Thursday, November 26, 2015

Job 7: Painting the Playfield

Here's another job best done in phases. Step one of repairing the playfield paint is touching up the smaller dings and scratches with a brush. It's already much improved.

There are some larger areas, however, where a brush leaves ugly streaks and a different approach is required. Time to upgrade to airbrushing.  The first areas I'll tackle are the solid white blocks that will lie under the playfield plastics. I'm starting here because there's no paint matching required, they cover a lot of area, they've yellowed with age and because brightening the playfield under the plastics will reflect more light and create a brighter game.

I started by applying clear adhesive frisket, carefully cutting out the shapes and masking the rest of the playfield with scrap paper.

Then, I sprayed it with white paint.

I removed the masking paper...

 ... and the frisket...

... and did a little cleanup around the edges. You can already see a huge improvement.  Next, I'll repeat the process with some of the more damaged off-white target labels and part of the swoosh that runs through the upper left.

You may be asking why I went to the trouble of mixing an off-white khaki color, rather than re-paint all the labels stark white.  A few reasons: There are a whole lot of those labels and not only would I have to paint them, but I'd have to decal the text back into place, which is a lot of work - only six were damaged enough to need re-painting. I like the contrast and appreciate that it shows the machine's age and history in a subtle way. Also, the white inserts and posts have aged into a light beige and they'd really stick out against stark white labels. Since I have no need, desire or interest in replacing all 48 posts and 12 white inserts and making sure the decals are on perfectly straight, I've decided to keep the off-white theme going and paint the labels accordingly.

I had one last round of airbrush painting: the reds at the top of the playfield were a big part of the damaged area. You'd think red would be an easy color to match, but it turns out Gottlieb's color was more like a deep orange. It took a lot of trial and error to get it right.

Finally, I was ready for a few touch-ups. Mostly re-defining the black outlines with a liner brush.

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