On this page I'm gonna post updates to what I do to make this Chinese p.o.s. cab playable. First thing I did was remove the buttons and joysticks that was absolute crap. Now I have Seimitsu LS-32 sticks and Seimitsu pearl buttons. Start buttons (24 mm) are Sanwa. Just like on my EGRET II cabinet.

  Move strip holder instead of ashtray modification  
  As nobody smokes while playing games in my house, there was absolutely no need for an ashtray above the panel. So I installed a custom move sticker holder instead. I have a custom DeathSmiles sticker I made in place at the moment, as that's the game I play the most in the cab anyway.
Nice picture of Xiong Ba

Here's another picture showing the whole cabinet (click to open in a new window)
  Super Mario top sign/marquee  
  I felt that the original top sign and marquee didn't really click with the sort of graphics/concepts that I like, so I have designed one myself. But I don't have the funds to have it properly printed right now, so I bought a cheap poster and created this really cool Super Mario art for now.

Super Mario marquee
  New Control Panel Overlay (CPO)  
  I have created a new CPO (inspired from Sega Astro overlays as well as Taito EGRET II) as you'll see if you know much about Japanese quality cabinets (or Candy cabs).

Here are some before pictures of what the quality control people at the chinese factory deemed satisfactory for us consumers:

Before picture closeup #1

Before picture closeup #2

Before picture closeup #3

Before picture closeup #4

Here's a picture of the backside of the panel. See how the sticker outside the metal really gives that special quality look to the cabinet:

The back of the panel

Here's a picture of the panel now that I've removed the buttons. I did not remove the Seimitsu joysticks since they won't be in the way for the application of the new CPO:

Old panel - without buttons

I have now removed the old CPO. I think they've used a regular paper printout and glued it on, then using a heat gun applying the transparent plastic (think super thin plexiglass) onto it:

Old CPO is now removed

I don't know what to say. P.O.S. quality:

Mmmm, quality

I don't know what kind of adhesive they've used, but it gave my hands a chemical peel. Glad I didn't get a stronger reaction from it. I'm not allergic to anything. This is right before I put a couple of hours scrubbing it off (I wish I had a solvent at home, but alas no):

Lots of really nasty adhesive

I have now scrubbed off the adhesive and the panel is very clean:

Clean as can be.

Got rid of the adhesive

Now onto applying the new CPO. First I need to align it. I'm never good at these things. But to try and make it look good, I'll first make sure I get the only buttons that need to fit the design. The start buttons:

Where's the middle?

I measured the distance from the center line I did above to the center of the holes and draw that onto the backside of the new CPO. I know, there's probably lots of easier ways, but my mind is weird that way. :P

Now I've glued the thing on using the adhesive that's on the back of the printed CPO I got from MAME Marquees. To get it really smooth, you begin peeling the sticker loose from the protective paper just a couple of inches at the time while rubbing the sticker flat againt your control panel with a soft cloth. A no-brainer really.

That thing is really on there!

Now that the CPO is on smoothly, let's add buttons:

A few buttons on

More buttons, you say?

I cut the sides of the sticker off by placing it face down on a pizza carton and just like that, it's a perfect fit. Just the wiring left to do, but that's for later. Need sleep now.

Looks much better than before

Looks good next to my EGRET II:

Side by side

Next project for this cabinet is either getting some EGRET II style move sticker glass holders to replace that silver plastic ashtray or whatever it is, or a new marquee / top sign. I'll see what I can find.
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