Restored – Williams (1986) Comet Pinball


Ok, so what’s so special about Comet you say?  Well ok, it’s considered by most as an average pin from the 80’s.  Sure, I’ll concede that.  However, it WAS just an average pin from the 80’s.  Something changed my mind about this machine that was worth writing about.

I see a lot of pinball machines, and it’s easy to gravitate to the pop-stars of the the 90’s era such as Funhouse, Twilight Zone, etc.  They have all kinds of gadgets and craziness to them with layers of modes.  However, there’s just something about this pin that makes me want to play it over and over.

It’s 1986, and multiball was already invented and starting to be a mandatory feature in most Williams pins of this era.  However, this machine is just a single ball player.  What this machine does give us is character.  It’s based on an amusement park and feature roller coaster – Comet.  It’s not necessarily a ground breaking idea, but it brings you back to this era.  The Comet also has a lot of completely different shots, just like a real amusement park

  • Comet Roller coaster (main center ramp).
  • Spiral loop (upper left). Possibly this resembles a slide at a park?
  • Dunk tank – with a dummy that taunts you and screams when you dunk him.
  • Shooting range (ducks and rabbits).  Light these to increase bonuses.  Cool thing is that the bonuses alternate between balls, so the challenge changes depending on which ball you are playing.
  • Inverted inlane and outlane on left side.  This is actually a very simple and fun feature.  It’s the very basics of learning how to nudge your pinball machine to avoid ball drains.
  • Seriously offset slingshots.  While not immediately apparent, it creates quite a wild and unpredictable ball action near the flippers.
  • Funhouse outhole with bonus feature
  • Cycle jump – which is also the count down timer Million Feature only activated if you light the “1986” lanes.  This jump also can smack the ball off the glass which is a fun thing to do.

So really, this machine is jam packed with fun… and none of the shots are boring.  This machine never gets the feeling of being one-sided or single flipper one-trick pony.



This machine was actually not in bad shape when we picked it up, considering that it was 26 years old.   We stripped the playfield down and removed the protective mylar.  Thank you, Williams, for putting this down at the factory!  While it’s a pain to remove, it preserved the machine beautifully.

After finally getting all the mylar off, it of course removed all the graphics on the inserts.  So we buffed the playfield to a high shine and reapplied new insert decals.  In the end, I was even surprised how nice it came out.  What a treat.

We then enhanced the game dynamics by adding deep color LEDs on the playfield and backbox.  It totally transformed this machine while also preserving the machine and lighting circuitry (allowing it to run cooler and with less current draw).

All of the ramps were broken – as expected.  Since they are no longer available, we sanded them down and repaired them as best as possible.  After a fresh coat of paint and clear coat, they came out pretty nice.  While we were there, all the star posts were replaced with factory new translucent red ones for a clean and tidy appearance.

Put all new flippers in, linkages, fix all the broken switches, power supply issues, new chrome legs, rebuilt coin door and DONE.   I actually played this machine for 3 hours straight before wrapping it up for delivery.

I’ll miss her no doubt, but she went to a great home where the owner grew up playing this model when he was a child.   What a great way to relive some memories – only with a better machine then when it was first released.




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