Up until this point I had spent almost all of my time restoring Bally and Williams games. I was comfortable enough with doing plenty of repairs on those machines, but I was keen to get some more experience working on a game from a different manufacturer. Enter Tee'd Off (Gottlieb, 1993). Gottlieb was one of the major manufacturers during the 1990s so I figured that this machine would be a good point of reference for future Gottlieb DMD game restorations. It would also be interesting to study the differences between how Gottlieb had done things and what I had become so accustomed to over the last several years. However, the greatest challenge with this Tee'd Off was definitely going to be the playfield repair work. There was a lot of wear on this playfield which had worn the playfield artwork away to the point that the playfield wood was showing. So, this was a good opportunity for Fiona to put her painting skills to use as well.
Time to lay down the law! Judge Dredd was the last Bally/Williams machine I had left to restore of my original road trip haul. I had left it to last mainly because the look of all the ramps criss-crossing the playfield, the idea of having to fiddle with the Deadworld, and the sheer size and weight of the damn thing all told me that this would be a painful restoration. Just looking at it and comparing it to Demolition Man (Williams, 1994), my only other widebody game, the Judge Dredd playfield was packed with more features and more mechanisms, which meant more to clean and more to service. But, as always, I was up for the challenge!
Fiona and I have been going to Pinfest since 2015. Pinfest is an annual pinball festival that takes place in Newcastle on the Central Coast and is hosted by the Newcastle Pinball Association. It is always a fantastic event with many machines on free play for the general public to play.
This year, we decided to donate one of our own machines for the event. Getaway was playing well so we decided to bring it along. I was interested to see how it would hold up with two days of continuous play. Pinfest does strange things to pinball machines; a machine that plays fine in a home environment may be perform poorly at an event like Pinfest unless it has been finely tuned. I thought I had set Getaway up nicely after our restoration a couple of years ago and various tweaks since then. So, we loaded it into the car and headed to Caves Beach!
Each year, the Canberra Vice City Players (VCP) club hosts the ACT Pinball Championship, the largest IFPA-endorsed pinball event in the territory. Fiona and I had attended the 2015 and 2016 Championships, and had a great time, even making it to the finals. The quality of the machines was always excellent and it was great excuse to meet up again with pinheads from Canberra, who I met when I got into pinball for the very first time.
This year, the call went out for VCP members to donate machines for the event. Having enjoyed the quality of the machines in previous years, Fiona and I decided to put our hands up and bring our Getaway along for the competition. I had been playing it a lot over the last few months and I thought it was running great. What better way to test out my restoration and repair skills by putting the machine out there for others to play? The Getaway ended up being placed in the free play area on Saturday, before being moved to the competition area for use in the finals. I was stoked that some of the best players in the country would be playing on my machine. So, off to Canberra we went!
It has been just over a year since I restored my first Doctor Who (Bally, 1992), so I guess it is fitting that I'm now finishing up restoring my second. My first Doctor Who was purchased by a local collector and, since I sold it, has been treated to a new layer of clearcoat on the playfield, LEDs, a USB TARDIS, opto improvements, and a host of other upgrades. Just when you think there's nothing else to do to a machine, someone does some more! I'm glad it made its way into good hands.
There was a reason that I restored this machine second. This machine was in much poorer shape than the first and required a bit more work to get it into a presentable state. But with the experience of the first Doctor Who restoration, and now with some additional experience from the two Fish Tales restorations, I thought I may as well finish dealing with the doubles of all my machines and get this Doctor Who back into action.
Here you will find logs of our pinball machine restorations, repairs, discussion about general pinball topics, and recounts of our random pinball adventures.
Check back regularly for updates!
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