Classic MPC C-3PO and R2-D2 Uber Build - COMPLETED!

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LrdSatyr8

Sr Member
C-3PO Build
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Hey all.. I started this project awhile back but recently decided to bring it out of the box and finish it up. What I plan to do is create the classic R2/3PO standing poses mounted to a piece of wood, but I also want them to be lit up. So here goes... First up, C-3PO

When you get this kit there's alot of little things wrong but the shape is pretty good. Here is my todo list:

- Fabricate new tranlucent eyes so that they can be lits from behind.

- Instead of painting, cover entire piece with gold leaf or bare metal foil to
get the shiny look of him out.

- Fix the rear head bump to be more movie accurate.

- Fix the provided hands so the fingers are separated to look more
realistic.

Not alot to do, but it is. First I started off by finding a way to fabricate the eyes. They provide a dark red plastic single piece for both eyes. Not a very good likeness at all. So I used that piece to create press mold in some clay and using hot glue, I fabricated my own eye peice. Behind each of the sockets I painted the back of them black and scraped away three areas on each socket to allow light to pass thru. The look is pretty close to the orignal.

3p0eyes3.jpg


I want this thing to shine. I looked into several different methods, even thought about having the parts professionally vacuum metallized in a gold color, but I ending up foiling it myself. The plastic is alredy moulded in a gold color but it just looks soooooooooooo nasty. So, after foiling for awhile here's my first test. Looks soooooo much better then the original plastic

3p0legs.jpg


After getting everything foiled, I began to look at the hands. The ones provided in the kit look like mittens. Not very realistic at all. So, I made a mold of each hand separately. I used some resin and before the resin cured completely, I took it out of the mold and cut the fingers apart. I foiled each one and painted the inside palms to match the screen and they came out looking AWESOME!

3p0hands.jpg

3p0hands2.jpg

3p0hands3.jpg


I placed a bulb behind his eyes and ran the wire down thru his body and out thru his left leg. I haven't glued him all together yet because I want to make sure I position him properly with R2 before securing him down for good. But all in all he's completed as far as I can go with him right now.

3p0precom1.jpg
3p0precom2.jpg


I dipped everything in clear acrylic to seal all the foil onto the pieces. I'm still debating on whether I should do the silver leg or not. I like it better in gold. What do you think?

Now onto R2-D2...
 
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LrdSatyr8

Sr Member
Re: Classic MPC C-3PO and R2-D2 build

R2-D2 Building Journal:
-----------------------
I've been working on this R2 model and it's been driving me crazy for the past couple of days. I have to figure out a way to putting these logic circut lights in the head dome. First I figured well, maybe if I lay out the fibers in a box formation that would work but no, they end up looking like those stupid fiber optic dolls you get from Walmart. So I have to figure out a way of spacing them far enough apart to look like a grid, and each look separate. So that mean, I have to drill out these tiny holes for fiber optics in a grid pattern 4 high by several wide at 4mm by 15mm... and then 2 more grids at 4mm by 9mm. I've attempted several different techniques and nothing seemed to be working. Since I don't have a collet for my tiny hair width drill bit I ended up having to make my own out of a spare piece of sprue plastic. I cut a piece of sprue plastic and drilled a hole in one end that attaches to a tiny RC Car motor I had laying around. Then with a couple of batteries, I hooked up the motor with the plastic on the end, and I melted down one end with a lighter while I had the motor running. Then I shoved the bit into the melted plastic at the end and centered it up while it spun. Seems to be working. Well... first thing I did is I tried to drill thru the clear blue plastic of the model kit. That didn't work, the plastic is too hard and I broke 2 bits trying. So, next, I decided to use an old plastic id card I had. I did a couple of test drills thru it and it seems to work very well. Next I attempted to draw out on the card a grid and manually drill out each hole that way, that didn't work. Holes were too uneven and irratic to even try. Next I made a sliding guide that I could use to help, but that didn't work. Same problem as before at that scale. So I figured I needed to create some guide indentions in the plastic first. Using a needle, I attempted to do it manually. Same problems I had before... too irratic. Then, it dawned on me. Why not just print up a guide and use it as a template for the needle to make the guide indents. I smacked myself in the head for not thinking of it sooner. Getting older my eyes aren't what they used to be. After several print jobs, I was able to come up with a couple of good hole guide templates. But I still had a problem. I couldn't see close enough to use the needle to make the indents. I don't have a magnifying glass or anything, so, that's when I broke out my old camcorder. Using the macro feature and zooming in close to the subject I was able to make the indents and I just finished drilling about half the holes. They still aren't perfect but at this scale I don't think that anyone will notice it too bad when the fibers are in place and lit up. Anyway, thought you might get a kick outta this... The left side shows my failed attempts, the middle is my latest attempt... now mind you, this took me about an hour for just this many holes. Needless to say, it's gonna take me a little while to get em all drilled out but seems to be working pretty well... lemme know what you think

