So our Smaug finally arrived today. Thank you Christopher at King Pin Games for keeping me in the loop with the entire progress and a great buying experience.
As pretty much everyone has already said, the game is a TANK. I've never struggled getting the legs on a pin like I did this one. And if you can believe it, I did the back legs by myself, and the front legs with just my wife's help. I don't think I blew anything out lifting, but we'll see how we feel tomorrow
The game is gorgeous. The lights are amazing. My collection is very small right now, Metallica Prem (with Color DMD) and Wozle, but without question the lights and video blow my other 2 pins away. Without measuring the pitch I set it up with the back legs jacked up pretty good, and the first 2 games it didn't feel slow at all, especially in some of the multiball modes.
Right out of the box I can't see any defects or issues on the playfield. All the lights works great and sound is fantastic. I've had no issue hitting the ramps with either flipper and haven't changed a thing with the settings. I've also used the 3rd flipper a ton to hit the top target by the ramps as well as the stuff on the left and right side of the playfield. (Looking back I'm not sure why everyone was making a big deal about the 3rd flipper. In 2 games i felt I used as much as I have any other game with 3 flippers)
I will admit its almost impossible to know what they heck you are doing or supposed to do early on. I just couldn't afford to look up and see what I was supposed to be doing. I had like 425,000 the first game, then the 2nd game got a good multi ball going and played the into the fire mode. Ended my 2nd game with a score of 925,000.
I have to go play this about 100 more times to give a fair review, but this is like the 25-30th different pin I've owned over the last few decades in this hobby, and I've enjoyed the first few games as much as any other pin I can remember. The only thing I've read about and find not ideal is that the ball launches out of the shooter lane with very little power. I know I can crank that setting up, but that's about the only thing that felt "off" or "not normal" from any other game I can recall.
Last note, I was REALLY close to cancelling my order, or just keeping it NIB and selling it in hopes of making a small profit (since I've had money tied up in this for over 2 years) and I am very glad I decided to keep it. You guys that are on the fence, I get it, trust me, this place was depressing for so long about the issues with the pin. But I think the improvements have made this into a great pinball machine. Again, way early in the process, literally only 2 games in, but so far I'm VERY pleased. And in the 2 games I've had, no balls got stuck in the pop ups, nothing fell off a ramp, so maybe mine came with those fixes?? I'll know more for sure after a few dozen games I guess. And for anyone wondering this machine was built on 6.30.16 and came running version 1.21.