Restoring Count-Down

I’ve been attempting to alternate project difficulty levels with the arcade restoration queue, partly for financial reasons (the pain in the ass projects also tend to be the most expensive), and partly to stagger the overall punishment thrown my way. With the relative ease of the Neo-Geo MVS and Missile Command projects, I figured it was time for a doozy.

Pinball fascinates me — not only did those guys (and as far as I can tell they were all guys) have to contend with standard aspects of game design such as gameplay, pacing, and theme, they had a slew of mechanical engineering and physics issues to deal with on top of ’em. I wanted a project pinball machine, something I could tear apart, learn a little bit about, and restore. Earlier this year, I found it: a 1979 Gottlieb Count-Down. Cosmetically rough, but complete. The game wouldn’t start (not unusual for a System 1, as I’ve learned) and had electrical and mechanical issues, but that’s part of the fun, right?

Here’s the cabinet as I began the initial cleanup and teardown.


Past owner touchup number one: several thick coats of latex white on the normally orange backbox. Luckily, aside from a few errant paint drops, the backglass itself was in fantastic shape.
Hey there, space babe.

Past owner touchup number two: spray can + lack of restraint =

While the playfield wear wasn’t horrible, the insert rings, the rocket cone, and a handful of other detail areas could all use repainting. There were lots of ball swirls to work out, too.
lower playfield
upper playfield

Next up, playfield touchup.

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