Price Check - heavily routed Fish Tales (Update: Purchased)

By decktard

6 years ago


  • 61 posts
  • 38 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 6 years ago by davewth
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#1 6 years ago

I'm looking for some advice on a Fish Tales pinball machine. Beyond the obvious wear, dirt, and chipped plastics the machine has a "ball missing" error. The cabinet is somewhat faded but not as bad as others I've seen. Topper is there.

I'm familliar with pinball machines but haven't done any real repair work. I do consider myself mechanically inclined though.

Have any thoughts on what a reasonable as-is price would be? An operator is selling this.


#2 6 years ago

Wow, that's dirty. (Which is also what she said.)

#3 6 years ago

#4 6 years ago

Ball missing error should be an easy fix and cleaning being the only issue. Not sure on price, haven't bought or sold a FT.

#5 6 years ago

Holy crap, that thing is going to need a new playfield first of all.

#6 6 years ago

Yeah, I would plan on putting some time into it. The playfield is "OK" other than what you see. It is playable and I don't intend to resell it. Ramps and stuff look fine... only real playfield issue is the wear and grime in the pic.

Just looking for something to play on and learn to repair on for a decent price... just looking to get an idea on a ballpark fair price.

#7 6 years ago

How much does he want? Shot in the dark... $1400?

#8 6 years ago

The inserts are 30% gone. Pass.

#9 6 years ago

No more than 1200 in that condition.

#10 6 years ago

Grime = no problem. It's fun to clean grimy games, I think. Wear is a problem if you think it is. Will seriously reduce the resale value of the machine. Ball missing error is probably the trough optos being dirty and / or broken.

FTs seem to be selling around $1500-$1800 lately for shopped functional ones, I personally wouldn't go much north of $1000, but I don't want one at all. $1200 seems rather reasonable to me. But again, only if you don't mind the playfield.

#11 6 years ago

If you just want to play it after you clean it up and never worry about reselling, I would offer about $700, if everything else works that is. Look around the insers, you have playfield wear down to the wood...

Like most people I say playfield condition is #1 in deciding machine value. davewth nailed it when he said the inserts are gonzo.

Otherwise pass.

#12 6 years ago

I'd pay 1K...

That would be a fun project.

#13 6 years ago

When i acquired my FT i replaced all those insert decals, they are notorious for wearing away. It was my first time doing so and it was a breeze, looks brand new now. All that dirt will wipe right off, i'd offer around 1200 give or take depending on cab fade.

#14 6 years ago

Thanks for the opinions. I wouldn't call the price a deal but it is less than what I expected from an operator rather than a private seller. I might counter a little bit and I always have the option of passing after I take a much closer look.

I'm unlikely to resell it as I like the game... unless I want to upgrade. I'd be willing to take a loss if/when that time comes. Like I said... I'm looking to play and learn more.

#15 6 years ago

Was thinking $800ish. The do sell the decals for the FT playfield.

I'd consider decalling the inserts..and maybe clearing it. It certainly couldn't look much worse with a minimal $ investment. That is if you have the time.

I would venture to say after seeing that pic...there's probably more stuff wrong with it

#16 6 years ago

Dude, walk away. There are better deals out there. I would not even consider it.

#17 6 years ago


Still worth ~$1200 as-is.

#18 6 years ago

I would have to consider paying 900 for it. I wouldn't keep it with the playfield wear. I believe that they do make a center overlay, but it looks like there is playfield wear around most of the inserts - ouch.
After spending a few hours on the cleaning and replacing rubbers, switches, and lights, it looks like you will have some playfield and insert wear. This might be challenging if you never did a pin shop job before, but hey, what better way to learn Once you get it cleaned up, I would give it a value of 1200-1300 with the playfield wear. If you don't mind keeping a pin with playfield wear, then this would be an awesome value from 900 to 1000. Shopped without playfield wear (or at least the playfield center repaired, maybe even have LEDs) from the 1500-1800 range

#19 6 years ago

I would not pay much over $1000 for.

#20 6 years ago

If you pass, I would potentially be interested if it is in the 800 to 1000 range (that is honestly being generous).

Anything higher and there is no way to even recoup the $ in.

I advise doing research on parts to see what is actually available and cost >>in the case that you decide to restore to 'like new' condition. Then work backwards to see what a good value is. Broken wireforms and ramps and plastics add up quick.

Don't make the mistake I did on my most recent purchase and buy a beater than you need to spend $600 in parts on. I will never be able to recoup what I will spend on the restore of my RCT but then again I bought it with the intentions of learning how to bring a machine back from the dead so I somewhat think of it as paying for my education

#21 6 years ago

I would check the pop bumper area for wear. I sold ron kruzman a really nice playfield from a fish tales that fell off the back of a truck. He said it was the best used ft playfield he had ever seen and it still had wear starting int he pops.

#22 6 years ago


If you really, really want that particular game, and won't have the desire to sell it for another game a few months down the road, maybe 1k tops.

Otherwise, it's gonna hurt too hard on resale.

#23 6 years ago

I'm with the three figure guys on this one.

#24 6 years ago

I would love to see more pics of the game for sure, but I don't think the wear is as bad as it looks. Grime has a tendency to protect the playfield, so it might clean up really nice. No op is going to sell you an unfaded FT for less than $1000, if he will you should pay cash an not look back.

My 2 cents.

#25 6 years ago

Yeah it seems like $1000 would be a little high for as much work/money you will be putting into it.

#26 6 years ago

I'd really like to find a source of playable games that are just ugly. If the price discounted accordingly, I wouldn't hesitate to buy.

