Saturday, May 2, 2015

Job 7: Painting

This is where the project gets complicated, messy and expensive.

I decided to start the painting process by going over the white areas under the plastics. There are several reasons for this choice:

  1. I could use straight white paint - no mixing or color matching involved
  2. Whitening the areas under the plastics will create greater reflection of the general illumination, resulting in a brighter overall playfield
  3. These five areas comprise the largest area of solid color and they're bordered by black lines, making it a little easier for my first attempt at painting
  4. If I mess up, they'll be covered by other stuff later on

Painting a pinball playfield requires smooth, even application of paint and the best method for that is to use an airbrush.  I started by applying frisket over the white areas - it's a thin clear adhesive film that acts as a mask for the paint. I then used an X-acto knife to cut the frisket around the white border.  Then, I taped scrap paper to the playfield, as seen above, to prevent any accidental sprays. Against the white paper, you can see how the original white paint has discolored to a shade of ivory.

It took a little effort, but I got the airbrush working. I placed the GI bulbs back so paint wouldn't get into the sockets.

Then, I removed the masking paper...

...and peeled up the frisket...

 ...and was underwhelmed by the results.  Luckily, the paint that I used is heat-set, meaning that even though it's dry, it's not permanent until I hit it with a heat gun or hair dryer.  I was able to clean up the edges and re-paint the outlines with a liner brush. It's not perfect, but it's not better and it will do.

I also used frisket to touch up one other spot - the 1000-point bonus tag.

You'll notice that mixed a taupe color, rather than white, so it matches the other tags. So much easier than re-painting all of them.

I also touched up a bunch of other little areas, including the worn spot between the lower pop bumper and the kickout hole.

That blue is hard to match because it wore differently in different areas of the playfield. It's slightly lighter in some places and darker in others.

Again, it's not collector's quality perfect, but it's better than when I started. Here's a final look:


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