holes.jpg


I'm still trying to decide on whether or not I'm gonna scuff up the shiny chrome on the dome to make it look more realistic or not. I may just do that. I still have to cut out the holes on the clear plastic where the logic lights are gonna go. That's gonna be a pain in the butt because this plastic is almost 30 years old and getting pretty brittle. The clear plastic tends to get very brittle after awhile. Good thing I've got two of these models. That way I have one to mess up and test with and the other will be the final.

Here's a list of all the things I have to do to this thing to get it to be completely accurate:

- Computer Interface Arm (Step 1 - Part #111) - Modify end piece to be more accurate to movie, perhaps make
several different versions that can be interchangeable. Possibly add another arm/compartment on opposite
side.
- Front Vents (Part #113) - Paint outside edge Blue with the 8 interior slots openings black
- Front Power Coupling (Part #116) - Paint outer area blue and inner flat areas blue, raised flat area black
and front round ring blue
- Octoganals (Part #109) - Outer edge painted blue - Inner rim has black line details surrounding
circumference
- Front and Back Large Vent - Gray
- Front/Rear Grills (Part #26F/R) - Silver with Blue verical slots. Horizontal slot unpainted silver
- Both sides under leg mounts - Fabricate grill part #26 only a bit larger without the horizontal section.
Just under those need to etch in a new panel line.
- Front leg - Fabricate canisters on both sides of center leg mount, similiar to Part #103, may have to carve
slots to fit them indented into leg mount itself. Perhaps use #103 parts from spare kit.
- Foot Hoses - Paint Red/Orange
- Leg Details - on Part #3R/L just above bottom square on side, fabricate a small blue rectangle box.
- Leg Details - When legs parts are together (Parts #3/4) under joint angle, fabricate a small gray/silver box
on front and back of both legs.
- Front Swing Arms - Either dremal out and fabricate all new arms or cut out sections where current arms are
and make more accurate details (concave section in middle and curved in section near ends)
- Eye Box (Part #28) - Paint Blue to match with rest of body detail.
- Leg Battery Boxes Details (Part #104) - Center indented sections painted black
- Logic Panel Lights Front and Rear - On the clear dome section are 3 areas that will need to be dremaled
out. Two small sections on the front, and a larger thin section on the back to house the fiber optic
program lights. Surrounding the lights, a small box must be built up/made to contain them. The box should
be painted silver/gray. The small panels contain a grid of lights 4 high by 9 wide, and the back panel
contains a grid of lights 4 high by 27 wide. Small holes will need to be drilled in a grid pattern
precisely to hold fibers.
- Dome Details - Front under "eye" and rear under two dots, need to be drileld out in a round hole the same
size and backed with a transparent sheet of thin translucent plastic for lighting.
- Rear of dome - Two Dots painted blue with a silver dot in middle. Should find them on the dome above
a panel.
- Larger Back Dome Panel - Remove left side support to widen the panel. May need to use another piece from
2nd R2 blue plastic dome for this
- Optics - Drill hole thru front optic for placement of LED after its been glued in place.
- Dome - Sand down chromed dome with steel wool to give a dull finish.
- Dome Panel - Under the main Eye, drill hole for red/blue led, also, the panel is actually two panels
- Arms - Fix front arm details by either drilling out and fabricating new pieces or carving into existing
plastic to make more accurate.
- Dome - Paint bottom ring of dome blue.

