standing next to me (with his mini-me) is fellow Pinsider Ben (CaffeineSlug). That other fellow in the background? Why, it’s Alan, our own “Pecos The Enabler”, who is single-handedly responsible for getting too many of us into arguments about household space with our SO’s. 5,638 posts and still going strong in his pinball-scouting thread:

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/post-project-pins-for-sale-here-cl-ebay-pinside-and-others

    5 (resized).JPG

    After dinner at Caruso’s I encountered a young man singing in an odd falsetto to an invisible audience, another rapping into his phone, and a third who asked Alan if he could have a slice of his pizza. Sorry kid, only three slices in the box and one was half-eaten!

    6 (resized).JPG

    Another Pinsider, Dave (idave46), joined us later that night at Pecos’ Palatial Pinball Parlour.

    7 (resized).JPG

    Alan’s latest find was an Atari Airborne Avenger for… what was it… only $200? It looked nice and was in working condition… not a bad find! But the real treat was playing Double-Up - the rarest production Bally machine (only 55 produced in total). More fun than I expected it to be.

    8 (resized).JPG

    In the next room we found a Spanish Eyes next to Fan-Tas-Tic. Two middle-pops in the house!

    8x (resized).JPG

    One difference between Spanish Eyes and Fan-Tas-Tic is the proximity of the rebound rubbers around the lower pop bumper. Alan pointed out the differences and noted how much better the action was on Spanish Eyes due to the closer arrangement. I had to agree… it was faster and saved the ball more often than not.

    8y (resized).JPG

    In contrast, the rubbers on Fan-Tas-Tic are located a smidge further away and the side posts are angled slightly downwards. The net result is fewer rebounds and more drains. I wonder if Mr. Clark thought Spanish Eyes was too forgiving? Or was it a management decision to change the layout? Hard to say, but I’d prefer Fan-Tas-Tic to be a little less mean down there.

    The Freedom prototype (Norm’s third and final middle-pop layout with 3” flippers) seems to have struck a balance between the two. The rubbers maintain the same distance as Fan-Tas-Tic, but without the down-angled side rubbers.

    If I owned a Fan-Tas-Tic I’d experiment with drilling new holes and tightening up the area… it could use a bit more bounce.

    9 (resized).JPG

    In another room we find two more of Norm Clark’s fine creations: Expo and OXO. Both groundbreaking in their own right. OXO is Alan’s favorite game. Easily the best of the tic-tac-toe themes.

    10 (resized).JPG

    Another room, another corner, and yet ANOTHER pair from Norm Clark: Travel Time and Stop N’ Go. Is this my lucky day or what?

    Travel Time offers unlimited balls but if the clock runs out, it’s all over. Stop N’ Go features reversed flippers and a swinging target which can stop/go depending upon the targets hit.

    11 (resized).JPG

    Wherever I go, I’m never disappointed to find an Old Chicago. It is the quintessential Bally EM of the 70’s.

    12 (resized).JPG

    Big Ben, on the other hand, is… well... Big Ben. Alan refused to let me work on anything during my stay, but I insisted upon fixing the drop targets. After which he put his foot down: YOU NO FIX! YOU RELAX! And so I did. But not with 'ol Ben.

    13 (resized).JPG

    It’s not all EM-world at PPPP. Future Spa, Mr. & Mrs. Pac Man, and Hardbody made for an eclectic solid-state trio.

    Did you realize Hardbody shares an almost identical layout with Bally’s BMX from 1982? The sounds and music are hilarious. I think this pin might be the next “TX Sector” underground hit… it’s fun!

    14 (resized).JPG

    In another corner we have a Williams trio of Stellar Wars, Firepower, and Black Knight. Although Bally unquestionably ruled the early SS period, I can’t deny that Firepower and Black Knight put up one helluva fight.

