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(Topic ID: 217757)

Theatre of Magic Buying Advice?


By jacksparrow0112

2 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 39 posts
  • 26 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by mrossman5
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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There have been 4 images uploaded to this topic. (View topic image gallery).

TOM Chipped insert due to ghosting (resized).jpg
TOM # 24 (resized).jpg
TOM # 20 (resized).jpg
TOM # 9 (resized).jpg

#1 2 years ago

Greetings fellow pinsiders,

My wife and I are looking to purchase our first pin and both really enjoy playing Theatre of Magic. Since we are both just getting into this great hobby we are wondering what to look for when purchasing these pins. Are there specific worn/broken parts on the playfield that I should be on the lookout for when examining a used game. I am seeing these games posted on this site for $5,800-$7,200. Any advice you can provide is regarding condition and things to watch out for would be much appreciated. I am willing to drive 10-12 hours to try out a game before purchasing it so really am interested in learning what to look for in a used TOM pin.

Thanks much

Kevin

#2 2 years ago

Very often the mode inserts have wear or slight lifting around them...check for that, as that should affect value.

Make sure the trunk works 100%, as it's a mech that can have multiple issues.

The good thing about TOM is there there are replacement parts for anything that could break....but if you're gonna pay that much, hopefully the seller has taken care of all the issues.

#3 2 years ago

The other typical issue TOM has is an overloaded General Illumination plug at the Power Driver Board. There are so many bulbs in that game for the GI that it will over heat the plug on the board ( Bottom Left Plug as you look at the board) That can cause GI problems on the play field. (lights going off not coming back on) Make sure you check that.

#4 2 years ago

jacksparrow0112 That's a nice pick for your first pinball machine, one of my favorite 90s pins. The best way to find a well maintained pin (especially your first) is by networking with fellow pinheads. The best way to do that is by joining a local pinball league. You can find a list of local pinball leagues here: https://www.ifpapinball.com/ I also suggest that you talk to Mike Burgess, the owner of Fort Wayne Pinball. He's a really nice guy and has been in the hobby a long time. I realize the seshpilot and gryszzz live farther away in Indianapolis, but they are also great contributors here on Pinside and I'm sure they would be willing to help you in your search.

Fort Wayne Pinball has a beginners tournament on Tuesday May 29th at 7PM.

Fort Wayne Pinball
14613 Lima Road
Fort Wayne, IN 46818
https://www.facebook.com/FWAPinball/

Good luck,
John

#5 2 years ago

Pop on in, I'll go over my TOM with you and cover the hidden items you should check

#6 2 years ago

Have you guys thought about a Houdini? It’s an absolutely beautiful game with a similar theme. For $7,000 you get a new machine with modern tech and a much better rule set.

-2
#7 2 years ago

Really, wait until CGC announces #3. ToM is likely 3 or 4. It’s release will kill the value of originals.

#8 2 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

Very often the mode inserts have wear or slight lifting around them...check for that, as that should affect value.
Make sure the trunk works 100%, as it's a mech that can have multiple issues.
The good thing about TOM is there there are replacement parts for anything that could break....but if you're gonna pay that much, hopefully the seller has taken care of all the issues.

What's a trunk?

#9 2 years ago

Considering your experience I suggest you wait until CGC remakes this title. I've had many 90s bally williams titles and can tell you that it can be a lot of work to maintain an older machine. I typically expect to have to deal with some sort of issue every 100 games or so. The issue may be something as simple as an adjustment, but on games this age something more complex than that will likely happen within the first few months. I expect issues from all games including new in box games. Only difference is that games of TOM era tend to have board issues due to aged electrical components. Maybe a resister goes bad which sends a higher voltage to a transistor and then fries some other electrical components. These type of issues are not something that a person without knowledge of electronics should fix on their own.

My guess is that a new CGC TOM will range from 6.5k to 8k depending on features. Let's say you can find a players TOM for 6k. The smarter buy is to wait for a brand new game for $500 more. Be patient. If you want something now buy an Attack from mars remake (the LE is the best game I've ever played and I have some of the best games ever created). The original is higher rated than TOM. Then when CGC releases TOM sell the AFM for around what you paid for it and buy then buy TOM.

Anyone have any idea when CGC will release MBr? What's the hold up?

#10 2 years ago
Quoted from Scot0308:

What's a trunk?

Is that a serious question??

#11 2 years ago
Quoted from Pimp77:

Is that a serious question??

I was confused for a moment there. Are we talking about swimming trunks?

