Sunday, September 30, 2007


R2LA V was held this weekend, and we had an outstanding turnout. My modest droid got to pose in the group photo. :)

But I'm getting ahead of myself. First, I packed up the Droidmobile for its inaugural assignment with me as its new owner.

The event was scheduled to start at 11:00am. When I arrived at Mike's house around 11:20am, there were already lots of builders and several R2s already set up.

Dan Smith, an entertainment industry professional, gave a couple of tutorials on pouring resin and making silicone molds.

We took a group photo with my R2 (see above). Alone, he looked like the toy interactive R2.

Next, we got all the R2s together to pose for their group photos with Victoria as this year's Slave Leia.

Then it was time for Mike and I to present this year's R2LA Builder of the Year award. As the winner of last year's award, I was on the hook to produce another award and be involved in the selection of this year's winner.

The honor went to Matthew Henricks. Besides being a skilled builder and all-around good guy, Matthew has nearly completed his droid in just under a year, and he successfully executed two part runs (the wooden leg and wooden frame kits).

Next up, Mike Senna's painting tutorial. Mike demonstrated how he prepares the panels for painting, and how he applies the coats of paint for the best look possible.

As you probably know by now, I supplied the dome panels for painting. We only painted one panel during the main event on Saturday, but the weekend wasn't over yet. I was very happy with the results of this panel.

The longer the evening wore on, the sillier things got. Mike Senna and Michael McMaster removed their human masks and assumed their natural forms.

Why are these droids wearing masks? You will have to discover the Easter Egg on the R2LA V DVD when it becomes available, and find out. :)

Pushing 1:00am Sunday, we finally started wrapping up and restoring Mike's house to order. Vacuuming, furniture moving, scrubbing... all normal post-midnight activities.

So another R2LA has come and gone, and everyone had a blast again. As for me, it's funny... I remember when I attended my first R2LA (III), I didn't talk too much, and I felt intimidated by all the great work I admired. This was my third R2LA, and now I'm up on stage presenting the Builder of the Year award and receiving compliments for my completed droid. I never would have believed it. :)

Friday, September 28, 2007

R2LA V Pre-Dinner

Tonight a bunch of us got together for R2LA V-Eve dinner at a local Lamppost Pizza in Yorba Linda.

Mike discussed his new iPhone to William and Nikki. For the first time in years, callers can actually get a hold of Mike on a cell phone.

Matthew Henricks had his hands full with two of his three boys.

Later, we retreated back to Mike's house. At least five droids have already taken up residence for the weekend, and R2LA V hasn't officially started yet!

We should have a long, fun day tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


You know, I just haven't spent enough money on this project. Sure, I've paid a small fortune in parts, the remote control, batteries and the like, but I really felt like I needed to step it up to a new level.

I know... Let's buy R2 his own car!

Yes, I purchased a friend's used 2003 Honda Element. It was quite unfeasible to try driving R2 around in my sedan, I always had to remove the legs first.

I normally wouldn't have considered buying an Element, but this thing has tons of cargo space when the rear seats are removed.

The other nice thing is that it is tall in there. I had trouble finding a small SUV that was tall enough to fit R2, even with his dome removed (which is how I'd transport him).

One problem is that since there is a short tailgate, building a winch-driven droid lift that can clear the tailgate is going to be a challenge. I hope it turns out to be possible, but that's for another day.

The doors on this car open in a funky manner. This is supposed to make the car easier to load from the side, but it's impossible to open the rear door while the Element is in the garage, since you have to open the front door first, and I get pinned against my sedan.

Now I have a way of getting R2 to and from his events. R2LA V is coming up this weekend, and I have an event scheduled in October that I'll be reporting on as it arrives.

Ok, I can stop spending money on this droid now. Right?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Yet More Dome Panel Primer

The excitement builds. Another coat of white primer for the dome panels.

Sorry, that's all I've got for now.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

More Dome Panel Primer

Once again getting the bare minimum done.

Today it was time to grab the dome panels and apply more primer. The gray primer was for smoothing out the spin lines on the panels. The white primer is to help give the blue formula a brightness boost.

I sprayed a couple of coats of Rustoleum Painter's Touch white primer on the dome panels. I may do another coat, because I can detect a little bit of the gray primer underneath. I want a uniform white color for the blue formula that will go on top.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Dome Sanding

Today I worked on sanding the dome panels, and the inside of the outer dome.