    15 (resized).JPG

    Alan’s latest find was a $200 Bally Monte Carlo. The backglass was missing; in its place was this odd but attractive hypnotic pattern. I… I felt myself getting… sleepy… very sleepy.

    16 (resized).JPG

    BUT NOT SLEEPY ENOUGH TO MESS UP THE STREAK! Alan’s choice of game was Aztec, followed by Double-Up… but the streak prevailed.

    Numbers must be kryptonite to my selfie photos, because I messed it up again. 21-7 and that’s a wrap.

    Thanks to Alan “Pecos” for providing me with some much-needed respite in a cool little town. Would it be a fair comparison to say Tucson is the “Eugene of the Southwest”? Could be.

    Homeward bound… two visits left…

    Next stop ->Ben Avary in Midland, TX

    #1029 4 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Visit #42 -> Alan (Pecos) and D&D Pinball in Tucson, AZ
    The subject: Downshifting for the return home

    We begin with a Tucson in Tucson at a ParkTuscon meter baking in the sun. Still BLAZING HOT in the daylight but by evening the weather was lovely thanks to low humidity and distant windstorms w/lightning flashes.
    Mysterious and hostile though it may be, the desert is not without its blessings and fascinating contrasts.

    You won't find any 20-sided dice at D&D Pinball. It is named after the original owners who established it, not its roleplaying namesake ya nerds!
    (I was one)

    D&D has the enviable position of being located in the middle of a hip, walkable, and slightly weird downtown neighborhood. It sits equidistant between “The Hut”, a quirky tiki bar, and the “Surly Wench Pub”, a tavern with goth music & burlesque shows.
    Tucson is to Phoenix what Austin is to Dallas… in the early 90’s. You’ll either love it or run screaming to a suburban gated community for Netflix and pizza.

    At the far right we see new owner Rob (nobletucson) and his partner/co-owner Constance. Standing next to me (with his mini-me) is fellow Pinsider Ben (caffeineslug). That other fellow in the background? Why, it’s Alan, our own “Pecos The Enabler”, who is single-handedly responsible for getting too many of us into arguments about household space with our SO’s. 5,638 posts and still going strong in his pinball-scouting thread:
    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/post-project-pins-for-sale-here-cl-ebay-pinside-and-others

    After dinner at Caruso’s I encountered a young man singing in an odd falsetto to an invisible audience, another rapping into his phone, and a third who asked Alan if he could have a slice of his pizza. Sorry kid, only three slices in the box and one was half-eaten!

    Another Pinsider, Dave (idave46), joined us later that night at Pecos’ Palatial Pinball Parlour.

    Alan’s latest find was an Atari Airborne Avenger for… what was it… only $200? It looked nice and was in working condition… not a bad find! But the real treat was playing Double-Up - the rarest production Bally machine (only 55 produced in total). More fun than I expected it to be.

    In the next room we found a Spanish Eyes next to Fan-Tas-Tic. Two middle-pops in the house!

    One difference between Spanish Eyes and Fan-Tas-Tic is the proximity of the rebound rubbers around the lower pop bumper. Alan pointed out the differences and noted how much better the action was on Spanish Eyes due to the closer arrangement. I had to agree… it was faster and saved the ball more often than not.

    In contrast, the rubbers on Fan-Tas-Tic are located a smidge further away and the side posts are angled slightly downwards. The net result is fewer rebounds and more drains. I wonder if Mr. Clark thought Spanish Eyes was too forgiving? Or was it a management decision to change the layout? Hard to say, but I’d prefer Fan-Tas-Tic to be a little less mean down there.
    The Freedom prototype (Norm’s third and final middle-pop layout with 3” flippers) seems to have struck a balance between the two. The rubbers maintain the same distance as Fan-Tas-Tic, but without the down-angled side rubbers.
    If I owned a Fan-Tas-Tic I’d experiment with drilling new holes and tightening up the area… it could use a bit more bounce.

