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How Initial D Manga Inspired My First PC Mod

I was inspired by the artist Shinga, a skilled painter and artist who creates elaborate racing scenes with car models painted in a manga style, so another goal of mine was to bring the car out of the manga by building a model and painting it in a style that matches manga or comics. I purchased an RX-7 model kit and had fun assembling it before tackling the painting.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The painting was so much tougher than I expected because I was essentially painting a set 2D perspective and shadows onto a 3D object.  I had loads of fun though, and I still love to just look at the model sometimes. I started with a base coat over the entire thing and then came back in with my highlights and shadows.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Then I came in with the hard lines to create some dimension for the body shape. Implied glare on the windows and some shadow on the tires and wheels finished the look. I sprayed a matte clear coat over the entire model so that it would look like paper and wouldn't create its own reflections.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

I prototyped and modified a stand for the car that used an inexpensive rotating display to look like the car was drifting to provide a bit of action. I often prototype with old cardboard, so I tested a couple shapes before moving to cut the final shape out of black acrylic.

Some white paint on the cut acrylic added a sense of motion. I  cut out a sound effect of drifting from a page from the manga. I used some wire to hold the paper pieces in the correct orientation and then glued this to the underside of the black acrylic. I had a drifting RX-7 straight from the pages of Initial D!

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Under the Hood

This was a super low budget build, so I went to an army surplus store and grabbed a few dollars’ worth of paracord in yellow and black for custom sleeving. I did not have a modular power supply so I de-pinned the connectors one wire at a time and slid on my sleeving. This is hours of work and a laborious process.. It is rewarding to do it yourself, but I understand why people buy pre-made sleeved cables!I also sleeved the motherboard and GPU cables. My power supply wires were black so the others. with proper routing. disappeared into the build well.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

I had two Corsair fans with removable color rings, so I pulled those rings off and painted them with the same yellow paint I have been using throughout the build. I know it can be a little controversial, but paint also went onto the RAM heat sinks. My wife has a small vinyl cutter, so I cut out some black stickers with the Red Suns font. (The Red Suns are the drift team in the manga that Keisuke Takahashi and his RX-7 are a part of.) I like adding details like this into the build — Stuff that only dedicated Initial D fans would know.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

I wanted a backplate for the GPU and a small shield to hide the rear I/O on the motherboard, so I cut two pieces of acrylic to fit these spaces and. painted them both the matching yellow. I then printed some tire tread patterns on paper and cut out the shape to make a stencil for spray painting. With some black spray paint I sprayed the stencil to get a tire tread pattern. This was all I wanted for the motherboard I/O cover, but I wanted something extra on the GPU backplate. I cut a couple more stencils from paper in speech bubble shapes and painted two areas white where I planned to include a quote from Keisuke Takahashi: "Fill 'er up. High Octane."

The last detail on the GPU was changing the lighting. The card is an EVGA Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 and the side had a white LED backlight that highlighted the manufacturer and card model. I removed what is essentially a very thick sticker to uncover the LED backlight. I then measured that sticker and made my own from black vinyl. I cut out "FD3S RX-7", the complete car model from the vinyl.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

There were two pieces remaining that I needed. Both were lighting-related as the build was a little dark still given the DG-77’s tinted side panels. The first was a simple purchase of two Corsair RGB fans that would go at the top of the case to provide some yellow and white light. The second was a billboard of sorts for the name of the manga. I created a small paperboard box that was wide enough for LEDs along the bottom and painted it box matte black so it would disappear in the case.. I lined the little box in aluminum foil and glued a strip of white LEDs along the bottom, running the wires out the rear. I cut the Initial D logo from black vinyl and stuck this vinyl to clear packing tape. This way, both the area inside the cutout and around the edges would all be sticky.  I mounted this in the upper-right portion of the case where there would otherwise be nothing of interest to look at through the side panel.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Finish Line

Last but not least was some yellow paint on the screws for the side panels and the case mod (Revision 1, anyway!) was complete!

I am pleased with the result of my first attempt at case mod, and I feel it embodied the theme perfectly while looking professional. I also learned a few ways not to do things!

Remember that this mod was done for just a couple hundred dollars. Modding is a unique art form where even mediums like paper decoupage and some acrylic paint can have a fantastic effect and help create a PC that is truly yours.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
  • artk2219
    It looks good! You could have also used that $200 for an i7 3770k and another 8GB of ram, or a better cpu, ram, mobo combo in general though ;)
    Reply