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When Man of Arms Becomes Modder of Cases: How one blacksmith forged a bridge between two worlds

written by: Glenn van der Geugten

15 years ago, Nenad Milic was on his way to install a computer system on one of his clients PCs. “Just another day of work”, he must have thought. Little did he know his client was actually one of Serbia’s biggest military museums. One that contained a top secret depot where some of the world’s most mysterious artifacts from ancient warfare were being kept locked away behind bars. What he was about to see would put Dragonglass to shame and change his life forever.

In the museum’s depository he witnessed some of the world’s most unprecedented treasures from history such as armor, ornaments and of course; swords! Some of which modern day blacksmiths and master craftsmen still don’t know how they managed to create them back in the days. “I’ve spent years working with museums, getting dirty to the neck in their depositories, and there I fell in love with the Celtic nation, they lived here in the Balkan way before Romans and other nations, and their work is absolutely amazing!” Nenad recalls.

If you live in a country with over 14 centuries of blacksmithing history you’ll never run out of inspiration. Nenad uses historical pieces, reliefs and patterns to get his juices going. And when he isn’t looking in history books to find out more about armor he’s checking out shows like Game Of Thrones. “We love fantasy also” Nenad says. “We’re making a lot of swords and armors from many different games, and everything is real, without screws, plastic or 3d printing. Recently we even made Jamie Lannisters armor”.

He entered the world of modding only a year ago, using an arsenal of adept and ancient blacksmith craftsmen methods while creating the ‘Order of the Dragon’ mod for Cooler Master Balkan. The mod featured a steel dragon looming over a MasterCase 5, with wooden finish. And this year he and his team returned with even more inspiration! “Green Shield Workshop is not just a team, we are like family. Everyone has dozens of talents which we combine to make something extraordinary. Vuk is the architect, Dusan is a machining engineer, Nemanja does the marketing, and I am the IT engineer”.

Just like any other case mod ever created, this mod too faced certain challenges along the road. “One of them was getting the shoulder to move, since they needed to move to the sides so the breast plate can automatically open and close. We tried to complicate that with some servo engines, but we overcome that with simple mechanics. Another huge problem is that it is almost impossible to find anything that is connected to modding here in Serbia, and many modding suppliers simply do not ship to this location. We had to improvise every step on the way, and really make everything from scratch”.

Because they pretty much had to make everything from scratch, their approach to ‘Cyborg’ was the same as if they were to craft a new armor or sword. However, their aim was to forge a bridge between old craftsmanship and new technology to create a futuristic looking knight with linear actuators, servo engines and custom cooling in the entire armor. “We paid special attention to details like air flow and radiator placement in the backpack of the case, so that all the heat doesn’t come in contact with the motherboard or any other hardware. We positioned the GPU so that the user can see his nice looking graphics card that he has bought. Another small detail is that the helmet can be taken off the case entirely. And since it is a real size helmet, you can put it on our own head, just like back in medieval times!”

If you’re thinking “Wow, That looks amazing! But I could never do that because I’m not a blacksmith”, fret not! Here are some encouraging words from the master himself.

“Be so good they can’t ignore you! Yes, it takes years of practice, and yes it takes years of hard work and renunciation, but if you want something you would have to say to yourself, there is no success from 9 to 5.”

The fact that a 9 to 5 mentality isn’t enough to fuel your passion can be seen in Green Shield Workshop’s entire work ethic. The armory once started out as a hobby project carrying the motto “Strive to perfection, and reward trust with excellence”. A vision which has turned into living proof as the 4 members became so successful they were able to quit their jobs and made a full time business out of their hobby.