    In another room we find two more of Norm Clark’s fine creations: Expo and OXO. Both groundbreaking in their own right. OXO is Alan’s favorite game. Easily the best of the tic-tac-toe themes.

    Another room, another corner, and yet ANOTHER pair from Norm Clark: Travel Time and Stop N’ Go. Is this my lucky day or what?
    Travel Time offers unlimited balls but if the clock runs out, it’s all over. Stop N’ Go features reversed flippers and a swinging target which can stop/go depending upon the targets hit.

    Wherever I go, I’m never disappointed to find an Old Chicago. It is the quintessential Bally EM of the 70’s.

    Big Ben, on the other hand, is… well... Big Ben. Alan refused to let me work on anything during my stay, but I insisted upon fixing the drop targets. After which he put his foot down: YOU NO FIX! YOU RELAX! And so I did. But not with 'ol Ben.

    It’s not all EM-world at PPPP. Future Spa, Mr. & Mrs. Pac Man, and Hardbody made for an eclectic solid-state trio.
    Did you realize Hardbody shares an almost identical layout with Bally’s BMX from 1982? The sounds and music are hilarious. I think this pin might be the next “TX Sector” underground hit… it’s fun!

    In another corner we have a Williams trio of Stellar Wars, Firepower, and Black Knight. Although Bally unquestionably ruled the early SS period, I can’t deny that Firepower and Black Knight put up one helluva fight.

    Alan’s latest find was a $200 Bally Monte Carlo. The backglass was missing; in its place was this odd but attractive hypnotic pattern. I… I felt myself getting… sleepy… very sleepy.

    BUT NOT SLEEPY ENOUGH TO MESS UP THE STREAK! Alan’s choice of game was Aztec, followed by Double-Up… but the streak prevailed.
    Numbers must be kryptonite to my selfie photos, because I messed it up again. 21-7 and that’s a wrap.
    Thanks to Alan “Pecos” for providing me with some much-needed respite in a cool little town. Would it be a fair comparison to say Tucson is the “Eugene of the Southwest”? Could be.
    Homeward bound… two visits left…
    Next stop ->Ben Avary in Midland, TX

    Pecos is 'camera shy'??? lol

    #1030 4 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    After dinner at Caruso’s I encountered a young man singing in an odd falsetto to an invisible audience, another rapping into his phone, and a third who asked Alan if he could have a slice of his pizza. Sorry kid, only three slices in the box and one was half-eaten!

    Always great to have a place that's right out of a David Lynch movie. I had one once at a BBQ 'shed' in outside of St. Louis where a man slept splayed out on a table, woke up suddenly, jumped up, and said ' I wonder what chestnuts taste like' and split out the door, seconds later, his pregnant sister comes in, apparently to get a ride, starts crying, and two old ladies, actually mock her for no apparent reason. It had great 'nature scene wallpaper' right out of the 60's, a staff of chain smoking swearing cooks, and a helper guy setting up a buffet who didn't know the difference between a ladle and a spoon "Which one is a ladle". I'll give him credit for asking, but fail the state for the sad level of his education.

    Sounds like quite the trip.

    #1031 4 years ago

    Visit #1 -> Nic's visit to D&D Pinball and Pecos' Palatial Pinball Parlour.
    The subjects: Robert Noble, D&D Pinball co-owner NobleTucson , Constance, D&D Pinball co-owner, Ben CaffeineSlug, Dave idave46 and Pecos - All awesome and friendly people - not too sure about that strange looking Pecos dude though.

    I was to meet Nic at D&D Pinball at 4:00 on another hot Tucson afternoon in July. I got there a few minutes within that time and as I headed into Tucson's premier place to play pinball, there was Nic, playing pinball and awaiting a night of pinball misadventure.

    DSCF2785 (resized).JPG

    Nic and Robert in front of D & D Pinball.

