After the initial hold up (and frustration) with the board issues on Dr Who, progress has been moving along smoothly. Aside from that slow start, the game has been enjoyable to work on. In this update I’ll be focusing on the middle section of the playfield. In terms of assemblies, this area has the Tardis ball popper on the right, with the left side home to the upper flipper and trap door assemblies. The popper was mentioned in a previous update as I had to replace the optics which had been cut out. This time I’ll be removing the whole assembly for a service. As usual, all plastics, targets and posts will be removed for cleaning and the playfield will also receive a clean. I’ll need to remove the ramps for this part, and won’t be putting them back on until the end. Time to get started and I’ll begin with the right side.
Progress on Dr Who this week moved along really smoothly. Some weeks are like that, where everything comes together easily (which is a great counter to those weeks where nothing goes well at all). I wanted to start this update by giving the coin door a face lift. The coin door has metal panels over the three coin slots which will need to be removed. Because they are pop riveted to the door, I will need to drill them out and fill the holes. Overall the coin door isn’t in terrible condition, but has the usual scrapes and scratches from age. Replacing the old foreign pricing cards on the coin slots is on my to do list too. I spotted that the launch button isn’t correct. Notice the two small holes (one above, one below) the red button – there should be a larger button that slots in to them and so this needs to be replaced.
Time for an update on the service and repair on my X-Files pinball machine. After the work done so far, the game has been holding up well. I have really come to appreciate it and going by the audit menu, I’ve put just over 150 games into it. It’s a fun title and I think does not get the credit it deserves. While it’s playing well, it can be even better. To get the machine into the state I want it, I need to give the playfield (and all its surface components) a really good clean. I also want to rebuild the pop bumpers and add LED’s for the GI. That means it’s time to take the machine offline for the next week (maybe two) and give the playfield and it’s parts a solid clean.
First to come off the machine were the ramps. This then allowed me access to the plastics below. With the plastics off I could then access all the various posts and ball guides. There are quite a few to remove. The plastics all need a good clean and these will get the novus treatment before being installed again. Often, dust and crap attaches to the underside of the plastic too, which can affect how well they look lit up. So both sides of each piece will require a clean. I also removed the sling shot parts and return lanes.
Well it didn’t take long. Only a few weeks into owning a machine that I didn’t plan to do any work on, and am going to strip the playfield for a solid clean. Having had a much closer inspection now, there is a lot of dust and dirt at the top of the playfield, along the ramps and on the plastics located up there too. I really want to get it into a clean state – a base line – that I can reference to know when the machine was last given a service and deep clean. Since I’ve already worked through a number of the assemblies below the playfield, I want to give the playfield itself similar attention. While I’m doing that, I can clean the individual parts on the playfield and get fresh rubber all over it. Naturally, that means I won’t be able to play it for about a week – but it’s task well worth doing.
Progress on Counterforce has been good over the last few weeks and the machine has served as an excellent introduction to the System 80 platform by Gottlieb. My attention is now turning towards the playfield and the various assemblies that make up the game. I like to start working from the bottom of the playfield and progress up to the top. It helps break the overall task down into a more manageable state and also allows me to test things as I go. So first up on the playfield will be the apron and ball serve assembly. The apron and shooter cover are in reasonable condition and won’t need much more than a clean. I have the alternative score and instruction cards that were unused and can go on once complete. The shooter rod has already been removed and rebuilt (included in my last update).