#12 2 years ago
Quoted from pinlawyer:

Really, wait until CGC announces #3. ToM is likely 3 or 4. It’s release will kill the value of originals.

Not likely since I can still buy a really nice original TOM for $5800. Don't see how they can remake that game for a better deal that would kill off that price.

#13 2 years ago
Quoted from Scot0308:

What's a trunk?

It's a ToM mech that can have multiple issues.

#14 2 years ago

I strongly recommend buying an “Everlasting Trunk”. The weakest part of ToM is the plastic trunk that takes lots of shots (intentionally). “Everlasting” is more rubber and flexible. I found out about it on this website and dropped cash immediately (after getting my ToM tuned up and an OEM Trunk I installed, I shattered pieces off of it during my first post-tuneup game - grrr...).

#15 2 years ago
Quoted from bluespin:

jacksparrow0112 That's a nice pick for your first pinball machine, one of my favorite 90s pins. The best way to find a well maintained pin (especially your first) is by networking with fellow pinheads. The best way to do that is by joining a local pinball league. You can find a list of local pinball leagues here: https://www.ifpapinball.com/ I also suggest that you talk to Mike Burgess, the owner of Fort Wayne Pinball. He's a really nice guy and has been in the hobby a long time. I realize the seshpilot and gryszzz live farther away in Indianapolis, but they are also great contributors here on Pinside and I'm sure they would be willing to help you in your search.
Fort Wayne Pinball has a beginners tournament on Tuesday May 29th at 7PM.
Fort Wayne Pinball
14613 Lima Road
Fort Wayne, IN 46818
https://www.facebook.com/FWAPinball/
Good luck,
John

Haha! I don't really consider drunken one liners and daily doses of death metal "great contributions" but thank you Bluespin.
You are 100% spot on with Mike Burgess though. Although I haven't had the pleasure of meeting him yet, he IS a pretty big contributor to pinball in our state. Thanks for all you do Mike!

#16 2 years ago

Hi Mike - I sent you a PM about stopping over to learn more about TOM. We discovered wizard’s world last month and have been back 10-12 times in the last few weeks. In fact it is your TOM pin that we discovered and got addicted to. Thanks again for such a cool Fort Wayne destination. Now we just need to convince you to open a second location on the SW side of town

#17 2 years ago

Is your heart really set on TOM? You may want to buy a newer pin as your first pin and get a TOM later. The reason I ask, is that any 1990's pin will likely require some repair. It may require a shop job. Don't trust any seller that says they've shopped out a pin and it is working 100%. It may be as little as taking a rag and wiping the middle of the playfield for 30 seconds, and calling that a complete shop job. As long as you have the patience and willingness to learn, no problem. It isn't rocket science. Are you handy with a soldering iron and a multimeter? Or at least do you have a friend close by that can help with repairs?

Some examples of things you might need to repair on a 1990's machine: resolder a broken wire, replace a bridge rectifier on the power board.

You might want to check this thread to understand some of the maintenance required of an older pin.
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/getting-into-pinball-1

This is an excellent resource to get an understanding of repair. Read it thoroughly.
http://www.pinwiki.com/wiki/

Anyway, if you are scared of repairs, you might want to try a newer Stern as your first pin.

#18 2 years ago
Quoted from konjurer:

Have you guys thought about a Houdini? It’s an absolutely beautiful game with a similar theme. For $7,000 you get a new machine with modern tech and a much better rule set.

And a much worse layout.

-9
#19 2 years ago

90's pins are not what you want for your first pin. They are for seasoned veterans who know how to work on them. Buy a new pin or wait for the remake. It seems like a great idea, but it will become very frustrating very quickly.

#20 2 years ago
Quoted from PinMagnet:

90's pins are not what you want for your first pin. They are for seasoned veterans who know how to work on them. Buy a new pin or wait for the remake. It seems like a great idea, but it will become very frustrating very quickly.

I respectfully disagree. I got into this hobby a year ago by buying a 1997 NBAFB. I'm not mechanical or electrical savvy in any way. After looking underneath that playfield, I was intimidated as hell. However, fast forward a year later, I can now solve about 90% of the issues that arise in a pinball machine, from rebuilding flippers to soldering wiring. This is because of how helpful Pinside and DIY videos on YouTube are. Since his first pin is Theatre of Magic, more parts and knowledge are out there compared to other machines.

With all of that said, I would recommend a cheaper game. What if you don't like owning or fixing pins? At least you're only initial investment is $2,000 give or take instead of $6,000 on a TOM. Once I knew I enjoyed the hobby, my next purchase was an Attack from Mars.

