Sunday, September 23, 2018


Today was the big day, R2LA XV, with some 150 attendees and about 50 droids!

By the time I arrived, the great unloading had begun.

Most of those 50 droids are R2/R4/R5 units, but there were also others.

Of course we had the webcast going as well, although this year we had to use YouTube Live, as the UStream service we used to use with has become a paid service (and we're cheap).

This year I dressed up newly weathered droid #1 as R5-D4, and he took a spot along the wall.

Those of us sporting Michael McMaster's inspired R2LA chicken shirts gathered for a group photo.

Baby-8 made an appearance. She may not have that many appearances left, as she barely fits in there now.

At one point during the day, Matt and Chris from the Pacific Northwest conducted an impromptu ceremony to present an award to me, my very own plant stand action figure (search this blog for "plant stand" if you have no idea what this refers too). I was amazed at the accuracy and attention to detail that was put into this (as well as how ridiculous it was).

Shortly thereafter, we staged our droids for the group photo.

Gordon suited up as C-3PO, and among other things participated in our shortest-to-tallest droid lineup. (Somehow a Johnny 5 snuck in there.)

Next up was the Mouse Droid Demolition Derby. There was much derby and even more demolition. (My mouse droid wisely decided to sit that one out.)

Things started to wind down, but not before BB-8 turned on her master.

R2LA XV is now history, and a good one it was. It's always great seeing the new innovations people have come up with, and even better seeing old friends and meeting new ones. I'm already looking forward to next year.

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.

Pre-R2LA XV Dinner

Tonight was the annual dinner preceding the main event, R2LA XV. Lots of builders met up at Lamppost Pizza in Yorba Linda to reunite and gorge ourselves.

Afterward, we convented at Mike Senna's house, where Michael McMaster distributed the commemorative R2LA XV chicken shirts that he designed.

Tomorrow's the big day!