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The Crimson King/renamed TheMan in Black


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With the new Dark Tower movie coming up this summer, based on the series by Stephen King, I got really excited.  Excited enough to do a Dark Tower themed mod.  

But I found I still had some excitement left over...enough for maybe another mod...hmmm...

And so starts the story of the Crimson King, or rather, my Crimson King mod.  The Crimson King of the Dark Tower series is the main antagonist.  Similar to our notion of Satan, the Crimson King is a shape-shifter and referred to as "the great scuttering spider-king".  He embodies the ideas of chaos, anarchy, and evil.  Though Roland, The Gunslinger, faces many different foes on his journey to the Dark Tower, the Crimson King is the orchestrator of it all.  In fact, he is the cause for the decay of Roland's world, hoping to bring down the Dark Tower and bring about Discordia, or a state of chaos and anarchy.  The same chaos and anarchy that Roland is trying to stop.  The Crimson King is the evil to Roland's good, the black to Roland's white.

In an interesting side note, a lot of characters from the Dark Tower series cross over to other King novels, like Father Callahan from King's Salem's Lot.  The Crimson King first appeared in Insomnia, and shares the characteristic shape-shifting and final spider-like appearance of Pennywise, or It, from King's It.

To capture the evil vs. good relationship of the Crimson King to the Gunslinger, I'm going to be using the same Cooler Master Mastercase5 Maker and basic design that my Gunslinger build is using, but tweaked a bit.  Mirrored, to capture their opposite sides of the spectrum, but using similar hardware and themed to the Crimson King.  This build will be the evil twin or, perhaps, the doppelganger of the Gunslinger.

So, let's start off with a case...a Mastercase.




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"Come, come, come. You progress, gunslinger! Oh, how I envy you. We make great magic together, you and I. You kill me no more than you kill yourself. Mother-may-I? Yes-you-may." - Walter O'Dim, The Gunslinger

And then, as usual, let's gut the case.


First up is a new back panel.  Luckily, I've already got the design figured out.



Same with the floor of the case.  Measure then duplicate.


It's almost like this thing is on rails, LOL!



Now we're getting to the point that it might be a good idea to figure out what's going into this build.

First off for the MB will be the Asus Z170 Pro Gaming.  The non-Aura Pro Gaming, and conveniently red.


In the Pro Gaming's socket will be an Intel Core i5 6600K.


And for RAM, I'm using 16 GB of G.SKILL TridentZ 3200 DDR4 RAM.  Also, conveniently red.


On the graphics front, I'll be using another Nvidia GTX980Ti.


And powering all this will be a Cooler Master V1000 PSU.


In order to keep the i5 and the 980Ti running cool, the beautiful people at Swiftech have entrusted me with a few goodies.

First off, an Apogee XL2 CPU block with the Iris LED controller.


And for the 980Ti, A Komodo NV TITAN X Luxury Edition.  Damn it's pretty!


Also from Swiftech, a D5 pump setup with this gorgeous acrylic top.


Finishing off the cooling duties will be a Primochill CTR res.


And a Bitspower  360mm Leviathan Slim radiato.


And a very special thanks goes out to Swiftech for sponsoring some awesome cooling products!


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"Shake the hand that shook the world." - Randal Flagg/Walter O'Dim, The Waste Lands

(On a side note:  If you've read The Stand, yes, that Randal Flagg.)

Now that I've got a back panel and a floor, and I know what's going inside, I can bend out a new motherboard tray.  Luckily, I had the measurements from the Gunslinger, so it was easy as pie!


And then trimming down the ends.  


You might wonder why I leave extra on the ends that I have to cut off.  At this thickness, 2mm, my brake needs a bit of material to get leverage on, about 2-2.5".  Less than that and it doesn't bend, but rather it tries to push the sheet back under the clamping bar.  It's a small price to pay for getting good bends.

And the tray mounted, reversed from the Gunslinger build.


Getting the motherboard sorted out.


The I/O panel and PSU holes.



Now I'm ready for the GPU.  Thanks to Swiftech for this beautiful Komodo Luxury block.



Little bit of cutting and bending, with 5052 Al it's soooo much easier, and I've got my simple little GPU bracket.



And now it's caught up with it's foe.


Once again, thanks to Swiftech for their sponsorship!


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  • 3 weeks later...



I feel like I'm ignoring the king since I'm working most of the details out on the Gunslinger.  But progress has been made.  Or rather details and measurements have been transferred over.


Laying out the pump set up that will have the back of the pump going through the tray.






For this to make a bit more sense, I guess I should let you in on my plans for the back panel.  In the story of Roland, his era is a sort of feudal time that has come after a very advanced technological society has

fallen.  This technological society, created by those Roland calls the 'Old Ones', has been in decay for thousands of years and at it's peak was more advanced than our own.  Even after thousands of years, some of this advance technology still exists and some still even works, though the people of Roland's time consider it evil or magic, and don't really understand it's workings.  Roland and his companions stumble across some of these old machines and computers in their travels, some built by North Central Positronics, a company of the Old Ones that specialized in robotics.  So my plan for the back panel is to give it a look of this decayed technology, electronics that have been wasting away for thousands of years, hence the pump and wires popping through the panel will fit right in with a bit of detailing and weathering.


For the SSDs, I want to make some brackets that allow me to mount the drives with the side mounts instead of the back ones so I don't have to pull everything apart just to pop a drive out.


