I'm not sure why I"m posting this other then the fact I'm 200% Done and want to share this "experience" with literally anyone. I'm posting this here cause I don't feel it belongs in the "restoration" sub. That and I feel bad enough about what happened that I don't feel like being called scum by more seasoned restorers.
So a few months back I acquired a nice Gottlieb Hot Shot. After getting it set up in my shop and stripping the playfield I got to work on cleaning/touching up. Bear in mind this was my third machine, and third time touching up and clearcoating a playfield. I had the basic theory down and was looking to get this one one near perfect. So after a week of cleaning and touching up I got my clearcoat ready. I was using varathane like many EM guys use mostly because I lack the space to use autoclear. If I knew what was going to happen I would have made the room though........
I first layed down a bunch of clear in the inserts to get them leveled. In the past I didn't use enough so the inserts were still sometimes low, so I used way more with the theory of sanding them down later. This ended up coming back to haunt me.
After some drying I layed down my first few coats of clear and went to bed, looking forward to sanding and spraying again.
I woke up to what was prob the most shocked I've EVER woken up to. A BUNCH of things apparently went wrong over night.
1: Molting EVERYWHERE. The reds on the table were going orange at some points. Any black that was layered over red was going yellow, (from the original silkscreen process) my red touchups which looks GREAT under naptha went purple. Some of the blue was going slightly yellowish as well.
2: All the colors were darkened by a lot. I'm aware varathane does this, but it was never THIS bad.
3: I realized I applied WAY too much varathane to the inserts, so it looked like an overgrown mass.
Now I was pissed, if I was smart I would have taken a step back for a few days and come up with a solution. However in a fit of anger I literally peeled the clearcoat off the playfield as it was still wet. I hoped that it would fix the colors, but no for whatever reason the varthane had reacted to the original clearcoat itself and molted everything. It ended up making everything worse and screwed up the inserts which didn't need any touching up. So I ended up spending a day or 2 anger re-painting. Again if I stepped away and took my time I may have been able to do better but I rushed everything to try and salvage my playfield.
I had to repainted ALL the red which if I took my time to do would have turned out better. I looks alright now but there's spots I missed with my frisket. The lettering also didn't turn out great as I had to handpaint around the letters.
So after anger repainting I started clearing again. Good no red molting and my black touchups were covering the yellowed black. However at coat 4 I realized how HORRIBLE the inserts looked. It was rushed, poorly color matched (which happened with most of the colors due to trying to rush it) and looked pretty horrible. So I decided to go to waterslide to try and salvage SOMETHING. It took 2 weeks and me almost throwing my printer out the window but I got some decent looking decals down. When you shine a light through you can still see where I hand touched up the inserts but at least they looked better unlit. There was a little edge bleeding as well, but at this point I couldn't care enough. I did the best I could.
So I started the clearcoating up again (after fighting to find a can of varathane that wasn't bricked). After 2 coats and sanding to try and get those decals leveled out I realized that areas I touched up slightly molting AGAIN despite painting. Not sure if they're areas I sanded to hard on or what but I tried to fix some of them as I went.
And now today I'm spraying my final heavy coat for final level and FOR SOME REASON there's a section of the table where the varathane seems to be pooling and not leveling despite the fact I"VE LITERALLY CHANGED NOTHING AND DONE NOTHING DIFFERENT. I'm currently waiting for tomorrow so I can sand and try to fix any uneven areas.
This playfield turned into a nightmare and it was in such good shape when I got it. I honestly feel horrible that despite my best efforts to preserve one of my favorite EMs it's turned out as shody as it has. I just needed to get that out in hopes that someone learns from my mistakes. TAKE YOUR TIME and don't rush things out of anger. If I did that, it might have turned out better......