Pinside

Getting Medieval

This post will be my home for all things related to my Medieval Madness adventures in 2018 and 2019. It will include a running log of restoration & mods, repairs & more.

August 20, 2018

Lots of new pinball out there..  A steady stream of interesting-looking titles from Stern, the PPS Chicago Gaming remakes and others are the grease the move the wheels of collection turnover.    A good time to buy pinball and sometimes a good opportunity to pick up classics that have been on the want-list for awhile.

I started the year with a pretty clear mindset in regards to the hobby and my intended acquisitions:  Out With the New, in With Old.   Coming off a disappointing ownership experience with JJP and having witnessed a friend having an even-worse ownership experience with a WOZ and battling Stern Spike Node-board failures on my Ghostbusters Pin, I decided it was time to take a break from modern pinball and pursue some 90's Bally and Williams classics.

Last year around this time it was Attack from Mars.  This year, it is Medieval Madness!

Medieval Madness has been on my radar for a couple of years.   But, my sleep number (the number of Pinball machines I can reasonably maintain at one time) is still 6.  In order to buy Medieval Madness something had to find a new home.  Both for space and because of the big hobby spend..

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It all worked out that in one weekend Star Wars found a good home and the Medieval Madness transaction went through. 

Archived photos from Pinside listing: 
https://images.eyedyllic.com/Hobbies/Medieval-Madness-Pinside/n-3djLCC/

Shipping / Delivery

Medieval Madness was located in the Tampa area.   I needed to get Star Wars to its new owner and Medieval Madness from Florida.    

Plane ticket = $200
Rental truck from Tampa, with mileage = $500
Typical pinball mover dude = $275

STI - Not allowed on my premises anymore.
UShip - $800 avg quote
Roadie - $500, open pick up truck move with a tarp.   No thanks.
RLCarriers - Retail $1600 on a pallet
Seller not willing to take it to Fastenal ($175)

This looks like a job for..

An arcade mover dude!    I posted to the book-of-faces and the village and the four corners of the tubes that make up the internet.   Bob Cunningham wasn't going to be in the area.    Greywolf not coming down the panhandle anytime soon.  Pinballs on the Move, no answer...

Mover Dude

In the end, this isn't a complaint nor a recommendation but at this time I don't really want to publicly influence some guys' livelihood.  I might use him again in the future.  Spoiler alert: The game made it and I'm happy..  There.. were .. bumps along the way, though. So, for now and for purposes of this post, we'll call him Mover Dude. 

Eventually, I found said dude and after reviewing some of his history and talking to him he agreed that he would be able to work my pick up in for $320.     I pulled the proverbial trigger. After a few promising SMS and Facebook Messenger exchanges I had a decent level of confidence that I the right guy.  Sort of like w/ Bob, you can follow the guy's check-ins on Facebook and get a general idea of his route and location.   

Around dinner-time one evening, I received a missed call and an iMessage photo of a black-painted stick of wood from the seller.   I knew the delivery dude was in Tampa but I didn't know that the move was in progress.   The photo, below - had no caption and set my spidey senses tingling.

 

 

 

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Hours later, I get this story, paraphrased, from the seller:

He broke off a board from the back of the pinball machine while going down my stoop.   He went down the wrong direction and turned and I just heard this sick-grinding noise and a snap.   I don't know if it damaged the art or not.

In fairness. I don't know what happened.  Because I'm not there.   But...... crap!

Whiskey.  Tango. Foxtrot.

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Honestly, at this point I'm stressing the move so I send over this message to the delivery dude and try to get some additional details from his perspective.

On a personal note, at this point in the evening my ADD med has begun to wear off and I'm aware that I'm not always in the best of moods while that happens.  It took extra effort to come across more calmly about the situation than I was actually feeling.. Typically, for that 30 minute-to-1hr of the evening my inner Steve Jobs is most near the surface and ready to burst out when provoked.    I think.. I succeeded in not freaking out..

and... at least I know that I sometimes have unreasonable Griswold-like expectations and standards and that people aren't mind readers and... yada yada..   

The response that I received were the following photos from the move.  Not bad!    Started to freak out less.   Though, there was also Whiskey involved, so maybe that helped.

