(Topic ID: 323044)

Twilight Zone and Indiana Jones (semi-scratch) builds

By EStroh

59 days ago

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  • 108 posts
  • 10 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 days ago by EStroh
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There are 108 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 3.
#1 59 days ago

OK, this is intended to be my documentation for 3 machines that I'm planning on resurrecting. Although each are unique, I'm doing all three at the same time so the work on one sometimes affects the work on the other. This is (for me) a massive undertaking that is being done in my spare time during evenings and weekends. Is the restoration going to be HEP level? No... but I'll see how close I can get to the work Chris produces.

My background: I enjoy restoring games more than I do playing them. How do I know this? I'm currently sitting in front of a TOTAN, WH20, TNA, AFM, etc and I'm spending most of my time researching parts and compiling lists of assemblies that I need to re-create for my restoration projects rather than playing these great pins. As an example, if I had a choice of playing my Jurassic Park Premium or rebuilding a mini playfield, I'll take the later. Also of note, my brother and I had been volunteers at the Museum of Pinball up to the time it closed, and we used to keep track as to how many machines we were able to fix during our "tech days". I think 10 was our record. When the Museum was open to the public (and we had a chance to play along with the attendees) we spent more time troubleshooting than we did playing. Those were great days, and most of my time was spent in the 90's Williams / Bally area of the museum.

So, this forum site is intended to document the process for friends and family who want to know what this pinball restoration thing is that takes up so much of my time. The following is an accounting of my journey to resurrect these 3 machines.

First up (see pic): Let's call this TZ#1. Found in the back of a garage in Long Beach CA. See that small pile of parts on the Popeye machine? Those are the only remaining parts for the topside of the Twilight Zone's playfield sitting next to it.
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#2 59 days ago

The bottom of the playfield was mostly complete, but the top was completely stripped. Here are the only remaining pieces

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#3 59 days ago

... and the empty playfield when purchased

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#4 59 days ago

For those of you that know this game, you can appreciate the lack of HUNDREDS of pieces. More on that later... but of course the notable missing pieces are:

The clock assembly
The gumball assembly
Lots of ball guides (not available on any website)
The plastics
The arch / apron (also not available)
Most of the misc hardware
Almost all of the topside wiring - including opto switches and wire harnesses, lamps and wire harnesses.
Etc, etc.

#5 59 days ago

Here it is again, with everything on the playfield that came with the game except the wireforms. SO MUCH MISSING!

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The parts on the yellow towel aren't even for Twilight Zone. I have no idea which game they belong to though.

#6 59 days ago

And below the playfield, it wasn't much better. Here's the lamp boards as I found them sitting at the bottom of the cabinet. At least some gumballs were included!

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#7 59 days ago

Lots of work ahead...

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#8 59 days ago

Good news though... the outside of the cabinet is in great shape!

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#9 59 days ago

Enter TZ playfield #2! This was acquired from a place in the mid-west that had been raiding it for parts (more on that later). At least now I had the topside pieces I nee deed to complete TZ#1. But now I started to think... Is there a way I could complete both and have TWO Twilight machines? For those with a real sharp eye you can see that there are over 50 cut wires and lots missing switches, mechanisms, coils, etc as this playfield had be "parted out" before I picked it up. There are at least 50 more cut wires on the bottom of the playfield where the missing parts were removed.

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#10 58 days ago

More cut wires on the mini playfield, and obviously there is a lot of missing hardware. Man, this thing was really raided for parts!. It would have been so much easier if the switches and coils were desoldered and removed rather than just cut from the game. In most cases the remaining wires wont be long enough to reach the new switches, coils and lamps that I need to replace.

I doubt the person doing this ever figured that this machine was ever going to be anything other than a donor for parts, and never to be restored

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On the mini playfield alone, the missing parts include: Both plastics, 4 star posts, 4 switches, 5 switch covers, 2 switch brackets (unique to Twilight Zone), 2 pair of optos, the metal "bucket" at the exit of the playfeild, a magnet, most of the associated screws and hardware, all the rubbers and lamps, and of course the wires that will need to be added to breech the distance to the various switches and optos.

#11 58 days ago

Ok, let's back up a little bit. This post is titled "Twilight Zone and Indian Jones (semi-scratch) builds, so I guess it's time to provide a little history here as to how I came across the Twilight Zone "donor" playfield.

A person in the midwest that I had been conversing with told me of an (unfortunate) situation. He apparently sent an Indiana Jones machine to a company for restoration and also purchased the remains of a Twilight Zone playfield from the same company. Both were to be restored and sent to him, and I don't believe he ever saw the Twilight Zone playfield in person. Long story short, he never received his games, the company doing the restoration was avoiding him and he had to threaten legal action to recover his property. Then... the owner of the restoration company passed away. As a last resort he pulled what was left of his games from the restoration company and evaluated what he had left. Not much. In fact, I would bet less than what he started with.

