Apollo 13 landed... in my basement

April 9, 2018

I've been looking for an "Apollo 13" pinball machine for a few years now. It's always been of interest to me as a space fan on a personal level. On a professional level, I work with a lot of adherents to the agile and lean methodologies, where "fail fast" is a common phrase. I prefer the "failure is not an option" approach, so it's a thing I hear and say often.

I was frustrated and popped up a Pinside "wanted" in the Chicagoland buy/sell/trade group. No bites. Then, I put up an ad on Facebook, looking to buy one within driving distance from Chicago. I want to see it first and not have confusion about condition. I looked for a good, but not great one. Well, I finally got one.

 

The first part of the journey was the drive to Holland, Michigan with Marc, where I met Lloyd in person. I played a few games on the machine to make sure it was in good working order. It played well, despite being 23 years old. It certainly has some things that need attention, but it's a great survivor game to start with.

 

So, we loaded up the truck, which is snug with a machine in the back.

 

So, we get it to plainfield, and Dave came over to help get it downstairs with his fancy electric dolly he picked up at Texas Pinball Festival.

 

It was fun to try a new tool out. Honestly, for going downstairs, it was a bit scarier than the appliance dolly. But, I can't wait to get something upstairs with this thing! You have to have some solid friends to have pinball as a hobby. Marc and Dave really came through. 

 

When you get a machine downstairs, you plug it in! It fired up just fine. On the first game, the shaker motor is out of control. We removed 8 of the 13 balls, and screwed the cover back on. It still shook a lot, so I disabled it until I had some more time to really mess with it.

 

But, it shoots great. It has cool orbits, and I can feel a lot of John Borg in this. Of the six machines I have at the moment, half of them have John Borg's fingerprints ("Guns N' Roses," "Metallica," and now "Apollo 13") on them. Add in Dave and Marc's collections, and there are two more with "Jurassic Park" and "Last Action Hero," John Borg's influence is strong in the local collections.

 

Here are some of the initial photos of it in the house. I had a small problem where the trough did not think the balls were there at the end of a ball. I turned it off, moved the balls and it was fine. It was scary for a few minutes. 

 

I have already ordered parts from Pinball LIfe, eBay, and  Titan Pinball. As the parts come in, so I will cover some that as it happens. New clear plastics, rings, cabinet guards, and some surprises.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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