Needless to say, still alot to do with this thing yet! :)
 
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LrdSatyr8

Sr Member
Re: Classic MPC C-3PO and R2-D2 build

I've cut out the ports on the blue clear plastic parts where the logic circuit fiber optic panels will go. Gonna have to redo my hole drilling panels to match the portals I made. Seems as if I got a little drill crazy because I ended up making too many holes to fit the space! LOL I also etched out the Red/Blue eye panels under the main eye block on the clear blue plastic.
r2-logicholes.jpg

r2-rearlogichole.jpg

r2-frontlogichole.jpg

I attempted to buff the chrome a bit and found out it doesn't take very much to get to the plastic underneath. Good thing I had a practice dome to test with before attempting on the final dome. I think I have a technique down right now to get a good buffed metal look to it without taking all the chrome off. By hitting the chrome with a steel wool pad gently over and over I can achieve a pretty good look that takes away alot of the shine without removing all the chrome. If all else fails thou, I guess I can always paint it silver. Still have to drill out the front Red/Blue eye. I can't find my universal AC adapter yet and may have to buy a new one soon.
r2-domescuff1.jpg

r2-domescuff2.jpg

r2-domescuff3.jpg


I found a couple of the flashing circuits I've held outo for the past few years. The first (the one on the right) came out of a toy rubber ball that is found inside a squishy cooze thing. When you bump it, it lights up and flashes in 3 different colors. I'm hoping I can get that to work for the logic circuit panels to give them a lifelike look and feel. It fades the lights in and out very nicely. The other flashing circuit (the one on the left) I scavenged from an old refillable lighter I bought awhile back. It only has 2 leds (red/blue) that flash opposite each other. I think it would work great for the red/blue eye panel on the front. Can't test the circuit boards yet because I can't find my AC adapter... gets really frustrating sometimes! Still deciding on what kind of translucent plastic to use for it.
r2-circuits.jpg

I have to remove one of the beams on the left side of the dome. It's nto suppose to be there at all, and since I have 2 kits, I'm gonna take a larger clear blue section from one kit and trim it down to fit in this area.
r2-domebeamcut1.jpg

I know I'm gonna have to paint the inside of this clear plastic black or the outside of each panel blue. I know I'm gonna have to light-proof the inside of the dome since the lights will be shining and if there are any cracks, it will come out. The blue panels aren't clear and aren't suppose to be. I'll probably just end up painting the outside of these Blue so that I can match the paint with the body details.
 
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LrdSatyr8

Sr Member
Re: Classic MPC C-3PO and R2-D2 build

Wow! and I thought building a full-size was hard. That is some amazing detail!
Good job...

Thanks! I got all the holes drilled, now I just gotta thread the fibers. I'm figuring about 112 fibers total just for the logic circuit panels. The problem I'm having now is getting these scavenged LED flasher boards to work. It appears as if the red leds are blown on both boards and I can't get them to light up. If anyone has any of these stupid little toy color changing orbs that they wish to donate to this project, please let me know. I could use em and they'll go to a good cause.
 

LrdSatyr8

Sr Member
Re: Classic MPC C-3PO and R2-D2 build

Had to pick up a new ac adapter to test out these light circuits. They aren't working. One of the LEDs on each of the boards aren't working, I'm hoping that i can just replace the bad LED with a working one and it will work again. I'm hoping I don't end up having to buy another cooze ball to scavenge another board. I've got one somewhere, just gotta find it.
Something I need to do... Fix the front arm sections. The model is completely wrong. I need to shorten the mid section up and make the undetations in them. Not sure if I'm going to cut them out yet or Fill them in and fake it. But you can see the differences between the original R2 and the model.
r2-armfix.jpg
 
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LrdSatyr8

Sr Member
Re: Classic MPC C-3PO and R2-D2 build

I started working on the utility arm. I decided to go ahead and make the grabber. It seems to be the best choice. Still working on it, but it's coming together nicely. I put my finger in there to scale and you see the real grabber arm in the photo.

r2-grabber.jpg


I took a couple peices of sprue from the 3PO kit and stretched it out over a candle flame to make the rods.May have to make a couple of different sizes and glue them together to make the rods accurate. I'm also going to put this in place of the provided arm that comes with the kit simply because its a peice of garbage. All it is is a rod with a disk on the end. I'll use it to glue to the end of this one to allow it to retract and be stored when it's not used... Not sure if I'm gonna make the claw workable or not. I should be able to but it'll be a pain. What do you all think?
 
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LrdSatyr8

Sr Member
Re: Classic MPC C-3PO and R2-D2 build

Spent the last few days in a quandry. Even thou the parts I made so far don't look too bad, they are still not up to my standards, so I found a thicker sheet of styrene I had laying around, and began carving out the pieces again. This time the claw is a bit beefier. But, what was really puzzling me was how I was going to get those pistons on the side to look even halfway decent. Those gold stretched plastic sprue just wasn't cutting it for me. So I pulled a piece of spare sprue off the R2 parts, and began carving away by hand to no avail. Looked way too chunky and just couldn't get the thickness right, That's when it s dawned on me. Why not just use my dremal? And that spawned a whole new surge of creativity! So here's what I ended up doing...

