Speciality Plastics Attack From Mars Reproduction Saucers and Mothership Review
Marc 'Cokeypin' Cohen

After trashing one of the saucers on my Attack From Mars - the previous owner had Superglued it to the mounting bracket - I decided to purchase a complete set of reproductions, including the mothership, from Specialty Plastics in the USA.

The saucers and mothership are available with a choice of different flasher dome colours - red, blue, green, purple, orange and yellow. I like to keep my pins looking 'factory' so went for the red domes for the saucers and the green dome on the mothership. For those who like to 'mod' their pins the choice of colours could be very appealing.

Ordering via the website is really only geared up for the US audience as the shipping costs are for US domestic deliveries - overseas customers need to use the 'Order Info' button found on the homepage to request a quote. My quote for six saucers and one mothership was emailed back to me in under 24 hours and totalled $52 (approx. £27) inc Air Mail delivery to the UK and I was advised that the order would ship within two weeks. Payment can be made via Paypal or money order. Being overseas, I opted for the Paypal route.

Complete set of Speciality Plastics reproduction Attack From Mars saucers

Specialty Plastics are a one-man outfit run by Tom, from his home workshop in his spare time - this became evident when after six weeks my order had not yet arrived. I contacted Tom to make sure that the order had actually been shipped and was informed that it had been sent three weeks ago (three weeks after my order was placed). Tom advised me that he would look into the problem immediately. 48 hours later Tom informed me that he would be sending a replacement order out to me in the next couple of days. Sure enough, I received my order ten days later. So thumbs up for Tom's customer service!

The order was packed well and the postage cost on the box was pretty much as stated in my quote so no nasty surprises there. Unfortunately, however, three of the six domes on the saucers had become detached from the main bodies. This seemed to be an issue with the adhesive used to stick these parts together. Unperturbed by this I got my Superglue and dabbed a tiny bead to each of the flasher dome legs and placed the dome back through the saucer body, making sure the legs contacted with the body in the correct position, and left to dry for 30 mins. I also applied a tiny bead of glue to the legs of each flasher dome that hadn't become detached, just as a precaution, and left these to dry for 30 mins too.

Side by side Saucer comparison - new repro on right.

When the Superglue had completely dried I proceeded to install the saucers and the mothership. First thing I noticed is that the new reproductions are very, very slightly lighter in colour. This could easily be down to discolouring due to the age of the originals. I had previously cleaned the originals very well with Novus and run them through the dishwasher - remembering, of course, to switch off the drying cycle. They were very clean but the new reproductions are most definitely a touch lighter but as I say, this could very well be down to the age of the plastic. The reproduction saucers were identical to the originals in all other aspects. The new saucers slotted into their mounting brackets pretty well - one was a bit too snug but I fixed that by carefully shaving one of the plastic tabs on the saucer so it slotted through the mount easier.

Next I installed the mothership. Again, the colour of the body was very slightly lighter than my original. The two plastic screws that are used to fix the mothership are not included with the reproductions - not a problem for me as I have my originals. With the mothership now in place it was time to fire up the pin and have a few games.

Original mothership on the left in both shots, repro on the right

First thing I noticed while hitting the mothership during Attack Wave is that when the flasher activates, the green of the dome is slightly different to the original green. This, IMHO, is good. The green is a much better match to the greens of the artwork on the game - It's more of an emerald green as opposed to the olive green of the original. I always found the colour of the original a little dull and, even though I like to keep things 'factory', I like this new green a lot and besides, I could always change the dome back if I really wanted.

So, a good few games later, no problems at all. All in all, these reproduction saucers and mothership come recommended with the 'Cokeypin Seal of Approval' and have made my AFM look that little bit crisper for what I consider a very fair price. I did have a few problems actually getting my order but Tom helped out in a satisfactory and timely manner. Don't forget that Tom is an enthusiast who runs Specialty Plastics in his spare time.

This review is purely my opinion, written in my spare time and based on my experience. I am not affiliated in any way with Specialty Plastics.

Editor's Note:

Specialty Plastics are no longer making these, although you may still see them for sale at parts vendors or by private sale.

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