Lyonsden Blog

Category - Gaming

Fusion Amiga Magazine – Special Edition

Fusion Amiga Magazine

This edition of Fusion magazine is for all us Amiga fans out there. It’s a special edition of the magazine, completely dedicated to all things Amiga (and CD32!). It’s just a little bit thinner than the regular magazine running to 52 pages all in.

 

Fusion Amiga Magazine

Closer look at the magazine cover.

 

So what sort of things are covered in this issue? Well there’s a mixture of game reviews, several Top 5 ‘best of’ lists, hardware guides and a bunch of Amiga-centric articles from luminaries in the scene.

The top 5’s include CD32 Games, Amiga Utilities and also Point and Click Adventure games. Meanwhile the hardware guide covers each Amiga model from the first A1000 right through to the final CD32 System.

Here’s a little peak at some of the stuff in this new issue:

 

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Take a peek at the contents page below to see what else features in this issue:

 

Fusion Amiga Magazine

Fusion Amiga Magazine Contents.

 

If you want to pick up a copy of Fusion Amiga Magazine then head on over to their website. If you use the code ‘LYONSDENBLOG’ at the checkout you will also get 15% off the price! I will also receive a tiny bit of commission to help towards my running costs.

Commodore 1530/1531/C2N/Datasette Dust Cover

Datasette dust cover

A modern, stylish datasette dust cover is something I’ve been after for quite some time. I do still have the burgundy leatherette one that my parents bought me back in the 80’s but it is seriously hideous now. In fact who am I kidding? It was probably hideous even back then but being just a kid I didn’t know any better!

 

Datasette Dust Cover

Was this even cool back in the 80’s? Regardless, the time has come for it to go…

 

Why do I need a dust cover anyway?

Most of my retro computers have very nice, custom made transparent perspex covers. They offer great protection from dust and scratches whilst also still allowing me to see my beloved machines.

We have two cats in our household that think everything is fair game to sleep on. Besides keeping dust at bay they are great at keeping cat hairs out of keyboards and everywhere else cat hairs shouldn’t be. I buy all my dustcovers from a company called Retronics based in Poland.

 

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Anyway back in February I spotted this teaser on their Facebook page which clearly showed they were  working on a dust cover for the Commodore Datasette. I duly made a mental note to keep checking back to see when it was available. A few weeks ago I checked again and noticed that it was finally available so I went ahead and bought one from their eBay shop.

Inside the box.

 

Sweeties!

 

It arrived yesterday so here’s a quick look at it. It was packed inside a very attractive box displaying a nice photo of a 1530 Datasette on the cover. Opening it up revealed the cover tucked into a plastic bag along with some delicious freebie Polish sweets. (Every order I have ever received from them has contained these) 🙂

 

Datasette Dust Cover

Naked Dust Cover.

 

With it being transparent it’s quite a tricky thing to photograph!

 

Datasette dust cover

The unmistakable bump for the counter reset button.

 

Impressions & Photos

There isn’t really a great deal you can say about a dust cover. This product does exactly what it says on the box. It’s very well made and the dimensions are just right so that it rests securely on top of the datasette without sliding around. It has all the lumps, bumps and ridges exactly where they need to be to fit correctly and look the part.

They say a picture speaks a thousand words, so here’s a bunch of photos of the dust cover doing its thing. From certain angles it almost looks like there’s no cover on at all, which for me, is exactly how I like it.

 

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The bottom line? If you own a 1530/1531/C2N/Datasette and you are in the market for a stylish dust cover then I don’t think you will find anything better than this.

Freeze 64 Issue #37 Fanzine is out now

Freeze 64 Issue #37

Looks like the post is finally getting back to normal after all the disruption brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic. How do I know this? Because I’ve just received the latest issue of Freeze 64, Issue #37 within a week of it being posted out!

 

Freeze 64 Issue #37

Here’s a look at the front cover of issue 37.

 

Here’s a rundown of the contents of this issue taken straight from the magazines’ directory listing! As always there’s no shortage of interesting Commodore 64 articles to get stuck into.

 

Freeze 64 Issue #37

Freeze64 Issue 37 Contents Page.

 

If you fancy getting hold of your own copy of Freeze 64, Issue #37 then head over to the Freeze64 website and show your support by purchasing this issue.

