How about something different? I mean everyone here on Pinside seems to be documenting restoring their expensive B/W games like Twilight Zone (relax, I documented restoring mine too). Here's a post detailing the restore of a game I rarely see worked on: a 1988 Bally Dungeons and Dragons (designed by Ward Pemberton).
- THE PICKUP:
I have never played this game. While it's pretty rare that I pickup a game I've never played, I just couldn't resist on this one: the theme is great, the artwork is super cool, and the unique features look quite intriguing (manual firing inlanes?! SOOOO cool!). When it came up for sale at an extremely fair price from a nearby Indianapolis arcade enthusiast, I didn't think twice. He had had it in his possession for some time, with the intent to restore it himself. Long story short: like so many of us, time got away from him and after it sat for a year or so, he decided to sell it to me for a very fair price as I had been inquiring about it for a few months.
When I picked the game up, it was a mess: tons of pieces were removed from the playfield (though nicely organized into baggies), the head was completely falling apart and was being held together by some horrible custom metal bracket hacks, the side rails, legs, and lock down bar were rusted and nasty, and while the mylar had been removed quite well, leftover mylar adhesive was still all over the playfield. In short: it was pretty gross (which is just how I like em)!
In addition, there was a very cool topper made for this game (complete with epileptic seizure-inducing strobe lights), which are super hard to find. As is the case with many others, this one was missing the topper. My guess is that the game didn't fit height-wise in some arcades (or people were seriously having seizures), and the original operators would remove and toss them in the trash. Not sure what I'll do here yet, but we'll see.
- THE CABINET:
First things first, the head needed to be rebuilt and restored. As I mentioned, the backbox was being held together with metal brackets, which not only looked terrible but wasn't doing a very good job. If this didn't get addressed, the wood would have fallen apart in no time (all Bally 6803 pins from the 80s were made from cheap MDF). I wish I had taken some pics of the hacks, but I spaced it and forgot.
There was a huge chunk of wood missing on one side of the backbox. After I removed all the metal brackets, I addressed this missing piece by rebuilding it using wood filler and sanding smooth:Here's a shot of the head after rebuilding the side and cutting the plastic trim channel in with my Dremel: I was very careful to not ruin more of the artwork than necessary, as artwork for this game is currently unavailable. Next up was masking off the artwork using frisket paper to paint and detail the head:
While I was masking areas of the backbox off, I figured I might as well detail up the cabinet too as it was quite dirty inside (forget cleaning, just sand the thing down!), and the blacks could definitely use a touchup on the exterior:
I'm honestly shocked at how cheap the cabs of these 6803 games are. Yes they're MDF (better not get it wet!), but even worse, the cab barely holds the playfield in place. You can't even lift the playfield up without it practically falling into the cabinet. I've never seen this happen with any of my Williams and Gottliebs. As this is one of the very last games produced by Bally before they were bought out by Williams, it's clear that they were trying to maximize the cost vs. profit ratio as much as humanly possible! That said, it's still pinball and I could care less if the cab is made of MDF, plywood, or marble.
In order to not utilize the awful metal bracket hacks, I had to pull out all of the brads, rent a compressor and brad gun, and reinforce the sides with brand new brads and screws.After placing a few orders for parts, I was thrilled to see that my replacement siderails had arrived! I installed these after finishing touch-ups on the cabinet. Here's a comparison shot of the old and new siderails:
And to finish off my post for the day, here's some pics of the finished cabinet after detailing and woodwork. In order to not utilize the awful metal bracket hacks, I had to pull out all of the brads and screws. As I wanted the cab to look as seamless as possible, I decided to rent a compressor and brad gun so I could reinforce the sides with brand new brads. Here's the side that had the chunk missing out of the backbox:
Here's the other side after painting (did I mention that I love this artwork?!):
Here's the cabinet with new buttons, legs, bolts, and side rails installed:
Up next is to work on the electronics boards in the head, then playfield restoration!