(Topic ID: 141283)

Stern NIB playfield quality??


By MT45

4 years ago



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There are 174 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 4.
#1 4 years ago

Got a NIB ST Premium and wondering if the clear coat finish quality that I am seeing is "normal"?

It's simply a terrible finish and comparing it to older Stern (Elvis), my own CC job on my BOP and other Williams games (Flintstones) it just seems poorly done.

Maybe that's "the way it is" now with Stern - not sure.

My PF has wavy lines on it like it was put on with a brush. I've shot some pics of it that highlight the issue. Almost looks like traditional "planking"

Any thoughts?
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#2 4 years ago

It's hard to tell in the pic, but I don't think that's the clear. I think that's the wood grain.

To me. It looks like my worst nightmare.... "in spec." Not bad enough to warrant an exchange, but not nice enough to be happy with.

#3 4 years ago

Contact your distributor or contact Stern and work with them. Should not have left the factory like that. My NIB Metallica had peeling stickers on the back box. They sent me new ones an it worked out fine.

IMG_1216.jpg

13
#4 4 years ago

I bet they wouldn't do a thing with that playfield. Looks typical for them.

#5 4 years ago

Looks like the clear was brushed on.

#6 4 years ago

Looking at a tad this weekend at York we commented on something similar... But it looked like you could see wood gain instead of leveled

#7 4 years ago

Saw another NIB Sterns recently with similar very visible vertical grain. You can easily see the unevenness in the CC. Clearcoat is too thin to cover the grain it looks like. The trend is continuing.

#8 4 years ago

You were just unlucky with the one you got. My ST had perfect clearcoat. But I had a BDK with the wavy lines you have in your ST while other people had perfect BDK's. It's hit or miss with Stern and unfortunently you received a miss.

#9 4 years ago

I had a SM like this year's ago (from the 2007 run). Very hit or miss as others have said.

#10 4 years ago
Quoted from MT45:

It's simply a terrible finish and comparing it to older Stern (Elvis), my own CC job on my BOP and other Williams games (Flintstones) it just seems poorly done.

Not the finish, it's the grain from the PF wood combined with the thin clear (not enough coats to build up and smooth everything out). From what I've seen with a number of NIB Sterns I've purchased, their wood is crappier than Williams/Bally, for sure. It's also more sensitive to extreme heat/cold swings, which is why I'd never have one in the garage. Over time the expansion and contraction of the wood in heat/cold makes the planking more pronounced. I can't imagine it would cost them more than a few bucks in quantity to put an extra couple coats of clear on there, but this IS Stern. Ain't gonna happen.

#11 4 years ago
Quoted from Blackbeard:

Looks like the clear was brushed on.

Nah. It's just the clear settling into the very pronounced wood grain.

-1
#12 4 years ago
Quoted from vireland:

Nah. It's just the clear settling into the very pronounced wood grain.

Oh I know they spray it on, but just saying it looks brushed.

They could use more coats.

#13 4 years ago

Looking at your playfield, it kind of reminds me of this.

-1
#14 4 years ago

I will say that TWD-LE has more clear than any of new Sterns...It looks very nice.

#15 4 years ago
Quoted from vireland:

Not the finish, it's the grain from the PF wood combined with the thin clear (not enough coats to build up and smooth everything out). From what I've seen with a number of NIB Sterns I've purchased, their wood is crappier than Williams/Bally, for sure. It's also more sensitive to extreme heat/cold swings, which is why I'd never have one in the garage. Over time the expansion and contraction of the wood in heat/cold makes the planking more pronounced. I can't imagine it would cost them more than a few bucks in quantity to put an extra couple coats of clear on there, but this IS Stern. Ain't gonna happen.

The exact same company makes Sterns playfields that made Bally|Williams play fields. It's not a Stern playfield. It's a Churchill cabinet company playfield.

#16 4 years ago
Quoted from pintechev:

The exact same company makes Sterns playfields that made Bally|Williams play fields. It's not a Stern playfield. It's a Churchill cabinet company playfield.