Physical copies (it isn’t available digitally) are priced at £3.99 plus postage. There are also subscriptions available which offer the opportunity to save a little money.

Finally, here’s a link to my previews of several earlier editions of Freeze64. If you’re new to Freeze64 and would like to check out what you’ve been missing all this time then this is a great place to find out!

How to Build Your Own Cassette Tape Winder

I’ve always wanted a cassette tape winder so when I stumbled across this plan on Thingiverse I thought it would make a great little project for my 3D printer. Sure I could search on eBay and maybe pick up an old one but where’s the fun in that? So here’s a little guide to how I built my own cassette tape winder.

Computer Stuff

First off I had to download the zipped STL files from the Thingiverse site. (STL files contain 3D CAD objects that you can print).

Each component has it’s own STL file and there were 10 of them for this project. You can see them all listed in the folder screenshot below.

 

These are the components that you need to 3D print.

 

You cannot print STL files directly so I use a piece of free software called Cura to work with them. This software allows you to see the STL files as an interactive 3D model. It also processes STL files by ‘slicing’ them into layers that can then be saved as GCODE files and printed on a 3D printer. If you’ve never 3D printed something this might all sound very complicated but it really isn’t.

 

Build Your Own Cassette Tape Winder

Winder case as viewed within Cura software.

 

The image above shows the main case for the winder in Cura. I have already sliced it and it shows an estimate of how long it will take to print, over 7 hours in this case. 3D printing is not a fast process!

 

Beginning the 3D Printing

 

Freshly printed winder case.

 

Above you can see the finished case print… but there’s some extra support material that will need to be removed from underneath it. 3D printers can’t print (over long distances at any rate) in thin air so they need to create a kind of scaffolding system (supports) in order to do so.

 

Removing the 3D printed support material.

 

Support material is designed to break away easily from the main print. In the above photo I used a sharp craft knife to break away the support material. It only took a couple of slices and then I was able to get my fingernail under it and simply pull it away in one piece.

 

View showing the support material removed.

 

With the support material removed you can now see the winder start to take shape. In the above photo you can see the latticed support material too. It’s made this way to minimise plastic wastage and also allow it to be broken away easily. The fewer points of contact it has with the main build, the easier it is to break off.

 

Here the few little pieces of support material that were clinging on have been removed with a craft knife.

 

In the above photo I have cleared away the few little straggly bits of plastic left by the supports with my craft knife.

 

This is the case viewed from the other side.

 

This is what the inside of the winder case looks like. There are 8 posts to support the case screws, a hole for the winder spool and 3 protrusions where the gears will sit.

 

Gathering the parts together

 

Build Your Own Cassette Tape Winder

All the 3D printed components ready for assembly.

 

This photo shows all the parts of the winder fully printed a few days later. The instructions advise printing the cogs on rafts because they can be difficult to remove from the print bed. However I didn’t bother… I have glass bed and things pop off very easily once it cools down. It also means the finished prints are smooth and clean but of course YMMV. I did use supports for everything where the instructions recommended to do so and carefully removed them after printing.

 

The bearings and screws needed.

 

What you will need

In addition to the 3D printed parts a few bits of hardware are also required. Some bearings, screws and a rubber belt. Here’s a rundown:

  • 6x  4x8x3 miniature ball bearings for the gear wheels – I used these.
  • 1x  3x8x3 miniature ball bearing (for the winder knob) – I used these.
  • 14x  3x12mm pan head self-tapping screws – I used these.
  • A 1mm square rubber belt approximately 55mm in diameter.
  • Philips screwdriver.
  • Craft Knife.
  • Side cutters (to help remove support material if necessary).
  • Silicone Grease (optional but recommended).
  • 3D printer!

 

Gears with bearings fitted.

 

The next step was to fit the 6 bearings into the gear wheels. The two pulley cogs are fitted with two bearings, one each side whilst the driving gear and spool take just one.

 

Gears with bearings fitted.

 

The bearings were a snug fit but I didn’t have to force them in at all. Once fitted they remained in place by friction alone so there was no need to glue them in.

 

One-way clutch.

 

The winder incorporates an ingenious little one-way clutch mechanism that will only rotate in one direction. The benefit of this is it prevents you from accidentally winding a tape in the wrong direction causing it to unspool inside the case. Impressively it prints in situ too – there are 6 moving parts which are all printed as one complete mechanism together.