I took a piece of sprue and stuck it in the end of my dremal like a drill bit.

r2-dremal1.jpg


Then using my trusty exacto blade I began carving and boy what a blast that was. I had bits and pieces flying all over the place just getting used to doing it like this. I found it doesn't take much pressure and as long as you got a steady hand you can get very good results. Like this:

r2-dremal2.jpg

Sorry it was kinda outta focus.

BUT... viola... I was making bits and pieces at a tiny scale and just loving every minute of it. Of course if you press too hard, the piece goes flying off into the obilivion of the carpet. However, after many trials and pieces hitting me in the face, I think I finally got some good pistons... they aren't perfect, but hey, they look a whole lot better then just those straight rods I had before. I was having so much fun I decided to make a computer jack in fitting and a saber hilt. You can see in the pic below a few of the almost there pieces as well. Now all I gotta do is glue these all together and paint em up. Dont' think I'll be making them actually work, at this scale, the logistics of working pistons is phenominal.

r2-grabparts.jpg


More to come as I keep progressing... whatcha guys think so far?
 
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LrdSatyr8

Sr Member
Re: Classic MPC C-3PO and R2-D2 build

Merry Christmas everyone... hope everyone got something good to build this year! Me, I did a little work on the grabber today. I created a 3D model and thought that maybe I might get the grabber printed at Shapeways. At least then I know I would be able to get the perfect look and feel of it. But, after completing the 3D model I looked at the two pistons I carved yesterday, and noticed they were just too big. So I carved a couple of smaller ones that even thou are still a bit too big, seem to look alot better. I got everything glued and painted today so now I can move onto the next fix. I might still get the grabber printed to see how it will come out. Here's a photo of the Grabber and the CPU Interface... I also thought about making the saw. That might look kind cool. But here's the pic... hope you all are enjoying this! :)

r2-grabcomp.jpg
 
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Scratchy

Sr Member
Re: Classic MPC C-3PO and R2-D2 build

Nice work on the astromech tools. I use the same technique, but I utilize a dremel and the drill press stand that is available.
Awesome work!
 

LrdSatyr8

Sr Member
Re: Classic MPC C-3PO and R2-D2 build

Nice work on the astromech tools. I use the same technique, but I utilize a dremel and the drill press stand that is available.
Awesome work!

I used to have that drill press but have lost it in my many moves since I got it. It would have come in handy that's for sure.
 

LrdSatyr8

Sr Member
Re: Classic MPC C-3PO and R2-D2 build

Well I did a test fitting of the grabber and cpu arms. First thing first, I stretched out a piece of sprue over a candle to get a correct thickness for the support rod. The nice thing about having two kits is that you can play around with one and know what to keep in mind for when building the other to make sure it's perfect. The two kits I got off eBay several years ago. The first kit was mint sealed in the box, was never opened. The second, looked like it was missing a couple of small pieces (I think one of the foot rollers was missing), nothing was on a sprue and several parts were already glued together (very badly I might add) so I use that one for all my test fittings and messing around with. I was actually thinking of scratch building a R5-D4 out of it. Since most of the pieces I've used are from the head, shouldn't be much of a problem. We'll see.

Anyway, after stretching the sprue and cutting off two pieces, I glued the support rods to the attachments and test fitted them in the badly prebuilt body cavity. They look awesome when they are pulled out straight.

r2-grabup.jpg

r2-cpuup.jpg


But there's a slight problem when you attempt to fold it up into the body to store. The attachments make the arms too big to fold into the cavity.

r2-grabdown.jpg

r2-cpudown.jpg


So I have two options here. I can attempt to cut the piston holder from the kit down to give it room. Or, I can leave it alone, and make the attachments separate so that they can be inserted whenever its desired. Either way, since I have two attachments, I was actually thinking of using the other and opening the other side of the body cavity and use the part from the second kit to do so. Not sure if I want to do that yet or not. Would mean flipping the cavity part around and cutting out a new hole in the back of it, filling in the old hole and cutting the panel off the front. I don't know... what do you guys think?
 