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General feedback here is that it's cool that he took the time to pull the game out and play it and noted functional condition of the game (draw bridge works, gate opens, etc).   He also paid special attention to note the flaws of the game, like the gash from the lockbar on the front of the cab that the seller had communicated and I wasn't too worried about.   That's cool and I can appreciate that.

I'm personally not a big fan of the head->cardboard->rails sandwich packing method.  I like to use a double or triple folded moving blanket between the head and side rails but that's just me.    Not too thick to generate pressure on the hinges but thick enough to provide a little give on that plane of potential impact.  If you ever watch high-speed camera, slow-motion ripples of impact force transferring through wooden objects, the idea is to create an opportunity for the impact forces to dissipate.   Again, I didn't micro-manage this with mover and he's not expected to be a mind reader - just commentary. :)

The fact that mover dude took steps to protect the rail->head contact points at all is bonus and shows experience IMO.

I did drop-ship from Amazon blankets and plastic wrap for the move but Amazon Prime 1-Day turned into Amazon Prime 3-4 Day and missed the window. 

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I'm also not a huge fan of stretch wrap touching a bare cabinet.   Stretch wrap can stretch and pulls with surprising force with friction against the art.   When I saw these pictures, no blankets involved, my worry ramped back up a bit..  Coupled with the photos of the broken skid, my imagination ran away and I partially expected to receive a large garbage bag with approximately $7k in castle-themed Williams parts and troll head bash toys amongst shards of wood and millions of crystalline tempered glass shards.

My fears were calmed three days later when the machine arrived it was wrapped in an additional layer of (2) moving blankets and another layer of plastic wrap.  It was securely strapped inside his truck and made it without any (additional?) damage.

Also, bonus points that he brought the legs (last move with a different moving dude was missing legs) and the skid and all accessories.  ++ For mover dude.

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The back-right of the cabinet has a significant scrape and a separation in the ply of the head support board.  That scrape is on the same side of the cabinet as the missing skid. From the listing photos, I don't have any way of knowing for sure if this was a result of this move or something else.    Fortunately all easy fixes and didn't mess up the artwork.   At the end of the day, the machine made it to me safely in all of the ways that really matter.  Any damage that is there either from previous ownership or this move - I will easily have fixed and touched up by the weekend.

All things considered..  Mover Dude was a success.  The Seller was flexible and described the game quite well. (Probably under-sold the condition.)

Survey of Initial Condition

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Overall, I'm really pleased with the condition of the game. 
ColorDMD included, LED OCD Controllers included, all things I typically do to games and reduce my shopping list burden on the receiving side. 

The owner said it was a pinballbulbs.com kit and I found some of the color choices to be a bit much for my taste.  A little too much UV and too much green on the castle. Green in the mote, full green strip under by the backboard support, green spots on the castle.

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The Pinball Pro speaker upgrade was a nice touch, the sub almost feels like a shaker motor at times.   Very nice touch and surprisingly good sound for a non-pinsound-based system.

Who Does Number Two Work For?

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The Serial Number on the game is 53359100002.  Production date 5/23/1997.  According to IPDB, 4016 units were built with a production dated as June, 1997.    Prototypes ran in March.  Serial number 00002 with a 5/23/1997 mfg date.    That makes this the second production Medieval Madness off of the line. (Probably)  Inspected by.. you guessed it.. 

Number 2

Number 2

Dialing it in

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I added some warm tone LEDs back into the mix to reduce the UV saturation a bit and abandoned the green strip on the castle.  I put in RGB changing LEDs on the castle spots and cleaned and waxed the playfield.   Ordered what I needed from Titan to bring the rubber situation into my liking.

The scoop kick out beneath the left ramp (ejects into the orbit) has a tendency to shoot the ball into drain instead of returning to the left flipper.  The joust / orbit however would return directly to the left flipper.  The scoop appears to be kicking it out too hard and rolling down the inside of the joust orbit instead of against the rail itself.

After adjusting the scoop kickout tension bracket down a few mm, the gameplay feels a good bit more balanced.    

Well, that's it for now.   My last pinball purchase for awhile.    I'll do some arcade-y things next, this fall and winter.   Many incomplete projects over in that side of the hobby for me. :)

Addendum 7/7/2019

MIrror blade time!

