Originally I'd planned to do it all electrically, but really had a "jump off that bridge when I get to it" thought process.
I wanted to do something cool with the analog gauges, but wasn't sure what to do.
A trip to google turned up this link - Arduino Analog Gauge
It sounded pretty easy. I was unfamiliar with the Arduino board (I've been in the MBA cave tooooooo long!), but a quick trip to the Arduino website had me hooked. A microcontroller seemed the PERFECT way to make the Control Panel come to life. I'd also found a joystick controller from an M1 Abrams Tank at Skycraft (gotta love that place) and hoped that I'd be able to interface it as well.
Fast forward to Christmas day... Dad + Son receive the Arduino from Mom as a Christmas Present and the Son receives the Tank joystick. Given new parts and the MBA holiday break, amazing things are about to happen!