View Full Version : Williams APOLLO 1967 Restoration

26th June 2008, 08:47 PM
This restoration page will probably take 3 to 4 months to compete but by the end there will be one real nice game. This game is one of the classic pins from the 1960s era.

The game being restored is Williams Apollo which was released in June 1967. The game was designed by Norm Clark and the art by Art Stenholm. Williams made 3100 of this model.

This game was purchased off eBay last year - see the AA posts:


I'm hoping that some of the younger guys on the forum will see some beauty in these old pinball machines, maybe even inspiring them to seek a electro mechanical pinball machine for their own collection.

Taken from Pinball The Lure of the Silver Ball (to set the scene): Apollo was released in June of 1967, at the time when public consciousness of space travel was riding high. Earlier that year the US space program was preparing its astronauts for flight to the moon when tragedy stuck. In January, during a practice countdown, astronauts Virgil Grisson, Edward White and Roger Chaffee were killed when a flash fire swept through the command module. The program was delayed wile safety modifications were made. The Apollo 7 mission was finally launched in October of 1968. After 3 more test flights the Apollo 11 was launched on July 16th 1969 and successfully reached the Moon.

The point I'm trying to make here is this game was released before man landed on the Moon. This game captures a major point in history.

The game is at the point of being stripped of all parts and is in the early stages of being resprayed. All parts have been purchased from Pinball Resource.

OK, enough of the history - to the restoration!

Enjoy the journey :sleep


Arcade King
26th June 2008, 08:49 PM
Look forward to it :) love seeing old machines brought back to their former glory.

26th June 2008, 08:53 PM
Good Luck with the resto. Tony.
It's great to see another EM being restored to it's former glory.
One of these day's I might bite the bullet & have a go at one of my two.
PS : & a resto thread as well . Nino will be happy!!! :lol

26th June 2008, 09:00 PM
Good Luck with the resto. Tony.
It's great to see another EM being restored to it's former glory.
One of these day's I might bite the bullet & have a go at one of my two.
PS : & a resto thread as well . Nino will be happy!!! :lol

Nino who? ;)

He was the one that egged me on to start this thread! Not to forget Wotto who lives 20 minutes away.

Have some serious restoration ahead to match those 2 guys

Have just committed to buying 5 more pins from the 1949 - 58 era so there will be lots of restoration ahead.

Next project will be a Gottlieb PICNIC from 1958 - another old girl brought back to her former glory

26th June 2008, 09:12 PM
Yeah Tony,
Those two guy's pretty much set the standard for resto's.
cheers Steve.
hey Nino should of chimed in by now.
wheres Nino ??

26th June 2008, 09:22 PM
wheres Nino ??
In the shed - working on the Flash.

26th June 2008, 09:24 PM
Yeah Tony,
Those two guy's pretty much set the standard for resto's.
cheers Steve.
hey Nino should of chimed in by now.
wheres Nino ??

Steve - Gimmie a minute here...(well 6 to be exact :D).

Looking forward to this restoration. This game too, was one of my favorites. Dad had one in the "old days" and I really wanted to keep it.. oh well.. It will bring back some memories..

I might have some bits hanging around, Tony - so if you need anything - let me know .

Keep the updates coming !!!

29th June 2008, 08:46 PM
Was meaning to post some pix over the weekend.

Have been so busy on the rebuild. Photos are loaded into Photobucket and will be loaded up in the next few days.


* Game has been fully torn down
* All paint stripped, will ready for undercoat/primer next Saturday
* Every available part orderd from PBR last Wednesday
* Have fully rebulit the bottom relay board (including motor)
* Have fully rebuilt the 'head' mechanics - all score reel assemblies and stepper units were fully pulled apart and rebuilt from scratch (not an easy or quick job).

So it doesn't seem like I have got anywhere looking at the mess in my gameroom (and man is it a mess - can't believe that one game can make such a mess).


I know this isn't the ideal way to view images - but this is my work bench - the foosball/soccer table!

