Saturday, December 01, 2018

Combat Radio's Breakfast with Santa - 2018

Today R2 and I participated in our 8th straight Combat Radio Breakfast with Santa charitable event, along with fellow R2 Builders Paul Thompson and Gene Arena, and WALL•E builder Michal McMaster. Gordon Tarpley joined us as C-3PO, and there were dozens of costumers from just about every genre out there. This all event benefits homeless children and families, and gives them an opportunity to have an excellent meal, meet tons of characters, and get a present from Santa himself! Dawn, Kyle and Kathryn McMaster also joined us, as did Natalie Tarpley.

We all arrived between 6:00am and 6:30am to set up. Paul was this year's hero with the donuts.

It's pretty chilly at that hour, so R2-D2 and WALL•E came inside to warm up.

The first of several busloads of guests arrived.

A choir started off the festivities with a song, as the guests started lining up.

The droids lined up to greet people outside.

As I mentioned, there are a lot of characters. It's almost a mini-Comicon.

The event is also broadcast on cable (which station, I don't know.)

In addition to a good meal, every kid gets a gift from Santa.

Funds are raised by auctioning dozens of autographed posters, artwork, and other memorabilia. By the time I got around to taking a picture, everything was pretty much gone.

Afterwords, we grabbed lunch at the adjacent Johnny Rockets, where they were advertising this nutritional supplement.

Everyone had a great time, and I'm sure we'll be invited back next year.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Hollywood Christmas Parade - 2018

Today, for the fourth year in a row, R2 took part in the annual Hollywood Christmas Parade.

The parade didn't start until 6:00pm, but streets are shut down and parking gets tight, so I arrived around 1:15pm to secure a parking spot in an adjacent parking structure, and took some time to wander and take in the sites, as I awaited Gordon (C-3PO) and William (Chopper).

Once they arrived, we grabbed some food, did some more wandering, and as the clock struck 5:00pm, we unloaded droids and Gordon got suited up as C-3PO. Then we headed down to the red carpet, where the droids stay on the sidelines, awaiting the other Star Wars clubs that have lined up a couple blocks away. The droids only do the red carpet portion of the parade, not the entire 3+ miles.

Besides the telecast that will be shown nationally on December 14 at 8pm/7pm on the CW network, news crews are out in force to cover the parade as well.

A pretty good crowd several people deep lined the parade route.

And finally, the parade kicked off. Near the front are the Star Cars.

There are also large, helium filled floats, such as Gumby and the Cat in the Hat.

And finally... the 501st! That was our cue to get ready, as we were to slide in between the 501st and Rebel Legion.

And slide in we did. I wasn't able to get any pictures or video while we were driving the route, but after we cleared the red carpet, the parade came to a pause, so I took the opportunity to get a few pictures of the droids.

Once we got to Hollywood and Highland, we broke off from the rest of the clubs, since our part in the parade was done. That left us near Mel's Diner, with a lot of very happy spectators that wanted pictures with the droids.

And then we headed down a grungy alley, back to the parking structure from whence we came, while the parade continues on without us.

The joys of being C-3PO. Gordon's microphone mashed into the top of his head. :(

Afterward, we walked over to the Scum and Villainy Cantina for a little while.

And another parade is in the books. Hopefully the droids will look good on the telecast, I'll find out in a couple weeks. Always fun to be a part of this one.

The full photoset is here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

More Gas Pipe Work

Today I was able to finish up the grinding work on the replacement gas pipe for droid #1's legs, in order to get the 3/4" pipe to fit into the 1" pipe.

Sparks! I sure hope those gloves aren't flammable.

After grinding the pipe a bit more, I followed it up with pass with both the rough and smoother sides of the file.

I followed that up with sanding with progressively higher grit sand paper.

And now the 3/4" pipe slides smoothly into the 1" pipe, yea!

Next I need to remove R2's legs and see if the new flanges I bought will fit the old holes that hold them on, on the shoulder discs. If not, I'll use the new discs that I cut recently. But first, R2 has some events to attend to, so that will have to wait a little while.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Gas Pipe Work

Several days ago I mentioned that I want to redo the gas pipes that hold the legs together on droid #1, because the legs sit just a little too far from the body. The existing pipes have way too many holes drilled in them for the bolts that secure them together, so I've decided to buy new pipe and start fresh.

I made a trip to the hardware store and picked up 1"-diameter electrical pipe, and 3/4"-diameter gas pipe. The electrical pipe has a much less pronounced bead on the inside, which makes getting the 3/4" pipe to fit a bit easier, but there was still a lot of friction.

So... I picked up an angle grinder at Harbor Freight, in order to bring down the outer diameter of the 3/4" gas pipe just a bit.

The pipe needs to be a little under 18" long by the time I'm done, so to be safe, I measured and marked 19" so I'd know how far along the pipe I'd need to do the grinding.

One light pass shows that the grinder doesn't remove much along the circumference of the pipe, this will require a lot of passes.

Lots more passes with the grinder, followed up with a file to smooth out the curve, and I've made some progress, but not enough. The 3/4" pipe is still a bit too wide to fit smoothly into the 1" pipe.

I'll need to go over the whole thing again shortly. Getting there, though.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Halloween 2018

Today R2 continued his tradition of greeting trick-or-treaters for Halloween.

As was the case last year, R2 was joined by the mouse droid.

Visitors enjoyed meeting the droids, although I suspect they enjoyed the candy more.

This wraps up a busy week for R2, but it shouldn't be too long before he's back in action.

Halloween Visit at CHOC

Today R2 joined Mike Senna and WALL•E, along with several other characters, to bring Halloween fun to the young patients of Childrens Hospital of Orange County.

Usually R2 only gets a picture with the bear statue, but today he met the bear himself.

Since the patients don't get to go out trick-or-treating, the hospital brings Halloween to them, with lots stations offering candy and other prizes.

Mike and I found a place to station WALL•E and R2 for the visitors.

Unfortunately, we're not allowed to take pictures with the patients, but suffice it to say the kids were very happy to meet the characters, and do some trick-or-treating.

We wrapped up with a group picture of all the characters.

It's always good to visit CHOC, I hope I get to come back soon.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

LA Comicon 2018 - Day 3

Today was the third and final day of LA Comicon, 2018.

We were greeted first thing by mini-Speed Racer.

Michael McMaster's WALL•E enthralled the guests that came by to visit.

William and Nikki Miyamoto unveiled the Magic Wheelchair that they worked on with Mike Senna for a special girl.

I needed to leave a bit early, so I missed the end of the convention, but it won't be long until we're at the next one (currently planned to be Wondercon in the Spring of 2018). Always great hanging out with my droid-building buddies.