#21 2 years ago

Geez guys you're scaring the dude with "B/W pins break all the time". I have had new pins break...
I have my TOM on location for over 6 months and since it's been there I have had no hardware issues (if anything, it's the ball getting stuck in a place or two). Buy it from a reputable dealer who has gone though it before you purchase. Yes; the game will break but reading thru the posts above it should not happen as frequently as you think.

#22 2 years ago

Some people don’t mind tinkering and if you are that type of person than don’t be scared off by old machines. The guys saying an old game is hard to maintain aren’t wrong but one mans annoyance at replacing something broken is another mans delightful learning experience.

If you just want a machine to play and never want to fix or tinker, I’d go with a new game. If you are down to tinker I think TOM is a great choice!

#23 2 years ago
Quoted from PinMagnet:

90's pins are not what you want for your first pin. They are for seasoned veterans who know how to work on them. Buy a new pin or wait for the remake. It seems like a great idea, but it will become very frustrating very quickly.

What a load & a lie....and a sad state for the hobby if that’s the mindset amongst the new players. Almost every new game I’ve ever had has had problems. I’ve tinkered more with my new games than my B/W games once shopped/repaired. New games are not flawless out of the box, and Stern’s M.O. is to ship unfinished & untested games. There’s a reason people are still playing 20-30 year old games: Fun & quality.

#24 2 years ago

Geez! When I got started in this hobby I knew practically nothing about maintenance and repair, and my first several machines were 1990s B/W pins.

Even now, I often find troubleshooting a stern machine is more complicated then figuring out an issue with one of those classic and very collectible machines.

I also disagree with the comments about the remakes affecting the value of the original machines. I have an original MM, and original AFM, and an original TOM, and I think I could sell any of them without taking a loss.

TOM is a really good machine, and if that's the one you're interested in by all means look for one. And if you've got somebody close with the machine who is willing to go over it with you that would be the best way to learn what you need to know to make an informed purchase decision.

Have fun

#25 2 years ago

I really appreciate everyone’s opinions as it helps me decide the best point of entry into this hobby. I do have an engineering degree focused on biomedical computer programming that did involve some basic soldering and board work. I am by no means an expert but am hoping that through YouTube and pinside I can develop a decent set of troubleshooting and technical skills that will carry me into hopefully a long future of collecting and ownership. What intrigues me about the hobby is the value the games maintain over the years. Seems like I can invest in a pin today for HUO and if I maintain it can recoup most (if not all) of the cash in the future if needed. What really helps my case is that my wife (who is usually very frugal) is all onboard the idea of going all in on a TOM pin. Hoping Mike at Fort Wayne pinball can give me some great pointers about what to look for above and below the playfield so that we get a decent game that will play well for years to come.

-4
#26 2 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

What a load & a lie....and a sad state for the hobby if that’s the mindset amongst the new players. Almost every new game I’ve ever had has had problems. I’ve tinkered more with my new games than my B/W games once shopped/repaired. New games are not flawless out of the box, and Stern’s M.O. is to ship unfinished & untested games. There’s a reason people are still playing 20-30 year old games: Fun & quality.

Nobody can have an opinion on this board without a mean reply. Notice AFM95 said he "respectfully disagrees", thats the way it's done. "What a load and a lie" is not the way you reply. So many people post about how everyone on the pinside forum are jerks. Please class it up a little bit and prove them wrong.

#27 2 years ago

TOM was my first pin. Bought it restored from Treasure Cove seven years ago. I really wasn't even into pinball at the time - just thought it would be neat to own and didn't plan on buying anymore. Now I own four pins and I'm constantly walking around the house with a tape measure looking for more space.

-1
#28 2 years ago
Quoted from PinMagnet:

Nobody can have an opinion on this board without a mean reply. Notice AFM95 said he "respectfully disagrees", thats the way it's done. "What a load and a lie" is not the way you reply. So many people post about how everyone on the pinside forum are jerks. Please class it up a little bit and prove them wrong.

Oh no, I’m being judged by the NIB-only-newb. Don’t tell lies and I’ll treat you with some class.

#29 2 years ago
Quoted from PinMagnet:

90's pins are not what you want for your first pin. They are for seasoned veterans who know how to work on them. Buy a new pin or wait for the remake. It seems like a great idea, but it will become very frustrating very quickly.

Couldn’t possibly disagree with you more.

My second pin was a fairly beat White Water... which out of the majority of the 90’s pins out there, is a relatively painful pin to work on. I certainly was no vet, and it had its fair share of issues to address. But somehow, I was able to quickly and cheaply fix every issue that popped up.

