Target Alpha is a 4-player game made by Gottlieb. There were 7,285 games made in November of 1976 and the game has artwork by Gordon Morison (my favorite artist) with the design by Ed Krynski. It features four flippers, two pop bumpers, two slingshots, two standup targets, a 10-bank set of drop targets and a 5-bank set of drop targets. The add-a-ball version of this game is Gottlieb's 1975 Gold Strike and another add-a-ball version for Italy named Lucky Strike that was produced in 1975. The single player version of this game is the more familiar game produced in 1975 by the name of El Dorado. The game is known for being a fun game since it can be hard to knock all of the targets down and there is something about knocking down targets that appeals to most pinheads.
It only cost $150
I bought the game from Kim Mitchell on November 23rd, 1010 for $150. That might sound like a very good price for a Target Alpha, but you have to realize that this was a game that was destined to be parted out and the cabinet most likely thrown away. I bought the game because I hate to see old games parted and tossed, so I knew there would be a lot to do and I'd probably never get my money out of it, but then again, this is what I do when the price is decent and there's a chance I can save it. It will never look as good as an original game that's in good shape, but I hope to make it a decent player that won't look too bad after some restoration.
The backglass is decent on this game but the cabinet was so loose that when I attempted to lay the game down flat on the garage floor, the coin door and the wood it's mounted to fell off with a drywall screw scratching the heck out of my arm. Right off the bat this game seemed to bite me for some reason. It had maybe 20 drywall screws on the front and sides of the cabinet to hold the front wood on to the cabinet and the sides of the cabinet paint was severely cracked and missing. I removed the drywall screws and reglued the cabinet which made the cabinet feel a lot more stable, but the game was so wobbly when I got it that the playfield glass fell out of its channel when we attempted to move the cabinet around to clean it with Bleche White. As mentioned, the cabinet artwork is shot more so on one side than the other, but sooner or later the cabinet will have to be re-stenciled (or maybe not if it appears to be too much work).
The playfield was understandably dirty (it was a $150 game so no surprise), targets looked pretty shot, crazing in the playfield, bare wood showing in places, the usual damage you find under the pop bumper mylar "ring" that is caused by dirt getting underneath the ring and wearing away at the playfield artwork like sandpaper, and the usual dished inserts with some insert tear. When trying to move a few of the scorewheels I found them to be frozen with a couple just barely moving. I did fix the scorewheels after dreading that for about 4 months and realized why I should never buy a 4 player game. Too many scorewheels to clean (16 of them for this 4 player game).
The underside of the playfield wasn't that bad. Parts like flipper plungers and coil stops were pretty shot, but everything looked somewhat clean with very little rust or corrosion evident. The inside of the backbox was pretty dirty since the wood it was mounted too was loose and the coin door was probably just laying on the floor tethered by the cables to the coin door. The inside of the cabinet had the usual black "dust" but that was easy enough to clean up.
I got around to touching up the playfield and clear-coated it so that no more damage could occur. I also replaced all the posts, pop bumper parts, flipper parts, tumbled all the metal on the topside of the playfield (including the rollovers that are mounted from the underside) as well as flipper/pop bumper/eject hole/slingshot metal parts. So the playfield looks pretty good. After cleaning all 16 scorewheels I checked the voltages and they looked good, but when I turned it on and hit the start button, nothing happened. At least the score motor didn't take off running.
Update - I ended up trading the Target Alpha (after doing all that work) to fellow pinhead buddy Tim for his 1958 Williams Casino game and 200 bucks (my 200 bucks). Tim had the Casino game working just fine and it gave me a chance to get a working non-project woodrail in the lineup.
(click picture to enlarge)
Target Alpha Flyer