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Archive for the ‘Machines’ Category

Attack of the Astro Fighters!

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Recently there was some drama on the arcade forums about a “warehouse” raid that was going to happen in Louisville, KY. Brent, a friend of the Operator and an avid arcade collector, was organizing a clean out of this 100,000 square foot, 120 year old school house. The school was closed down in the 1970’s and sometime afterward it was purchased by the Operator who used it primarily as storage for his thriving business. It turned into a bit of a mad house on the forums, but Brent handled the chaos like a pro and everything went smoothly. I planned to head down to check it out with my friend and fellow enthusiast, Jeff Rothe of rotheblog. Luckily, Jeff had organized our purchase from the space long before the sale announcement, so our games were secure. Our primary goal was to secure the games and just check out the space. I loaded up the kids Friday afternoon and headed to Indianapolis for the first leg of the trip, the next morning we would drive up to Louisville for a 9am meeting and planning session with Brent. We were going a little early to help out with the sale, which started at 10am. The trip was about 5hrs and 15min one way. Unless you drive fast 🙂


We woke up Saturday morning to some wet snow, but still decided to take Jeff’s mini van instead of my SUV, it had more space. My youngest would stay with Jeff’s family and visit the Indy zoo, while I took my oldest along for the ride. Never too early to infect him with the collecting bug and I hoped he would enjoy the experience. The ride was easy and the school wasn’t that hard to find. It was huge and it was red. Insert token to continue…

Midway SAMI parts on the way!

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Scored a couple of needed parts from a parted out Midway Invaders off eBay today, cheap! The parts are identical to the pieces I need to repair on my Midway SAMI EM game. I hoping the spares will make things a little easier. That and a good contact cleaning and I hope to have this classic EM game up and running again soon.

Midway SAMI step rebuild

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Midway’s SAMI, or Surface to Air Missile Interceptor, is an electro-mechanical game from 1970. It’s also one of my recent acquisitions. The game has received a lot of coverage recently, with at least two nice examples showing up on eBay and an EM game feature in the July issue of GameRoom magazine. I couldn’t be happier with my example, but it does have a few issues, including a missing step. You can see the step (or platform) pictured in the promotional flyer below.

SAMI flyer

Due to its massive size and height, a missing step makes this game pretty tough for little kids to play. I would need to recreate the step so my boys could enjoy the game and with Fall quickly approaching I wanted to get this done ASAP! I had nothing to start with other than some basic dimensions from the void at the front of the cabinet, but a request for help out to fellow collectors yielded great results. (more…)

Stern Berzerk Upright ~ I

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

It has been quite a while since I’ve had any time to post, but for good reason. I have been working on projects galore, including a game I purchased at one of the Milwaukee Super Auctions way back in December of 2006 (or perhaps January 2007). Berzerk! This classic arcade game brings back a lot of memories for me as I loved playing it as a kid. It was easy to understand, had great robot voices and high scores were pretty rare so I even got my initials on the game from time to time. I inspected the cabinet at auction and while it was working, it was obvious that a fast paint job was done to polish it up for auction. I had been on the lookout for a Berzerk UR and since I hadn’t seen one come up in a long time, I decided to pull the trigger. There was a little bidding back and forth, but I ended up winning. It fit nicely in the back of my 4 runner.

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I didn’t have any other projects at the time and decided that I would do a cap kit, clean it up and even re-stencil the side art. I got started by stripping the cabinet and taking lots of pictures for future reference. Taking lots of pics during a tear down is a great idea no matter what game you’re working on. If you end up having to shelve the project you can always refer back to the pictures. The game had a Willis control panel overlay on it and a crackled original underneath. Little did I know that would lead to another whole project…

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After a complete tear down I started sanding down the side and repairing the hidden damage with bondo. The wood must have sat in water for awhile because the plywood had taken on the soft, brittle quality. A pain to repair with bondo. I only managed to do a first coat on one side before I got the golden egg dropped in my lap. A warehouse raid and bulk buy 5 minutes from my old house. Bezerk would have to wait, but stay tuned!

Wild Kingdom EM video game

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

I’ve had the bug lately for a nice electro-mechanical game. There is something magical about these mechanical games from decades past. I recently missed a big stash of them at a local operators warehouse, including a Sega Combat, that would have been a fun addition to the collection. (You can read about it here.) It wasn’t a total loss because the guy who cleaned out the warehouse didn’t get to see everything 🙂 . Tucked away in another building was this little gem, a Midway Wild Kingdom.

