Just a few weeks after Jeff experienced his first NIB purchase, I joined the NIB club with my own Metallica Pro. I ordered it during the first production phase of the Pro, but it was already sold out so I had six weeks to order protectors and mods and new balls (more on that later), etc. The wait was just long enough that I started to dream about the game and I was able to play a friend’s LE before my check was cashed.
The game shipped from Stern on a Wednesday, and arrived at my home at 1pm the following Tuesday via R&L. I was able to track it online on Wednesday and it made it all the way to Oklahoma (from Chicago) by Thursday. Then the tracking went dark until Monday midday. In the meantime, I called and emailed R&L to make sure it didn’t get shipped back (all previous tracking history had been erased), and they notified me Monday that it was safe and due to be delivered on Tuesday.
When the game arrived, it looked fine, but had a hole in the box (see photo). I didn’t sign until I ripped open the hole big enough to inspect the ‘damage’. There was a very, very slight scrape to the bottom back of the head, nothing to get worried about, but I had the driver note the box damage on the bill of lading after hearing horror stories of trying to get recouped for damaged items not noted on the BOL.
We unboxed the game and immediately started adding ‘mods’. We replaced the plastic leg standoffs with metal standoffs ordered from PinballLife.com, added a shooter lane protector from PassionForPinball.com, added a Mystery scoop protector found on eBay and swapped out the crappy standard NEW balls that came with the game for some ultra shiny balls from PinballLife. The balls that came with the game were noticeably duller and one even had a nick in it. Nice, new balls are one of the cheapest ways to prolong the life of your game (they look nice too). Old balls = rolling sandpaper on your playfield.
We finally got the game set up and ‘protected’ and ready to play. First game, the plunger only shot the ball up about 6″ each time. The autoplunger was set to fire at 30 seconds, and it shot the ball into play. My first game was somewhere in the 2 million point ballpark as we were just messing with the plunger. Then we spent a half hour adjusting the plunger. We got it to a sorta workable point, and played about a half-dozen games. My buddy had to leave, and my twin infants woke up (I was shocked that they gave us an hour to set up the game!), so no more Metallica until later that night. It turns out that there are multiple ‘patterns’ used by Stern on Metallica, so the lane protector was causing the ball to ‘ramp’ up very quickly for 1/8″ or so. Once we found a protector that fit this current layout, the plunger problem was relieved!
The first night, I took an hour or two and swapped out bulbs for LEDs. I’m very happy with the results. The only inserts I really don’t like are the four GIANT EOTL inserts right between the slingshots. The lamp bases are about half the size of the inserts, and are just screwed to the very edge of the insert. As such, it only illuminates a small part of the insert. I tried flex LEDs, but they just don’t spread out far enough. I might try putting a spacer on the mounting screw so I can shine the light from an inch or so away from the inserts, instead of right on top of the insert. If that makes any sense…
You can also see that I added LED speaker lights on the backbox, and removed the stock grills in favor of some Metallica throwing star ‘grills’. Really nice effect, in my opinion.
Cointaker had a sale that offered free flipper LED kits when you spent $100. I chose an orange kit, and it came out alright. The leads are a little on the short side, but they worked. I also added these skull flipper protectors. Always a little nerve racking drilling holes into a new cabinet, but the lollipop rails offer similar protection and ‘holes’. I removed the little playfield pegs and added typical playfield slides too. Drilling more holes, but it is a MASSIVE improvement.
After exactly one week, the game had exactly 150 plays logged.
And now a photo dump!