To the left is the 'head' during rebuild - notice to the 2 spare 'stepper units' in the top right of the photo. There is a tip for the new guy rebuilding an EM pin for the first time, if you can have a complete unit on hand it sure makes putting back together a fairly complex unit like this much easier.

The kero was there for cleaning, not drinking, the DVD remote was there for a heap of 'The Angels' bootleg DVDs I have been playing while rebuilding

29th June 2008, 09:37 PM
Looks tidy to me Tony, seems to be a lack of chaos!

AAAAHH Rebuilding stepper units - ya gotta love it - absolutely essential work.

BTW - i have several purpose built workbenches all set up for various tasks, and yet the pool table in my games room is the preferred choice to work on and the Galaga cocktail never gets cleared of essential crap.
keep the posts coming mate,


29th June 2008, 10:18 PM
Hey Tony - What's wrong with the original artwork ?? :lol

After nearly 40 years of gathering crap, those steppers always need work. Maybe 1 - 2 hours per stepper, but they will never need to be looked at for another 40 years..

That's no mess - its organized chaos..

30th June 2008, 08:09 AM
Hey Tony - What's wrong with the original artwork ?? :lol


This is what is wrong with the 'original' art work;) What a shame. Another problem is the original paint wasn't under this mess. So making the stencils match the original design will be a little bit more difficult.


Here is the pin with most of the paint removed. This was Saturday afternoon. One major positive point is the actual timber cab is very solid without many nicks so it wont need too much work with the fill


This is the game all pulled down in a corner - a sad sight!

30th June 2008, 09:56 AM

That cab artwork is awesome. I hope you have soem Hi res pics to archive that one, in case you ever need to restore it:p

Seriously, how do you go from "my kids first space drawing" from the fridge to cabinet art like that! Amazing...

30th June 2008, 05:44 PM
Do you have any good pic of what the artwork is supposed to look like?

IPDB didn't have too much. I'd like to see it

1st July 2008, 06:49 AM
Do you have any good pic of what the artwork is supposed to look like?

IPDB didn't have too much. I'd like to see it

Yes, have organised with another Aussie collector to supply some high quality pix of the cabinet art.

A twist is that it looks like the Apollo wont be sprayed with paint. That is all I can say at this point as I don't want to take away some pending news from a fellow AA member. Watch this space!

1st July 2008, 09:04 AM
Do you have any good pic of what the artwork is supposed to look like?

IPDB didn't have too much. I'd like to see it

I'm assuming it's the same as it's AAB brother Blast Off.


1st July 2008, 10:33 AM
Hi Rod,

Yes, the same - cool looking old school art!

1st July 2008, 10:38 AM
A twist is that it looks like the Apollo wont be sprayed with paint. That is all I can say at this point as I don't want to take away some pending news from a fellow AA member. Watch this space!

my guess is airbrush ink?

4th July 2008, 09:44 PM
Well this is kinda of an update. Was out there tonight getting the playfield ready for the rebuild....man it is getting cold out there at night!

While looking at all the parts that make this beautiful old game what it is thought I would post some pix of some of the 'guts' of this old girl. This is more aimed at the guys into SS pins that may never seen inside an EM


This is the credit unit - what is called a 'stepper' unit - mighten look like it but this unit has been fully pulled down and rebuilt. Notice there are 2 coils - one for adding credits and one for taking them away!


Doesn't show the inner workings of the score reel assembly but they sure look different from a SS pin! These shots are taken from the rear of the head after all 4 units had been pulled apart, cleaned and rebuilt. Look at all those bloody wires!


Bank of relays - simple solinoid and contacts that change things like the bumpers being worth 1 point or 10 points when lit (oh these were the days!) Once again look at all those wires! Williams have a fault of suspect soldering of the wires to contacts - something to check on EACH wire


Here is playfield before the rebuild - not too bad for 41 years old. All playfield plastics sweet. Playfield has zero wear because it is fully mylared. This will be removed to reveal a mint playfield. Still if anybody has ever removed mylar from a beautiful playfield you know that it never goes to plan.

Where are we now?

