(Topic ID: 218168)

Official "HARDTOPS" thread

By Skypilot

1 year ago

Topic Stats

  • 1,005 posts
  • 242 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 11 minutes ago by Mathazar
  • Topic is favorited by 167 Pinsiders


Linked Games

Topic poll

“If we produce a Hardtop for this game would yo purchase it?”

  • High Speed 124 votes
  • Firepower 87 votes
  • Silverball Mania 38 votes
  • Time Warp 18 votes
  • Mata Hari 30 votes
  • Blackout 65 votes
  • Tri-Zone 14 votes
  • Swords of Fury 57 votes
  • Space Station 39 votes
  • Fathom 34 votes
  • Pinbot 87 votes
  • Eight Ball Deluxe 88 votes
  • Strikes and Spares 30 votes
  • Kiss (Bally) 27 votes
  • Supersonic 27 votes
  • Grand Lizard 52 votes

(Multiple choice - 817 votes by 472 Pinsiders)

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Topic index (key posts)

2 key posts have been marked in this topic

Post #274 Upcoming Game List Posted by Outsidedge (12 months ago)

Post #870 Hardtop Hiatus Clarification Posted by Outsidedge (3 months ago)

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#27 1 year ago

First, Thank you Skypilot for starting this on behalf of the Hardtop effort to affordably bring games back to life! Folks, feel free to vote above, as this helps us decide how to proceed. We are glad you are all liking the product. Just remember, We suggest our product for trashed playfields that are not realistic to restore.


4 months later
#209 1 year ago
Quoted from fattdirk:

How long do these usually take to ship? I ordered a firepower Oct 2nd and haven't heard anything.

Sorry, we are behind trying to get ready for expo. We have your order and will be shipping in the next couple of days. We try to ship within one day, but sometimes it turns into a week.

Sorry for the delay!

#210 1 year ago

Sky pilot, you just may be the “savior of the universe”!

#214 1 year ago
Quoted from desertT1:

Todd has 24k subs on youtube, so that's some pretty good exposure.

We couldn't be more surprised and pleased that Todd and his crew made the video. He sent us a kind letter as well saying that this is the best thing to happen within pinball collecting for many years.

We have revived over 140 machines and counting!

Yes, yes... more titles ARE coming.

Next: Mata Hari!.. and a surprise title.

#229 1 year ago
Quoted from FrankJ:

I wish they were a little more vocal on titles they are planning to do, working on, and potential timetables.
This could and should be huge, but progress appears slow and disjointed.
Pump them out. We want them!

Well, slow I can agree with... but disjointed.. no. Disjointed would be rushing them out into the field before we know they are ready and then having angry customers all over the world (literally). Or, possibly disjointed would be to list a title and have it on a list for years without being completed. We want to avoid that for sure.

We are proud to say we have had a total of 3 returns for manufacturing issues out of many, many shipped and installed.

We are guilty as charged at being slow. We are a rather larger commercial shop, and it should be no surprise that pinball is not keeping the lights on. We work on these projects when it makes sense to do so. We are pleased to continue to bring 3-6 new titles a year (while existing titles we offer continue to be available). We do not remark on new titles on a quite long list we are working from because lots of things happen that can alter our course.

We DO announce new titles as we are ready to begin working on them in batches of 2-5 (you may look back and see that). That next round is nearing as we finish up the last of our latest list... being Firepower, Mata Hari, Evel K. and Black Knight. We would not feel right about announcing a batch, then not having them out within 12 -14 months for sale.

I apologize for the slowness, but that is what we can do. If The Hardtop keeps attracting interest... we will keep producing the titles we receive permission to produce. More to come!

FYI.... most 3rd party? Like Star trek ect..... MUCH more difficult to get permission.

Thank you all for your interest!

#232 1 year ago
Quoted from dnaman:

Oh alright , since you put it that way
Can you tell me if Swords of Fury is coming or even just if it is a serious possibility?

Serious possibly.

1 week later
#274 12 months ago

Alright folks.... I will start a new round thread as well, but as a result of these polls coupled with emailed requests and comments at shows ... Here is the next round. The only wild card is Eight ball Deluxe. I need to confirm rights/permission first.

Eight ball Deluxe (pending)
Swords of Fury
Grand Lizard

As we grow with titles we will try to do a better job on social media also. We are guilty of being consumed with commercial print work most of the time, and these marketing/communication steps sometimes fall by the wayside when it comes to our beloved pinball efforts.

#275 12 months ago

Also, as far as confidence in the product... I will say that Mark Ritchie purchased a Taxi Hardtop for the machine in his home. He absolutely loved the product when we sold this to him in 2017.

While the Hardtop is NOT impervious and will not last forever, I will say that we designed this product with care. We intend for this product to last AT LEAST as long as the original did... while stating "probably longer". If we really wanted to invest in excellerated wear testing... we could. The product price would also reflect this substantial investment that will be nothing more in the end, than a "feel good".

