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Craig Hassell
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Copyright, 200
3

 

Cirqus Voltaire became a part of the Hassell Castle collection in May of 2000. I stumbled upon this machine in a restaurant where it sat neglected and filthy in the corner. I picked it up inoperable for $1,100.

After many hours of tinkering with my new CV I finally had a revelation and figured out what the stupid yet simple problem was as to why my machine wasn't working. Problem: No high voltage. Solution: Interlock switch was not being suppressed correctly by the coin door bracket inside of the coin door, thus no 50+volts.

After I got it repaired I fully shopped out the machine by rebuilding the flippers, totally breaking down the playfield and clean it while replacing all of the rubber rings and bulbs as well as a new Ringmaster Decal.

Designed by John Popadiuk, the creator of Theatre of Magic. Cirqus Voltaire like Theatre of Magic is very challenging, entertaining and the artwork on this machine truly makes it stand out in the crowd. Especially with the optional backbox frame marquee which I have installed on mine.

The basic object of this lively colored relatively low production pinball is to complete all 10 of the Cirqus Marvels by completing different tasks on the playfield which inturn light the word C-I-R-Q-U-S. After C-I-R-Q-U-S is lit, you then try to "Join the Cirqus".

Some of the many extraordinary features of the Cirqus Voltaire include the following.

Cirqus Voltaire is one of the most colorful pinball machines ever designed. The one thing that really makes the playfield stand out on this machine is the High wire Neon Ramp located on the right side of the playing field. Mine neon tube happens to be orange but it came in a variety of colors including green, blue, purple, red, pink, green and yellow. If yours is another color not listed here please let me know.

"I am the Ring Master!"
The Ring Master at the start of a game is mounted flush with the playfield and by hitting the W-O-W targets behind him brings him to life where he raises about 6 inches off of the playfield.  The Ring Master taunts your every move by making snide remarks throughout game play. Defeat him 4 times to collect the Ring Master Marvel. 

Click Here to see a clip of the Ring Master in action!

"Down Simba!"
This large ball, known as the Menagerie Ball, is located on the lower left side of the playfield and distorts your pinball's trajectory by getting in the way of things. Shot the target behind the Menagerie Ball to collect the Menagerie Marvel. This is another object that comes in a variety of colors. Mine happens to be green.

"Look it's the Boom Balloon!" 
Another one of a kind feature on Cirqus Voltaire is the "Boom Balloon". The Boom Balloon is a pop bumper that is hided flush with the playfield. Rollover the various "Voltz" targets on the playfield and the Boom Balloon pops up for a chance at an extra ball.

"Fire that Cannon!"
Throughout the game and during the "Bally Hoo Sideshow" take your shot with some backbox animation action and try to fire the cannon ball into the "Cirqus Luck" lane. Not as easy as it looks! My cannon ball is the original the machine came with, which is orange. WMS offers a replacement Cannon Ball that is blue in color and is a little bit smaller.

Cirqus Voltaire's Dot Matrix Display is mounted at the back of the playfield and not on the backglass like most other pinball machines. It really makes it easier for you to see your score without have to look up as far.

After looking up information on Cirqus Voltaire on the Internet, much to my surprise I found out that I happened to pick up an early sample version of this machine. That was a cool surprise!

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