Monday, September 8, 2008

Painted skins!!

At long last (it seems), my R2-D2 is proudly sporting fresh paint on his skins! Yesterday and today I masked, primed, painted, and topcoated the skins. It meant removing his legs, poor little guy, but I am happy that I was able to get them back on tonight and take some pictures. (You can see the painting progress in my Skins post.)

Here he is, modeling:

Sunday, September 7, 2008


I purchased styrene for my R2's skins in 2004 and cut them out myself using full-scale blueprints found at the R2-D2 Builders' Club Yahoo group. After several years of just taping them onto the frame with masking tape, I finally got to permanently attach them, add all the little panels, and then finally paint them. Here are pictures documenting my process:

Screwing the inner skin to the frame (front view).

Screwing the inner skin to the frame (back view).

Taping the outer skin to the inner skin.

Preparing the panels for taping to the outer skin.

Panels to be placed on the skins.

Before panels (with my son).

The first panel is attached!

Before the panel...

...after the panel is attached.

Back view before panels.

Attaching panels to the back.

Panels are attached (front view).

Panels are attached (back view).

The detail pieces are masked and I'm ready to prime the skin.

Two layers of white primer were applied, and then two layers of Wimbledon White, then three layers of crystal clear gloss top coat.

After the paint was "touchable", I removed the masking tape and paper from the detail parts.


My R2's shoulder to body hubs are made out of wood. I tried painting them aluminum, but it just didn't satisfy me. One day, while walking through Menard's, I noticed a display of shelf liners, and my eye caught on a faux metal version. I purchased it, and used it to cover the wood and make my shoulder to body hubs appear like they are made out of aluminum!

Scratch Made Coin Retuns

With my budget being rather small, but desperate to get my droid finished, I followed the advice of a couple R2 Builders and made my own out of left-over styrene. It took some patience, but it paid off, and I'm quite happy with them. In fact, I don't think aluminum coin returns would have fit in my droid. The styrene versions seem quite at home among the styrene skins I made.

I thought I had taken more pictures of them, but I don't seem to have more than this. Here are my coin returns prior to priming and painting:

Dome Process

I spent the majority of the time spent on my dome(s) just sanding. And sanding, and sanding, and sanding...which doesn't photograph very well. However, when the more "fun" stuff began, then I started taking pictures. Here's some pictures of my dome process:

Here are the inner and outer domes before cutting any holes in the inner dome.

My husband helped me score the circles with a circle cutting tool on his drill. Then we Dremmeled "tabs" that I could later remove and file & sand smooth.

Holes in the inner dome, ready to have the tabs removed.

Inner and outer domes (front view) with holes all cut and polished.

Inner and Outer domes (back view).

Both domes permanently together, main eye permanently attached.

Attaching the first "pie panel".

Several detail parts have been glued (using Liquid Nails) in and clamped for drying.

Parts drying.

Parts drying, inside view. (You can also see my "Uncle" Don autograph.) :)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sterling Heights Library

August 23rd, 2008 was the Star Wars day for the Sterling Heights, Michigan public library. We made the 2½ hour drive there with R2 (and our kids) to participate.

This picture is sort of random, but I love it because it shows how my son was being so protective of R2. Once, a boy (older than my son) came up to see R2 and started punching R2. My son, said "NO! NO! NO! Not your R2!" My husband said, "It's okay, Benjamin." But I whispered, "No it really wasn't okay." I think the boy's mom heard Benjamin and told her son to stop. It was cute to see how protective Benjamin was of R2!

Star Wars: Clone Wars Premiere

For the premiere of Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie at midnight on the 15th of August, 2008 a small group of Rebel Legion and 501st members gathered at the request of the Celebration Cinema North Thursday night to entertain movie goers. R2 came along for his third event. I had to get a ride to the event with my brother since my husband worked until 10:00 (getting home around 10:30) and we were to arrive at 7:00. My brother intended to drive his family's minivan to work and then swing by my place to pick me, and R2, up. However, he forgot to drive the van, and instead drove his Dodge Neon. It was quite interested trying to delicately CRAM R2 into the backseat of the Neon! But, he fit (barely!) and we made it to my brother's house okay. Once we got to my brother's house, we transferred R2 to the van! When my husband got out of work, he joined us at the theater.