But whatever wood/clear/screening CCC were using on 90's Bally/Williams was far superior to what they're using on recent Sterns.

Going back before early 90's though, the PF's Ive had from B/W have also been crap. My guess in 25-30 years, if the Stern machines are still going (?) their PF's will be like the mid-late 80's (System 11's?) PF's Ive experienced - planked and worn.

#17 4 years ago
Quoted from perryd:

I will say that TWD-LE has more clear than any of new Sterns...It looks very nice.

I would disagree with this.

#18 4 years ago
Quoted from cooked71:

My guess in 25-30 years, if the Stern machines are still going (?) their PF's will be like the mid-late 80's (System 11's?) PF's Ive experienced - planked and worn.

Even with subpar clears, Sterns will hold up better than games that had zero clear and were only protected by Mylar like the system 11s

#19 4 years ago

I guess I've gotten lucky with my Stern clears. Of course most of mine had been LEs that were cleared again after the designer signed it. My tron and Metallica premium have really nice clears on them.
I have seen a good chunk run thru the shop with planking lines, etc. - cabinets, too. One LOTR you could run your hand over the side of the cabinet and have pieces of paint on your hand. Terrible quality control at times.
The peeling decals is a huge problem. WTF Stern?

-1
#20 4 years ago

why was this playfield not rejected? JJP rejects playfields all the time along with the other companies that make reproductions and sell them as 2nds or as wall art. Why does stern allow this to pass QC. It makes it worse that it is on the so called premium as well.

11
#21 4 years ago
Quoted from nate1981s:

why was this playfield not rejected? JJP rejects playfields all the time along with the other companies that make reproductions and sell them as 2nds or as wall art. Why does stern allow this to pass QC. It makes it worse that it is on the so called premium as well.

Because it's absolutely normal. My iron man, star trek, IJ4, wheel of fortune all looked exactly like this. Majority of people don't even notice the wood grain as its visible only in certain lighting conditions/angles.

WOZ is the same.

Not an issue. If you want glass clear coat look send your playfield to HEP

#22 4 years ago
Quoted from JoeJet:

Because it's absolutely normal. My Iron Man, Star Trek, IJ4, Wheel of Fortune all looked exactly like this. Majority of people don't even notice the wood grain as its visible only in certain lighting conditions/angles.
WOZ is the same.
Not an issue. If you want glass clear coat look send your playfield to HEP

What he said. Perfectly normal. Nothing wrong with it. It's just a thin application. Sometimes you get a bit more and sometimes a bit less. It will even vary on the same title.

#23 4 years ago
Quoted from QuarterGrabber:

I would disagree with this.

Well I just noticed that the clear on my WD-LE is more than Tron, Spiderman, AV-LE, Transformers LE, and LOTR. You can really tell in the shooter lane. It is close to my ACDC BIB. We can agree to disagree but I know what I see between these machines.

#24 4 years ago

Maybe you got more clear on yours?

#25 4 years ago

I've seen older stern playfields with a finish like that. My family guy had similar lines. I think the quality from Churchill has always been inconsistent. Never really bothered me. A lot of people here pull brand new playfields and have someone like Kruzman clear them properly.

#26 4 years ago
Quoted from QuarterGrabber:

Maybe you got more clear on yours?

Guess I was one of the lucky ones if others out there didn't get similar results.

#27 4 years ago

I just looked at my Star Trek and Metallica and neither have that. I tried to shine a similar harsh LED light on them to see if it'd bring out that pattern, but it doesn't. Just lots of dimpling.

#28 4 years ago

Whats the build date?

24
#29 4 years ago
Quoted from nate1981s:

why was this playfield not rejected?

Because there is nothing wrong with it.

Wood is hydroscopic, so it absorbs water, swells and shrinks.

Even out of the exact same tree, different pieces of wood will shrink and swell differently.