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LrdSatyr8

Sr Member
Re: Classic MPC C-3PO and R2-D2 build

Today did some work on the side vents under the legs of R2. Using the spare kit, I took the parts #26F and #26R and began to modify them for use. The first thing I had to do was cut out the top sections and extend the grill to the edge. This was alot of fun! I then cut a couple of small pieces of sheet styrene and glued them into position. The grills themselves are a little smaller height wise then what's suppose to be on there, by about 2 inches at 1:1 scale I believe, but at this scale I don't think it's gonna make much of a difference (we're talking fractions of millimeters here).

r2-grillcut.jpg

r2-grillglued.jpg


Next I was doing a little research on 3P0 and noticed something I had totally forgotten about. His head antenna. The kit has this little nubby thing that don't look anything like an antenna and more like a bolt. So, utilizing my new dremal lathing method (which I love doing by the way! LOL) I pulled out a piece of sprue from the 3P0 kit and fashioned up a proper antenna. It looks a little large at this scale, but it looks a helluva alot better than that little nuggy thing that it comes with! I don't think I can make it any smaller without digging out brass rods and cutting them to size. That's all for today... lemme know what you think.

r2-3poant1.jpg

r2-3p0ant2.jpg
 
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Jaitea

Master Member
Re: Classic MPC C-3PO and R2-D2 build

Gotta say i love what you are doing I loved these kits when I had them all those years ago, the gold on 3po looks amazing, the latest part you put on his head does look a shade too large and might distract from what you have done so far...I enlarged the comparison pic you posted:

3poc.jpg


J
 

LrdSatyr8

Sr Member
Re: Classic MPC C-3PO and R2-D2 build

Gotta say i love what you are doing I loved these kits when I had them all those years ago, the gold on 3po looks amazing, the latest part you put on his head does look a shade too large and might distract from what you have done so far...I enlarged the comparison pic you post

J

I'm not sure you read the last post just before the pics. I know its a little big... I'll try to scale it down a bit more.
 

Scratchy

Sr Member
Re: Classic MPC C-3PO and R2-D2 build

Looks like you may have to build up the back half of Threepios head with some putty, directly behind the antenna. I would go with a combination brass and turning plastic with the Dremel for the antenna.
Nice work.
 

LrdSatyr8

Sr Member
Re: Classic MPC C-3PO and R2-D2 build

Looks like you may have to build up the back half of Threepios head with some putty, directly behind the antenna. I would go with a combination brass and turning plastic with the Dremel for the antenna.
Nice work.

I was thinking about that... I'll see what I can come up with.
 

LrdSatyr8

Sr Member
Re: Classic MPC C-3PO and R2-D2 build

Today I fixed 3P0's antenna... you guys were right... it was too big and bulky... I lathed out another antenna and after 5 attempts (and flying sprue bits) later, I think I got something a bit more accurate. Its not easy, but it looks alot better.

r2-3poant3.jpg

r2-3poant4.jpg


I also realized I forgot to fix the stupid bump on the back of his head. In the kit you have this stupid little bump that has no detail whatsoever. That just won't do. So, I got out my poolymer clay and began to sculpt the detail on the back of his head (after cutting the bump off of course) and came up with something that looks close (its not perfect but it looks alot better then a bump on his head). I then got out my molding supplies and began to cast a mold of the detail I had made. I plan to then use that mold to cast some resin which I can replicate and create a more accurate part for the back of his head.

r2-3pomolding.jpg

r2-3pomold.jpg


I mixed up some of my old resin that I've had for the past 3/4 years, and poured it in the mold and let it sit overnight. The next morning I tried getting the resin out to discover that gypsum cement and resin don't react together very well and the entire casting was ruined... So, thinking on my feet, I found my old cans of polymer clay called Magic Sculpt and began laborisly sculpting the piece again. I love this stuff. Its a 2 part 1:1 clay tht when mixed together gives you a rock hard piece in about 3/4 hours. After which you can sand it, paint it, or drill it. Working time is about 30-45 minutes. You can smooth and clean it up with water. When it hardens it has the hardness of a pair of plastic dice. Very solid. It is great stuff to work with, I recommend it for everyone! As soon as it hardens (usually about 3 hours) I'll sand it up and start foiling it. I haven't done any real measuring so far. Everything I've done is by eye. So I'm sure it's not exactly down to the millimeter perfect, but it should be close enough to pass for the real thing. Once the foil is on it, you won't see many flaws at all.

r2-3poredo.jpg
 
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