Hey John...It's great to read through your build thread. Since the cat is now out of the bag in regards to the domes, I thought I would fill in some of the blanks.
Don and I first started talking about the potential of a dome run in 2002, after the R2 Builders first group appearance at Celebration 2 in Indianapolis...(which I headed up)...Once I actually got the info and files, (which DIDN'T come directly from Don as I recall), I contacted my buddy Ron Barclay to help partner with me to make them a reality...Thus the R&J domes were born!
The very first batch was a small run that included the ones for you ILM guys, as well as a few close friends in the group to get them out there and make sure everything worked as designed. I can't remember how many Ron originally shipped out to ILM, but you got the first ones off the laser.
Interestingly enough, I bought one of them back from Grant earlier this year before his untimely passing...While bittersweet, that dome will be on my personal R2 when I finish it in a few months.
In regards to the dome in Ep3...
I'll never forget getting a very vague call from Don in 2004 asking if he could potentially get another dome later if need be...(to which I said "absolutely")...He wouldn't tell me what it was for, but I read between the lines...Fast forward to C3 in 2005, and he told me about the domes brief appearance as R4-P17 in the buzz droid scene. Since then, alu and/or fiberglass pulls from our RJ domes have appeared in TFA, SOLO, and Rogue One for sure...I'm not totally sure about TLJ or TROS.
And...The Viscount light HP's were found by John Sherrell. Once Jeremy Firth over in England tracked down the original part and part number, John was able to secure a fairly large cache of them. He bought all they had and had them shipped here to Texas. He then sold them to builders for what he paid for them...$30 each.
Again, thanks for sharing your pics and stories. I've been following the ILM guys builds for nearly 20 years. It's great to see and hear the back story.
Thanks for filling in some blanks for me too. I thought Don was our point of contact with the Club, though I recall Fon Davis and a few others were heading up most of the CAD work.
And thank YOU for doing the parts run! We were so thrilled to get the domes for a reasonable price. We aren't the guys making millions of dollars from the movies we worked on, so cost was definitely a factor for us too. They came out great!
Grant had just finished his R2 before his passing. It's sitting in Fon's shop in LA now. Fon, Grant, Billy and I were hoping to have a get together this year to pose with our finished droids, but Covid has put that off for a bit. We'll do it eventually. Maybe we'll get a cardboard standee of Grant for the photo.
I remember John Sherrell coming to ILM to deliver the reading lights. That really introduced me to the ethos of the R2 Club - sharing and fairness. He could have jacked up the price on those and we would have paid it, but he didn't. You all are good folks!
And now your domes are "screen used"! How sweet is that?! And I believe all the new film droids are essentially fan-made robots. Maybe they are still using your domes?
The new Disney films don't use any of the original droids. George sold Disney the rights to the stories and to make more movies, but he kept all the original props. He also retains all of the real estate properties like Skywalker Ranch and the Letterman Center (ILM) which Disney pays him rent for.