 

Putting it all Together

 

Start with these gears first.

 

Next came the exciting part – putting it all together. The driving gear, both pulley’s and spool went in first, making sure the bearings all seated correctly on the pegs.

 

Then add these. Note that pulley 1 and the clutch have already been assembled in this photo.

 

Next to go in was the one-way clutch which fitted onto the hexagonal shaft of pulley 1.  It can fit either way around but needs to installed so that it ‘sticks’ when turned anti-clockwise but free-wheels clockwise. The instructions said to glue this in position but I didn’t bother as its going nowhere once the lid is attached.

 

Build Your Own Cassette Tape Winder

The rubber belt is added last.

 

The belt went in next and simply needed stretching around the clutch and pulley 2. There was a fair amount of tension here with the clutch being pulled over to one side, however once the lid goes on and the pegs slot into the bearing top and bottom, it sorts itself out.

 

A minor issue…

I did have one issue at this point when putting everything together. There was too much friction with the spool and it wasn’t turning freely. I tried shaving/filing plastic from the cog teeth, adding a drop of oil to the bearing and adding a little silicone grease to the teeth but none of this really helped.

In the end I reprinted the part scaled down slightly to 98% which allowed the spool to spin freely. I also had to enlarge the bearing recess slightly with a Dremel so the bearing would still fit inside. Possibly if I’d persevered a little longer with the file I could have got the original part to work. However given how everything else fits together perfectly I figured the part needed re-designing slightly for a better fit. Regardless, I’m happy with my fix and how it now operates.

Before I screwed the back cover on I also added a tiny bit of silicone grease to the other gear wheels just to help keep them lubricated.

 

The Finished Winder

 

View of the back of the assembled winder.

 

Here’s the winder with the back screwed on and the handle and knob attached.  The knob also has a bearing inserted into it so that when it’s screwed to the handle it will still spin freely.

I had no issues screwing things together but the instructions did advise caution in case the plastic splits and suggested drilling out the holes further as a precaution. Again I didn’t bother as I felt my screws were a good fit for the holes but again YMMV.

 

Front of Winder with retaining clips attached.

 

The two retainer clips attached to the front of the case using a couple more screws. The dimples are positioned such that they face the back of the winder.

 

Tape held captive by retaining clips.

 

The screws need to be tightened just enough so that the clips can move with a little force but remain in any position. These are used to hold cassette tapes securely in place whilst winding.

 

Build Your Own Cassette Tape Winder

View of the winder looking down.

 

Video of winder in use

And here’s the finished winder. I have to say it works extremely well and will be a great help in minimising wear and tear to my various C2N Datasette’s, Walkman’s and tape decks. It’s fast too, I managed to rewind a C90 tape in around 30 seconds. The use of a belt helps to ensure that when reaching the end of a tape, any excess force results in the belt slipping rather than damaging the tape.

 

Retro Format – A Brand new Retro Computer Magazine

Retro Format

Believe it or not there is now another Retro Computing magazine on the block! It’s called Retro Format and it’s a multi-format magazine that caters for all retro 8/16/32-bit systems. Born from a successful Kickstarter campaign, this magazine is mostly focussed on games, specifically reviewing them, much like you’d imagine an all format ZZap!64 might look.

 

Retro Format

Retro Format Cover.

 

Initial impressions are very good indeed. It’s a full-size magazine, 64 pages in length (cover to cover) and all printed in full colour. There are over a dozen full reviews of games for retro systems inside. The games themselves are almost exclusively new ones created recently for retro systems. The two main exceptions to this are John Wick (a new NES styled game for modern PC’s) and Strike Commander – an old DOS game.

 

Retro Format

Retro Format Contents Page.

 

The Reviews

I really like the review style. It breaks game scores down by Graphics, Audio, Playability, Lastability and then gives an Overall score. This is how games used to be reviewed back in the day and I welcome seeing this format again.

 

Retro Format

Retro Format Game Scoring System.

 

As for the reviews, the bulk of the magazine is split almost 50/50 between Commodore and Spectrum games with the remainder made up of a handful of MSX, CPC and PC titles.

