Upgrading to LED lighting: Bally Mystic

The other day as I was working on my Bally Mystic, I decided to upgrade the lighting in the backbox to LED and document what I consider to be a “tasteful” way to migrate from traditional incandescents to LED lighting. Some people complain about this but I think if you do it right, it’s a dramatic improvement, and in some ways is hard to tell from older style lighting. Let’s take a look!

Here’s the game as it was before work. Traditional bulbs in the playfield and the backglass. You will notice that this is not your typical game. This is an early production/prototype that has a different cabinet color and a special 3-dimensional version of the center eye/pyramid imagery for the crystal ball.
Here’s a close up of the original backglass lit with incandescent 44/47 type lights. Really beautiful artwork. NOTE that there’s more light shining ON the backglass in this picture, when compared with the last one below. This is probably due to the LEDs being brighter and my camera compensating by reducing the aperature or shutter speed.
After removing the backglass I replaced the incandescent bulbs with LEDs. I used a combination of cool and warm white frosted 2SMD LEDs from Comet pinball. I put cool white over areas with the following colors: white, blue, green, and warm white over areas dominated by: red, yellow, amber. In this case I went more heavy on cool because they make the image “pop” a little more as you’ll see…
And here’s the finished product. The whites are much whiter. The blues are bluer. I choose cool white for the crystal ball eye, and warm white for the pyramid (not pictured). NOTE that this is a mirrored glass, so there are only a few non-opaque areas so this isn’t the best example of how vivid and bright these LED-backed images can get. But IMO, a noticeable yet tasteful improvement.

Tips and Tricks for touching up damaged/worn pinball playfield graphics

I recently picked up a very nice condition game but it had an odd damaged section in the middle. Obviously this needs to be fixed and in this series, my lovely assistant Brandi, helps me with playfield touch-ups and gives us some tips and tricks.

Here’s a picture of what the game looked like before:

kos pf damage

Pinball Tips: Color matching

Here’s some good advice on how to paint and touch up your game.

Color Wanted: Start with: Add a little:
Green Yellow Blue
Orange Yellow Red
Brown Red Black
Maroon Red Black & Magenta
Cream White Yellow
Tan White Brown
Ivory White Yellow & Brown
Gray White Black
French Gray White Yellow & Black
Olive Green Yellow Black & White
Pink White Red
Flesh White Red & Yellow
Coral White Orange
Purple Magenta Blue
Gold Yellow Brown
Lime Green Yellow Green & White

More hints:

  • Realize that not all areas of the playfield or cabinet, even if they were painted a single color, will remain the same color over time.  Different areas may fade to different shades.
  • Also note that many paint colors will change slightly as they dry, or appear different if a clear coat is added later, and try to do some test runs to see how the final result will appear before committing.
  • Mix your paint and put some on a piece of clear plastic and hold it over the area you’re going to touch up to see how well it matches.
  • You can pick up a pantone color matching set at most hardware and paint stores and use this to help match colors.
  • Don’t use hot water to clean the paint brush. This can weaken the glue that holds the bristles together and cause bristles to fall out.
  • There sites online such as this one ( http://pinballpal.com/colors/  ) which has color formulas for some popular pinball games.

The art of pinball (part 1)



Pinball is many things: Commerce, gambling, history, reflections on social times, science and technology as well as art. In this episode, we take a look at some of the art. These are pictures I’ve taken of various games featured at the Lone Star Pinball Museum near Houston. Special thanks to Dan Ferguson for his hospitality. I hope you enjoy them!

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