Friday, September 12, 2014

The World of Modding! - Part 2: Physical Mods

Hand crafted, customized "Candy Apple" plungers to go on many different games...

Continuing on from my last update about the world of Modding. I decided to start by looking into how people trick out their personal games with different art, toys, and customization options. 

Custom topper on a Sega Batman Forever
Let's face it, if you're gonna drop anywhere from 500-9000 dollars on anything, (let alone a pinball machine)  you better be happy with it! Jeez...It would totally suck if you weren't happy after dropping that kind of dough....*shivers*...yikes. Anyway, not everyone is happy with how a particular game looks when it leaves the factory. Some may like the gameplay but hate the artwork, others might find the interactive toys lacking, or the game missing that special something that the designer should have included, but didn't because of cost, time, or lack of foresight. Because of that, people turn to modifications to make their games look better, be more personalized, and in turn, the overall experience improves and they have more fun playing them.

Custom guitar toy and additional side wall art added to a Stern Metallica
There are many big name "Modders" out there who create these modifications and sell them online. Among them are the likes of "Mike D", "Aurich", "Pinball Pimp", "Pingraffix", "Mezelmods", and of course, "Pinball Refinery" just to name a few (click any of those links and prepare to go "Whoa!!!!" because all those guys do incredibly amazing work)! 

Here are some examples:

ACDC with an alternate translite, speaker panel, and custom speaker covers.

Custom snake fangs for Stern's Metallica.

Custom Metallica speaker panel from Back Alley Creations (photo courtesy of Elo Rey).

Custom pinball apron for Apollo 13...
Custom decaled and powder coated side rail for Stern Star Trek

Along with these guys, there is another big modder that has been making a name for himself in the scene lately. He goes by the illusive moniker "The Modfather" and has been creating several very popular items for pinball aficionados that have found their way on games from Seattle to Boston and everywhere in between. After moving mountains, making many clandestine phone calls, sending smoke signals, and solving intricate clues with secret passwords, I discerned his hidden location and was FINALLY granted access to see his work in person......Phew!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The mysterious man himself....

Here's some of his work:

Customized Carpathian Village for Bram Stoker's Dracula

Hand painted...
...And very detailed.
Actual grass in a Stern LOTR!

Custom sword mod for LOTR... (that is a real blade!)
Space Module mod for Apollo 13...
Custom Lockbar for Independence Day
Customized ACDC dynamite, guitar, and drum set toys...

Custom Terminator Exoskeleton mod for Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Custom lit "Warrior Souls" for the Path of the Dead in LOTR...
Custom lettering,  paint job, and shooter rod for LOTR...
Custom graveyard archway for Metallica...
Suffice it to say I was impressed. He's very good at doing customized pinball toys, hand crafted art flourishes, along with stenciling  and has a real passion for detail. Then he showed a few other things that he has done... 

Custom 3D rendered and hand painted witches castle walls for Jersey Jack Wizard of Oz...
That is the upper left playfield on the Wizard of Oz pinball game. Originally those walls were flat, the texture on them a simple print. The Modfather went and made his own set of walls that give significant depth and detail. The walls look great and have become very popular and as such, he has been selling them online to WOZ owners all over the world.


A Wall of Walls......
One last thing he showed me was his new "Candy Apple" shooter rod plungers. These are custom shooters that are hand painted to match any game that uses a standard plunger.
Custom painted shooter rod plungers...
Oooh Pretty!
Plunger for WOZ
Looks kind of like a planet almost....
The paints that are used....
Custom ACDC "Candy Apple" Shooter on the game...
I asked him where one could buy his mods, and he said that you can order his work from several websites including:

Pinside Forum

Pingraffix

Comet Pinball

Little Shop of Games


Well there we are, if one is going to spend serious money on something like a Pinball machine, the least you can do is trick it out to your taste so that you love it all the more. Just like how people mod cars or boats, others mod pinball machines.

Till next time, where we see how modding has changed the look of lighting in pinball forever!

Feel free to comment below! 

4 comments:

Kristin said...

Thanks for the shout out! Enjoyed your review of the many mods out there and especially liked the inside tour of the Mod Father operation!

Anonymous said...

Love reading your blog, those shooters look great!

Eric Rodriguez said...

Thank you Kristin for the kind reply! Glad you liked the tour, you guys at Mezelmods do some neat stuff!!!

Joeraptor said...

Very cool Eric… The Modfather is the king! He is CHUCK full of ideas… ;-) Nice blog you have here.

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