PinBotz Decals and Instruction Cards
Review by Kevin Steele
Seems the urge to improve the "stock" appearance of many pinball games is a common one: PinBotz, a small company based in Brunswick, Georgia, offers several sets of "enhancement" decals for pinball machines, both backboard decals for games that never had backboard artwork (or had it removed as a cost-cutting move), as well as some specific decals to enhance the appearance of games such as the Addams Family pinball. In addition, they offer several sets of pinball instruction/information cards, designed to replace the rather generic cards normally seen on pinball machines.
The PinBotz decals are inkjet printed on a nice vinyl material, and the printing is then sprayed with three coats of a "high-gloss" polycrylic to protect the artwork. The sprayed covering really is more like a "semi-gloss" or "semi-matte" texture, which actually looks pretty cool. Coverage was pretty good, although there were a few tiny spots where it looked like the polycrylic coating "bubbled" and then flaked off.
The print quality is superb: no dithering or dottiness was visible anywhere, and the artwork was crisp and clean with bright, vibrant colors.
Extra Pinball Art
PinBotz has a couple of nice decal packages for the Addams Family pinball, including artwork for Thing's box and extra artwork for the moving bookcase.
The artwork for "Thing's Box" included decals to decorate all the visible sides of the box, and even included directions right on the decal sheet, a nice touch.
Let me preface this section by offering one hard-learned piece of advice: do not try to do a backboard decal installation while your four-year old son is trying to hold a conversation with you about how powerful Spider Man really is. I did, and somehow managed to install the decal upside down. That'll teach me to try to do any work on a pinball machine before the kids are in bed! Sigh...
The Attack from Mars backboard decal is artwork that was originally intended for the game, but was pulled at the last minute. PinBotz has resized the original artwork so that it fits the backboard better (the original artwork wasn't wide enough, leaving black gaps on each end).
Anyway, the decal still looks pretty nice, even if it could have looked nicer had I installed it right-side up. And installation wasn't that hard at all (which may be why I managed to screw it up so royally!). Rather than remove the backboard, I loosened the ramps, cut the decal in half down the middle, and then carefully applied both halves, cutting out spots for the diverters other playfield mounting points.
The adhesive on the vinyl has a quick "grab," so you need to be careful when positioning the decal. One nice touch in the Treasure Cove Attack from Mars backboard decal that I wish PinBotz had included was a separate artwork panel for the small space in the saucer bracket. You can simply cut out the necessary portion of the main decal and place it in the bracket, so it's really a minor nit to pick.
The decal looks great in the installed machine, and the semi-gloss/matte finish diffuses the light from the saucers nicely. All in all, a nice improvement over the stock Attack from Mars black backboard!
PinBotz also offers custom-themed instruction and machine information cards (that replace the standard price card) for many pinball machines. The cards are designed to match the color scheme of the machine, as well keep the "feel" of the original artwork.
The cards are inkjet printed on card stock. The custom art is nice, and the printing job is fine, but I do wish the cards were given a protective coating like the decals are.
PinBotz has some nice custom artwork — I especially like the backboard decals, which are very reasonably priced at $19.95 (except for The Shadow, which is only $14.95). They have backboard decals for The Addams Family, Attack from Mars, Road Show, The Shadow, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Twilight Zone, with more coming. They're a nice, high-quality addition to your machine.
PinBotz offers instruction cards at $5.95 for The Addams Family, Attack from Mars, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Funhouse, Indiana Jones, No Good Gofers, Pinball Magic, Pinbot, Safe Cracker, The Shadow, Twilight Zone, and White Water. Their Addams Family playfield decal sets (Thing Box and Bookcase) are $12.95 each.
If you're looking for some extra "pizzazz" for your pinball machine, check out PinBotz' artwork — it could be the perfect finishing touch for your latest pinball restoration!