News : Rockland Pinball renews the fun of yesterday : Lohud Journal News
Lohud The Journal News has written an article about Rockland Pinball of Nanuet. Rockland Pinball restores pinball machines and sells them to buyers who are looking for a restored pinball machine. Rockland Pinball is operated by Rob Waxtel and Gred Topf who is more known as NJ Gecko on Pinside.
A pair of pinball wizards have set up shop at Rockland Pinball in Nanuet, where owners Rob Waxtel and Greg Topf are reinvigorating pastimes of yesteryear, restoring and selling the vintage machines.
“My basement was overflowing (with pinball machines) and we saw the need that people want these,” said Waxtel, 44, a Nanuet resident. “I was selling them out of my garage and I would put a machine on Craig’s List and I would get 50 calls for one machine.”
Topf, 40, who lives in River Edge, New Jersey, had a similarly packed basement.
“And we both had families and our wives said to give some of the basement back so it just made sense,” he said. “So this started out as really just kind of an overflow from our houses.”
The business opened in April 2015 and in just over a year has already served enthusiasts from throughout the country and around the world, having shipped machines as far as Australia and New Zealand. The location typically houses about 40 machines, Waxtel said, with even more stored off-site. They come from far and wide.
After the arcade boom of the ’90s died down, many domestic machines were shipped overseas where the fan community is still thriving, Waxtel explained. Now, he said, Rockland Pinball is “re-importing” many of those machines to renovate and sell, meaning many of the cabinets in the shop have slots for francs or Swedish kronas as opposed to quarters.
But breathing new life into these decades-old machines is no easy task.
Topf works mainly on the machines’ computers and electronics and said that he’s heard there’s a mile of wiring inside a pinball cabinet. Waxtel does the aesthetic and structural renovations and also sells the machines. He said that a full renovation will take about 80 man hours to complete.
Although pinball might seem like a relic of the past, most of the machines sold by the duo are updated to include current technology, like the LED lights they use to replace the machines’ original incandescent ones.
The traditional bulbs, Topf said, are “all over the place under a pinball machine. They blow. They get hot… Just like you see with regular light bulbs.” He estimated that about 95 percent of the machines they service are fitted with the upgraded bulbs, but added that some pinball devotees instead insist on keeping everything original.
But upgrades like the cooler-burning LEDs can help protect a machine’s lifespan.
“This was from a flasher locking on and melting the plastic,” Waxtel said, referring to a deformed groove in the playing field of a Monster Bash machine he’s in the process of repairing. Monster Bash is an especially sought-after machine, he explained, and once it’s restored, Waxtel approximated it will sell for around $12,000.
Though, on average, the duo said a typical machine sells for between $5,000 and $7,000.
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Thanks to Lohud the Journal News and Kevin Phelan for the article and pictures