The Hardtop is also NOT a new playfield for those stanch restorers looking to maintain the machines original status of a wood playing surface.

As a reminder, the Hardtop is also NOT a great solution to "preserve" original art on a playing surface. It is intended from it's inception to take an otherwise unusable, undesirable piece of wood ... and use it as a donor to resurface with a Hardtop... resulting in a high gloss, hard, durable playing surface that eclipse the original in surface perfection. Faster? YES... Original feel... close, but no. It feels more modern in ball speed and play. It also (happy accident) really smooths the overall feel of play.

We now have a little over 200 units in the field, with some of them already more than 2 years old. Some of these games are routed and are reporting with glowing reviews to date. My Shuttle (the original product test bed) easily has over 2,000 plays. How fitting for Space Shuttle be the pioneer!

How long do they last... is understandably the golden question. I can tell you that you can take an "eye sore" old game and make it awesome again for many years to come for around 300 bucks. But...we would be lying if we claimed to know the answer for "how long"... WAAYYYYY too many variables to ever commit to such an ambiguous question. Storage conditions? Number of plays? How clean is it kept? Are the balls in good condition?.... much much more.

I can tell you the Hardtop WAS compared to the average clear coat in an ATSM taber test in Israel. Our Hardtop was MORE scratch resistant than clear coat.

Hope this helps! Thank you all for your interest in our product. We are thrilled to revive so many games stuck in the corner of your shop that have blown play fields. DON'T PART OUT GAMES! It makes us cry.

#278 12 months ago
Quoted from PinballManiac40:

outsidedge how long do you think before the SOF is ready to start shipping? Just asking for a friend.

Sorry folks... we will hardly ever commit to ship dates (or throw out guesses that turn into expectations). Way too many reasons why things sometimes don't go as planned. We will ALWAYS announce when they are ready... and "sometimes" call out when titles are almost ready. Anything further is setting ourselves up for failure. 12-14 months really is the best I can promise until we are almost "go time" on a title.

Current titles very near launching: High Speed and Mata Hari.

We will be working hard for you all though to get these titles rolling!

#304 11 months ago
Quoted from TheCapn:

Yea, that isn't the entire issue though. There is a gap from the bottom of the ramp entrance to the hard top the 'Y' axis of the playfield. I'll get some pictures up to give those a better reference tomorrow.

Pictures will help us. We have been contacted by a small handful of folks with this issue specific to Black Knight. It turns out there are a least 2 version of this ramp area that shipped originally. The one we built and designed from did not share this issue. Once I see these, we may be able to send out something to assist you. We should be able to come up with a solution.

#310 11 months ago

Hmmm, I see the issue. Let me get with my design team and decide on a solution. I just looovvvve when we find games that they decided to change mid stream during a game run. I am sure it will happen again.... but we can persevere!

I will say thank you, sincerely to all... who bring these issues to our attention in an intelligent way, without exclaiming from the hilltops about how "wrong" the part is. As we will all continue to see, changes occurred as necessary to keep the games shipping and the line moving.

As Greg Freres responded to the following question during our Expo seminar last year:

Seminar name was "Making Perfect Parts for Imperfect Pinball Machines"

Outside Edge: Greg, would variances between parts from vendors, or design changes occur after games were already built?

Greg: Yes, from time to time.

Outside Edge: Would a received part be accepted that was not exactly as the first parts used?

Greg: Would NOT accepting it stop the production line? ... if Yes, the part was often still used.

Basically.... Design and art changes occurred as needed, with no real concern over machine #696 NOT matching machine #2 off the line.

#339 11 months ago
Quoted from TheCapn:

Got a series started on this process. When I see a products potential - I stand up for it. So, I decided to put up a series to help those future buyers on the installation process. Looking forward to Swords of Fury cause that game is hard to find and when you do get them the PF's are more than likely trashed. Just so I cover all my bases - if there is any info that NEEDS to be noted in the narration of the follow up videos let me know. Thanks.

Well done Capn! I really like your idea about blacking out the edges of the inserts for extra insurance. We will monitor the thread and await your follow up video.

- Outside Edge

#345 11 months ago
Quoted from dzorbas:

I learned the hard way about this. I was a hair off when I laid down my BK hardtop and there are a couple of spots where you can see a tiny bit of bare wood. Not the end of the world but I realized after it was down if I had put down some black around the inserts you wouldn't be able to see anything.
The other thing I've noticed is that there is a bit of light bleed through the hardtop around the inserts in the sword (4 through 40) that have a white background. I have some pretty bright LEDs under the playfield and that probably doesn't help. I don't know how hard it would be to add a layer of black to the hardtop where there is white or light colours round the inserts. Maybe I'm seeing this because mine is slightly misaligned.
Of course the other option is to use different bulbs and see if it makes a difference but right now the game looks pretty awesome as is...