    I didn't plan it this way, but instead of playing pinball, we talked pinball - for two full hours at D&D Pinball! Ben had to leave for home and Constance had to mind the shop, so, Nic, Robert and I then retired to Caruso's Italian restaurant where Robert and I split an extra large Pepperoni and Sausage pizza. It was quite yummy and more than plenty. There we talked more pinball and chowed down on some excellent Italian food! It didn't take me long to realize that, unlike me, pinball was all about people for Nic. I already knew that, but meeting him in person put an exclamation mark on the point. As his tour was winding down, Nic recounted the many long hours on his feet educating the unwashed masses how to bring these marvelous electro-mechanical devices back to life. That, my friends, is a labor of love. And it was people who he has interacted with, not just the machines. And it is people who will eventually keep the EM silver ball flying around the playfield for years to come - or not.

    DSCF2784 (resized).JPG

    Here, from left to right, are Robert, Constance, Nic and Ben and son. Gotta love a dad who brings his son to a pinball 'meet up'! He's definitely a Pinball Player in the making!

    Nic followed me to Pecos' Palatial Pinball Parlour. Neither of us got lost. It was an interesting evening. The Monsoon was making it's first appearance in the Tucson area and lightning was striking in the distance. Dave, another Pinsider, met us at PPPP. Both got the nickel tour and played almost all of my working pins. It was a fun-filled night of classic EM and SS pinball playing!

    Nic was kind enough not to mention the many Project Pins in the queue awaiting for 'the treatment.' And he passed on commenting about my bad habit of getting a Project Pin working 95% and then moving on to the next in line. I just can't help myself. I want to get that next new thing up and running.

    DSCF2788 (resized).JPG

    Nic, patiently waiting as I ate my two full plates of Chinese buffet.

    DSCF2789 (resized).JPG

    Nic, returning for seconds and heading for the healthy food. I, on the other hand, headed straight for the fried food. But, it was oh so good!

    Nic, your description of the desert was so poetic and true. The desert has many surprises and extremes that add spice to life. Sorry you missed the Monsoon. It poured the night after you left and then rained on and off all night. Long periods of light rain are common during the Monsoon but overnight rains are rare. I don't want you and the other Pinsiders to think that hellish 110+ temperatures last all summer - just part of June and the odd day in July.

    Thank you, Nic, for visiting us here in Tucson. You are a legend in your own time and I am honored that you spent some of your time with me and a few other pinball lovers here in the Sonoran Desert. Please come back and visit us again soon!

    #1032 4 years ago

    Thanks again Pecos. Enjoyed the post-review. Tucson was interesting w/a vibe I'd like to revisit someday. Between the winds, lightning, heat, and quirkiness it reminded me of a favorite line from my younger days...

    I was pissing on the desert sands, when the desert whispered to me. Said, "Isn't this a shame? Things will never be the same..."

    #1033 4 years ago

    Nic
    You back in Tejas yet?

    #1034 4 years ago

    Visit #43 -> Ben Avary (Chosen_S) in Midland, TX

    The subject: The craziest town in Texas?

    1 (resized).JPG

    The Eye of Sauron observed my return to Texas – apparently angry with my decision to leave for so long while having such a good time doing it. In retaliation, it hurled a MASSIVE lightning and dust storm in my direction. I was trapped in a zero-visibility red sky with thunderbolts and whipping winds all around. Even with the windows closed, I had to cover my mouth with a t-shirt to avoid inhaling dust and was lucky I didn’t plow into anyone (or vice versa!)… holy hell!

    The Wild West still exists out here, y’all. It ain’t just the weather, either. Once I crossed into Midland, all of the other vehicles on the road were transformed into large pickup trucks. Many of which were customized with huge vertical smoke-billowing exhaust pipes. And boy, did they like to stomp the hell out of the gas pedal… BROMP BRROMMMMMPPP! Some of the drivers were even yelling out of the windows as they sped by. At me? At pedestrians? At the featureless landscape? At the flaming columns of fire amid so many discarded fast food bags?

