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Over the last two weeks almost all of my remaining orders have arrived and I am very excited to share with all of you the story of getting a new control panel!

I have owned several fight sticks over the years so was very accustom to the 8-button layout. Prior to picking up the Chewlix I had done some research into the 7-button layout and come to the conclusion that L2/R2 aren’t used all that much and I would likely be fine without one of them.

The existing control panel has a fairly basic sticker overlay on it, so I was interested in getting something a little more bright and metallic. The search begun.

Real control panels are few and far between these days, so it is less an issue of getting one and more an issue of finding one (and being willing to spend the money on it).

I am going to break the rest of this down into three sections:
1 - Sources for acquiring control panels and experiences / costs / impressions associated with each
2 - Fit and finish / technical details / measurements
3 - Summary final impressions



Sources for acquiring control panels and experiences / costs / impressions associated with each

1 - Shadaloo.eu
I have heard mixed reviews on this place. I reached out a few times with some questions about their reproduction 2P8B panels, but never got any replies. Total cost / shipping / taxes / import would have made this a very expensive option coming to Canada. The photos looked OK but I have heard the quality of the top layer / sticker / laminate is not fantastic. No Vewlix L marking on the bottom left.

2 - Arcadesparepart.com
These may be the same, or very similar to the ones offered by Shadaloo.eu. These appear to be the generic ones that you can get from Alibaba, and are likely the same as the stock ones that come with the Chewlix. No Vewlix L marking on the bottom left.

Note that I did not get a panel from either of the above, so I cannot speak to their actual quality.

3 - eBay.ca / eBay.com / trading sites / etc
I ended up finding a real Vewlix L 2P7B panel listed for sale on eBay as new old stock. The gent selling it also happened to be a member of another group I am in so I was able to work out a deal and get the panel mailed off to me.

Costs were high on this! I was extremely fortunate to not pay any duty / import / taxes on it. Total was around $425 CAD ($310 USD) for the panel shipped, and another $90 CAD ($65 USD) for the adapter plates. This brought my total on the real unit to around $515 CAD ($375 USD). If you had told me 5 months ago I would be spending over $500 CAD on a control panel for a machine I would have said you were crazy. Welcome to Vewlix / Chewlix ownership.

The shipment was stuck in Canada Post for quite a while so it was nearly a month before it arrived. I would expect this to normally be a lot faster.

Impressions are as good as they can be for this. This is the real thing to which all others are compared. I am still a little apprehensive about only having 7 buttons, but for most of my gaming it should not be an issue at all.

Now that I am regularly looking on eBay I see that these do pop up from time to time, but certainly are not widely available. If you have the extra cash to spend on one and are looking for the real thing it certainly seems like the best route.

4 - Rafael Tamanini’s replica control panel
Anyone who has searched for a Vewlix control panel in the various groups has come across Rafael Tamanini’s offerings. Before an opportunity to get a real one presented itself I had decided on ordering one of these. I worked with Rafael Tamanini to get a 2P8B Vewlix L panel done. Payment was made at about $175 CAD ($130 USD) due upfront and an additional $80 CAD ($60 USD) due before shipment to cover shipping via DHL. There was a small misunderstanding about how I wanted the artwork to look, and since it was caught before application to the metal panel, I was able to have it reprinted for $10 USD. From DHL I was hit with about $40 CAD ($30 USD) in duty / import / taxes, which brings the grand total to around $295 CAD ($220 USD). This was certainly a large investment. And one that stung a little after ordering the real one. We can average this out and say that these panels will run you roughly half of what a real one would.

Initial impressions are very good for these panels. They certainly are not cheaply made. I would honestly say better metal is used than in the real thing, and there is no need for an adapter plate since the mounting arrangement is for a normal Sanwa JLF. Joystick spacers and nuts are included in the package.



Fit and finish / technical details / measurements

1 - Original Chewlix panel
Given that this was the panel which was installed on my Chewlix fit was perfect. Flush and sitting properly on the control panel. Finish left a bit to be desired. This is a printed sticker, rather thin, in basic inks. No metallic. Mine had some scuffs and scratches on it, nothing major, but certainly well loved.

