I have many fond memories of playing Williams 1979 Flash pinball machine. That's why it was the first pinball machine I ever owned. You can read all about that first machine on this page here. I kinda regretted selling it. So recently I started putting out feelers to pick up another Flash. My only condition was that it needed to have a good backglass, as I could repair everything else. I put a 'want to buy' add on Pinside, and was contacted by a seller in Austin. He sent me a few pictures, and I felt it was perfect for me. The backglass was in very good condition, the playfield was in good condition under all the dirt, and the cabinet wasn't too bad. It was dirty as hell, but I felt sure it would polish up nicely.
Austin and I made the drive from Houston to Austin. The seller was really cool, and showed me around his warehouse. He and his dad operated arcades in Austin, and even had one on 'The Drag' back in the 90's. The warehouse was full of old pins and vids and more spare parts than you could count. He was asking $150 for Flash, which I thought was more than fair. It didn't have a playfield glass or legs, but the seller was nice enough to look around and fins spares for me. I ended up paying $180 as I thought $150 was just too low for all I was getting. Anyway, Austin and I spent the night at Jay and Sherrie's, and made the dive back the next day. I set up Flash in the garage and began the restoration.
This, and the next three pictures were sent to me by the seller.
Yeah, that playfield is a bit dirty.
The coindoor is also dirty, but doesn't look too dented.
And this is why I bought the machine. For a 1979 backglass, it's in great shape - the reds are not faded at all...
...and there's very little flaking or scratches. SCORE!!
Back in my garage, the head sits - and is missing the main display driver board.
I was lucky to pick up a replacement from a fellow Pinsider - saved me some $$'s.
It appears this Flash was routed in Texas from '79 or '80 through 1983.
Here's a few more 'before' pictures to show you what I started with.
The seller cleaned off a small spot in the middle of the playfield to show me it was decent underneath.
I was worried that rust on the ball guides wouldn't come off.
More rust, ugggg.
However, notice how clean that bulls-eye target is?
I don't think this pin saw much playtime. I think it sat in an arcade for about three years, then was pulled off route for parts.
Yeah, it's going to need some work to clean this up.
Inside the backbox, the MPU and driver board were missing.
No worries, as they make replacements that have upgraded components anyway.
And the teardown begins....
The plastics will all need a good cleaning.
Playfield almost stripped of parts.
Hey, that piece cleaned up OK.
The siderails cleaned up real nice too.
The 1st pass at cleaning the playfield - not bad!
Yep - cleaning up nicely.
I found these quarters jammed in the coin slot - a '78 and a '79.
For me, the most complicated part of playfield construction is the pop bumpers.
What you see above is after the coils have been removed.
I had to cut the wiring for the pop bumper lights in order to take them off the top of the playfield.
Now the playfield is completely stripped of parts, and can be cleaned even more.
I also need to remove those Mylar rings
You can see the bottom one already coming up a bit.
There's very little wear around the inserts - the '5' is the worst spot.
...and there's a small chip here. Amazing this was the only damage, as there was no Mylar around the slings.
Going to need some touch up paint here as well.
All the metal parts from the top side have been tumbled clean.
I also polished the lane guides - they came out great!
Getting ready for the 1st coat of clear. I used painters tape to cover the star rollovers.
1st coat of clear is on. Notice the old bulbs in there to protect the sockets.
After the first coat of clear is sanded, it's time to do the touch-up painting.
Fresh black around the inserts.
After touch up paint - time to level the inserts.
NOTE: I screwed up here. I put WAY too much clear on my 1st attempt to level inserts.
I should have put less, and let it cure for MUCH longer.
Inserts filled - but need to be sanded down.
I sanded everything, then put on another coat of clear. I should have waited about two more days before doing this.
Notice how milky some of the inserts are - those spots weren't cured enough.
I did my best to overcome my mistakes.
While there is still some milkyness in the inserts, the playfield is FLAT AS GLASS and will play great.
Some of that milkyness has cleared up over time, but it's still not as clear as I'd like it to be.
Again, it may not look perfect, but it plays great!
Time to start putting it back together.
...and *poof* it's done!
(if only it was that easy in real life)
I'm happy with how it all came out.
It looked pretty with everything lit up, but it still wasn't working 100%.
Flash is all about the drop targets, and they needed some work as well.
Each target was cleaned, and had a new sticker applied.
I recommend a big drink while working on pinball machines.
Notice one of the contacts missing from the horseshoe blade.
Yep, that part will need to be replaced.
Jeez, what a messy workstation.
I thought it was an interesting view....maybe too much drinking at this point.
The new Rottendog replacement MPU and driver board is installed.
I took a close-up pic of this chip because it kept blowing out.
Turns out, I had a short in the pop bumper section, and it was blowing the switch matrix chip.
It took me a while to find it...but once that was fixed, it was just a matter of tweaking everything to get Flash working 100%.
A little more cleaning needed here....
Pop bumper switches needed adjustment...
It's easy to see how something could get shorted out here.
Yep - put up a 900,000+ game. I'm really enjoying having Flash back in my collection.