Guess what? It doesn’t take a genius to replace a switch or rebuild a flipper. Get yourself a soldering iron, multimeter, and a nut driver set and you’ve basically unlocked the key to fixing 95% of the problems that arise on a 90’s pin.

Sorry, but that’s just really terrible advice and I hope the OP takes it with a grain of salt.

You know what gave me more trouble than my slightly beat White Water? Virtually every NIB pinball machine I’ve ever owned

#30 2 years ago

It just comes down to if the OP has patience and a willingness to learn or not. Some people do and some people just don't (I know some people who don't even know how to hammer a nail or screw in a screw, and don't want to learn how to). If you think you do, then go head first into buying a TOM.

#31 2 years ago

TOM’s a great choice btw! Mine’s basically a keeper at this point I think.

Honestly, it sounds like you’re already interested in learning to maintain your pins. If you can fix a 90’s Williams that will translate into just about anything else besides maybe EM’s... speaking of EM’s... I just picked up my first (probably only) one, and am having a blast learning about what makes it tick!

If you’re the type who just wants to play and have a tech maintain them that’s totally cool as well, but if that’s the case get whatever the heck you want! Just remember you have killer support here and can always call a tech if something truly stumps you. Happy hunting!

-1
#32 2 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

Oh no, I’m being judged by the NIB-only-newb. Don’t tell lies and I’ll treat you with some class.

I'm not judging you, just thought maybe you could compose a reply that contains a shred of tact. By the way, I've never owned a NIB pin. Every pin I've purchased needed work when I got it. So you were incorrect on your first reply and your second reply.

-3
#33 2 years ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

And a much worse layout.

You're right TOM is a much worse layout.

#34 2 years ago
Quoted from konjurer:

You're right TOM is a much worse layout.

Say what you will about TOM, but the layout is smooth as butter & plays great. One of the fastest flowing pins that didn’t involve Steve Ritchie.

#35 2 years ago
Quoted from jacksparrow0112:

I really appreciate everyone’s opinions as it helps me decide the best point of entry into this hobby. I do have an engineering degree focused on biomedical computer programming that did involve some basic soldering and board work. I am by no means an expert but am hoping that through YouTube and pinside I can develop a decent set of troubleshooting and technical skills that will carry me into hopefully a long future of collecting and ownership. What intrigues me about the hobby is the value the games maintain over the years. Seems like I can invest in a pin today for HUO and if I maintain it can recoup most (if not all) of the cash in the future if needed. What really helps my case is that my wife (who is usually very frugal) is all onboard the idea of going all in on a TOM pin. Hoping Mike at Fort Wayne pinball can give me some great pointers about what to look for above and below the playfield so that we get a decent game that will play well for years to come.

TOM is a great first pinball. I bought my first one in 1998 . The right ramp never gets old the "Spirit Ring" shot .Just look for out as some one mentioned already for ghosting/ Delamination of the inserts . As far as recouping your investment on pinball it is a very mixed on each machine released NIB. I made thousands on some and lost thousands on others . Here are some images of mine with a brass beauty armor kit I installed And LED's hand picked . And an Image a ghosting TOM(Lock) insert that has cracked due to ghosting/ Delamination I copied from a TOM I saw on Colorado Craigs List. $5,800 is a good price for a nice example IMO . Good luck .

TOM # 9 (resized).jpg

TOM # 20 (resized).jpg

TOM # 24 (resized).jpg

TOM Chipped insert due to ghosting (resized).jpg

#36 2 years ago

ToM is a great choice for a 1st game.
It's relatively stable, very little goes wrong compared to many other games.

It's challenging and rewarding.
I've had mine for 20 years and only now am selling it to make room for Houdini.

Make sure there is no insert wear or cracks on the magic trick inserts. It's impossible to fix that area. Clear coated playfield is a plus if it was done well.

Added pinbits magnet boards are also desirable. As well as colorDMD.

Led conversions are not a big deal as most are done poorly and you can do it yourself.

If it has led's Led OCD is a must on this game as the blink rate has to be adjusted to look right.

Brass trim really looks good on this game.

The game is definitely a keeper long term.

#37 2 years ago

I’ll prob never sell mine.

#38 2 years ago

Its nice if it has had the trunk gearbox cleaned and re-greased and also the upgraded trunk boards.

#39 2 years ago
Quoted from PinMagnet:

90's pins are not what you want for your first pin. They are for seasoned veterans who know how to work on them. Buy a new pin or wait for the remake. It seems like a great idea, but it will become very frustrating very quickly.

Ha! You couldn’t be more wrong.

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