First Thoughts on the Flash Rebuild
So, the Flash playfield has arrived. The packaging left a lot to be desired, but overall the playfield is in better shape than I expected. Sure, two things strike you immediately. First, this machine was routed. By that, I mean it was placed in the wild to make money. That's no bad thing. Most of us first encountered pinball in an arcade somewhere, provided and maintained by a route operator. Second, since it was removed from its original cabinet, it has been used as a source of spare parts for other machines.
I know it was routed because there are playfield protectors in front of the slingshots and around the pop bumpers. Also it has, as the saying goes, been played hard and put away wet. Interestingly though, one expects a lot of playfield wear around the flipper bats, but in this case, there isn't any. The playfield paintwork however is definitely in need of some TLC. I could only find one instance of paint wear through to the plywood, so the amount of paint touch-up I need to do is quite small. That's a good thing, because paint touch-up isn't in my repertoire of pinball skills.
The plastics have been removed and stored separately. They look pretty beaten up. Plastics are available for this machine, and I may purchase replacements. I also want to see if I can produce my own. It's nice to have options. Obviously they playfield rubbers are absolutely destroyed, but that's an easy fix. As is replacing the blown bulbs. Various playfield mechanisms such as the spinner and ball gate have been through the wars. I'm not sure they can be saved. Again, there are options here.
On the underside, however, things are a bit more grim. Almost all the mechanisms seem to have been bent over. The game has one set of three drop targets and one set of five (which is actually a 3+2 unit). These have been abused. It's possible a lot of this damage happened in shipping, but it doesn't matter where it happened, it needs to be repaired. All three flipper mechanisms are missing their coils and springs. Which explains why the flippers seemed to move of their own volition when I tested them on the playfield side. The metal units are quite flimsy, and in one case, completely missing. I will probably replace these with standard issue units such as our Complete Flipper Unit. I won't be using the FL-11630 coil though as that's a 50 volt beast and Flash is a 28 volt game. The pop bumpers need a complete rebuild as well. In fact, with the notable exception of the rollover switches, every item on the underside of the playfield needs work. I can see needing to replace all the coils - there are thirteen in total. We'll see. It's a question of balancing the cost of a new coil with the annoyance of an old coil which is beyond it's useful life. I'll certainly be replacing all of the coil plungers and coil sleeves. In addition, I will be replacing the wiring harness with our TP400 system which means (probably) five daughter boards on the playfields to control coils, lamps and switches.
First though, I need to remove everything from the playfield and start to clean the surface (and the plastics). I'll probably remove the playfield protectors too, because while they do protect the playfield, I find they interfere with the motion of the ball. My intention here isn't to create a game for a route, which will be played a gazillion more times. It's going to be a bespoke version of Flash in my own private collection. So the playfield protectors are unnecessary.