#27 6 years ago

how does a playfield even get that dirty?

#28 6 years ago

Well, i'll bet for several years it was at a bar or entertainment center of some sort, getting played constantly while the owner stopped by once a month to collect the quarters and unjam the coin slots. The glass stayed on the whole time, and the game got played right up until it broke.

I work at Pinballz in Texas. If we didn't clean it on a ridiculously regular basis, Tron pro would look like that in a month and a half. Worse perhaps since the playfield is all white and light blue

#29 6 years ago

Do you think some of that could be prevented simply by having white rubbers? I've often wondered where the dirt comes from.

#30 6 years ago

$400. With all that wear, this game will always be a beater. Figure you have to put $300 into it, it's going to be worth $1,100 clean and working tops.

#31 6 years ago

Agreed! Call me crazy but i wouldnt pay more than about 500 for a game that beat

#32 6 years ago
Quoted from fattrain:

Agreed! Call me crazy but i wouldnt pay more than about 500 for a game that beat

+1. And I like a challenge! But damn dude, that's rough.

#33 6 years ago
Quoted from Rick471:

Like most people I say playfield condition is #1 in deciding machine value. davewth nailed it when he said the inserts are gonzo.

Otherwise pass.

Pretty much sums it up for me as well. I wouldn't go over 700 for it.

#34 6 years ago

I would like to see more pics if you decide to buy this game. I think pin prices are fairly high around my area, but I find it amazing that several people put this game between 1K-1200. i would be at 500 tops based on that playfield. Unless the cab is perfect.

#35 6 years ago

If it is your first pin I would advise you to look for one in better shape to start out with.

#36 6 years ago
Quoted from The_Dude_Abides:

If it is your first pin I would advise you to look for one in better shape to start out with.

That's one beat up FT!!! I just got one too... almost as dirty but it had Mylar protecting the lower PF. If you just want a player machine, you can certainly buy one of those large decals that covers the entire fish insert and tackle box area, but the stringer above that area, near the boat flap, is equally worn down and you can't do anythign about that. I'd be worried what other hardships this machine has seen!

I would stay away from this puppy unless you could get it for well under $1000 to your door and you're comfortable with pin repair. Like the Dude says, if this is your first rodeo, you want a good working machine to start and learn with.

#37 6 years ago

If the cabinet looks as bad as the playfield I wouldn't go over a thousand. With an unfaded, pristine cab it could be worth as much as $1500, but I doubt this is the case.

#38 6 years ago

Paid 1K for mine ,, It Pop'd up on my Daily Mr Pinball 4-Sale email 20 mile's from me.. He had 20 email's and I wasn't the 1st, but he called me 1st !!


#39 6 years ago
Quoted from BLACK_ROSE:

Paid 1K for mine ,, It Pop'd up on my Daily Mr Pinball 4-Sale email 20 mile's from me.. He had 20 email's and I wasn't the 1st, but he called me 1st !!

Attachments Fish_Tales_has_arrived,,.jpg (289.8 KB, 0 downloads) 1 hour old

now that's a score!

#40 6 years ago

The dirt is coil dust and rubber debris. old wax, stuff like that. It cleans up just fine.

#41 6 years ago

That thing looks like a family of racoons was living in it.....wonder how some operators let their machines get so dirty...take 10 mins for a quick clean with novus??

#42 6 years ago

Can you get us some more photos? The playfield will clean up and you can get new insert decals but unless you get a coverup decal for that area it's going to be way too much work, especially when there are much better examples out there for your first game.

#43 6 years ago

800+/- I would not go over 1K

Hope it all cleans up but possibly wear under dirt.

#44 6 years ago

I'm hoping he buys the pin (for a good price) just to see that thing get cleaned up! There looks like a lot of insert wear on it, but for a good price, decal the inserts and CC it and you may have yourself a really good playing, good looking FT.

You could have a turd too.....

#45 6 years ago

1K + some work = equals stumbling buffoons to buy it.

#46 6 years ago

Waaaay more than just a little insert wear here! I'm used to looking past the dirt, but there is a lot of wear in and around all the inserts... and not just the bigger fish. The best possible outcome if he decides to buy this is:
1) He gets it for WELL under $1000 and the electronics and other parts are not shot to hell
2) Somebody finally decides to run some desperately needed reproduction playfields for this game

#47 6 years ago
Quoted from Anim8ormatt:

The dirt is coil dust and rubber debris. old wax, stuff like that. It cleans up just fine.

I got a game that looked worse than this it cleaned up and looked great. I had to do a little insert work, but it was no big deal. Hope the rest of this machine is in good working order.

#48 6 years ago

For those of you interested in an update... I wound up buying this for $900. The first picture makes it look dirtier than it was but the wear was accurate. I had trouble finding posts with people purchasing machines recently pulled off route so I don't know if this helps anyone.

I'm comfortable with the price and the wear doesn't bother me. I'll work on it over time.

THANKS for all the feedback everyone. I'm happy with the purchase and price.

Works great, but do get a Switch F1 Error for Flipper EOS. Doesn't seem to be causing game issues so I'll have to work through it.

Pix coming soon.

#49 6 years ago

Sides faded. Some good cleanup to do. Some decals & plastics to buy. But I got time...

Thanks again for the feedback, all!

FTPF.jpg FTSIDE.jpg FTBB.jpg

#50 6 years ago

Good luck. 900 for a fish tales isn't a bad price and with a little elbow grease you can certainly make it shine.

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