    Yep, pardner… if you wanna find real “Texas crazy” just like in the movies, you won’t get it at Southfork Ranch. You gotta go down to the industrial meat grinder known as Midland/Odessa and see oil money gone mad.

    2 (resized).JPG

    Fortunately, Ben knows how to make the best of the situation. His sense of drive and resourcefulness is nothing less than exceptional. He has only been in the hobby a few months longer than I have (which isn’t that long to begin with) yet has been doing full-on arcade restorations and custom work in the back of his windshield repair/replacement business... which is only one of several shops he owns and operates in the region.

    Safelite, eat your heart out!

    3 (resized).JPG

    Windshields, meet pinballs. Work had already begun upon my arrival.

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    Fellow Pinsider Keith (kaston1573 – on the left) had joined us from Abilene to visit and learn a few tips. Ben (Chosen_S) on the right was busy replacing shooter parts on his Williams Skylab. Was this the third or fourth Skylab on the tour? Can’t remember… I’m finally running out of steam.

    5 (resized).JPG

    Whoa. A backlog of projects filled the rear of the shop. But they’ll get done. Ben's a guy who gets things done.

    6 (resized).JPG

    TANK! This 1974 game was very successful in its day. Over 10,000 were produced and was responsible for helping Atari achieve mega-success. If you’ve ever played “Combat” (and I bet you have), you can thank Kee Games for its legacy beginning right here.

    7 (resized).JPG

    Medusa, Meteor, and Spanish Eyes wait patiently in the work queue. I’ll take all three, please!

    8 (resized).JPG

    The chime unit in Spanish Eyes wasn’t making any of its signature janky-clanks. We checked the score relay and alligator-clipped the circuit to a power junction to rule out poor connections.

    9 (resized).JPG

    The coil was getting voltage and tested OK. Hmmmm. Could it be…

    10 (resized).JPG

    …a simple mechanical issue? No wax tip on the plunger = no striking the chime bar. New part needed, stat!

    11 (resized).JPG

    Back to Skylab to clean off a nasty track of grease from the wiper path.

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    Mother’s Mag Polish saves the day again… no sanding needed.

    13 (resized).JPG

    But wait! The 1000’s digit wasn’t advancing. A misaligned switch stack, perhaps?

    14 (resized).JPG

    Nope. Bad solder joint! Remember to tug every solder joint as you go.

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    Ben spotted some dirty rivets on the bonus stepper. He volunteered to use his favorite Star Trek weapon against them… phasers set to polish!

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    We like where this is going. We like it a lot.

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    Skylab ready for launch? Thrusters… engage!

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    Ben built this rebel cruiser from a Lego kit, but the Death Star backdrop was entirely his creation. He spent a good deal of time modeling it after the original design from the film. Not bad, eh?

    After identifying and isolating a short in Olympic Hockey, we headed over to Ben’s place for a look at his custom Gamatron.

    19 (resized).JPG

    Gamatron is a narrow-body version of Stern’s Flight 2000. Ben modded this one to the max with a custom Cylon-style oscillating topper, high-power audio system, subwoofer, and custom techno soundtrack.

    20 (resized).JPG

    Inside, we can see this is no ordinary sound system.

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    Ben built a custom cabinet for the game with translucent cutouts on the sides. Pretty darn cool.

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    The playfield was constructed using an overlay shot with clear coat. Overlays can be fussy to deal with, but Ben’s careful execution was flawless.

    Check out this video of the game in action:

    Ben... please bring your Gamatron to TPF (Texas Pinball Festival) in 2018!

    23 (resized).JPG

    Out back, we can see the foundation for the next phase of Ben’s pinball aspirations. After crossing the 20-pin threshold one is always faced with a similar choice: To build, or not to build an arcade shed.

    Ben says build!

    24 (resized).JPG

    Ben is a fine example of the unpredictable-yet-awesome quality of our hobby. Upon first glance you might assume his windshield shop is just another roadside business in crazy ol’ Midland with its Blade Runner-esque belching flamestacks... but even here... the pinball rolls on, gloriously.

