I somehow managed to delete a nice version of this I had almost ready to post, what a pain in the ass! Oh well, here goes again:
463 (and a little more) miles and 2 whole days later, I have found a suitable body cabinet for my Star-Jet project! (with some small modifications done it will be 100% accurate)
I made my way down to pinsider rkahr's house as he had an empty 1974 Bally Ro Go body cabinet he was looking to get rid of for free, he had found it in a metal recycling dumpster near his house (what a coincidence in this niche hobby!), and luckily it appears it didn't get wet. It hasn't rained much recently and it must have been just thrown out before he grabbed it as it's still very very solid and dry. It definitely has some ugliness to it and is a little beat up, but considering I was obviously going to go through it with sanding and bondo of course that is perfectly fine! (and a little preferred)
As I was saying, I made my way down (about 2 and a half hours of a drive) to his house and found it waiting safely on the porch for me as promised, incase he wasn't home. Luckily I got there a bit later than we had worked out (and I let him know this far in advance) so luckily he was home and of course I took the opportunity to get a tour of the workshop (not shown, I figured I would respectfully leave that private, it was very cool) and the arcade! (r-kahr-cade anybody?):
Even got a keepsake and free souvenir from the Skee-Ball machine!:
After that and saying goodbye, we loaded the cabinet up and I got on my way South to Fredericksburg to stay with family overnight as I planned for the next day:
I arrived safely after about an hour or so, maybe an hour and a half, to some welcoming old friends I haven't seen in a while:
At this point I remembered I had asked them (the family I was staying with) a few months ago if a guy could drop off an empty Donkey Kong cabaret cabinet at their house for me to get next time I stopped by down there since he lived around 10 minutes from their house. Thankfully they said yes - what nice people. They kept it in their garage then eventually their basement. Not my absolute proudest question to have asked but I know I'm not the first around here to ask a similar favor! It will be a great restoration piece. Incase nobody knew, I have a collection of 14 arcade machines as well which I have too taught myself to repair and fix. They came first before I was bit by the pinball bug a few months later, and then it was slowly overrun by pinball a few months later - but I still love them too and regularly involve myself in them! They of course are not "different" hobbies from each other, it really is one big all-inclusive coin-op/pinball/arcade hobby, even at pinball shows you can frequently see a few arcade machines make an appearance.
I didn't get any good pictures of it yet, but here's what a complete one looks like, I will build mine to look like this and even better one of these days (cabaret machines are miniature machines (often called "minis") officially released alongside of the original standup machines and cocktail/sitdown tables, this one being released back in 1981 alongside of the other two variants of Donkey Kong machines (upright and cocktail)), it stands about 4-5 feet tall, here is a picture I found online as stated:
I got some good sleep on a comfy couch, then the next day I loaded that up, then made my way up to Leesburg, Virginia to pick up a 1969 Gottlieb Skipper in beautiful condition for a great price, thankfully the guy held it for me for around two weeks since we both had a very tight schedule (he could only meet Mondays and Wednesdays after 5, so I did by no means string him along, and also offered him his asking price straight-away as it was fair for both of us), this lovely looking machine will be a great addition to my collection! I was even pretty surprised when I walked in the door at the condition of the things like the coin door and the apron, and the inside of the game is untouched and BEAUTIFUL. All original wiring with no hacks always looks gorgeous! Some may say around this game looks a little empty but I have a very open mind and LOVE LOVE LOVE stuff like this, and I enjoy straying away from the usually collected machines. I still have a ball, no pun intended! This machine has some cool features and will be fun to also have some multiplayer "matches" on! Now speaking generally, I love the late 60's small-flipper 4-digit Gottlieb games for so many different reasons. They have my heart, but I'm sure you can say that about a lot of eras of machines. These are truly special in my opinion though and I'm glad they don't carry the same popularity as the early 60's games or the late 70's games because I always end up getting them for great prices since I'm a deal seeker, and I believe they are the coolest of the three eras (rat trap reel, 4 digit decagon reel, and 5 digit decagon reel is what I separate them by in my head) because they still carry that 60's artwork while looking great in modern times, unlike the early 60's Gottlieb games, which in my opinion have cool 60's artwork but admittedly are not always very attractive in all corners, usually just "historically cool" - not artwork I would hang up in my kitchen, per se. But that's just my opinion! The later 60's Gottlieb games designed by different artists after Roy Parker passed away have a modern sleekness to them and genuinely eye-pleasing art basically. Thankfully something that Star-Jet has as well, of course! That alone makes it a grail for most people and is why it can have such a hefty price tag! Space race art is definitely a very cool thing loved by most, and combine that with retro-futurism and you have a true gem on your hands!
Some of my favorite pinball art of all time is done by both Art Stenholm (first) and Gordon Morison (second), both mainly from the late 60's and 70's, and Skipper is no exception, being the work of Mr. Art Stenholm himself way back before its release by Gottlieb in November of 1969.
These 60's small-flipper Gottlieb 4-player machines are pretty appealing to me - there aren't many of these early late 60's four player Gottlieb machines out there (2-player games of the time are more commonly seen) with only 4 decagon reels per player and even less with this unique reel arrangement (placement on the backglass) - this was Gottlieb seeming to only tiptoe in the water for making the 4-player machines just like they had done in the woodrail era and the earlier metal-rail era while still primarily making single-player games and two-player games, before finally seeming to kick it into high gear in the 70's and release many 4-player titles and variants. This title had no two-player variant catered towards operators with less money (and having a different title), like many machines had. (i.e. Magnotron and Duotron, or Airport and College Queens if you want to be era-specific)
So I loaded up my brand new-to-me machine in the now-full minivan and headed towards home with my seat moved a little forward to fit everything in:
(And what a beautiful machine it was, was repainted but tastefully with the sides of the body and head painted to try and match the original with a fresh take on the front of the head, and the original paint is underneath he said. I have never seen an original backglass so nice before (or at least rarely of course), amazing, looks even better in person! Definitely an amazing art 'package' by Art Stenholm for this machine.):
I arrived home at around 9 or 10 PM with the mile marker ending off at 462.7 miles, which is a little short as I went to get gas before I reset it after leaving home towards Virginia.
All in two days' work!
Now I wait here at home in Shillington, PA before the machines make yet another long but not-as-long-and-much-more-routine trip (they stay in the van) this weekend up to Union, NJ to my grandma's house/"my second home" where all my games (usually) live and get worked on in my space! So so so excited! What a fantastic pickup I have and adventure I got to have!
Thanks for tuning in and stick around for MORE!