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PinballSideMirrors.com always seemed to me to be comparable quality with PDI Mirror Blades but at a slightly better price. Lately though Pinball Side Mirrors site hasn’t been rendering fully in most of my browsing attempts. As it turns out, Cointaker now owns PinballSideMirrors and they’ve rolled those products into their main catalog: https://cointaker.com/t/side-mirrow

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You ever notice how immediately after upgrading a game, they have a tendency to set you up for a good game or two? As if to say “thanks!” it tee’d me up with an early Trolls! that led into a fully stacked multi-ball madness.

Scared Stiff

This post will be my home for all things related to my Scared Stiff adventures in 2018 and 2019. It will include a running log of restoration & mods, repairs & more.

July 16, 2018

Well, I did it again.  I re-bought an existing title that I'd already owned.   First, it was Data East Star Wars.  (which, I intended to re-theme until I realized it was the nicest condition I'd ever seen for a DESW) .  Then, STTNG... and now, Scared Stiff.

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My list of "wanted" pins is pretty small. One day talking with a friend, he asked (mostly kidding) - "Wait, you HAD a Scared Stiff and got rid of it?" 

The short version of the story was:  I sold a Scared Stiff, Monster Bash & Woz in a multi pin deal.  Double-dumbass on me for having gotten rid of it.  Especially having sold them to ride the NIB pinball wave.

I hadn't actually searched for-sale pins for a couple of months, instead saving cash with intention to buy something at SFGE in June.    As it turns out, the only thing(s) of substance I bought as a result of SFGE were new tools as a result of the Tubby Incident.

Following the trip down pinball-memory lane, I did a quick search for Scared Stiff and found two for sale.  One was a Bryan Kelly or HEP restoration for north of $12k.   The other, was this one:   https://pinside.com/pinball/market/classifieds/archive/58351

Original photos from the pinside listing, I saved off to here: https://images.eyedyllic.com/Hobbies/Scared-Stiff-Pinside-Photos/n-nhnhFx/

Delivery / Shipping

After my last headaches with STI, I decided to give a reputable arcade & pinball mover a try, this time.   Bob Cunningham picked it up in the Rhode Island area on June 25, 2018.   It rode in his truck for about a week and landed at his warehouse in Kentucky.   He delivered it to me on July 12, 2018.      

Pros:

  • Nice Guy

  • Experience in the Industry in various capacities

  • Preps games correctly (Blankets, wrap)

  • Reasonably Priced ($275)


Cons:

  • Depending on his route, can take awhile to get your game.
    (12 days to pick up, 18 days for delivery = 30 days total)

  • He lost my game's legs
    (I had to wait another week for a pinball order to come in before I could actually start playing it.)

 

Scared Stiff at the pickup location in the Rhode Island Area

Scared Stiff at the pickup location in the Rhode Island Area

Scared Stiff, as delivered here on the Gulf Coast

Scared Stiff, as delivered here on the Gulf Coast

Despite the leg snafu, I'd definitely consider using Bob again for a pinball move - seems like a solid dude.

Initial Survey of Condition

The machine's condition was better than I expected.   The playfield and backglass are really good.  They had partially LED'd the playfield, the backglass still had burning incandescent space heaters in it. 

The inner side board on the left has a non-structural crack that will fill easily enough. The left side, side art red color is faded by around 60% but the right-side isn't.  The cabinet is solid, no real damage to speak of.  The ramps are hazy.  The haze would flame-polish out but they have ball-wear lines that probably won't polish out without something creative and potentially friction-melty.

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All switches and boards work, has all original boards which I see as a plus.  

The worst "hack" I've found if this fuse work which, honestly I respect versus the usual foil wrapped fuse or beer-tab solution to blown fuses.

The worst "hack" I've found if this fuse work which, honestly I respect versus the usual foil wrapped fuse or beer-tab solution to blown fuses.

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I normally use p21s as a playfield wax, or the meguires carnuba stuff.  I know there are Brazilians if wax options out there (dad joke) but I had some of this Mother’s cleaner wax left over from another project and I found that it actually cleaned better than Novus 2.  

Don’t know if I’m ready to jump ship to Mother’s but I liked the early results using it like a cleaner.

