Repaired castle gate entrance. For a photo of this installed into the
machine, see below.
Photos of the exit of the moat upkicker on the left of the
playfield. Before and after adding the
The door on the left of
castle gate opens to allow the ball to 'crash through' the
The base of this door is just the wood of playfield itself.
had a great deal of wear on it, so I decided to make a protector for
the base and the pocket behind it.
Closeup of the protectors for the door on the left of the
Here is the before
I made the protectors
out of aluminum
sheets. The one for the base of the door was then covered
decal that I made by shooting a photo of the castle foundation and
cloning it into a pattern. This protector is held in place by
metal plate under the playfield. Then the pocket behind the
was lined with aluminum that was painted dark green to match the moat
Protector with the castle wall in place.
One additional note is that the decal for wood of the castle drawbridge
printed using a scan from ballsofsteel.net. This was printed
vinyl with a color laser and then laminated with clear mylar.
The end result looks very close to the fragment that was on the bridge
when I bought
the machine. The metal parts of the drawbridge were spray
As with many MM's the Merlin Hole on my machine was worn. In
initial renovation, I restored the hole with epoxy wood putty and
touched up the paint (similar to how Dave
his). It turned out very nice, but after a few
months of play, the wood putty cracked and broke away.
needed a protector for the wood of the playfield. These are
as a set (see links below), but I decided to build my own.
Appearance of the Merlin Hole before the protector was
Note the remaining wood putty
restoration on the top left corner of the hole. The right
the hole is showing
wear and the missing wood putty.
The biggest challenge in making this protector was the flared round
shape at the surface of the playfield. Unlike the previous protector that I made
this one needed
to curve in two directions. I considered several
methods of making this flare, including hammering the metal on a form,
but after some roaming around the house and brainstorming, I found a
solution that worked for me. The hole in the playfield is 1
in diameter (ball is 1 1/16"). I hit on the idea of using an
empty 35mm film container and a hose clamp as the form for bending the
flare in a sheet of aluminum.
The aluminum sheet is pre-bent in a cylinder, and then wrapped onto
an empty 35 mm film can tube. Then the edge is gradually
out with a
pair of pliers
padded with a paper towel (to prevent scratching the surface).
I made sure 3/8" of the aluminum sheet was above the edge of the film
container, and proceeded to gently bend the exposed lip into a
flare. Make small bends all the way around, and make repeated
passes to gradually bend the top open into a flared funnel.
two tries, this produced a very nice shape that fit
very well in the playfield. I then snipped tabs in the
end, and bent it in a fan to form a lip to fasten to the under side of
The almost finished protector. After this photo was shot, and
the playfield, the unused tabs were cut off. Note the notch
in the flare
to match the funnel tip in the Merlin Hole.
The resulting flared cylinder was very pleasing to the eye and fit very
nicely in the playfield. I then used wood putty to snugly fit
protector onto the playfield. The result is that the space
between the wood and the protector was completely filled.
allows the shock of the ball to be transferred to a large surface area,
and should be very durable. I was able to make the top rim of
flare flush with the top face of the playfield, and filled in the
missing wood with the wood putty. After a few minutes of set
time, the wood putty was just the right consistency to allow forming
and sculpting with my finger tips to make a level transition from the
lip of the protector to the surface of the playfield. No
was needed, so I did not have to risk scratching the playfield surface.
The protector assembled into the bottom of the playfield.
After the epoxy wood putty had cured, I touched up the area with
acrylics using a sewing needle as the paint brush. I was a
out of practice, but I did not do too badly. The red was
"Crafter's Edition Real Red #72007", an excellent match. The
white was Titanium White.
Installed protector lined with the wood putty and touched up with
After touchup, the area was brushed with clearcoat and then mylared.
Note the excellent match on the red color. It is undetectable.
Before reinstalling the Merlin Hole upkicker solenoid, I attached a
trim piece of adhesive rubber onto the scoop of the Merlin Hole (no
photo). This was very effective in cushioning the pinball as
comes into the Merlin Hole. A few test rolls of the ball into
Merlin Hole showed that the whole assembly worked flawlessly.
