Monday, October 26, 2015

Initial Assessment

Let's have a look at the new machine and see what needs to be done. I tried it out when I bought this machine and everything works except for one of the score reels (which I expect will be an easy fix). I bought it from a lovely woman in Indiana who said it was in her family since the 80's and was in a bowling alley before that - her family owned a local coin-op business. Of the machines I've worked on, I'd put it squarely in the middle - not as well looked-after as Jet Spin but not as roughly handled as Fun Land.

The cabinet will have to be re-finished for sure. Not just because of the flaking paint, but because the color is badly faded. Most Flying Carpets you see nowadays are this pale peachy pink, but the original color was actually a vibrant purplish mauve, still evident where the legs used to be and inside the cabinet and head.


I should note that the cabinet finish looks worse than it is because instead of producing cabinets with a clean, even finish, Gottlieb liked to add a surface texture called "webbing," where they'd spatter black paint across the cabinet, resulting in Jackson Pollock streaks. I think it's supposed to look marbleized. Whatever the reason, I find it ugly and won't be reproducing that effect on my machine.

The playfield is mostly dirty and I'm eager to see how it cleans up. The tarnished steel can be cleaned but I'm a big believer in keeping some of the flaws, rather than polishing everything away - keeping a few rust spots here and there preserves a bit of the game's character and shows that it had a history.

This will be the biggest challenge - there's some major playfield wear between the pop bumpers and the "boomerang" row of six standups, as well as in the center playfield. Painting and decal work will be required and another adventure with clearcoat is on the horizon.

But first things first and one job at a time.  Here's the plan: Step 1: refinish the cabinet. Step 2: repair the playfield. Step 3: Solve the mechanical issues. Step 4: enjoy one of the greatest pinball games of all time.

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