This was the fourth edition of the LDLC Modding Trophy. Each year it brings in talent from across the world not only to compete against one another but to form and strengthen long lasting friendships. Here on bit-tech we're no strangers to this concept, and for me at least the community modding spirit has always been one of the defining aspects of the field.
Each modder was assigned a brand sponsor, which would provide parts from its range. In addition, we would all be sent a common list of components so that the starting points would be even. I was assigned Antec and its new P8 chassis, Ronnie received Be Quiet! and the Dark Base Pro 900, Stephen got Fractal Design and the Meshify C, and Mike was chosen by Thermaltake and received a View 71 chassis. The modding theme for the event would be Blizzard's ever popular Overwatch, with each of us choosing one character to base our mods on. Modding progress began near the start of September, with us having until mid-October to finish the builds and safely pack them for transport to Paris.
Fast forward to November and crunch time. After arriving on the Sunday (and being treated to a charming meal aboard a boat on the Seine), it was time to begin final preparations before transporting the rigs to the expo hall. Anybody who's had to send a fragile, valuable item overseas can understand just how nerve-wracking it is opening up the crates for the first time. When in transit all manner of things can befall a rig, so leaks and damage are unfortunately all too commonplace. Luckily, however, we were in LDLC headquarters with access to some replacement parts if necessary as well as a team of experienced modders.
Thankfully, we were all eventually able to get our rigs ship-shape before the show, a true testament to the power of teamwork and determination if you ask me. Shipping a rig overseas is always a difficult task, even if you've done it many times. It's always a good idea to go overkill with your packaging, wooden shipping crates, pallets, and foam inside and out, as the time spent in preparation can make all the difference, but even then you're mostly improving the odds of success rather than guaranteeing it.