All mechanics to bottom panel and head fully rebuilt, need to prep the cab over the weekend for the undercoat for next weekend. Have stencils being made during the week, being laser cut (more to follow in a post from another AA member)

Well - all playfield plastic has been ordered, full flipper rebuild kit from PBR. No shortcuts will be made and all coil sleeves replaced.

Feel like I have made alot of progress but look at the mess in my gamesroom and think not :lol

Hopefully parts from PBR will arrive early next week.

Already planning for next project - a Gottlieb Picnic from 1958 so must be making some progress!

4th July 2008, 09:56 PM
Great update Tony,
If someone hasn't seen inside an EM it's a real "eye opener". I've shown friends the inside of my EM's before & they couldn't believe the amount of wire's, coils, steppers etc. A real electrician's nightmare! Not really, at least you can see whats happening & a bit of patience ( & a schematic ) & help from the guru's , you can usually sort 'em out.
looking forward to more updates.
cheers Steve.

4th July 2008, 10:03 PM
Great update, Tony. Keep them coming.

Will you rebuild the steppers ? They look pretty good to me.

4th July 2008, 10:09 PM
A real electrician's nightmare!

:lol That's what my old man said when i got my first pin at 15, and that was an early SS!

13th July 2008, 08:37 PM
Update: (sorry no pix at the moment)

The cabinet has been stripped and has had 4 undercoats. The first few had been applied then left for a week. After this was done was a good time to see were some wood filler was needed and surprising not much was required. So this was put in let to dry and then sanded back.

On Wednesday another coat was applied and let to dry, then sanded lightly. Another coat was applied late today and will be left until next weekend. Looking good and I'm pumped - such a classic game and the last time I played Apollo was around 1972

All stencils have been made off digital photos off another game (as the cab design on my game was shot) and and have been generated via a PC.

Cabinet paint (white) will be applied over the next 2 weekends then the stencils will follow the weekend after.

During the week days after work all the mechanics of the head, bottom panel under the playfield have been totally rebuilt. Everything has been totally pulled apart and rebuilt. Any part that showed slight wear was sent to the bin and new parts have been used. The entire flipper assemblies have been totally rebuilt with all new parts. Everything from the flipper shaft/bushing/coils/links etc.

Legs have been sanded back and primmed - will be painted next weekend. New leg bolts and leg levers have been bought from Mark C - (thanks mate - another plug ;)).

So even though I haven't posted for a week - lots has been done and have been dealing with my cool Father in Law having a stroke yesterday and spending the weekend in Canberra.

So what is to be done?

Cabinet sprayed over the next 2 weekends and the next weekend after applying the cab graphics. Game will then get put back together. Fingers crossed it will fire up and only need some small amount of tweaking to get it working 100%

Will wait until all the game is firing 100% before rebuilding the playfield - all new parts are here and waiting to be installed.

My hands tell the story - cuts everywhere, blood blisters and smelling of kero!

While this has been going on - on the side have started on my Gottlieb Universe from 1959. Have totally rebuilt the bottom board and under the playfield. Have started on the head mechs. This game will look like a brand new game when complete!

14th July 2008, 05:59 PM
Blimey - you have been busy! Looking forward to seeing the finished product, nothing like a gleaming new pin.

UNIVERSE is having an overhaul as well? Im chomping at the bit to own this machine, is one of my favourites.
Let me know when you're ready to sell - ill give you 50 sheckles, a goat and someones daughter..

.. Bloody bargain!

14th July 2008, 07:41 PM
Tony - I can't wait for the pictures !

Great update and I'm always leased to hear that I'm not the only nutter that rebuilds everything on am EM.. (Gavin's a nutter as well)....

When you get time mate... PIIIIX !!!!!

14th July 2008, 09:42 PM
Well there will be a HUGE announcement regarding the next step in the restorationof this pin.

Will be a World first and news will break on AA!

Just a few hints - a member of AA has developed a method to help with the next step of restoration. This game (as well as my Picnic from 58 and Criss Cross from 58) will be the guinea pigs. This help about to be released will help every pinball collectors that respray pins from any era!!!