That wood was completely flat when the playfield was manufactured, or else there is no way the ink would have covered the surface when it was pressed through the silkscreen. That is why playfields are dimpled AFTER they are printed, otherwise every dimple would result in an 1/8" circle of unprinted wood.

Playfields are sanded on a giant belt sander to make them totally flat with the installed inserts. The wood is sealed and sanded once more to make sure they are 100% flat.

Then they are silkscreened.

-

Now, a year or so after being manufactured, the humidity has changed and the wood has shrank.

Totally normal.

Once the playfield gets compressed with 1,000,000,000 dimples in it, it will appear to be totally flat again - just like your 30 year old B/W games.

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/playfield-dimple-reality-check

#30 4 years ago

"Once the playfield gets 1,000,000,000 dimples in it, it will appear to be totally flat again - just like your 30 year old B/W games."

Thanks for all the feedback guys. Vid thanks for your comments too. I wondered the same thing. After thousands of plays it will likely be pounded flat.

BTW, for what it's worth, I've got a 75th Ruby Red WOZ and it's play field looks beautiful and totally flat

#31 4 years ago
Quoted from MT45:

BTW, for what it's worth, I've got a 75th Ruby Red WOZ and it's play field looks beautiful and totally flat

Let me play it for a month and it will look just like mine.

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#32 4 years ago
Quoted from perryd:

Guess I was one of the lucky ones if others out there didn't get similar results.

I can feel the wood grain in the shooter lane of my TWD.

#33 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Once the playfield gets compressed with 1,000,000,000 dimples in it

That's a lot of Dimples!

billion_dimples.jpg

-3
#34 4 years ago
Quoted from MT45:

"Once the playfield gets 1,000,000,000 dimples in it, it will appear to be totally flat again - just like your 30 year old B/W games."
Thanks for all the feedback guys. Vid thanks for your comments too. I wondered the same thing. After thousands of plays it will likely be pounded flat.
BTW, for what it's worth, I've got a 75th Ruby Red WOZ and it's play field looks beautiful and totally flat

...and to add to my comments. No matter the reason, I'm still not happy about it. Not by a long shot. $7,500 should get you a nearly perfect playfield. Anything less is absolutely unacceptable. If Stern screws up the ramp during install, or maybe scratched the apron during assembly, it's not a big deal. ALL of these can be easily corrected later. Not so much with the playfield. Like buying a house with a poor foundation.

One more thing. The fire button wouldn't work when I first powered it on (remember NIB) it was an easy fix, I had to find the harness string (laying in the bottom of the cabinet unplugged) then plug it in, then fish it to the backbox. Then grab the manual and find the the right place to plug it into the head. This type of stuff is uncalled for but happens. On the playfield side though, there needs to be some higher oversight.

#35 4 years ago
Quoted from MT45:

...and to add to my comments. No matter the reason, I'm still not happy about it. Not by a long shot. $7,500 should get you a nearly perfect playfield. Anything less is absolutely unacceptable. If Stern screws up the ramp during install, or maybe scratched the apron during assembly, it's not a big deal. ALL of these can be easily corrected later. Not so much with the playfield. Like buying a house with a poor foundation.
One more thing. The fire button wouldn't work when I first powered it on (remember NIB) it was an easy fix, I had to find the harness string (laying in the bottom of the cabinet unplugged) then plug it in, then fish it to the backbox. Then grab the manual and find the the right place to plug it into the head. This type of stuff is uncalled for but happens. On the playfield side though, there needs to be some higher oversight.

I'd just wax the hell out of it often and just play/enjoy it, don't sweat the small things. I've had a few sterns like this and it didn't detract from the gameplay.