    See you guys at TPF in 2018!

    One more mini-visit left…

    Next stop -> Mark Shackelford in Granbury, TX

    #1035 4 years ago

    nice to put a face to Ben, a guy I have conversed with and we have very similar tastes in pinball!

    Hope to meet him in real life soon, possibly the next TPF...

    #1036 4 years ago

    not to nitpick, but the rebel cruiser was never near the death star. Ok, i'm done nerding now.

    #1037 4 years ago
    Quoted from CaptainNeo:

    not to nitpick, but the rebel cruiser was never near the death star. Ok, i'm done nerding now.

    LOL NERRRRDDDD!!!!!

    #1038 4 years ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    nice to put a face to Ben, a guy I have conversed with and we have very similar tastes in pinball!
    Hope to meet him in real life soon, possibly the next TPF...

    Likewise big guy!!

    Quoted from CaptainNeo:

    not to nitpick, but the rebel cruiser was never near the death star. Ok, i'm done nerding now.

    The idea was that the Tantive IV happened upon space debris from the massive explosion, hehe

    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Visit #43 -> Ben Avary (Chosen_S) in Midland, TX
    The subject: The craziest town in Texas?

    Nic, you're a scholar and gentleman, thank you for the education and great conversation!

    I'm glad you liked Gamatron, for the record... that's no overlay that's the original real deal. That darn earthshaker has an immaculate overlay next to it, and yes they suck and are not my first choice but who's counting?
    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/gamatron-scratch-build

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/backyard-gameroom-in-the-desert

    Anyone who did not have the pleasure of Nic's expertise and presence; he is top notch, my self, others and the hobby are much better with him in the world. Thank you Nic, for everything!

    Btw... Nic was certainly graced by the many roaring oilfield trodding vehicles and plenty of sand from our frequent wind storms. There are a few spots of oasis here and there. Wild West!? Yes, everyone here has a gun, but are the some of the most loyal and genuine people you can find , 'Merica!

    IMG_5069 (resized).JPG
    Nic was super excited to be in Midland, see the smile on his face?

    Also someone with his exact car stopped by.

    #1039 4 years ago

    Ben- the translucent sides on your custom pin looks great!

    #1040 4 years ago

    One of the things that sticks in my mind about traveling rural Texas is that any place, and I mean ANY PLACE, on any highway, is an exit ramp. The guy in front of you, even on an interstate highway, will just pull off anywhere. Why wait for a marked exit? Just pull off across the shoulder and drive up to another road. Every hundred feet or so is a well worn path where people just pull off of the highway. Must be legal. Everybody does it.
    One of the strangest things I have ever seen.

    #1041 4 years ago
    Quoted from Chosen_S:

    I'm glad you liked Gamatron, for the record... that's no overlay that's the original real deal. That darn earthshaker has an immaculate overlay next to it, and yes they suck and are not my first choice but who's counting?

    Further evidence of my running out of steam. The corrections mount! Done and done.

    Thanks Ben... it was a pleasure.

    #1042 4 years ago
    Quoted from Chosen_S:

    Nic was super excited to be in Midland, see the smile on his face?

    I might have been chuckling at the guy in the huge truck racing another guy in a huge truck speeding through the intersection going YAEOHOO! BROOMMMPPPPPPPPP!!!!

    It was happening the whole day! Is it true after a while you tend not to hear it anymore?

    #1043 4 years ago
    Quoted from Chosen_S:

    Also someone with his exact car stopped by.

    IMG_2960 (resized).JPG

    This little guy was thrilled to be playing Siamese-cars... hahaha

    Also look in the background... I see some... green stuff? A TREE! THERE IS A TREE HERE!

    #1044 4 years ago
    Quoted from BorgDog:

    Oh, I see Tucson on the route, hopefully that means Pecos' Palatial Pinball Parlor!

