Saturday, September 15, 2018

Weathered Droid #1

The day no one thought would ever happen has come. Mike Senna and I weathered droid #1 at his house. Mike has weathered at least 2 R2s, 2 WALL•Es and 2 BB-8s, and knows how to do this right.

Here's one last look at R2 clean.

And the R5 dome and extra center foot shell, which are also getting weathered.

Here are the paints Mike uses. These, along with some water and a drop of dish wash liquid, are the formula that we're going with. I want R2 to look more gray/black than dirt-brown, but Mike says we should have just a small amount of the brown in the mix.

The first step is to take paper towels, dip them into the concoction, and wash over the droid lightly to get the process started. No, I did not cry at this point or any other.

More is applied on the lower areas like the skirt and foot shells.

The back door is pretty much done with its first pass.

The front is coming along as well.

After taking a break for lunch to step away for a bit, it was time to wipe down the middle areas of the panels, leaving more weathering for the panel frame areas and edges.

And we're pretty much done with the body.

And (almost) lastly, the dome. We didn't go too heavy on the dome, just one light pass on the aluminum colored areas and not much on the blue paint.

But that's not all. Time to do R5's dome.

So how'd it turn out? I'm pretty happy with the new look. Here is droid #1 along side droid #2, who is wondering what the heck happened.

And dressed up as R5-D4.

Droid #1 is over 11 years old, and I do have a clean droid #2, so I'm not traumatized. I think it was finally time for him to be weathered, and I like the results.

Tons of thanks to Mike for lending his time and expertise (and materials) to this effort!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Irvine Disability Services Flashback Dance

Tonight R2 helped create a fun atmosphere at the city of Irvine's Disability Services Flashback Dance.

We were joined by several members of the 501st and Rebel Legions. R2 alternately posed for pictures at the photo station, and danced on the dance floor.

Everyone had a good time, and it was nice having a rare event a mile from home.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Star Wars in Concert at the Hollywood Bowl

Tonight R2, along with many members of the 501st, Rebel Legion, Mando Mercs and Saber Guild, helped with the pre-show festivities for Star Wars in Concert at the Hollywood Bowl.

I arrived at our 5:00pm call-time and unloaded near the dressing rooms.

Speaking of dressing rooms, R2 got is own dressing room at the Hollywood Bowl. He considers himself big-time now. (Never mind that it says R2-D2 Builders.)

At 6:00pm we went out with C-3PO to greet the fans. They kept R2-D2 and C-3PO a bit closer to the dressing rooms so we wouldn't have to go down a semi-steep hill, where the other characters were.

Around 7:40pm we wrapped up so characters could change out of costume (or in my case, stow R2 back in his dressing room) and get to our seats in time for the 8pm show.

And right on cue, at 8:00pm conductor David Newman strode onstage to join the LA Philharmonic and started the 20th Century Fox fanfare, followed by the opening title music, all played live as we watched the movie.

Also on cue, whenever lightsabers appeared on screen, fans in attendance lit up theirs. The whole Obiwan/Vader battle was re-enaced in the seats.

It was a great night, and it was neat to watch the movie in a new way. I hope I get to do it again in the future.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Hillsides Visit 2018

Today, R2 returned to Hillsides Children's Group Home, where he participated with dozens of members of various Star Wars clubs, to bring happiness to kids who have had a tough childhood. Per policy with these things, no pictures with kids were allowed.

As he's done each year, R2 hid under an outdoor stairway, as the characters changed into costume and prepared for their grand entrance.

Quite a large group assembled behind the building where the characters had changed, in order to make their surprise appearance.

The kids got to meet the characters, and most of the characters signed their autograph books. The kids also got patches. Next, the Saber Guild put on their presentation, where Jedi fight Sith. The kids help use the Force to chase the Sith away.

And finally, we wrapped with group photo.

It's a great event for a great cause, and I hope R2 and I are part of it again next year.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Comicon 2018

Today was our R2 Builders Panel at San Diego Comicon. Our panelists were William Miyamoto, Thomas Roeoesli, Michael McMaster and Mike Senna, with me serving as moderator.

We met at our rendezvous point at 7:00am to load the droids into the U-Haul truck that Thomas Roeoesli arranges. Our panel wasn't until 10:00am, but with street closures and traffic, we wanted to depart extra early. Thomas does an outstanding job of setting things up for the panel to go smoothly.

As we passed the convention center entrance on the way to the loading dock, we saw the thousands of people lining up to get into Hall H, where the huge panels take place. We haven't achieved Hall H status yet. Soon...

Once we arrived at the loading dock, we unloaded and wheeled our droids through the catacombs of the convention center, to get to Room 11 where our panel was to take place.

We had some time to kill, so we were able to visit the Millennium Falcon set that Michael McMaster worked on and got a group picture there. (Since Michael didn't bring a droid this year due to his involvement with the Magic Wheelchair project, he didn't need to arrive early.)

I took an opportunity for one of my favorite photos to get, from the vantage point of the escalator.

After that, it was time to start setting up in Room 11. We let the people who lined up early in, so they could get some pics of the droids as we got ready.

We started promptly at 10:00am. The panel covered both R2 and BB-8 building, hence the title slide.

I'm guessing the room held about 200 people, and it was pretty packed.

For the last few conventions, we've been using an Apple TV connected to the projector's HDMI port. I use my iPad to do the presentation, but it also allows Amy Senna to use her iPhone to show close-ups of the droids when we're demonstrating a gadget and such, and then I can take the screen back. (We password-protect the Apple TV so no one hijacks our presentation.) This works out pretty well.

We wrapped up with Q&A and one last panel selfie, and then it was time to pack everything up and book out of there.

It's always a neat experience to do a panel for San Diego Comicon, and hopefully we'll get to do it again next year.

Thanks to Amy Senna and Thomas Arroyo for some of the pictures here, and to Thomas Roeoesli for handling all the logistics to make the panel a success.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Primer and Paint for Body Panels for R5-D4

Today I was able to wrap up priming and painting the body panels on R5-D4.

I prepped the panels for painting by scuffing them lightly with sand paper (this had been done previously, so not much more was required), and cleaning them thoroughly.

On goes the gray primer.

And shortly thereafter, on goes the Rustoleum Sunrise Red paint.

I was able to peer into the future, and this is how everything looks.

I'm happy with the new color, it was worth the effort to repaint. R5-D4 doesn't get out much, but at least he'll look a little better the next time he does.