Now, we wait for packages..  So far, zero games played while I wait on new legs and glass from Pinball Life. Did manage to get the ColorDMD installed. Ordered warm tone retro bulbs to kill some of the LED brightness.  From there Mind orbitz style slow color changing shooter knob from CoinTaker, dancing boogies and the skull pile mod along with some new plastics should round it out.  Takes a lot to whip a game into shape but once you get them to that point- worth it.  More to come..

Now, we wait for packages..

So far, zero games played while I wait on new legs and glass from Pinball Life. Did manage to get the ColorDMD installed. Ordered warm tone retro bulbs to kill some of the LED brightness.

From there Mind orbitz style slow color changing shooter knob from CoinTaker, dancing boogies and the skull pile mod along with some new plastics should round it out.

Takes a lot to whip a game into shape but once you get them to that point- worth it.

More to come..

August 10, 2018

More good progress on Scared Stiff

Cleaning and Mods

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Shopping List

Chrome Legs: https://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/A-19514
Leg/Cabinet Protectors: https://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/PINCAB-G
ColorDMD: http://shop.colordmd.com/colordmd-replacement-display-for-scared-stiff-pinball-machine/
Pinball Life Lit Flipper Buttons: https://www.pinballlife.com/index.php?p=product&id=3760
Mind Orbits / Cointaker Slow Color Changing Shooter: https://cointaker.com/products/led-lit-shooter-rods
New Lockdown Bar (Pinball life "Seconds"): https://www.pinballlife.com/index.php?p=product&id=2061
New Pinball Glass: https://www.pinballlife.com/index.php?p=product&id=768
New Bat Ramp (LSOG): https://littleshopofgames.com/product/scared-stiff-bat-ramp-with-decal-and-hardware-a-20754/
New Bony Beast Ramp (LSOG): https://littleshopofgames.com/product/scared-stiff-boney-beast-ramp/
New Crate Board: https://littleshopofgames.com/product/scared-stiff-crate-board-ssc001
New Dancing Boogies: https://littleshopofgames.com/product/boogie-man-for-scared-stiff-eatpm/
Robert Winter Dancing Boogie Extension Arms: http://www.robertwinter.com/pinball/ss/kitbm.html
Robert Winter Skull Pile LED Eyes: http://www.robertwinter.com/pinball/ss/kitled.html
Scared Stiff Slingshot Plastics: https://bit.ly/2KIpqh1
Clear Warm White Comet LED: http://www.cometpinball.com/product-p/1smd5050.htm
Flame Comet LED: http://www.cometpinball.com/product-p/fire.htm
RGB Color Changer: https://cointaker.com/products/ct-color-changer
Clear Warm White Retro Cointaker LED: https://cointaker.com/products/44-47-retro
Titan Pinball Glow Rubber Kit: https://www.titanpinball.com/kits/index.php/view/id/126
LED OCD Controller: http://ledocd.com/cart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=22
GI OCD Controller: http://ledocd.com/cart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=7
Power Splitter: https://www.pinballlife.com/index.php?p=product&id=4234
Power Tap: https://www.pinballlife.com/index.php?p=product&id=5037
LED Strip with Waterproof Coating: https://amzn.to/2AZFoDO
New Power Driver Board: https://ksarcade.net/rottendog-power-driver-for-bally-williams-wpc-95-a-20028-wdb095.html
New MPU Board: https://ksarcade.net/rottendog-wpc-95-security-cpu-plug-and-play-a-20119-a-21377-mpu095.html
Playfield Protector: https://www.playfield-protectors.com
Pinball Pro Speakers: https://pinballpro.net/shop/williams-wpc-complete-speaker-kit-swtr-hf/
Crate Decal (LSOG): https://littleshopofgames.com/shop/decals/decals-playfield-ramp/scared-stiff-crate-door-decal-a-21336-d/

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I tried to "warm up" the tone of the pin. It already had LEDs but many were on the cool side of the spectrum. I tried both the Cointaker Warm Retro and the Comet Warm 1SMD and found them to be identical to my eye. Both are still a little brighter and blown out than I'd prefer. I have a GI OCD kit to put in the pin, which will give me better control over the GI brightness. Contemplated putting incandescents back in the GI, even. So far, I don't hate it but I'm not 100% satisfied. "Needs something". The flame flicker bulbs maybe interspersed? It would be pricey and may not play well with GI animations in the game..