#36 4 years ago
Quoted from MT45:

...and to add to my comments. No matter the reason, I'm still not happy about it. Not by a long shot. $7,500 should get you a nearly perfect playfield. Anything less is absolutely unacceptable. If Stern screws up the ramp during install, or maybe scratched the apron during assembly, it's not a big deal. ALL of these can be easily corrected later. Not so much with the playfield. Like buying a house with a poor foundation.
One more thing. The fire button wouldn't work when I first powered it on (remember NIB) it was an easy fix, I had to find the harness string (laying in the bottom of the cabinet unplugged) then plug it in, then fish it to the backbox. Then grab the manual and find the the right place to plug it into the head. This type of stuff is uncalled for but happens. On the playfield side though, there needs to be some higher oversight.

Would bet you a significant amount of money the start button switch vibrated off in transmit. Games are play tested and every switch, including start is tested. Accidents for sure do happen, but trucking a machine in a semi truck is bound to lossen a few things up.

Oh, and talk to Vid and Lloyd about Williams games. The had the same exact issues. This is pinball. Shit beaks. You learn to fix it.

#37 4 years ago
Quoted from pintechev:

This is pinball. Shit beaks. You learn to fix it.

#38 4 years ago

My met pro has the same flaw, bugged the hell out of me until i noticed many other machines looking the same. I also Found a couple of sited machines that have a lot of plays on them with the same streaked finish and no visible wear. As stated by others, its not the clear coat and i wouldnt worry about it. I dont even notice mine now after all the dimples.

#39 4 years ago

On the "shit breaks" part ... I get it. I own 12 machines and have had more than my share of "shit breaking". There is almost nothing I have not fixed, soldered, glued, epoxy, screwed or replaced. Trust me - I give the same advice to folks that buy a machine from me "learn to fix it" cause it will break. I agree with this philosophy 100%

This is not a "it's broke issue". This is simply a quality question. The harness to run the fire button was never installed. It was laying in the bottom of the cabinet with the cabinet end AND the head end disconnected. It did not come off in transit. The leaf switch on the fire button was not working because there would have been NO testing of it because the harness had not been installed. The playfield (to me) is the same issue. Not up to my standards for MY $7,500 spend. Might be for some of you, not me. While I may have to deal with it (likely), I don't have to like it

#40 4 years ago
Quoted from centerflank:

I'd just wax the hell out of it often and just play/enjoy it, don't sweat the small things. I've had a few sterns like this and it didn't detract from the gameplay.

Thanks and BTW - that's exactly what I have been doing. All issues aside, it's a crazy fun and good looking game

#41 4 years ago
Quoted from MT45:

On the "shit breaks" part ... I get it. I own 12 machines and have had more than my share of "shit breaking". There is almost nothing I have not fixed, soldered, glued, epoxy, screwed or replaced. Trust me - I give the same advice to folks that buy a machine from me "learn to fix it" cause it will break. I agree with this philosophy 100%
This is not a "it's broke issue". This is simply a quality question. The harness to run the fire button was never installed. It was laying in the bottom of the cabinet with the cabinet end AND the head end disconnected. It did not come off in transit. The leaf switch on the fire button was not working because there would have been NO testing of it because the harness had not been installed. The playfield (to me) is the same issue. Not up to my standards for MY $7,500 spend. Might be for some of you, not me. While I may have to deal with it (likely), I don't have to like it

That's crazy, but things do happen, even with stringent quality control. I work at a place that ships a ton of stuff each month and small things get by even amazing control setup to screen issues.

The harness isn't normal. The pictures of the PF look normal to many of us. Agree that 7,500 is a lot of money...talk to your distributor if you're unhappy.

Marc

#42 4 years ago
Quoted from pintechev:

The exact same company makes Sterns playfields that made Bally|Williams play fields. It's not a Stern playfield. It's a Churchill cabinet company playfield.

If it is, they're putting less clear on it for Stern, AND the clear now is definitely WAY different than what was used in the 1990's, by law (VOC rules, etc). And the wood is not cured as long or something because with the exception of one TZ left to the elements, I've never seen out of the box "grain" in the clear on late model Williams/Bally machines, and I got some new at the end there. It's very common on Sterns - more are like this than not from what I've seen.

