I'm going to be documenting my Twilight Zone restoration here over the next year or two. I have never fully documented a restore from start to finish in one place before, having previously only done so with single step facebook updates. This thread will likely contain a compilation of those brief updates as well as some extra detail that typical internet scrollers would be bored with.
The reason I am documenting this restore fully is because this one is different to me. Twilight Zone is my favorite game of all time. It is one of two games that really grabbed me as a kid. (Roller Coaster Tycoon being the other.) As such TZ is at least half the reason I really got into pinball later in life, starting playing competitively, and began restoring pins. If it weren't for this game I would not have met all the wonderful people this hobby has brought me into contact with and I wouldn't be the person I am now. In addition to the sentimental value this game holds, this game is so far gone... that this thread might as well be titled "building a Twilight Zone from scratch." It will definitely be the most difficult and rewarding restoration Ive ever done.
I bought this TZ in an online auction (affectionately referred to mistake number 1) in PA. I had Fast Eddie bring it up to me in NH from the auction house. I cant recommend Fast Eddie enough. He is AWESOME. Treated my dumpster fire game like it was made of pure gold. If you are in the Northeast US look him up! When it arrived, the game is a damaged, incomplete, almost beautiful mess. I have since been compiling missing parts, and finishing up other projects before diving into this one.
Here is the full "Before" gallery
You can see right away that this game was abused. Strap damage on the side rails, Large holes in the cabinet, broken glass in the cab, and what looks like 30 years of warehouse dust. Not to mention most of the key game feature components are missing (gum-ball machine, clock, ramp, etc.) It DID come with a box full of random parts, some of which are actually for TZ! Luckily, there is some good in here as well. The underside of playfield is dirty, but appears mostly complete. There doesn't seem to be any sign of rust on the parts even if some of them are bent out of shape. Most parts that should move still do without binding. There are so many wires here id be surprised if we were missing any major wire harnesses, and most/all of the under playfield boards are here. The most valuable part we got out of this box was definitely the power mini playfield. which after some cleanup was in pretty good shape.
The cabinet itself seemed savable, but after trying to fit a coin door into the gap, I found that someone had previously cut a hole for what must have been the worlds largest coin door. After a lot of research, and being goaded by a friend of mine, I caved and decided to have a new cabinet made. My first time outsourcing ANY work is not the way I like to start a restoration, but I am not a woodworker. I don't have the tools and experience needed to do the cabinet job RIGHT. I COULD fix this cab, and for any other game I would have. I want this one to be perfect though, so I found another local pin restoration specialist and cabinet maker Leslie Thompson. He has now picked up the old cabinet and the decals I ordered, and is making me a new lower cabinet and fixing up the original backbox. This brings me to my first work session of the restore: Stripping the old cabinet.