    Yes! Absolutely!

    Quoted from nascarrey:

    Pecos is 'camera shy'??? lol

    When one knows that one's mug will be plastered all over the Internet, one must know one's best side and one must present that side to the world.

    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Another room, another corner, and yet ANOTHER pair from Norm Clark: Travel Time and Stop N’ Go. Is this my lucky day or what?

    I had no idea that I had so many pins designed by Norm Clark. I do so love my Williams EMs!

    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Alan refused to let me work on anything during my stay, but I insisted upon fixing the drop targets. After which he put his foot down: YOU NO FIX! YOU RELAX!

    Poor Nic was exiting his peaceful shower when he heard the unmistakable sound, KER-CHUNK, KER-CHUNK of Old Chicago's score motor resetting the drop targets. I wanted to get it working before he left. It only took a few minutes for Nic to point out the normally open switches that were closed on both Big Ben and Old Chicago. Nic, I need to borrow your eyes! I was looking in the right places but apparently my eyesight can no longer distinguish between a normally open and a normally closed switch.

    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    BUT NOT SLEEPY ENOUGH TO MESS UP THE STREAK! Alan’s choice of game was Aztec, followed by Double-Up… but the streak prevailed.

    I do have some excuses:

    I don't play pinball very well in the morning.
    I was sleep walking.
    I don't play pinball very well under pressure.
    I haven't been practicing.
    I've been too busy bringing Project Pins back to life to play pinball.
    I was sandbagging in preparation for the next visit.
    I can't prove this, but I'm pretty sure that the Russians hacked the score reels on my EMs.

    While my excuses may garner some sympathy for my embarrassing and humiliating loss, I was handily beaten by Nic so all credit goes to him.

    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Thanks to Alan “Pecos” for providing me with some much-needed respite in a cool little town.

    It was indeed my pleasure. Thank you for the kind write-up of the visit to Pecos' Palatial Pinball Parlour.

    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Between the winds, lightning, heat, and quirkiness it reminded me of a favorite line from my younger days...
    I was pissing on the desert sands, when the desert whispered to me. Said, "Isn't this a shame? Things will never be the same..."

    Funny you should mention this. Whenever we get a rip-roaring thunderstorm during the Monsoon, I play 'Thunderstorm Music.' It's a tradition. One of the lines in 'Mad Man Moon' on that album is:

    "Within the valley of shadowless death
    They pray for thunderclouds and rain,
    But to the multitude who stand in the rain
    Heaven is where the sun shines.
    The grass will be greener till the stems turn to brown
    And thoughts will fly higher till the earth brings them down.
    Forever caught in desert lands one has to learn
    To disbelieve the sea.

    If this desert's all there'll ever be
    Then tell me what becomes of me.
    A fall of rain?
    That must have been another of your dreams,
    A dream of mad man moon."

    From the best art-rock album ever conceived and performed - 'A Trick of the Tail' by Genesis. Lyrics by Tony Banks. Beautifully sung by Phil Collins.

    #1045 4 years ago

    Any chance you'll be stopping in New Jersey on this trip?

    #1046 4 years ago
    Quoted from beelzeboob:

    Any chance you'll be stopping in New Jersey on this trip?

    Really? NJ was back in May.

    #1047 4 years ago
    Quoted from beelzeboob:

    Any chance you'll be stopping in New Jersey on this trip?

    There is a 100% chance that he did.

    -1
    #1048 4 years ago
    Quoted from NicoVolta:

    Also look in the background... I see some... green stuff? A TREE! THERE IS A TREE HERE!

    I thought they Outlawed Trees in Texas back in the 1800's?

    #1050 4 years ago

    I was joking. You'll recall my distress at having missed you at Allentown. Figured I'd pull that asinine one liner out of the hat just before you got home.

    I'll save my Jacks Open repairs for your next trip up here...

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