Rebuilding "Flash"

Rebuilding "Flash"

By Dermot Tynan, Monday, August 19, 2019. Tags: coils, flash, flash rebuild, flipper coils, mechs, playfield, Rebuild Tuesday, TP400.

We just acquired a very old "Flash" playfield in not-great condition, but with all of the original coils and mechs, including the pop bumpers and flippers. We're always on the lookout for old playfields, because they make interesting wall-art. Well, it's interesting wall art if you're into pinball machines.

This one came to my notice, and what was interesting about it was the fact it was still fully loaded. I have yet to receive the playfield, it is being shipped as I type this, but the photographs show a playfield which has seen a lot of play, and by the looks of it, a lot of sun damage. The mechs all look a bit old, too. We'll know more when it arrives and we can take some detailed photographs and examine it.

"Flash" is notable for a few reasons. It's a Steve Ritchie design, it was the first pinball to feature background music and it has a cross-field plunger lane. Steve Ritchie known not just as the "King of Pinball" but also the master of flow. His games tend to keep you firing on all cylinders for the duration of the game. He's most famous for High Speed, which is based on a true story, more or less. This was his first design for Williams and it was a huge success. The machines were played quite a lot, so worn and damaged playfields are typical, in the after-market.

So, are we going to strip this playfield down, throw away the mechs, and mount it on the wall, somewhere? No, we're not. We've decided to restore it to full, working condition.

I know what you're thinking - this is just a playfield, and a damaged one at that. How on earth can you bring that back to life without the cabinet, and most importantly, without the backbox with the CPU, driver, power and audio boards? We have a few secrets and tricks up our sleeves. We are going to replace the electronics with our own TP400 series boards. We'll put in a modern CPU board (like a Nano T4) and create new software based on the original rules. At this stage, I doubt we'll re-create the sounds though, as they haven't aged well. We might try and do some new voiced callouts! Who knows?

First, we need to receive the playfield and start there.

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