He contacted me and asked if I'd like to purchase the remaining pieces and see if I could do something with them. I was certainly up for the challenge, so both games were sent to me. Here's a photo of the two pallets as I received them. Indiana Jones is on the left. The Twilight Zone playfield in on the right. Both games also included an empty unpainted cabinet, plated armor and RadCals. TZ included a mirrored backglass as well.

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#12 58 days ago

Unboxing the remains of Indiana Jones.
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It looks like most of it is there.

#13 58 days ago

I love these... following.

#14 58 days ago

For those with sharp eyes you might have picked up:
Half of a Lior mod
It has a transformer! (hard to come by)
No circuit boards
An apron (also hard to come by)

But also hard to spot:
A LOT of the ball guides are missing - including the long one that wraps around the whole back of the playfeild. Also the main metal ramp, the bridge ramp, the bypass ramp and lock exit ramp coming from the idol. Those all present a BIG problem since they cannot be purchased.

#15 58 days ago

Note all the missing ball guides, the main ramp, the bypass and bridge ramps, the panel at the rear of the playfield, etc.
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#16 58 days ago

So a friend and fellow Pinsider heard of my projects and mentioned that he had some Twilight Zone parts that he acquired in the past, and that I was welcome to them! Thanks JackG!

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It's nice when the stars align. Now it REALLY looks like I can build two complete TZ machines instead of combining two machines to make one. I still have the problem with this one as I do with Indiana Jones... all the missing ball guides.

#17 58 days ago

OK, so I can't be working on all three games at once, and I'm still not sure about how I'm going to solve the ball guide problem (more on that later). So I need to come up with a strategy that gives me my best options. I elected to ditch the playfield on the first Twilight Zone because it had some bad planking and the previous owner had put a nice hole in it in an obvious spot.

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Apparently, as the playfield started to weaken over time and parts started to loosen he just added bigger and longer screws! Problem solved I guess. The nice thing with this machine though was that all the mechanisms below the playfield were in pretty good shape - they just needed a good cleaning. I decided to use the underside parts from this machine, put it on a new playfield, and use the upper playfeild parts from the second "used as a donor" playfield. That would be the quickest way to have one completed.

#18 57 days ago

This next image is not for the faint of heart.

If you're like me you know you should NEVER put water-based products, oils, lubricants or silicone on a playfield. I can't tell you how many times I've removed oily "sludge" from mechanisms that should never have been lubricated in the first place. And the only thing worse than oil, WD40, silicones, etc is water. Water induces planking, swelling and irreparable damage. Put a game in a humid environment and you'll kill it.

So what did I do? I hosed this thing off!

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I know that running wire harnesses in the washing machine is often done. But why not do the same if the playfield is going to be thrown out anyway? Lots of soap and water had the wiring looking as good as new after hitting it with a large soft brush - and a second rinse. And because I had a compressor with an air hose nearby (and the California sunshine) the whole thing was clean and dry and looking good in less than an hour.

#19 57 days ago

... and the playfield swap begins - including the mini-playfield. At this point I'm heading out for the weekend, and I'm taking my mini-project with me (riding shotgun in the passenger seat of my truck).

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#20 57 days ago

Now to take on the box of cabinet wires. Here they are as I received them and then after a good cleaning

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#21 57 days ago

... and now the cabinets. They were not perfect, but I had to decide how much work I wanted to put into them. Since both were getting RadCals, the only surface that would be seen at the end was the back and the inside - if anyone was to open one up and take a look.

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#22 57 days ago

A little Bondo and prep work prior to clear coat.

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#23 57 days ago

While all this was going on JackG comes through for me again. He puts me in touch with JIMAKOST (aka Dimitri) in Canada that has made some custom parts for Twilight Zone. After some correspondence with Dimitri and some long phone calls he is eager to provide my missing ball guides for Twilight Zone. The only catch... they will arrive as flat pieces of steel that I will have to bend and shape into form. Sounds like fun. I mention to him that I'm also looking for a lot of missing pieces for my IJ build and he agrees to help with that as well! And just like that, a project that seems like it will take years to complete (if ever) should now be able to be completed before the end of the year.

#24 57 days ago

Here's what the IJ main ramp looks like when made from its individual pieces.

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It's hard to tell which is the original and which was just remade, right?

#25 57 days ago

Now taking a good look at both playfields, I'm having to make a long list of missing parts to acquire. Here's just a few photos of some obvious missing mechanisms.