Custom Paint

My friend, Nathan provided some inspiration with his background in imagineering-level yard haunts. He showed me plastic skeletons that he had tea-stained and melted plastic to them to appear fleshy. Googling some resources I found these helpful:

https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Corpse-a-Skeleton-The-Quick-and-Dirty-Way-/
http://manningkrull.com/manningmakesstuff/making-plastic-bones-look-aged-dirty/

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I re-strung the Bony Beast spine with thin picture-hanging wire and zip tied the LED strip at every vertebrae joint, pointing downward. Use the waterproof-type LED strips, they are more sturdy because of the plastic casing. I used Minwax Special Walnut Stain and a bristle brush. A light coating of spray urethane to seal in the stain.

Skull Pile

The game was wired for LED eyes in the Skull Pile plastic on the backboard but this was not included when the game shipped. A mountain of hot glue later, it is mounted and installed. I went a little overboard b/c the LED and wiring seem quite delicate and I don't want them moving.

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Other Stuff

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The coffin door was a little fidgety. The door pops open and the coffin inhabitant yells "boo!" and horizontally rotates to allow a ball to eject from beneath. It would often hang open after ejecting a ball. When another ball ejects while the door is open, it ejects the ball over the lane guides into the drain. I replaced the vertical hinge pin, straightened the horizontal hinge pin flaps and replaced the horizontal pin with a new one.

Finished it out with a color-changing LED spotlight on the sarcophogus face.

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Clips

Addendum 9/3/2018

Added GI OCD and LED OCD modules.

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Addendum 2/18/2019

Powering the LEDs on the beast ramp

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Addendum 2/22/2019

Inspecting the Power Driver and MPU, I noticed a ton of odd board hacks. Thing is, the game is playing fine… but the hacks include straight-wire replacements on resistor banks and complete bypass of fuses. I sent both boards off for repair but his repair queue is ~3 months, so I ordered replacement boards.
Maybe a waste of time and money since the game was playing fine but those fuses & resistors are there for a reason, ya know? :) My best guess without schematic diving is that they were bypassed for features not necessarily used in WPC-95 on this game.

Power from a DK Power Tap to an 8-way splitter and we power the LED controller from that splitter. (roughly 12v)

Addendum 5/10/2019

Touch up Time

I’m not super OCD about making a game that is based on a beat-up crate look like it is brand new. But - the reds were really faded on the cabinet - and that part did stand out. Re-decaling a cabinet is a time suck nightmare and at the end of the day: you have a decal’d cabinet.

A friend offered to help in this respect and Greg was kind enough to lend me some of his time and considerable skills to fill in the reds!

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It turned out waaaaaayyyyy better than anything I could have done on my own. Pretty stoked with the result and bonus - originality & no covering decal! :)

Playfield Protector

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Addendum 5/17/2019 - More Touch up

Now that the reds had some time to cure, I went back with an airbrush and three or four light coats of clear to lock it in. My game will spend the majority of its life in a dark dungeon basement but it sure is nice to have the reds livened back up.

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6/13/2019

Speaker-Time. I have been impressed with the Pinball Pro premium system in my Medieval Madness, Scared Stiff now has the same system. The Scared Stuff Multi-ball will really rock now. :)

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Installed Pinball Pro Premium Speaker Kit

Addendum 7/7/2019

Mirror Blades & Shipping Prep for SFGE.

Packed and ready for SFGE. My Scared Stiff on the right, Cody’s Drop-target equipped Firepower on the Lef!

Packed and ready for SFGE. My Scared Stiff on the right, Cody’s Drop-target equipped Firepower on the Lef!


For SFGE 2019, I was hoping to equip Scared Stiff with a set of Pingraffix Mirror BladeSkins. If you’ve never seen them - click that link - they are awesome.

Sort of the best of both worlds between regular art blades and mirror blades.

Unfortunately as of time of this writing, they’ve been out of stock for about 2 months. I reached out but doesn’t seem like they were able to get a supply of Mirror blade, in time. I ordered two regular mirror blades from Cointaker but by the time they arrived, I’d already packed up Scared Stiff for the show.

I’ve considered bringing the regular Mirror Blades with me to the show to install them there but I also don’t want to be a bad game-bringer neighbor and be in the way for the install.

Will play it by ear, I guess.