There’s also a future classics section which looks at a couple of modern games for the Vita and Playstation VR systems. I’d say the jury is out on this section though as I’m not sure I felt it was relevant.

Besides the games there was a really interesting 8-page feature on the SEGA Dreamcast system along with some of the best games available for it. I ended my SEGA experience with the Mega Drive but this definitely piqued my interest and made me think about getting one…

 

More than just games…

 

Retro Format

A look at the Christopher Reeve Superman Movies.

 

The magazine is rounded off by a classic Movie and TV section which I enjoyed a lot. It features the Christopher Reeve Superman movies and also delves into some past episodes of The Twilight Zone. As a big  Sci-Fi fan I found these articles to be right up my street.

 

The original Twilight Zone – NOT the recently re-hashed abomination.

 

Here’s a peek at some of the reviews featured in the magazine.

 

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How to get your own copy…

If you are interested in purchasing your own copy of the magazine then head on over to the Retro Format website.

Latest Retrokomp Issue 2 is now out

Retrokomp Issue 2

Just received my copy of Retrokomp Issue 2, the multi-format retro magazine.

 

Retrokomp Issue 2

Retrokomp Issue 2 Cover

 

Once again there is plenty of content with a hefty count of 72 thick glossy pages and over a third of them devoted to Commodore machines. If you are interested in other machines besides Commodore then there’s even more on offer with the like of ZX Spectrum, Atari, Amstrad, Apple 2 and even old IBM PC’s covered.

 

Retrokomp Issue 2

Contents of this issue

 

Here’s a few highlights of this issues contents.

 

C64 Restoration project.

 

Retrokomp Issue 2

A look at Simon’s BASIC on the C64.

 

How to clear the Hi-Res screen on a C64.

 

A look at the Pi1541 disk drive emulator.

 

Retrokomp Issue 2

Part two of the Project Stealth Fighter article.

 

Comparison between Atari and CBM BASIC.

 

A look at file backup on the Amiga.

 

24-bit datatypes on the Amiga.

 

A look at archiving software for PowerPC equipped Amiga’s.

 

Card readers on the Amiga.

 

Amiga Modula-2 Programming.

 

A quick run-down of the Commodore-centric articles in Retrokomp Issue 2:

  • Sysres
  • Commodore 1541 Drive – Typical Problems
  • Simon’s BASIC – Sprites mean strange objects on the screen
  • Raspberry Pi 1541
  • Commodore PET vs Atari BASIC
  • Using the USR statement
  • Clearing the high resolution screen
  • Commodore 64 Restoration
  • Modula-2 Programming
  • 24-Bit datatypes for Workbench
  • Simple file backup
  • Memory card readers

If you’ve never come across Retrokomp magazine before you might like to read through my preview of the first issue here and the second, here.

Alternatively if you’d like to purchase a copy of Retrokomp Issue 2 for yourself then visit the publishers website here and show your support.

Fusion Magazine #11 just arrived

Fusion #11

Received the latest edition of Fusion Magazine, issue #11, a couple of days ago. This little magazine has really grown in terms of content and quality over the past year thanks in no small part to the diverse range of contributors. This issue see articles from Retro Man Cave, Octav1us and Dave Perry to name but three.

I’m focussing on the retro gaming content here but there is more to it than that as it covers a smattering of modern games along with retro toys and memorabilia. All in there’s 60 pages worth of content, which for £3.99 is great value for money and should ensure that even if some of the content doesn’t interest you, there should be plenty that will. I’ve got a discount code for 15% off the price at the bottom of this page too.

Here’s a little peak at some of the stuff in this new issue:

 

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Here’s a little look the contents page so you can see what else features in this issue:

 

Fusion #11

Fusion #11 Contents.

 

If you want to pick up a copy of Fusion #11 magazine then head on over to their website. The mag is only £3.99 plus postage, a very reasonable amount for such a well produced magazine. If you use the code ‘LYONSDENBLOG’ at the checkout you will also get 15% off the price making it just £3.40! I will also receive a tiny bit of commission which will help towards the hosting costs of running this blog.

Freeze 64 Issue #36 Fanzine is out now

Freeze64 #36

I’ve finally just received the latest issue of Freeze 64, Issue #36 – hurrah! Sadly this has been another victim of the Coronavirus situation with the postal services. I remember Vinny informing subscribers that this had been posted weeks ago. Still, better late than never!

