From thinking about the idea of the jump from a flipper behind the main playfield, the idea turned into: what if you shot the ball up between the flippers?
It's a tough shot, but it is possible!
But, if you drain the ball from that flipper, how does it get to the outhole? Originally I wondered about doing this with a newer style below-playfield trough, so I could try to gravity feed it, but from my issues with the reverse outlane ramp, I was wary of any slopes going against the playfield slope.
I really hoped this worked when I drew it up in CAD, but wasn't sure how it would go. So many variables. I tried to leave some room to maneuver the kicker arm around to get different angles if needed, but my guess for an initial angle that I drew a line for turned out to work. I had to use a gottlieb kicker arm due to the clearances needed.
With that proof of concept looking promising, I decided to make a whole mini playfield out of it
There was not much room to work at all down there. I positioned the flipper mechas low as it could go, which resulted in this angled mech, with it pressing right up against the bottom and left side of the playfield. I couldn't put it any more to the right or else the angle for the eject would be too steep. That limited the place where the drop targets could fit. I needed to use a williams mech since they're the only style that has the coil mounted in front of the mech instead of to the side, since I had mechs to both side. And since those have a bit base plate in front of them, I couldn't put it any lower since the flipper mech was in the way, and I couldn't put it any higher and still have room for the ball to roll under the main flipper. I wanted to make sure I could disable the mini playfield area during multiball, etc to prevent anything getting stuck down there, so it needed to still have the standard outlane path. I put a down-post at the entrance to redirect balls away from the mini playfield. No room for a rubber band behind the drops either, so I figured I'd have a metal wall with some of that blue rubber sheet behind it for minimal thickness. No room for any standups to the left either since the drop mech was underneath. I also wanted to put the flipper at as low an angle as possible so that it could make the shot back between the flippers, but at the same time I wanted it to go up at least to 'level' so theoretically you could cradle the ball.
I needed to make a custom one way gate for the exit since it's so wide. I reused the little gottlieb spinner mounts from the mars playfield to mount it since there were no brackets that length either. While i was doing that I got the idea to just also put one of those behind the drop targets. Minimal width, and now I get to use the back side of the main flipper as a rebound rubber. If you knock down the drops, there's also the possibility of shooting through them and getting into the outlane area and draining that way too. Hopefully I can make this mini area super valuable, to make you willing to risk going for the targets instead of going for the saving shot immediately, or maybe if you complete the whole bank you get a ball save? We'll see how the risk reward works once you get in there...