Case Modding is one of the most exciting hobbies, but it requires a lot of patience and imagination. A lot of users apply some custom mods to their cases, such as adding a LED strip, or maybe a custom logo on the outside. But how many of you have changed the whole tower, inside-out? Below we present you the HL2 Gordon Freeman Edition, a fantastic DIY case mod by Sotiris Lagopatis.
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Table of Contents
- HL2 Gordon Freeman Edition
- Case and hardware
- Starting with the main panel
- How about the right side panel?
- Scorched earth
- Getting to the top
- The second fan grill
- Scorched earth on the right side panel
- The case’s frame
- The front door
- Gordon Freeman approves
- Display and front cover
- What to do if it cracks
- Final details
- Did you like the case mod project?
HL2 Gordon Freeman Edition
Sotiris Lagopatis has been working with case mods for more than five years. He has completed several projects so far, and one of his best cases is the HL2 Gordon Freeman Edition.
As a Half-Life 2 fan, he decided to dedicate a case mod to his favorite FPS game, which Valve released back in 2004.
For those not familiar with Half-Life 2, Gordon Freeman is the main hero, who tries to save humanity from an alien invasion.
In this mod, Sotiris uses crackle, rusting, and a number of other techniques he invented, to create a case mod based on Half-Life 2.
Case and hardware
The case in the project is a CoolerMaster Cavalier, which is going to have a complete transformation.
As we can see, the case has a front door, which will be cut and modified.
The hardware doesn’t really matter since you can change it at any point, but just for the record, he used an AMD Phenom 2 1100t, along with an Asus Crosshair IV Formula (AM3).
There’s also a CoolerMaster 750W PSU, GSkill Ares RAMs, an SSD Corsair Force LS 120GB, and an old XFX 8800GT for graphics.
Let’s observe how Sotiris got to transform his case into the HL2 Gordon Freeman Edition.
His initial plan was to put the game’s logo on the top of the case, so as it looks like it scorched the earth in its path. His first design was like this.
A good friend of his 3D-printed the logo.
Sotiris also asked for a pair of fan grilles with the same design.
Starting with the main panel
At first, Sotiris removed the left panel to draw the Half-Life 2 symbol.
To be able to draw it, he printed the logo on cardboard...
...and then cut the border out.
Once he decided where to place it, he outlined the printed logo on the panel.
Then, he used a dremel to cut it off.
Of course, the result was far from perfect.
He had to sand it down to the right shape.
Also, he used the sandpaper across the surface of the panel so that he could prepare it for the painting job.
How about the right side panel?
Apparently, he wouldn’t leave the right panel as is. He decided to apply the same effect to it without cutting it out, but he wanted to make a reflection of the left panel.
Thus, he outlined the shape once again…
...and he painted it with a primer.
Once it dried, he sanded the surface.
On the outline of the logo, he wanted to create the impression of scorched earth. To do so, he used a mixture of fiberglass and hardener, which he applied all around the area. He wanted it to look random, that’s why he used his fingers.
Having finished with that...
...he painted the panel with primer to have a first look at the result.
He used a brush to create the scorched earth effect, adding matte black and red colors.
In the meantime, he decided to enhance the earth effect, so he added more fiberglass.
The first dosage was not enough, so it required a second one.
Once again, he applied the primer...
...and an orange color.
With a black layer on the top, he created the crackled effect on the surface.
With a little patience, he managed to achieve the crackle style.
In the following video, you can see how beautiful it looks.
He used the same technique on one of the fan logos.
Later, however, he added a rusting effect with a special rust activator kit.
The result looks amazing.
Getting to the top
With a little bit of sanding on the top logo, he was able to paint it, trying to achieve the crackle texture.
However, after two or three layers of paint, he didn’t get the desired effect.
He decided to use a different red color spray, combined with some black. WIth patience again, he finally got what he was wanted.
He then prepared the top of the case with a lot of sanding.
He was now ready to stick the logo to the surface with bondo.
With some fiberglass putty, the logo got in place.
There’s also a video that demonstrates the result.
At this point, he decided to mix some fiberglass paste with bondo. Thus, the effect was lifted a few centimeters.
Later on, he wanted to extend it even more.
Now, it’s time for the primer.
And, of course, the crackle effect.
The second fan grill
As for the second fan grill, he also had to sand it...
...and apply the primer.
He tried to create the crackle effect with red and black, but his new spray cans didn’t do the trick.
After several tests, he used some hammered blue color and a layer of clear coat.
Some “bloody - exploded” look with red paint, and the splatter is ready.
Fast forward a few days later, he decided he didn’t want it like this. After experimenting on different surfaces, he ended up with an orange and black dot effect.
Scorched earth on the right side panel
Back to the right side panel, he applied the burned earth effect with fiberglass once again.
Don’t be confused, that’s not his desert, it’s the fiberglass paste.
The second enhancement worked like a charm.
After the primer...
...he wanted to create the crackle effect with the orange color we saw above. However, the shop run out of orange spray cans. So at first, he did some tests.