#43 4 years ago

i had the same issue with my TWD pro. I could feel the ridges when I applied a coat of wax. I didn't like the fact that the clear wasn't smooth but for some reason the game didn't dimple like my other sterns. anyhow, stern sent me a populated PF replacement to swap out the original one. New one was nicer but still had slight graining. It was a lot of work to swap out PF's and I probably should have kept the original.

22
#44 4 years ago
Quoted from vireland:

If it is, they're putting less clear on it for Stern

No.

There is way more clear on a modern Stern than there ever was on B/W.

I have lots of NOS Classic Stern, B/W, and Gottlieb playfields in my shop for comparison.

Quoted from vireland:

And the wood is not cured as long or something

I measure the same 7 to 9% moisture content on my meter for brand new Sterns as 20 year old B/W playfields. The wood is fully dry and not "green" in any way.

Quoted from vireland:

I've never seen out of the box "grain" in the clear on Williams/Bally machines

I have, many times.

-

STOP ROMANTICIZING ABOUT SOME BLISSFUL PAST THAT NEVER WAS.

-1
#45 4 years ago
Quoted from MT45:

On the "shit breaks" part ... I get it. I own 12 machines and have had more than my share of "shit breaking". There is almost nothing I have not fixed, soldered, glued, epoxy, screwed or replaced. Trust me - I give the same advice to folks that buy a machine from me "learn to fix it" cause it will break. I agree with this philosophy 100%
This is not a "it's broke issue". This is simply a quality question. The harness to run the fire button was never installed. It was laying in the bottom of the cabinet with the cabinet end AND the head end disconnected. It did not come off in transit. The leaf switch on the fire button was not working because there would have been NO testing of it because the harness had not been installed. The playfield (to me) is the same issue. Not up to my standards for MY $7,500 spend. Might be for some of you, not me. While I may have to deal with it (likely), I don't have to like it

I don't blame you one bit, for that kind of money you should get a nice pf not a second. I'd call the distributer tomorrow morning, send pictures and raise holy hell. You got shit for a pf so let them know you want something done about it. My $4800 Pro pf looks 1000% better then that, same with my $4800 Pro Mustang pf. Remember the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

#46 4 years ago
Quoted from MT45:

No matter the reason, I'm still not happy about it. Not by a long shot. $7,500 should get you a nearly perfect playfield.

No such thing as a "perfect playfield".

Even if I put 3 coats of clear on it and sand it completely flat, it will continue to shrink and swell as the temperature and humidity in your house is different than in my shop (and different than in CCCs shop).

It will get millions of dimples, because steel is harder than 3 layers of clearcoat, and steel is harder than the maple beneath the 3 layers of clearcoat.

Play the game until all the wood fibers are completely compressed, or sell it and buy a 30 year old game that is already fully compressed.

#47 4 years ago
Quoted from vireland:

It's very common on Sterns - more are like this than not from what I've seen.

Well you've never seen my $4700 ST and Mustang Pros then....perfect pf's, smooth as glass.

#48 4 years ago
Quoted from MustangPaul:

Well you've never seen my $4700 ST and Mustang Pros then....perfect pf's, smooth as glass.

Consider yourself lucky... it's not the norm from Stern.

Quoted from perryd:

Well I just noticed that the clear on my WD-LE is more than Tron, spiderman, AV-LE, Transformers LE, and LOTR. You can really tell in the shooter lane. It is close to my ACDC BIB.

I always have to go over a new Stern shooter lane with extra clear to smooth it out. I consider it normal on both Pro and LE.

#49 4 years ago

I've got a playfield cleared with automotive clear by Bill Davis - smooth as glass - and it never gets dimples!
It is definitely NOT 1 million dimples -> it's never changed since the day I got it. All clearcoats are NOT the same.

#50 4 years ago

I'm waiting for Jared or Jody to chime in and claim that it's "retro" and "authentic."

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