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It’s pretty deep at over 35 inches, not including the gun stock, so it was a slight pain to get in the back of my Toyota 4 Runner. I’ve packed a lot of games into this truck and most fit with the door shut. This one needed tie downs to keep the door closed. The tech helped me load it up and I was on my way.

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While it has many of the key parts in fantastic shape such as the gun stock, trigger guard and bezel glass, there are some issues. Vandals at some point attempted to gain access to the side panel and ultimately kicked in the front. My guess is that the operator found it easier to just replace the damaged wood with this mismatched peg board front from another EM. They also put a metal plate over the access panel. Add a couple of lock bar holes and you have yourself the makings of a nice restoration. I know many EM collectors believe it is better to keep it original, but I’m not so sure in this case.

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Inside the game was the original key, a manual of sorts and a schematic. The game also powers up and the recoil works perfectly. Shots register and Charlie moves around, but the animals don’t. This should be fun to clean up and fix. Another EM collector alerted me to the pinball pal website, a treasure trove of restoration parts for the old EM games, including Wild Kingdom. Stencils, belts and even new 8 track tapes are available. Excellent.

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I’ve been told that Wild Kingdom is one of the better EM shooters, mostly because of the competition between the shooter and “Charlie”. I can’t wait to experience it first hand. Enjoy the pictures, I’m happy to be part of the EM club now!

Moon Ranger ~ Bootleg Moon Patrol

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

Found a folder labeled “Moon Patrol” in this big stash of operator paperwork, but upon closer inspection it contained some cool color instruction cards for Moon Ranger, a bootleg of Moon Patrol.

instr card

According to KLOV the game sounds identical to moon patrol in every way, they even stole graphics from the Williams game for the instruction card. Bootleg games were a big problem for manufacturers back in the 80’s when arcades were booming. Why pay top dollar for a Moon Patrol when you could get a cheaper conversion kit for Moon Ranger? I also found this sticker inside the folder, just another instruction card with some hints of Engrish, perhaps for a cocktail table version of the game. Pretty fun stuff.

instr card

Star Wars Cockpit canopy plexi

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

I picked up a very nice star wars cockpit back in 2006 or so. It happened to be a factory converted ROTJ and I got it for a fair price. Soon it would be converted back to star wars. Cosmetically I didn’t have much to do with the game, other than replacing the broken canopy plexi. I couldn’t find any reproductions available, so I did some research and bought pre-cut plexi from a local vendor along with plexi drill bits and the heating strip needed to bend my own. Since I had a nice cockpit, my Star Wars upright was quickly traded away. Mongo came to pick it up and dropped off a working Tron along with a nice new set of canopy plexi. Of course. Needless to say the plexi project got shelved.

Fast forward four years and it’s time to revisit the project. I’m tired of moving the plexi around! Plus I need something to keep me busy while I wait for the Berzerk and Frenzy panels to return from the screen printer. Below you’ll see my sample plexi set and the jig I made from a set of canopy parts and plywood. The first set came out great but it needs some slight tweaking. I’ll only have enough material to make 12 sets, so if you need one, drop me a line!

Sinbad by Gottlieb

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

My two boys have been engrossed in the old Ray Harryhausen claymation monster flicks. The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger; Classics that I remember watching over and over as a kid. It seemed quite a coincidence when I got a phone call to service some pins and in return the owner wanted to give my his Sinbad pinball. Of course I had to check it out! (more…)

Flynn Lives!

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

If you’re an arcade collector or just a fan of the classic game, you already know about the much anticipated Tron Legacy, sequel to the Disney film Tron. The hype has been building for some time, but as opening day gets closer the viral marketing campaign continues to grow. Take a look at this…

ENCOM badge

This was the reward for completing the Arcade Aid challenge and guessing all 56 video games hidden throughout the city. I managed to get about 47 without help, not too bad. The ENCOM employee badge arrived in about a week and has an employee ID number, scan code and cool holographic sticker. For a give away item, this thing is fantastic. Yes, I’m a Tron fan and will wear this proudly. (more…)

NOS Tapper marquee

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Well, perhaps not exactly NOS as I just pulled it from the game I’ve been working on. I figured that since I spent the time to clean it up I might as well take a few pictures and add it to the archive for future reference. Hopefully it won’t be hanging around too long as the Tapper will be hitting the auction block once it is up and running.

tapper marquee

This marquee is reverse screened on glass and in great shape overall, with none of the typical flaking frequently seen when artwork is printed on glass. It was a little difficult to photo graph and even harder to scan. The reflective quality of the glass was creating some weird shadows during the scanning process making the scans worthless. Anyway, a nice marquee for a great game.