He used brown to create a rusty effect, with some splatter in the end.
He then applied more of the pasted on the scorched earth, to lift it even higher.
The primer was necessary again, before the final painting.
The crackle effect was nicely done.
You can see the whole process in the video.
The case’s frame
Let’s move on further inside the case.
The front side was full of rivets, which Sotiris had to remove.
He also removed the fan, which was pretty dusty.
After he drilled out the rivets, he disassembled the frame.
From there, he cut the existing fan grills at the back with a dremel.
As we can see, the first small logo fits perfectly.
Before mounting, however, the back side should be painted.
n addition, Sotiris removed the plastic stands on the bottom side.
The final touch was the rusting effect.
With a closer look, it looks like Sotiris did an excellent job.
In the front side, the chassis is made for an 80mm fan.
The modder had to cut the panel with a dremel and sand it, so as he can place a bigger 120mm fan.
The front door
Sotiris removed the CoolerMaster logo from the front door; it wouldn’t fit in such a mod.
Then, he had to cut it into the shape of the fan.
With the right tools...
...the job was straightforward.
Apparently, the fan fit perfectly.
With the logo grill in the front, everything seems to be at the right place.
He also had to remove the plastic part of the door.
Then, he used fiberglass hair to create a tunnel between the plastic panel and the aluminum part of the case.
After the first layer, it looked like this.
The final coating was placed, along with more fiberglass paste.
With some sanding, it finally took the shape Sotiris wanted.
Of course, the scorched earth effect was missing, so he had to do his technique once again.
You know the drill. A primer on top...
...and a final check before painting.
Though he did not design it from the beginning, he wanted to add a turbine look on the fan.
Not bad at all.
Some more paste to enhance the effect…
...and the assembling looks really awesome.
Gordon Freeman approves
The project is called HL2 Gordon Freeman Edition for some reason. We all expect to see Gordon Freeman somewhere on it, and Sotiris didn’t disappoint us.
Along with the action figure, Sotiris ordered an LCD for the front panel.
From the logo we saw at the beginning, he now used the “λ” and “2” characters.
He placed them on plexiglass...
...and cut out two copies of each shape.
Then, Sotiris stuck them together and sanded them to smooth their surface.
He repeated the process to create two more pairs of each shape, which will be placed on the other side panel.
Finally, he placed some fiberglass hair on Freeman’s seat.
Display and front cover
Time to cut out the necessary space for the display.
Gordon inspected the whole process, and we believe he approves.
The plastics on the hard drive panel is relatively useless - beyond ugly.
That’s why Sotiris cut them out and removed them entirely.
He, then, placed some plexiglass on the outside to cover the holes.
He continued the modifications with the primer on the front panel.
And, of course, with some orange spray.
This time, Sotiris used the plastic bag technique - as he calls it. He put layers of each color along the panel, and before it managed to dry, he put a plastic bag on it to create some random shapes.
In the meantime, he applied the classic scorched earth effect on the screen’s place.
What to do if it cracks
Fiberglass does not stick well to metal surfaces, and thus it created some problems in the front cover.
Thus, after a few days, Sotiris found a crack.
To reinforce the area around the LCD screen, the modder put some reinforced hair with fiberglass.
After he was done, the door looked robust enough to resist the challenge of time.
With a lot of sanding and a primer, the lid looked like this.
Along with the orange dye...
...and some matte black, the plastic bag effect worked like a charm.
The final assembly of the front panel looks astonishing.
However, the cracks didn’t stop there. Sotiris found another one on the left side panel.
Luckily, this problem was quickly overcome with a mixture of fiberglass, glue, and silicone.
He applied the same paste on the third crack he found on the left panel.
The hardest part is over for this mod. Only a few details are left before we can see the final result.
One of these is the motherboard panel, which has to be dyed.
We would let you guess what color Sotiris used, but at this point, it’s pretty obvious.
The black layer followed up...
...and it did the same thing with the back panel.
Another small detail he added was the wheels at the bottom.
He also had to clue the plexiglass logos, starting from the reflected right side panel.
After he dyed them, he glued them on the panel.
The final painting involved the inner front frame.
Orange, black, plastic back, and you know the results.
And we can’t forget Gordon’s seat, how could we?
With that, the final artwork is almost complete.
During the whole process, we saw that Sotiris painted the back side of the case with a rusty effect. However, we didn’t see what he did to the inner side.
He didn’t forget it, obviously.
At this point, we will append some pictures of the pieces so far, along with the final assembly.
The final case mod with all the pieces in place.
Did you like the case mod project?
Let’s not fool ourselves; Case Modding is a difficult, time-consuming, and pretty expensive hobby. However, for those that are passionate about DIY projects, it can become an inspiring engagement.
How about you? Have you ever made a case mod? Did you like Sotiris’ HL2 Gordon Freeman Edition project?
If you have any questions about the mod, you can write in the comments section or contact directly with Sotiris Lagopatis on Facebook.
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