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#26 56 days ago

Along with my list of needed parts (hundreds of them), there is a list of ones that I can't seem to find anywhere. Some are relatively minor parts, like the clock faceplate with its 4 molded posts. This one I have, but I need a second one:

68307689620__F859324F-E01C-47F2-846C-41AE399A928D.fullsizerender (resized).jpg

Great news though on a "major" piece that I thought was going to be a problem - I found a Twilight Zone apron/arch in great shape! Cross that one off the list!

#27 56 days ago

Another problem part that I can't find... the transformer. Twilight Zone's transformer (part number 5610-12835-00) seems to be made of pure unobtainium. However I found a Funhouse transformer that I can work with. Although Funhouse isn't a DMD game, it IS an early WPC game like TZ. The difference is the TZ transformer has the 100V tap required to power the DMD. However, I'm going to put a color DMD in my Twilight Zone, so I don't need the transformer's 100V wiring, only the 5 volts on the display board are required ... so the Funhouse transformer will work in my machine.


Check THAT one off the list.

#28 56 days ago

The ball guides are done for both machines! Thanks Dimitri! I couldn't do it without you!

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#29 56 days ago

I picked up the missing pieces for the Indiana Jones LIOR mod. So while I'm waiting for the ball guides to arrive I thought I'd do a little work on them. I know the parts are listed as "hand painted", but I'm not liking all the orange in the deep crevices and grooves in the parts. I have a bit of a background with model making, and I still have some of my colored washes that I used to use in order to "age" surfaces. The material comes in powdered form, but when mixed with a solution and "washed" over the parts the color settles in the deep areas. The excess is wiped off. The result is (in my opinion) a more authentic look.
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#30 56 days ago

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#31 56 days ago

A look at the shop

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#32 56 days ago

Lots of disassembly, cleaning and reassembly. And making good use of the tumbler.

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BEFORE (with all that carbon on the plunger linkage)
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AFTER IMG_1682 (resized).JPG

#33 56 days ago

Doing a little cabinet cleaning while the playfield is out. I elected to keep the original wood on the floor and continue the black paint to the bottom of the sides, back and front.

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#34 56 days ago

The ball guide parts arrived from JIMAKOST . Now I just need to bend them into shape and rivet the spade bolts

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#35 56 days ago

I bought a brake for my vice. Time to start bending!

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#36 56 days ago

Here’s a little example of the process. The part on the left is complete, and I’m going to duplicate it starting with the part in the right

#37 56 days ago

Step 1 : Bend the metal parts. I actually didn’t use the brake for this part, just the vice

Then the optos and the wire harness were added
" Bottom side, with the spade bolts added [att=7169113,3071987 caption="
It fits perfectly in the machine.
I made a slight error on this piece, but have since fixed it. See if you can spot it.

#38 56 days ago

Cleaning the subway ramps.

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#39 56 days ago

…And under the playfield while the subway ramps are out.

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#40 56 days ago

And another area

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#41 56 days ago

New metal panel that came with the ball guides (thanks again Dimitri!). Otherwise completely impossible to find. Looks sexy (if you’re into that sort of thing)!

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#42 56 days ago

It's time to concentrate on finishing one game at a time. The best decision seemed to be the TZ with the new cabinet. This is the one with the new playfield, and the below-playfield parts and cabinet wiring from the original machine found in the Long Beach garage. The parts on the top of the payfield will be mostly new parts.

Next to run all the ground braid with the cabinet and backbox. I also decided to use the wood lamp board from the original "garage find" game since it's in really good shape. After installing all the cabinet hinges, latches and stops it fit nicely into its new home. I'll make two new lamp boards later for the other machines.

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Indiana Jones an Twilight Zone #2 in the background.

#43 56 days ago

Nice clean parts going in...

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I actually get most of the shine with aluminum polish (by hand), then finish it up on the polishing wheel with a stainless steel polish.

#44 56 days ago

Here's the before and after on the mini playfield. All the metal parts were removed and polished - even the screws. The switches and star posts are new. The old plastics are still on it. I didn't want to install the new ones until it's in the machine and won't be handled any more.

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#45 56 days ago

I went away for the weekend and took a box of parts with me. I was able to rebuild the second playfield as well - remember all the cut wires and missing parts on this one?
I wanted to test both of them in the machine prior to installation in case I need to adjust any of the optos or lever switches. There are a lot of parts packed into these, and getting them into and out of the machine requires a bit of finesse.

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#46 55 days ago

It's going quickly now that I've decided to concentrate on one machine. I went with the Red / Orange / Yellow pop bodies and skirts from Pinball Life to math the Red / Orange / Yellow pop caps

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#47 55 days ago

Closer... I still need to install the metal ramp and wireform to the mini playfield.

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#48 55 days ago

I love these threads... Plus, you're fairly close to me.

Nicely done... carry on!

#49 54 days ago

PinSound material arrived:
PinSound plus board
Headphone station
Rocket CPU with all chips already installed!

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#50 54 days ago

Fun to follow this

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