Balls did not bounce out of the hole, and the rubber strip and snug
protector freezes the ball as soon as it hits the scoop.
Photo of the final assembly. Note an experiment shown here
lighting up the Merlin Hole. Not as impressive as on my IJ,
be experimenting with color and angle.
A dozen test games
showed that the
whole assembly worked without problems. One noticeable thing
that the ball no longer makes a sound when it hits the hole and shows
it is being cushioned and just goes 'dead' as soon as it its the
scoop. This matches my experience at Martin R's place
when he gave me the
sheet of rubber material. The part of this project that was
finding ways to bend the the metal into new shapes. This
useful in the future when making other protectors.
Using some Lexan, I made protectors for plastics that are in the
line of fire. This includes all the plastics at the front of
castle. In the picture below, the bottom plastic had a
previous protector that was broken by ball hits. I made the
second revision more beefier. Were it not for the protector,
valuable plastic would no doubt have been broken. See them
installed in the picture above (Merlin Hole protector
The Lexan was cut with tin snips, and then filed smooth to finish the
Touching up the
The edges of these plastics are protected from ball hits.
The dragon on the right of the playfield is a large part of the
decorative package. I decided to touch it up to let it stand
out. This was done by first wiping down the dirt and dust
alcohol dampened paper towel and then repainting the white accents and
then brushing clear polyurethane over the whole body.
do not have any 'before' pictures, the results are a great improvement.
Each tooth and claw was individually painted.
The orange on the dragon's throat was also touched up.
In addition to the dragon, I also touched up and clearcoated the trolls
as they get a lot of ball hits.
The teeth and nose received the bulk of the detailing treatment.
Since the original color is impervious to alcohol, but the touchups and
clear disolve in it, I can remove this mod in the future.
However, I think it looks quite good.
Others have added lights to their dragon
eyes by drilling holes
through it, and inserting LEDs.
One area that needed a lot of work was the pocket for the catapult on
the left hand side. There is supposed to be a ball guide and
gate at the entrance, but it must have come loose and some operator
used some wood screws (gasp!) to replace this hardware. As reference, this
the prototype game
looks (the two wire guides match the
the playfield), while this
picture of the guide
on the production machine.
courtesy of M.
Picture of the catapult pocket before restoration. Note the dirty
opening for the catapult in the playfield and the wood
screws used to replace the ball guide.
I repaired the area by
wood screws and then sealing/glueing the open wood with epoxy clamped
down hard by a C-clamp and a teflon block. This produced a
area that I could paint with acrylics. The opening of the
catapult was then sanded to reveal the wood, and then touched up with
acrylics. The touchups were then brushed with Olympic
polyurethane. It turned out better than I expected.
before the restoration, the catapult opening in the playfield felt
dirty and rough, it felt like I was touching fine furniture cabinetry
after the rework.
For the purple, I mixed titanium white and "DecoArt's Dioxazine
Purple". For the yellow, I used "Crafter's Edition Bright
#72010". For the red, I mixed black with "Crafter's Edition
The catapult area after repair. Note the clear protectors
made for the NOS plastics and the repaired playfield.
Since the ball guide and
were missing, I had to rebuild those. I had
attempted to find them at the 2006 Allentown Pinball Show, but to no
avail. Also, places like Marcos did not stock a ball gate of
size and configuration (5 1/8" from hole-hole with half-width
opening). I made mine from aluminum cut with an
industrial shear, and the stainless wire was obtained at no charge from
a welding supply shop.
The finished catapult area with the ball guide and ball gate that I
made myself. Note that I chose to put the ball gate UNDER
I was trying to figure out how to get 300 dpi images of the head and
tail of the spear for the cabinet overlays.
I debated e-mailing other owners and looked at all kinds of websites
for a decent image. I also contemplated
Then I realized that the side-art is the same on both sides!
get the artwork of the left front, I just
needed to photograph the right back, and vice versa. I just
filled in the missing parts with Photoshop.
Middle of the playfield before renovation. There was damage
The lower playfield after installation of the overlays from Classic