Meteor Restoration – Part 2 – Stripping the playfield and painting

Everything has been pulled from the playfield. At one point someone decided to “touch up” the black section of the playfield with Sharpie marker and cleaning the playfield turned into a black mess.

Removing the apron and ball ramp, I discovered a little surprise. This is what a 20+ year old Skittle looks like.


The planking on the playfield was pretty severe and most sections will need to be repainted. Luckily the design on this playfield doesn’t include lots of gradients. In fact most of it looks like it was painted with a brush to begin with.

Here is a look at the machine stripped with 80% of the playfield repainted.


After painting I applied around five coats of Rustoleum’s Diamond Wood Finish outdoor Varathane. I say “around five” because some areas with deep planking got more Varathane than others. After the third coat set for a few days, I lightly sanded the entire playfield to 1500 git. This allowed me to see if any deep planking areas needed more Varathane. Then I spayed the final coats.

After the last coat, I allowed the Varathane to cure for 4 days, then sanded it smooth in stages to 2000 grit.  I finished by lightly polished with Novus 2. The Varathane wasn’t completely cured at this point, so I went slowly and was careful not to dig too deep into the surface. I let the Varathane cure for about 2 weeks.

Here is a before and after shot at this stage.

Some other images of the playfield as it was curing.

After the Varathane has cured, I polished the surface again with Novus 2 and gave it a couple good coats of Chemical Guys XXX Hard Core Pure White Carnauba Paste Wax – a product I highly recommend for pinball machines. Then I started to reassemble.

Once together, I was really interested to see how a ball glides across a fresh, clean, new, clear coat. There seems to be a lack of resistance.

I decided to use coloured LEDs for the general illumination on the playfield and back box. I wanted to highlight the colours used in the playfield plastics and the playfield but not look too modern. I also used a handful of self blinking #44 incandescent bulbs behind the meteor in the back box. This gives it a touch of old school animation. For fun, I placed a red strip of LEDs under the meteor pop bumper. This particular type of pop bumper has a rather large hole under it, so I thought I’d take advantage of this with a wash of red light.

I had two displays out and the power rectifier board needed some work. My first thought was to rebuild the displays, but I ended up robbing two from my Stern Hot Hand game since I just wanted Meteor up and running and Hot Hand is a few restorations away.

Here is a video of some fancy one handed pinball playing on Meteor – the other hand is holding the camera.

The only thing left to do is replace all the drop targets and the two upper bumper caps. The ones on there are from another game.

Since the ball plays so fast, I’m going to wait on the drop targets and see if I end up snapping them. If I do, then I’ll ramp down the power on the upper flipper. So far so good though.