House of Payne's Clear Plastic Fender Washers
Review by Kevin Steele
After the trouble I had finding a good set of replacement slingshot plastics for my Doctor Who pinball (see my Pinball Plastics review), I wasn't about to let the new plastics get damaged if I could help it.
Following a recommendation in the rec.games.pinball newsgroup, I checked out the "House of Payne" web site, which features reproduction pinball plastics and something unique to protect them: clear polycarbonate fender washers.
The washers are designed to replace the metal washers normally used under the plastics, especially the larger metal washers some pinball owners have used to protect the edges of their pinball plastics.
The plastic washers have the advantage of being both strong, flexible, and clear - they're strong enough to withstand the impact of an airball strike, flexible enough not to damage the pinball, and transparent so that they don't interfere with the lighting of the plastic.
I ordered several of the plastics, and received them via priority mail in just a couple of days. The washers are cut from 1/16 polycarbonate (Lexan) plastic, and still include the protective covering on both sides. The edges were a bit rough, but can be easily buffed and polished.
I removed the new slingshot plastics from my pinball machine, and replaced the small metal washers with the new clear washers. It's interesting to note that none of the washers actually extended out beyond the original plastics, except for one tiny area on the left slingshot.
Once installed the only clue that the washers were there was a faint circle around the mounting holes under the slingshot artwork. It was larger than the metal washer (obviously), but did not block as much light. I suspect that with some polishing, even the faint visible line can be reduced.
Will these washers actually protect the plastics? Possibly. I'll have to report back once I've had more "testing" on the game — the way my two young sons play, I suspect they'll be able to pop a pinball or two off the plastics soon enough!
Right now, I'm considering these washers as a cheap "insurance" plan for my plastics. The washers are $.60 each ($.45 for 50+), and come in three sizes: 1", ¾", and 7/8". Whether or not they actually help, they certainly do no harm, and if there is a chance that they can spare me another search for replacement plastics, they're worth it.