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Hello! TZ as my first one ...

Aladeran

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Aug 30, 2021
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I am glad that I found this forum. People seems nice and helpful, and the site contains a lot of useful information.

About me ... I am a French Canadian that has lived in the UK for the last 22 years. I have a wife, two kids, a full size HyperSpin arcade machine, and now a Twilight Zone pinball. We all live in Worthing but are planning to go back to Canada next year. Until recently, I have been mainly focused on 80s arcade games. It started with MAME on a PC and it ended with a home built 8TB HyperSpin monster. After playing with the various pinball emulators on HS, I decided to build my own VR pinball machine. I gave up halfway into it following a depression. Instead, I started to browse eBay to buy a real one. I was surprised to find that people were collecting them as if it was a stamp collection :D North American houses can easily accommodate 20+ pinballs in the basement, but UK homes (at least mine) would be limited to single digits. I was also shocked by the price of a 30 years old pinball, and how complex it can be to repair and maintain one. Financially, it's not an easy to access hobby either!

I started to research which pinball would be my first. My CFO (wife) gave me strict rules to follow. First, I can only buy a pinball that will keep its value over time. Second, it will not become a financial sinkhole to repair and maintain. Last, it does not stay in the living room and has to move to the conservatory. My first attempt at buying one did not go well. I saw a Stranger Things on eBay at a low price and went for it. It was a very good scam, well presented. I had to involve eBay, but no harm was done. I carried on looking and found a Fish Tales that was going for £3200. After my bad experience, I was overtly suspicious when the buyer asked to conclude the sale outside of eBay for £2800. I did not know that his asking price was fair, after the work he did to restore it.

After discovering Pinside, it was easier to find the right candidates to purchase. Because I like toys and ramps, I decided to focus on the Bally widebodies and collect them all. I carried on looking on eBay for what was available and saw an Apollo 13 for sale. On the edge of a picture, I could see the artwork of a Twilight Zone. I asked the seller if it was for sale. He refused then changed his mind the day after. He offered it to me for £4500, with an understanding that he would repair an ongoing issue with the gumball machine. At the end, he was too busy with his coin-up business to find the time to repair it. We settled for £4000 and the problem became my responsibility. He sent pictures of the machine, and said that there was nothing else to fix and that the pinball was in good condition.

When I arrived to pick it up, he showed me a list of other issues he uncovered in the mean time. There was a problem with the left diverter, three broken plastics and the legs were rusty. I was not happy with those last minute issues, but we finally settled for £3750. The playfield, cabinet and backbox were in very good condition, and the MPU board was new. It played well in general, and I loved the game immediately. I encountered the first reality of owning a pinball machine, it's big and bloody heavy! I cleared the doorway of my conservatory with 5mm to spare. I planned to use the services of Bob from pinballtoys.co.uk to resolve the hardware issues I could not fix. Before his visit, I gave the playfield a good clean, fitted LEDs throughout and fixed the gumball switch issue. While doing all that work, I discovered that the gumball rotating handle was missing. This is how I discovered Marco, and realised that parts are hard to find in Europe. My replacement handle will cost £25, most of that in custom fees and shipping.

Once the hardware issues were resolved, Twilight Zone ended up being our favourite family time entertainment. I was not expecting to compete against my wife, which was a nice surprise. We are now looking at the possibility of moving the pinball with us, when we go back to Canada next year. Is it worth financially to take it with us, or sell it in the UK to buy another one once we moved?

Cheers,Yannick
 

PAX

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Dec 28, 2020
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434
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Thetford
Would you be liable to pay taxes/duty if you take a pin across the border from the US to Canada?
If not you'll be in pinball heaven. At present I would imagine prices in the UK are approaching double what they are in the US
 

David_Vi

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Sep 3, 2019
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Sudbury
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DaveTheTrain
Welcome!

I'd think you'd find a pin in North America a lot cheaper than here so probably not worth taking one over unless it's sentimental and not too expensive to get over there.
 

thelab

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Joined
Oct 8, 2012
Messages
643
Location
London
Alias
Vin! FFS!
Thank you for an uplifting story on a Monday morning!

I'd be happy to help you get rid of it when you are ready to go! Always had a massive soft spot for TZ, but bound to have something go wrong given the number of toys on that thing.
 

Monkeyboypaul

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May 29, 2013
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Location
Riccall, North Yorks.
Alias
Paul G
Twilight Zone was my 1st too.

I'm onto my 3rd TZ machine now. 14 other non-TZ machines have been and gone over the last 8yrs of owning pinballs.

I doubt it's worth taking it back to Canada unless it's a pristine machine. You can always buy another, but it might cost you just as much, if not more. Or wait for a CGC remake to arrive within a few years. By that time original TZ's will cost just as much as remakes anyway!

Most of us on here are jealous of the North American basements... We're volumetrically challenged in England.
 
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