Measurements:
1.4mm metal, thick steel
0.4mm sticker total thickness (@.3mm sticker + @.1mm adhesive)
1.8mm total thickness

1cm M4 standoffs

Standard M4 standoffs and flanged nuts. Standoffs are in the Sanwa JLF configuration so no adapter plate is needed, however you will need to use a spacer if you want to have the joysticks at the right height. Proper spacer height is about 7.5mm from joystick plate to control panel. Mine came with some nuts inserted between the controller and control panel, which did a remarkably good job.


2 - Rafael Tamanini’s replica control panel
This was quite the opposite of the original Chewlix panel. Finish was fantastic, but fit was nowhere close. I am going to put a star on this one as I will talk about it a bit later. The TL:DR on that is I am not going to fully blame the panel, rather some modding was needed on the control panel housing.

Printing on this control panel is absolutely fantastic. Metallics are bright and vibrant, blacks are rich and dark, printing details are crisp and high resolution. This panel is, in fact, slightly brighter in the metallics than the real Taito one.

Fit is the category that I want to talk about most here here as I had seen some concerning stuff prior to ordering. Largely that the panel sits really high, and that, in some cases, the rounded edges were not enough for the panel to sit properly on the control panel assembly.

Mine did not fit the Chewlix well at all. This is where the * above comes in as the real Vewlix L panel also did not perfectly so I ended up taking a Dremel to the control panel housing and giving the standoffs some more space. Once this was done things fit a lot better overall.

The rounded edges were not an issue on my control panel. The height is a bit of an issue on my unit. Based on the measurements provided below, compared to the stock Chewlix panel, this is only about .6mm taller. That should be barely noticeable. The issue with the control panel here is in the standoff mounting points. There is an area of bent metal around each of them that accounts for nearly 1mm of additional height. That combined with the overall .6mm height increase leads to the unit sticking up around 1.6mm which is, in my mind, noticeable.

It certainly is not a deal breaker. I thought I would feel it more than I did. After putting it on the control panel housing it was barely a concern. Still there, but hardly noticeable.

Shipping time should be considered on this, as it was close to two months before I received the panel. Keep in mind these are custom made to order.

Measurements:
1.5mm metal, thick steel
0.7mm printed plexi total thickness (@.5mm plexi + @.1mm ink + @.1mm adhesive
2.2mm total thickness
2.38mm with plastic peel cover it ships with

1.5cm M4 standoffs

Standard M4 standoffs and flanged nuts. Standoffs are in the Sanwa JLF configuration so no adapter plate is needed, however you will need to use a spacer if you want to have the joysticks at the right height. Proper spacer height is about 7.5mm from joystick plate to control panel and you get two plastic (vinyl?) spacers included that are 6.2mm in depth as well as some washers that round out the total spacing to the proper 7.5mm. You also get a bag of flange nuts so everything necessary to install.


3 - Real Taito Vewlix L control panel

Going into this I expected this panel to fit perfectly, which it did not. This solidifies the thought that the Chewlix control panel housings are not a perfect match to a real machine. Maybe my Chewlix is a little off, but they certainly seen to be just a hair different. Construction of these units is superb. And the printing is as perfect as you can get. An interesting point is that the metallics are brighter on Rafael Tamanini’s replica panels. I prefer his level of brightness to the actual one.

This control panel sits perfectly flush once installed.

Measurements:
1.16mm metal, thick steel
0.57mm plexi + @.1mm ink + @.1mm adhesive
1.75mm total thickness

1cm M4 standoffs



Summary and final impressions

Still reading? You must be as interested in this as I was.

There is nothing wrong with the stock Chewlix panels. They hold buttons, and you are likely not going to look at it much while playing.

If money is no object and you are in no rush keep an eye out for a new or used real panel.

If you are looking but cannot find a real one, or you want something custom like a 2P8B layout, I highly recommend Rafael Tamanini’s replica panels.

I have spoken with Rafael at length about these and believe we have solved the issues that have lead to the raised panels. I hope that future panels will be completely flush and there will be virtually no reason to get a real one.

I hope everyone has enjoyed this dive into control panels. Please send your respects to my wallet which is both crying in the corner and a lot lighter than when I started this review.
 
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Last edited:

Earlfish

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How do you get in touch with Rafael? I need a new panel and am struggling
 
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