 

Freeze 64 #36

Freeze 64 pictured alongside the featured game on the cover. (The game is from my collection).

 

Here’s a rundown of the contents of this issue taken straight from the magazine. I’m looking forward to reading this over the upcoming weekend.

 

Here’s a quick peek at the contents of this issue – image take straight from the magzaine.

 

If you fancy getting hold of your own copy of Freeze 64, Issue #36 then head over to the Freeze64 website and show your support by purchasing this issue.

Here’s a link to my previews of several earlier editions of Freeze64 if you’d like to check out what you’ve been missing!

K&A Plus #15 Magazine has arrived!

K&A Plus #15

Received my copy of K&A Plus #15 today. This was another magazine heavily impacted by the current Coronavirus situation but it was definitely worth the wait. As with the previous issue I paid an extra €5 for the cover disk. This issue came with a second compilation of 11 super C64 games; ‘Good Old 8-Bit Games #2’.

 

K&A Plus #15 Front Cover

K&A Plus #15 Front Cover.

 

I have to say I really love the fantasy artwork on cover of this issue. The  illustrated colour disk jacket is pretty awesome too, a really nice touch.

 

The CoverDisk

 

Good Old 8-Bit Games #2

Good Old 8-Bit Games #2.

Even better, an extra matching jacket was included for the previous ‘Good Old 8-Bit Games #1’ disk!

 

Good Old 8-Bit Games #1

Good Old 8-Bit Games #1 wearing it’s snazzy new jacket!

 

There’s some superb games on the cover disk. Highlights for me are PowerGlove, Bruce Lee – Return of Fury and PO Snake. Amazing value for money for just €5!

Here’s a full rundown of what’s included…

 

K&A Plus #15 disk contents.

Good Old 8-Bit Games #2 – Disk Contents.

 

Magazine Preview

 

There’s a big emphasis on gaming in this issue with game reviews galore. There’s reviews for every major Commodore system from the VIC 20, the C64 through to the Amiga and CD32. The reviews cover a mixture of old and modern games.

Of course there’s some other non-gaming stuff featured too. There’s a look at how to get a C64 emulator running on the Nintendo Wii, RayCasting on the VIC20 complete with (partial) program listings, news and lots more.

Here’s a quick look at the contents page of K&A Plus #15.

 

K&A Plus #15 Contents.

K&A Plus #15 Contents.

And here’s a little preview of some of the stuff in this issue:

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If you’ve never come across this magazine before you might want to take a look at some of my previews of previous issues here.

If you want to find out more about K&A Plus #15 or order yourself a copy, head on over to the Komoda & Amiga Plus website. The magazine is produced in Poland but they produce an English language version too. Shipping to the UK (before COVID-19 at least) only takes a few days.

 

Amiga User 9 (Print Edition) has arrived!

Amiga User 9

This issue of Amiga User 9 has been a long time coming. Unfortunately due to the inescapable Coronavirus the physical shipment of the magazine from Poland was severely delayed. Anyway I’m glad it has finally arrived as there’s plenty to get stuck into during lockdown.

 

Amiga User 9

Amiga User 9 Front Cover

 

In this issue there’s a big focus on the various FPGA systems and their strengths and weaknesses as modern Amiga systems. Maintaining that theme there’s an interesting article that delves into setting up emulation on a Raspberry Pi device too. Rounding off the Amiga emulation topic there’s also an informative little review of the AmiKit Crystal USB kit. As a long time user of AmiKit I’ve often wondered what I was missing from this kit and now I no longer have to.

Elsewhere there’s a very intriguing article about fitting a CD-ROM drive inside an A1200 case. One day soon I hope to add an A1200 to my collection and this is one mod that I would love to try. There’s also some good guides to creating Zip archives, using TrueType fonts and creating DMS/ADF disk images on the Amiga.

 

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Here’s a peek at the contents page so you can see what else is covered in this issue as there’s a lot more than I’ve mentioned.

 

Amiga User 9 Contents

Amiga User 9 Contents

 

If you fancy getting hold of your own copy take a look at the amiga.net.pl website. Amiga User is produced in Poland but the English is jolly good. Delivery to the UK (normally!) only takes a week or so. If you’d rather get a digital version they offer that option too.

