The Space Mission that I picked up really needed some cleaning. It is a good example of a survivor machine. It was sitting in the same home for over 20 years.
At least 20 of the 141 total bulbs were out, so Idecided replace them all. I replaced all of the bulbs under the playfield and in the backbox. Then, you clean the score reels. You also can't not fix the nails that replaced a broken ball guide some years back.
I am waiting on my new silicon rings before I replace the bulbs on the playfield. But, that playfield was pretty dirty, so I went at it with some Novus 2.
The before (left) shows that the playfield is pretty hazy. You can see burnt out bulbs (by the swinging target) and it looks tired. There is some planking to deal with, but it makes sense to start with a gentle cleaning. I started with some Novus 2, because it was less abrasive. I eventually used some Novus 3 because it really needed to get some stubborn gunk off from 20 plus years of not being cleaned. If you want to see the cleaning process in fast motion, clivk on the video below.
I had the backglass off, to help me see the reflections to watch as it was cleaned. The extra light helps as you move your gaze to check the status of the cleaning. While it isn't beautiful, it's a massive difference. The after photo is below (with some red flipper rubbers I borrowed from the Guns N' Roses parts bin.
I am reading more about the EM community, and I learned that some of my instincts were wrong. Initially, I thought of getting stencils from Pinball Pimp. As I looked at the cabinet, I was afraid of disturbing all of the wires to remove them for a restoration.
The EM community seems to accept flaws that wouldn't be tolerated in the 90's machine collector part of the hobby (players' quality machines aside.) So, I'll focus on the playfield, and maybe look at some plastics or a new backglass. The economics of EM machines are different, with these rarely selling for over $1,000. If they are in the $500-$700 range for great specimens, it is tough to spend $229 on backglass, $79 on plastics and $200+ to repaint the exterior. But, there is a Space Mission listing for $1,200 30 miles from me. I wish the seller good luck. It was NIB and HUO for this family.