Friday, May 08, 2020

Virtual Classroom Visit

Today, R2 and I joined Michael McMaster and Gordon Tarpley, in an online visit to Dawn McMaster's classroom.

Not many pics, but we each talked about our various builds. Gordon and Michael were each somewhat of a celebrity, so I mostly sat back and listened.

Monday, May 04, 2020

May the 4th, Virtually

R2 was invited to participate in a virtual classroom visit today, as a special guest for a Star Wars costume contest. R2 got dressed up in his Jedi robe and held his light saber with the holder I made yesterday.

At the appointed time, R2 surprised the class in the Zoom meeting and appeared. He did his beeping and showed off his costume.

Everyone enjoyed his visit, and it looks like he may be going another virtual classroom visit soon.

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Light Saber Holder

Things are slow for R2 these days due to the Corona virus pandemic, so I haven't had too much to blog about; therefore I'll go way overboard with this post.

R2 is invited to participate in a Star Wars costume contest tomorrow in celebration of May the 4th, so I thought he could wear some Jedi robes and wield a lightsaber. A friend had a cheapie knock-off lightsaber that was donated for the cause, and another friend agreed to whip up a quick robe for R2.

The light saber is operated by pressing down on a button. The light saber is pretty goofy, as it makes laser sounds as if it is a gun, and the LEDs inside blink rapidly. I'm stuck with the red cover, so R2 will be a Sith droid, but I wanted to modify the electronics to not have the laser blasting sounds, and to eliminate the flicker. That part was easy. Just pull out the board, and hard-wire the LEDs to the power when the button is pressed.

Next, I needed to build a holder for the light saber. Fortunately I already have a bit of a rig inside the droid for when he needs to hold the pillow as a ring bearer in wedding ceremonies, (don't laugh, he's done it 3 times already), so I needed to fashion an attachment for the light saber that could use the same rig. The first step was to measure the diameter of the lightsaber.

Next, I went looking for some scrap MDF. I found a partial circle, which I believe is a leftover from the should hub template. I marked it up so I could find the center, in order to use a hole saw to drill out as much material as possible.

I drilled with my hole saw, which removed the bulk of the material.

I used the Dremel drum sander attachment to remove the rest of the material.

I needed to file notches for some of the bumps along the surface of the circumference.

Perfect fit.

I wanted this to fit flush against R2's body, so I needed cut off a chord from the circle.

Admittedly, I didn't leave much material, but the light saber is very light.

I cut a segment of down to glue to the light saber holder.

Once the glue had dried sufficiently, it was time to paint the whole thing metallic.

When the paint had dried at the end of the day, I tried it all out.

I think he's ready for tomorrow.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Cub Scout Blue and Gold Dinner

Tonight, R2 helped Cub Scout pack 918 in Irvine, CA celebrate their Blue and Gold Dinner, along with several members of the 501st, Rebel Legion, and Mandalorian Mercs costuming clubs.

We lined up around 7pm for our surprise introduction.

The scouts and families were happy to see the Star Wars characters suddenly appear at the end of their dinner.

R2 found a safe photo op spot, and the kids were remarkably well behaved.

Everyone had a good time, and I'm glad we were able to help out.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Circle View Elementary Visit - 2020

Today, R2 and I returned to Circle View Elementary for the first time in over 10 years, when we visited back in 2009. And for me, it was a return to where I went to school for 7th and 8th grades.

The occasion was Principal Ms. Haag's birthday ("May the 40th be with you"). She's a big Star Wars and R2-D2 fan, and being an alumnus myself, I figured R2 had to be there.

I arrived around 7:15am for R2 to greet the kids as they arrived at school. He's in there somewhere (I think).

We had an assembly for about half the students (we couldn't fit them all in the multi-purpose room, and unfortunately I didn't have enough time to do two assemblies), where I gave a 30 minute presentation about R2, both the one in the movies and mine. I had kids come up and help demonstrate sounds and the mist effect.

We wrapped up with some pictures with R2 (including a picture with Ms. Haag).

Everyone enjoyed the visit, but I had to get to work, so it was a pretty quick one. Who knows, maybe we'll be back in another ten years, if not sooner.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

The Rise of Skywalker Opening Night at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood

Tonight, R2 joined Gordon Tarpley as C-3PO, along with Aaron Lane and D0 and Tim Sayre with BB-8 to help usher in Opening Night for The Rise of Skywalker at the historic Chinese Theater in Hollywood, CA. We were joined by other characters from the 501st and Rebel Legions as well.

I arrived around 3pm for our 4pm appearance. The droids were in one area of the courtyard in front of the theater, while the consumed characters were entering from another area.

The characters posed for pictures with fans for about an hour. The movie itself was scheduled to start at 6pm.

Once it was time to come inside the theater, fans were invited up to compete in a friendly costume competition, judged by Carrie Fisher's brother Todd Fisher. There was also a lightsaber tribute for Carrie.

Finally, 6pm arrived, an the lights lowered, and we were ready to view the final episode in the Skywalker saga...

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. For me, it tied everything together quite nicely.

Afterward, we were delayed in leaving because, this being Hollywood and Los Angeles county, there was a fugitive hiding out in the parking structure, so we had to wait for the police to give the all-clear (that took about 30 minutes).

I was happy to be able to be part of this event. I'm not sure if and when I'll ever get to do something like that again, but it's been fun.

Friday, December 13, 2019

KABC Spark of Love Toy Drive - 2019

Tonight R2 participated in his seventh consecutive Spark of Love Toy Drive, this time at the Irvine Spectrum area, in Irvine, CA. The event was headed up by Los Angeles ABC affiliate KABC-TV and our trusty cameraman Edgar, who is also a member 501st Legion. We were joined by members of the 501st and Rebel Legions.

The event runs all day, and I did the afternoon 5:00pm-6:30pm broadcast shift. People watching the news are encouraged to drop off a toy for those less fortunate and get some pictures with the characters. It's a great idea, as the characters are directly involved in getting people to come on down and meet them and donate a toy. Reporter Jovana Lara hosted the event.

R2 was featured in several segments, usually with the other Star Wars characters who were present (and sometimes viewed by my parents, who clicked the pic on the TV).

We weren't the only ones out there.

Various local companies donated hundreds of toys as well.

We participated in a couple more remote updates, including the wrap-up.

Twelve busses were stuffed with donated toys! It was another successful year, and I hope to be back next year.