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1/24 Scale Taxi Pinball Machine

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  • Member since
    February 2022
1/24 Scale Taxi Pinball Machine
Posted by TechEd29 on Monday, February 7, 2022 4:57 PM

Hello all,

The motivation for this build is covered over in the Autos forum, where I've posted a build thread on a pinball-themed VW delivery van: https://cs.finescale.com/fsm/modeling_subjects/f/4/t/190133.aspx

Here's a teaser of the completed build:

Build pics and explanations to follow when I've uploaded the lot.

Cheers,

Juergen

  • Member since
    February 2022
Posted by TechEd29 on Monday, February 7, 2022 7:30 PM

The Taxi pinball machine by Williams happens to be my daughter's favourite to play and work on, so the choice here was a no brainer. It was originally meant as a simple, static machine that would go into the display case along with the van I built for her... but, that went south quickly.

I've never attempted anything like this at this scale, so I still needed to do a ton of research before I even unpacked my X-ACTO knives.

Luckily, the dimensions of the 1:1 cabinet sections were available online. I also found a hi res image of the actual Taxi cabinet graphics from an aftermarket outfit that produces replacement art for the real ones. When I scaled them down, they matched perfectly with the cabinet dimensions, and I began to cut and glue. I did run into a weird copyright issue with the aftermarket artwork becasue Williams did not grant them a license to use their logo. Later on I had to overlay the actual Williams logo roundel into the side panel artwork.

I also wanted to duplicate the form factor of the 1:1 machine with the folding display for transport or maintenance. Finding, downscaling and printing the artwork on either decal paper or self-adhesive stock ended up being the biggest challenge of all. I went through countless numbers of print test prototypes when I had all the cabinet bits finished.

Then it happened. I thought, why not light it up to simulate it's idle state? Enter the world of flashing micro LEDs. I thought that a few watch cells could power the display and the playfield lights, but the cabinet illumination flickered with the 3.5v cell.

But... the cell holder was too big to fit inside the cabinet along with the on-off switch! A Plan B was needed Geeked

More to come.

Cheers,

Juergen

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Monday, February 7, 2022 7:46 PM

What a fun project!

Thanks,

John

  • Member since
    February 2022
Posted by TechEd29 on Tuesday, February 8, 2022 3:02 PM

I was concerned about the light transparency of the backglass and tried a few options. The best was to print the final scaled-down artwork on white sticker paper and apply it to a section of thin clear plastic cut from an AA battery package. The playfield art was printed similarly, but applied to thin stryrene sheet cut to fit the cabinet. I drilled six holes in the playfield for the flashing mirco-LEDs (2 each yellow, red and green).

As mentioned earlier, "running" tests of the combination of a 3V cell, six flashing micro-LEDs and two regular (always on) LEDs for the backglass showed that the backglass would flicker due to curent surge when the playfield LEDs flashed. I had no chioce but to use two AA batteries, and mount them underneath or behind. I settled on building a semi-diorama with the batteries "under the arcade floor", and the on-off swithch in a "utility shed behind the arcade" that also facilitated a more secure mount for the cabinet:

More to come.

Cheers,

Juergen

  • Member since
    February 2022
Posted by TechEd29 on Tuesday, February 8, 2022 3:29 PM

I wish I had taken more pictures of the fabrication process for the "topper" with the Taxi art on the top of backglass cabinet (pictured lower left):

It is constructed from multiple layers of sheet styrene cut to the rough shape of the topper. I glued them together, with the first (front) layer being 0.10'' to ensure light transparency. The next layers were cut with horseshoe shape from the bottom to accommodate the micro-LED that would be mounted inside the cabinet. The last (back) layer was 0.60''. Final carving and sanding to scale completed the process. 

More to come.

  • Member since
    February 2022
Posted by TechEd29 on Wednesday, February 9, 2022 3:04 PM

Here's a mock-up of the game cabinet mounting to the "utility shed" in order to measure the proper scale height from the floor. From this I determined the length of the four legs:

Here's a view of my typically disorganized workspace with multiple builds in progress (Rallye Beetle in background). This shows the on-off swith (button) mounted to the top of the "utility shed" which is a removable piece that enabled me to resolve the wiring to the AA batteries later on. I was still using the 3V cell on the switch to do testing:

More to come.

  • Member since
    February 2022
Posted by TechEd29 on Wednesday, February 9, 2022 3:16 PM

I found a decent image of the score counter and speaker grille art online, but it too did not have the proper Williams logo on the speaker grilles. I had to merge the logo art seperately into the speaker grilles before scaling everything down down and printing on sticker paper.

I also added my daughter's game name and personal best (high score) on the pixel display:

More to come.

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Wednesday, February 9, 2022 4:37 PM

That looks great.  I'm sure your daughter will love this.  Watching this project is very fun - thanks for posting.

