I had Blackout on my wish list for a long time now, and I finally have one. My friend Dave found a facebook ad first thing in the morning, and by 8:00pm there was a Blackout in my garage.
Blackout is a 1980 machine from Williams. It was one of the early solid state machines, and one of the early ones with recorded sound. It's the familiar Williams' sounds you would recognize from Joust, Defender and most other Williams games from that era.
This Blackout machine is in great condition.
It certainly has a lot of positives. One pleasant surprise is that it had a Rottendog board to replace the original boards. The playfield art is in great shape. There is no planking and minimal ball wear. The plastics are in great shape. The rubber rings are new, so the game has been well taken care of by someone. The cabinet is in solid shape, for a game from 1980. It has some chips and could use a few touch ups, but this is nothing bad for a 1980 cabinet.
It's from 1980, so it's got some work to do.
So, I ordered a bunch of items from Pinball Life already. The legs were nasty, so we're getting new legs and leg bolts. The flipper button was pretty nasty, so I got some new flipper buttons. The credit button sometimes double registers, so I got a new button for that as well. It gets hot, which we will address in a bit, so I bought the first batch of 80 Warm White LEDs to see how far it goes.
Here's where I have to make some choices.
The backglass is average for the time, meaning it's pretty crazed. This happens from the heat of the 30-odd incandescent bulbs expanding the paint (less than 1/2 inch away) and then having it contract when the machine is turned off. The same heat impacts the inserts on these older games, causing dishing (or cupping.) The same hot and cold cycles make the inserts concave over time, which affects game play in severe cases.
The choice is that I am about $1,100 into this machine with the machine and the first Pinballlife.com order. This machine is probably not going to get $1,500 on the market, so I have to choose upgrades wisely to not get too far under water on it (like my BOP.) But, I like to get my games in nice shape. Marco Specialties has a Blackout Backglass for a good price with shipping. That would make it visually better. But, that doesn't address the inserts.
The inserts can be fixed a few ways. First, there is the verathane method that fills in the concave parts with a clear water-based polyurethane. But, that appears to be a lot of work with some poor results. Another method requires removing every insert and using a heat gun to re-flatten them against a flat glass surface. That method seems like I am going to lose some inserts, and also mount them incorrectly. For $114 (and Ouch! $50 shipping from Germany) I can get a playfield protector. This will cover the entire playfield in a .5MM layer of PET-G plastic, being perfectly flat and even over the playfield and avoiding the problems of the dished inserts.
I'll post more about the work I do.