Many pinball fans (especially Australians) would have heard of the work being done by Alan Tate & Michael Shaloub to open a pinball museum on The Gold Coast.
For years, news on this project has been pretty scarce. But now, Aussie Arcade member “pinballer” has visited the site, talked to Alan Tate & taken some photos.
I am very thankful to Stu, for allowing me to publish his text and pictures. Hopefully, he’s answered most* of the questions you’ve got about this project…
Before we get into things, it needs to be explained that the Aussie Pinball Museum (APM), is not open to the public as yet. Alan is working towards that goal. As has been reported by others, land has been purchased in the Mt. Tamborine area of QLD. It’s a long road to opening day with many obstacles yet to over come. These include such things as planning approval, building design and construction plans, land clearing, building works, fit out etc. Not to mention the many hundreds of machines still to be restored.
I must stress that the museum is a long way from opening at this stage. There is no building as yet and nothing is open to the public. No dates have been penciled in for an opening, with the work on the game restorations continuing along each week. Alan will make his own announcement when the time comes to open the doors.
Alan has been sourcing machines for many years, mainly from the USA, some from Australia. The impressive collection of pins, ball bowlers, fortune teller, grip testers, rifle games, baseballs/pitch and bats and more is around the 1500 mark. The machines range from most eras, from the 30’s through to the very late 90’s. To date there are no machines from this century.
Lee is patiently and methodically restoring each machine, with game 139 (Williams – Big Daddy) in the workshop this week. The other 138 are either fully restored or progressed as far as possible, waiting on parts and where required cabinet repaints. As you can see in the photos, the quality of Lee’s work is outstanding. Keeping in mind, they are not gold plated, pimped out machines. Lee is aiming to restore each machine back to its original glory.
As an example, with each woodrail game, Lee refinishes the cabinet, backbox and playfield timber surrounds, sanding them back to remove the years of dirt, grime and carved initials, then stains and lacquers them. The result is very true to the original finish. The playfields are stripped of all top level parts, cleaned down, artwork touched up where required, polished and reassembled. The reassembly process can sometimes include clear coating of the playfield if Lee deems it is required to prevent further wear or seal in the touch ups.
Each EM pin has its relays, score motors, score reels, cleaned, and all switches cleaned and adjusted. All metal parts off the playfield are tumbled and buffed to a nice shiny finish. New globes and parts, such as flippers, posts, plastics or backglasses installed where required and available. A similar process occurs with the modern electronic games.
Once a building is erected, the restored and fully working machines will be setup ready for use. Also on display will be Alan’s vast range of miscellaneous collectibles, with a strong focus on Australiana collectibles.
Stu, thanks very much for your report!
As soon as I have any further info on the Australian Pinball Museum… you’ll see it here – on JustOneMoreGame.
UPDATE: I’ve contacted Michael Shalhoub, and I’ve got an update, and some great pics in this new post.
So – would YOU travel to Queensland if there was a pinball museum with over 1,000 machines? Would you only visit once? Or once every five years? Which machine would you be dying to play?