MAME Diary 004: Stripping Out


So here it is in all its glory.

Well, excuse the condition but it had been living in a stable in North Yorkshire, and that would test the mettle of any man, and indeed the metal too.

Do you know any metal men?

Hmm.

Way back when I began this little foray into the world of Arcade cab renovation, I mentioned that the ideal scenario would be to get a cab that was no longer functional then I wouldn’t have the guilt trip of sacrificing a piece of history. Hardly Antiques Roadshow I know but a piece of history none the less.

Well, this one was no longer working so it fitted the bill.

Originally the cab had been the 8th Solitaire Challenge cab sold by Valley Dynamo in 1984 to a UK company, but somewhere in its lifetime the game had been removed and had been replaced with a PC running MAME. However, once the then owner moved out of his parents house, his brother kindly stole the PC and the cab was abandoned until I rescued it.

So, when I brought it home the PC was no longer present but the monitor was. All 15 inches of it. The first thing I would be looking to do was upgrade that to a more respectable 19 inch model but judging from the original bezel around the screen though, it was clear that the original game had only contained a 15 inch monitor. While authenticity is one thing, squinting while playing games is another so a bigger monitor was the order of the day.

The Control Panel still contained the original controls of the Trackball and Fire button and 1 player game button, but more had been added to create a 3 button setup along with an 8 way joystick. I would be looking to install a 2 player layout with 2 joysticks and 4 fire buttons for each player.

As you’ll see from my prototype panel I had originally planned on 3 buttons, but playing Defender for example with 3 buttons is not the best way to appreciate it so a 4th button would be added.

Obviously the cab was dirty and dusty but luckily apart from a couple of bashed corners was structurally sound, and I would discover, pretty solidly built actually. So much so that I wouldn’t in fact strip it completely, just take it back to a bare carcass.

The first job though was to strip it out so that I could begin to check and repair the actual physical cab first, and once the insides had gone I took out the monitor shelf and coin door, then removed the kick plate and the damaged T Moulding.

Once it was gutted I could lie the cab down on its back and sides to work on it and I fitted some temporary wheels to the bottom so I could move it around more easily. That allowed me to spin it round to get to the sides as I needed to, and basically the main job just involved a lot of filling and sanding in preparation for a new finish.

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