I'm using some .05" aluminum for these brackets.






And then using a vice to bend them into shape.




Shot a little how to video for easily bending aluminum in a vice for my Down & Dirty Modding series.


The finished product.




And marking out for my SSD brackets and CPU cutout.




A little bit more work and I should be caught up with the Gunslinger again, at least until I get to the details, that's where these will start to show their true colors.


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"Death for you, life for my crop." -  Wizard and Glass

In Wizard and Glass, Roland and his ka-tet end up in a weird remix of The Wizard of Oz, so sticking with that theme, let's give the king a brain.




And it wouldn't be complete without a block.  a Swiftech Apogee XL2.




We also need to get our pump installed.  Just like on the Gunslinger.  I'm mounting it through the tray so that the top is on one side and the pump is on the other side, where I can fit it into my theme for the back of the tray.




Next up is a junction box for my wiring.  I want the back to look like old unused electronics, but the pretty side of the case will have nice and clean wiring.  In order to give myself a spot to switch the look over, I'm going to use a junction box on the back where one set of wires can go in and another prettier set will come through the tray.  In order to keep the box as clean as I can, I brazed it together.  


Marking it all out.




Then I got it bent up in the vise and ready for brazing.  I split the side so that all my corners would be the same and I can hide the braze very easily like this.  I made sure to bevel my edges so that the braze has

plenty to grab on to and also used some sharpie marks to give me an idea of temp.  The sharpie evaporates a bit before the aluminum is at temp.




And an easy little braze.  A bit of grinding and you'd never know it was there.






Then mounting it to the tray.  I'll cut a pass through for my wires.  On the Gunslinger, this pass was also a nice CPU cutout...not so lucky this time since the mb is flipped.




While I was waiting for the braze to cool off, I decided to get my front panels matched up, by adding a nice cut out in the King's panel so the reservoir will fit through.  And since they're twins, I just copied over what I did on the Gunslinger.








I also copied the res brackets that I made to attach my CTR reservoirs to the fans.






Now I can start putting things together to get more of a feel for the details I need to add.






And the twins.








Fans and radiator should be here this week so I can get the res mounted and figure out how to dress up the brackets, so until then, thanks for following along!


And thanks to Swiftech for sponsoring this build!



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  • 2 weeks later...

"Christ the Man Jesus help me, I have Black Thirteen under the floorboards of my church. And it's come alive. Do you understand me?" He looked at them with his wet eyes. "It's come alive." - Callahan, Wolves of the Calla


Update time, and I guess, dirty copy and pasting time too.  I've hit a spot in the Gunslinger and the Crimson King where they are almost perfect mirrors of each other so it only makes sense to do the work on both at the same time.  


And as usually happens along the way, I've changed things up a bit.  I wanted a junction box on the back of the tray to fit the theme I'm going for and also for a place to hide some cable splices, so i bent one up.  It was functional but just didn't seem right to me.  And then wandering about the local hardware store, I thought I'd peruse the electrical aisle to see what I could put together for a junction box.  Came up with this.




I think it fits better than what I made up, plus knockouts are way easier than what I had planned.  A few romex connectors and it'll work perfect, so I fit them over the holes I had already cut for my previous attempt.




And opened up the pass through for a little more room.




With 2 different cover styles installed.  I'm liking the option for a knockout in the cover.  Later, I can figure out what knockouts to knock out and it'll be good to go.




With that sorted and somewhat finalized, I can start on the paint work.  This ones gonna be a stretch for me paint wise, there's gonna be a lot of weathering and airbrush work,

which I suck at.  But first, something I'm totally familiar with, primer.




And since I'm going to match the SSD's to the theme and that requires a total repaint, I pulled them apart...




So I could prime them too.  




Next up was a coat of flat gray for the trays and laying parts out.




Now that I can see what I'm working with I've got a better feel for the theme and can start to lay out my ideas.


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'Renounce the Tower. This is your last warning.' - Note left to Roland's Ka-tet, Wolves of the Calla


Paint, paint, paint.  This is always when a build starts coming together for me, but this one is a new challenge.  It's not picking out a cool color and laying down a glassy coat, it's all in the details.  And that means an airbrush, which I have, but have never been useful with.  Let's see if I can change that.


Since the back of the tray is supposed to look like 1000 year old tech that is more advanced than ours but seems a bit more clunky (I always pictured computers and robots from the futurists of the 50's and 60's), I wanted to give it a industrial feel with a ton of aging, plus add details from the series.  I'm starting with riveted panels that everything will attach to.  I started with some lines for the edges of the panels.




Next came learning how to do rivets.






And shading.






Then all the components have to be painted to fit in.  First the SSD's are getting a chrome finish.




And then tackling the PSU.






Naturally, I tape off the sticker and this happens.




And then adding some details.








The hazard marking comes from a spot in the story where Roland's ka-tet finds some of the hardware that keeps the beam of the bear and the turtle functioning.


And the almost finished back panel with the SSD's, junction box, and PSU.  Next up for the panel is some rusting and aging to make it look like it's been wasting away for a thousand years.




And a bit of a teaser of what's to come...




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Had to add a quick update for the weathering.  It's 90% done, still have to add some holes on the Crimson King for some flash on the other side of the tray and need to clear both of the trays, but I'm super happy with how it turned out.


First pass.




It came out too regular but not bad for a first attempt at weathering and the first time really using an airbrush.


Second pass.












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