First, I wet-sanded the dome panels. I didn't really do this properly for my first dome, so I took extra care this time.

Each of the panels is quite smooth now, so I'm hopeful the paint job will turn out well.

Next, I sanded the inside of the outer dome. There is lots of junk from the laser that needs to be sanded off from every cut on the dome.

It took a while, but I think I got everything sanded down for a test fit of the inner and outer domes.

Ah, this again. The inner dome does not yet come close to fitting the outer dome at the top.

I spent way too much time with this issue on the previous dome. This time I may just go straight to cutting the inner dome horizontally, if I can't resolve this relatively quickly. I'm not going through days of sanding the inner dome again.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Dome Panel Primer

Today I applied primer to some of the panels for dome #2.

First, I wiped down the panels with acetone.

Then I applied two coats of Rustoleum Painter's Touch gray primer to the panels.

Tomorrow I hope to wet sand these panels.

I still need to sand down the inside of the outer dome and attempt to fit it on top of the inner dome. This was quite a struggle with dome #1, I'm not sure if this dome will be any different. After I get a good fit, I can mark the inner dome for the cuts it requires, and then cut out the remaining panels on the outer dome, and get them primed too.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Finished Builder of the Year Award

I've been working on the 2007 R2LA Builder of the Year award. As last year's recipient of this distinguished honor, it's my duty to either hand the trophy off, or build a new one. There's no way I'm giving up my trophy, so I've gone about building a new one.

There's an amalgam of action figures on the award. Of course there is our hero, R2-D2. There is also a stormtrooper with a Clark Kent head. Why? Well, according to Michael McMaster, who made the first award, the stormtrooper is supposed to be Mike Senna in his 501st outfit.

The Clark Kent head does have glasses and a funky haircut, so why not?

Who will have this honor bestowed upon them this year? Stay tuned on September 29, 2007, and find out!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Declawed Dome Panels

I spent a couple of hours tonight filing and sanding the tabs off of the dome panels that I cut out last night.



Repeat 14 more times, and done!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Started Cutting Dome #2 Panels Out

In the immortal words of C-3PO, "Here we go again."

I started cutting out the dome panels for dome #2 tonight.

Once the panels were out, I sanded the laser flashing off of the backs of them, to get them nice and smooth for when they sit on the inner dome.

I left a few panels on; specifically, I left all the panels on that will require a corresponding hole in the inner dome. I want to determine exactly how the inner dome will be oriented inside the outer dome, and then mark the holes using those outer dome panels as a guide. I also left the top circle panel on for now, to help keep the dome sturdy.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Labeled Dome #2

Dome #2?!? What dome #2?

Well, yeah, I kind of bought two of everything without mentioning it before, because I do plan to build a second droid at some point. Surprise!

At R2LA V later this month, Mike plans to do a painting demo, which works out great for me, because I need some dome panels painted. But rather than pry off my existing panels now, what if I had another dome's panels to work with?

So I do have a second R&J dome, and I marked the panels tonight, in preparation for cutting and removing from the dome. I used the same labeling scheme as last time, from a PDF file I found in one of our droid building resource folders.

I guess technically this means I'm starting on droid #2 now, but since I don't plan to do much beyond cutting out and painting the panels for a while, I'll won't count this in the timeline. If only everything about droid building were this easy.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Finished Working on Door Frame Tops for Center Foot Shell

Today I finished up with my work on the top of the door frames for the center foot shell.

I removed a small amount of material where the ankle bolt slides into place. The affected area does not show to the outside world.

Ah, much better, as compared to the picture from Thursday, August 30, 2007.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Installed and Painted Door Frame Top Pieces for Center Foot Shell

Today I installed the replacement door frame top pieces that I cut yesterday for the center foot shell.

I used my trusty Oatey PVC glue to glue the pieces in place. (Huh. All this time I've been calling it "Oatley." But sure enough, it's Oatey.)

Next, I applied Bondo to fill the small seams.

After the Bondo had dried, I gave the pieces a shot of Rustoleum Satin White. It's been hot and humid here lately, hopefully the paint will be dry and the foot shell ready to install within 24 hours.

I may need to Dremel-out a small amount of material from the bottom of this new piece, but nothing like the gouged-up pieces that these are replacing, and nothing that should show once the doors are in place.