Taru's Tuning


It is not enough to repair and clean the game to look like new. With some small or bigger tricks they can be made even better looking! Of course, it should be done with some taste, and try not to get into extremities. There is no need to put all possible neat stuff into one game. Also it might be wise to do the modifications so that they can be restored if needed.

Taru has tuned her games just a little, keeping the original appearance. Every modification she has done, could be imagined to have been there already from factory. Actually, sometimes this could even be the case, when some designed toy or feature has been left out from production games for cost reasons. Nothing prevents putting these back again in your own machine.

Creature From The Black Lagoon

Creature has a long chain of lamps at the long curvy ramp and at the bowl on lower playfield. They are just ordinary light bulbs, but the game theme really calls out for monstrous green lamps! You can get plastic light hoods from electronics stores. A 5 mm hood fits these lamps. When the lights turn on at certain phase of the game, it really looks amazing with green lights all over and the green Creature reaching for you from the playfield window!

Green lamps. Note also the custom instruction sheets.

Game theme is a 50's drive-in movie theater and the backbox has the DMD cleverly disguised as a movie screen, with cars parked in front. What would be cooler than get real red backlights for the cars? "On with the show" said Taru.

The display plastic frame is glued onto the back panel. It can be removed intact with care. Taru then drilled 22 holes into back panel, and glued a red LED in each hole. The holes are done easily with a stencil made of transparent paper. Black felt tip pencil helps in making mask so that only the red back light part of cars shine through.

Feeding the LED's is a small board with a rectifier and 7812 regulator. The LED's are in series groups of 5, each group connected to 7812 via 180 ohm resistor. Supply voltage 18 VAC is stolen from driver board J101 connector. The little regulator board fits nicely near the speaker.

Red lights are clearly visible but not excessively bright.

Close up.

Back panel without plastic, the LED's are clearly visible.

Making the light mask.

Backside view.

Inside the panel.

Regulator board.

Star Trek The Next Generation

The first little trick in STTNG was to replace the dull red plastics in the guns, with red flasher domes, found on a scrap playfield. Rumour has it that they were originally supposed to be like this but then left out.

Original cannon.

After modification.

Then it was time for a little paint job. The Klingon ship flying over playfield looks quite cheap. It gets a lot better with painting. It will be exciting to see how the other ships will look after Taru uses her paint brush on those too.

Klingon ship.

Same ship painted, waiting to be put back into game.

There are three bumpers in STTNG, the lowest of which is right under the Beta ramp. There has been no room for bumper cap, so it was left out. But the game will be much nicer looking when a cap is installed. It can be done by cutting a piece out from the cap.

This is how to reshape the bumper cap.

Cap in place.

From player's perspective.


Now also the other spaceship has been painted, and it sure looks better than the plain original. In order to prevent ships colliding in dark space, some lights have been installed, one ship has red LED's and the other green, at the wingtips. Looks nice!

Original ships.

The vertical panel at the back of playfield is plain black from factory. Fortunately there are nice background images available for various games, the one for STTNG follows the game theme.

Image is printed on adhesive back paper and mounts on the panel. Some holes need to be done, according to the panel. Before cutting the image it would be wise to double check it is mounted correctly, and not upside down.

Making the holes.

Background image in place.

Doesn't it look boring without the background image?

Shakin all over


Some pinball games have a shaker effect, for example Road Show vibrates and shakes with the roadwork explosions. But STTNG doesn't have it even though it would fit the theme nicely. Taru found a story on the net about installing a shaker motor into Star Trek TNG and so we decided to put one in her game too.

A DC motor found in junkbox got some hardware attached to its shaft, and a handful of electronic parts was thrown in to control the motor. Now when the mid playfield Shield flashers operate, the motor shakes. And it really suits the game. You really get a spaceship feeling when the game shakes as your ship gets some hits and damage.

Shaker installed.

Look here for more instructions on installing the shaker motor.

Indiana Jones The Pinball Adventure


The first little tuning mod was to replace red bumper caps and miniplayfield lane guides with yellow ones, they seem to better fit in with the game coloring. Looks nice!

New bumper caps and lane guides.

This is what they originally looked like.

Twilight Zone


There are plenty of tuning tips and gear available for Twilight Zone, some of them look good and some maybe not so good. Taru's TZ already had the GUM-BALL door panel flashers added by previous owner. Now it was time for a little more visible add-on, a model rocketship on top of the Rocket Kicker. Rockets tail flashes orange light when ball shoots out of the kicker. This is a good looking add-on for Twilight Zone, and it fits so well into the game, that it is hard to believe it isn't factory installed.

... 3 2 1 Liftoff!


We saw how Taru installed a backboard image to her STTNG. Now it was time to do something alike to her Twilight Zone. This time, Taru didn't just use a ready-made image, but instead designed and made a backboard mirror by herself.


Playfield devices reflect on the mirror, and it looks like the playfield continues long behind the backboard. This fits in with the game theme really nicely!


The rocketship looked so cool, that Taru decided to also install some other toys, a piano and a camera. I have always wondered why the Twilight Zone piano hole is called that, but with this addition there is no question.

Piano has holes for the two lamps.

Camera LED's light with the camera lamp on playfield.

Rocket, piano and camera can be ordered from International Decorator Supply, You don't want to put just everything into a fine game, but these little decorations are made with good taste, and are a nice addition.

Attack from Mars


The playfield martians got a whole new look at Taru's make up shop :)

Martians before...

...and after.