If you’d like to take a look at some of my previous previews of the magazine then please click here.

Amiga Future #144 – May/June edition out now.

Amiga Future #144

The latest issue of Amiga Future (Amiga Future #144) for subscribers has arrived. It features artwork from the game Tiny Little Slug on the front cover.

 

Amiga Future #144

Amiga Future #144 Front Cover.

 

What’s in this issue?

There’s a good mix of stuff in this issue with plenty of reviews to get stuck into. I’m a big fan of adventure games so the three page article looking into ScummVM 2.1.1 on MorphOS instantly caught my eye. There’s also a look at the new text adventure; The Curse of Rabenstein which I quickly decided would be my next port of call.

 

Amiga Future #144 CD

Issue #144’s cover CD.

 

There’s a healthy dose of new game reviews in this issue and some retro ones too. Titles such as Rotator, Tiny Little Slug and Atomic Bomberman are all critiqued. Software wise there’s a review of AmiCygnix v1.5 and Font Tester v1.05.

For the hobbyist there’s another helping of AmigaOS 3.1.4 tips and the latest uploads to Aminet plus the latest Amiga news across 68K, OS4 and MorphOS.

 

Amiga Future #144 Index

Index of what’s in Issue #144

 

The Cover CD

Sadly the cover CD is a bit of a wash-out for me this issue. The main event is a couple of games; Cyber Force and Dan Wilder. I must admit they looked pretty promising and I was looking forward to playing them. However when I loaded them up I discovered that they are both Polish games and all the text/menus are in Polish too. I didn’t have a clue what was going on so quickly quit out of both of them which is a shame. Still, I’m sure there will be plenty of readers in Poland who will have plenty of fun with them.

 

Amiga Future #144

Full versions of Cyber Force and Dan Wilder on this issues CD.

 

Below is a little peek at some of the stuff inside Amiga Future #144. If you’d like to purchase a copy then do please take a look here and support what is now the last remaining commercially printed Amiga magazine!

 

Never come across Amiga Future magazine before? Perhaps you’d care to take a look at some of my other Amiga Future magazine previews here.

Replacement C64/TheC64 Maxi badge

Even though I have a real C64 I also own a TheC64 Maxi computer. Cosmetically this machine is indistinguishable from a real breadbin 64 bar one thing… the badge. For whatever reason (probably copyright) the TheC64 Maxi doesn’t have a proper Commodore badge which has always irked me.

 

This is the standard label that comes on the ‘TheC64’ machine.

 

Thankfully I will be irked no longer thanks to an eBay seller in Australia who manufactures replica badges. Mine came supplied well packaged with a stiff piece of hardboard inside the envelope to make it impossible for the postman to bend it.

 

A close-up of the badge.

 

The badge itself is beautifully made with proper chrome lettering and features the authentic Commodore ‘chicken head’ and rainbow colours.

 

A close-up of the badge.

 

The badge is 0.8mm thick so it’s quite obvious that this isn’t some cheap vinyl print. It’s the same quality as the one found on the 1501 Power Monitor I have previously reviewed from the same seller.

 

Fitting the Replacement C64 badge

This has to be one of the easiest projects I’ve ever done. The first task is to peel off the old badge – it’s quite thick and the new badge won’t sit flush unless you remove it. I used a hobby knife to carefully lift the edge at one end and then gently peeled it off. I took my time and managed to get it off in one piece leaving virtually no residue behind.

 

Peeling the old label off.

 

I performed a quick clean up with some Isopropyl alcohol and then peeled off the protective film from the back of the new badge. It fitted the oval recess perfectly which made aligning it a simple task.

 

Replacement C64 badge

New badge fitted in all its glory.

 

Once fitted I think it looks fantastic, almost indistinguishable from the real thing. The only slight difference for aficionados is that the original had raised lettering but regardless it’s a massive improvement over the rubbish badge that it came supplied with.

 

Replacement C64 badge

The finished result. Very satisfied with it myself.

 

I’d definitely recommend this to anyone that wants to make their TheC64 Maxi a little bit more authentic. So if you fancy one then for the very reasonable sum of £7.50 plus postage you can purchase one these replica badges off his eBay store yourself.

 

Looks just like a real C64 now!