Yes, this is something we are always trying to tweak. We are working on improvements as we can, but the issue becomes ink film thickness. To build density (due to having limited ability to actually effect opaqueness within the ink itself) we have to double/triple strike-print. That is only a fix to the point where a "bump" starts to result. We ARE working on it though. A ,limitation for sure... toning down your brightness a touch will help.

8 months later
#870 3 months ago

Hi All! I am finally getting a chance to log on and clarify what we communicated on our site. We are actually shooting to be shipping product again by October. Earlier IS possible... but only if we are ready. Our end goal was to be down for 90 days tops. We just cannot make the changes we are making and also keep filling orders. Impossible.

1. Hardtops are NOT going away.
2. Yes, more titles... no, we will not comment on next titles due to the nature of how we are able to work on them. We made that mistake developing High Speed by announcing... then got daily barrages of emails asking "How long".
3. There IS a list somewhere on
here that I posted some time ago, and that list is still accurate as far as titles.

I will post updates sometime in the next 6 weeks here.

Thank you all for your interest in our product... we are thrilled to play a part in bringing games back to life.

It is our goal to figure out how to turn new titles faster, but that is a complicated thing when mixed into a commercial shop that needs to keep the lights on first and foremost with "wheelhouse" work. We are changing things that may yield results though!

As always, I will apologize for either no response or slow response to the many emails as: "Are you going to do XYZ title"... or "when will you be back... when will this title be ready". We just get so many... It's tough to field them all. We will do our best.

Remember this one though (to maybe reduce emails a little): We RARELY get permission for 3rd party titles like Star Trek, Indiana Jones.. or any other IP containing stars/singers/movies/characters. We have only gotten a few so far.

Again... Thank you...Thank you. Grill out, go swimming... we will be back!

1 month later
#911 40 days ago

Hello All! We have trickled a few High Speeds out, and a handful of others over the summer. We are getting closer to resuming official sales on our site. (I hope 3 weeks from now). I did want to let all know that we will have a few of the following titles in the next week or so. PM me if you would like to order. Since we only have a few for a bit, we will wait until normal supply is up before turning on the automated order site @ pinballgifts.com

Available as a single complete unit or in some instances 3 of them:
Normal Space Shuttle
NON Hot Dog Space Shuttle
Evel K.
Future Spa
High Speed
Taxi Lola
Taxi Marylin
Black Knight

NONE: Wizard!, Frontier, Mata Hari.... but working on it.

Yes, more titles coming... but we will not make announcements until it is ready to ship. (or maybe when final proto is going on)


#922 35 days ago

Hi All! We have sold out of many of the titles for a short time. We will have more done soon. We also plan on being at Expo... but NOT exhibiting this year. We will be happy to pre sell anything we can prior to the show and deliver there to save you shipping. I will post soon what we will have ready.

Evel Knievel
Space Shuttle ONLY non hot dog (traditional is temporarily sold out)
Future Spa
Taxi Marilyn

More to come soon... and yes, we read your wish lists

1 week later
#926 25 days ago

Howdy fellow pinball heads!

We have a few more Shuttles finished, and a few more High Speed ready. Also, may have a Black Knight or 2 not spoken for as well as Firepower. PM us if interested! Plus the titles listed above... although we are finishing more EK this week.

For a while yet we will continue to trickle these out, but soon it will be muuuchhh better supply. Yes, more titles too.

Lastly, if you would like to purchase and you are going to Expo, we can deliver there if you PM us and we have them available. Save shipping!

1 week later
#955 16 days ago

We are reading through all the recent posts, and creative and smart approaches to installing our product... so happy and proud to be a part of breathing air back into soooo many machines... affordably!!

We are getting ready to open a can of whoop ass on new titles... be patient for now. We are coming with more in a bigger way.

You all are awesome!

#964 13 days ago

Hi All,
An update on what we have in stock (and not). If you would like to order, just PM us with title, name, address and email address to PAYPAL

Most of these ... we have a few only.

High Speed
Space Shuttle
Evel K.
Taxi (both)
Future Spa
Mata Hari

More coming soon:
Comet, Black Knight, Frontier

Next new title: EBD (timing.. December)

We are coming to Expo next week, but NOT exhibiting. We can bring a title with us to save you shipping if you like. Just PM us if interested.

1 week later
#997 22 hours ago
Quoted from Mr_Outlane:

If you go and read Vid's guide on playfield restoration he clearly tells you that the clear needs some tooth to adhere properly. So I would never sand those inserts that smooth and then clear coat them!

Hi A quick reminder that there is actually no adhesive over any inserts at all. There should be no concern over not providing tooth, as the Hardtop is clear (except printed copy) and no adhesive over inserts. More reasons why a Hardtop will look great for a long time.

There is no reliable way to provide a non cloudy, optically clear adhesive that will stay that way for years. (We all know how bad lifting mylars look over inserts... it would potentially cause the same problem eventually because inserts MOVE) We eliminate the potential issues by not trying to in the first place.


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