Thanks,

John

  • Member since
    February 2022
Posted by TechEd29 on Friday, February 11, 2022 3:16 PM

keavdog

That looks great.  I'm sure your daughter will love this.  Watching this project is very fun - thanks for posting.

John, Thanks for the kind words. Smile

As the game cabinet and display side art files did not cover the entire structure, I needed to match it's yellow with the paint I had on hand which was good ole' Testors gloss yellow. But how to do it? I found it easier to simply open the art file in Photoshop, select the yellow space and bump it until the test printings on sticker paper matched a test spoon I had painted with the Testors yellow.

The miniscule game instructions etc. were a testing nightmare of multiple renderings in a Word document, downscaling and printing on decal paper. Remember, this is 1:24 scale, so the whole panel shown here is just under 1" wide).

I wanted to have the "machine" set in a space resembling Logan "Barcade" in Chicago where my daughter worked as a pinball tech. Formerly Logan Hardware, a business from the early 1920s, the walls of the Arcade are brick and the floors are the original creaky hardwood. I found some reference pictures and attempted to duplicated these elements on sticker paper to apply to the walls and floor of the model:

Finished cabinet guards, flippers and bumpers made from ruby craft jewels for a 3D effect on the playfield:

Almost ready. Just need some legs and to be "plugged in":

More to come.

  • Member since
    February 2022
Posted by TechEd29 on Saturday, February 12, 2022 1:52 PM

Legs ready to go into the spray booth:

I was lucky to visit my daughter at Logan Arcade several times. She gave me a tour of the facility, which was once an old hardware store. In the field stone walled basement, some of the original iron pipe plumbing remained. To complete the semi-diorama aspect of the project, I fabbed up some pipe and added it to the "basement" battery comparment:

Getting ready to marry the cabinet to the platform and make the final wiring connections:

Almost finished!! Geeked

  • Member since
    February 2022
Posted by TechEd29 on Saturday, February 12, 2022 2:14 PM

It's virtually impossible to see, but I cut a piece of clear plastic from a Hot Wheels car package to use for the large glass section that covers the playfield on 1:1 machines. A pinball techs worst nightmare is when one of these breaks.

After adding the small outrigger tables with candles on either side of the cabinet (on which arcade patrons are to put their drinks)...

...it's Finally Done! Big Smile

I wish there was a way to post the videos I have of the backlit display and the flashing micro-LEDs. Any suggestions?

Shipping it from Michigan to South Carolina was nerve wracking to say the least. When it arrived, my daughter joked that one of the flippers was stuck (I positioned it that way on purpose.)

Thanks everyone for following along on this build. I hope it may have inspired others to tackle similar small scale projects.

Cheers,

Juergen

  • Member since
    July 2009
  • From: North Carolina
Posted by Back to the bench on Friday, March 18, 2022 7:44 PM

How could I have missed this build? What a great and original idea and outstanding execution!Yes The attention to detail is awesome, I love the cups in the drink holders!

I'm sure this meant a lot to your daughter, congrats on a great build.

Gil

  • Member since
    January 2015
Posted by TheMongoose on Friday, March 18, 2022 10:37 PM

Oh man i watched the bus build and saw your note on this but never got to finding it in time. What agreat project! Awesome work. Love the stuck flipper!

In the pattern: Scale Shipyard's 1/48 Balao Class Sub! leaning out the list, we're down to a Monogram 1/72 SR-71 and that Tamiya P-38F/G to use the other nose art Exito Decal (in-flight for this one), & in keeping with MC's hydra theory I bought another F-5E to do in FROG camo! And I just got a Trumpeter 1/32 F/A-18F!

  • Member since
    January 2003
  • From: Washington State
Posted by leemitcheltree on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 5:50 PM

THAT.....is one of the COOLEST THINGS I HAVE EVER SEEN!!!!!!!
Absolutely awesome!!! WHO builds a scale model of a pinball machine????

AND....it HAS LIGHTS!!!!!!!! HAHAHAAAAAA!!!! Super cool!!!

Mate - thanks for sharing the pics of your incredible build. Seriously. Thanks!!!

Cheers, LeeTree
Remember, Safety Fast!!!

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 7:23 AM

Hi Juergen!

 Now, I have to say, It's nice to see something besides the usual model. Are you going to put a player with it? Or do another with someone playing? If you do, You certainly have the spirit and flavor of an Arcade game. Excllent Work on this!

  • Member since
    May 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Thursday, June 9, 2022 8:50 AM

Absolutely awesome!

YesYesYesYes

-Greg

  • Member since
    January 2021
Posted by fuzznoggin on Saturday, June 18, 2022 7:19 AM

Absolutely fabulous build!  Love it!!

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