Yes Nino - will post pix - she looks quiet elegant in undercoat waiting for the next stage

Watch this space!

14th July 2008, 09:54 PM

and thanks for the pic i now know what a pile of old bumper caps i got came from

16th July 2008, 08:29 PM
Not too much for a report. Just that these are the images that are being used to create the laser cut decals

Side of cab:

Side of head:


For anybody that has done a respray of a pinball cabinet will know how much of a messy, time consuming and frustrating job this is. Still not giving much away but there is a service that will be available from a fellow AA member very soon that will take all the pain of a cab respray away. Will fully explain in the next few weeks when I spray this game and post the pix.

The stencils are laser cut and created off images just like they are shown above. Stencils are supplied for each different colour, so this takes all the hassle of trying to match the stencils for each colour so they match up to each other. It takes away all the hassle of tracing and the cutting out. These will be an exact match.

16th July 2008, 08:36 PM
I wish I still had my Apollo :cry

Those cabinet pix just brought back some sweet memories !

Yes - I'm looking forward to this announcement as I've done a few resprays, and you can't fully describe the hours this process takes. This "new" method will shave HOURS off the stenciling process. I will be documenting a few restores using this method when the time is right.

BTW - I've sent you a present in the mail today ;)

16th July 2008, 08:41 PM
Looking forward to seeing this "new" method as I should have a few golden oldies coming my way soon that will certainly need the treatment.

16th July 2008, 08:43 PM
Looking forward to seeing this "new" method as I should have a few golden oldies coming my way soon that will certainly need the treatment.

I have SEVEN machines that will have this method employed as part of the restoration process !

I can't wait !


17th July 2008, 05:49 PM
Ooh, that's a brilliant idea!

It took me a long time to make my set of stencils for my Playball, ended up not being happy with the results of the test sprays I did so they've been scrapped and I was going to start again.

Tony, how do you plan on compensating for the curving toward the edges of the photo due to the lens? Were you just going to extend the stencil out a bit further to make it square or do you have a method of correcting it (if so I'd like to know about it, would help a lot with a backglass I want to vectorise).

31st August 2008, 08:42 PM
Gavin (retropin) has just made available an excellent service here in Australia to save anybody respraying a pinball or arcade cabinet.

He is offering a service of laser cut templates on adhesive material all made off the digital photos of the original cab design.

For anybody that has ever attempted a respray of any type of cabinet will tell you most of the trouble is making actual stencils - the tracing them, trying to cut out the original design for each colour and making sure the all line up.

Well with Gavin's approach all this isn't needed.

I'm about to respray my Apollo with this method.

This isn't a 'payed advertisement' - this is just a double thumbs up from something that can help everybody that restores old arcade games - 5 stars!

Watch this space :)

8th October 2008, 07:58 PM
In a word - slack - that has been the effort on this restoration for the past 6 - 8 weeks.

Suppose with 12 "new" pins arrive over the past 8 weeks this has taken some focus off the Apollo.

Anways - she will be fully finished in 3/4 weeks and will post lots of pix in that time.

This is one of the playfield that had been stripped. The mylared has been removed since to show a minty playfield. As with all mylar removals (well at least with me) there was a small area where the paint also lifted. After seeing the results of all the mylar removed it was worth the risk. Once the playfield is cleaned and all the new parts installed this will look near new.

While all this has been happening the cabinet has been made ready for a full respray.


The sad thing is this game has been sold, so as the game has finally started to come to complete of the full restoration I have mixed feelings

Still this is making way for another early 60s Gottlieb wedge head - so that should ease the pain :)

10th October 2008, 02:56 PM
Wow - a real classic this one and a playfield that will simply look amazing once you have given it the 'treatment'.. :)

Will wait with interest to see the finished product.. happy trails.


21st May 2009, 11:56 AM
Wow this restoration was one hell of an anti-climax!

Fish Tales
21st May 2009, 12:23 PM
you know Tony is no longer a member?