My Lifesize 1:1 R2-D2 Build - 1st Attempt

Discussion in 'Star Wars Costumes and Props' started by azheat01, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. azheat01

    azheat01 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    About a year and a half ago I was put in contact with a gentlemen from Phoenix who had a kit that he never got around to building. I passed on it at the time. I called him last week and he still had the kit, so today I somehow got my wife to agree to spend a little of our upcoming tax return!

    I met with him tonight and purchased the kit. He said it was put together by someone he knows in the R2 community. Not sure what it's origins are, or if there were other kits, but he said he purchased this from the guy a few years ago. I apologize if any of this kit is a recast of someone's hard work, but I was told it was not.

    I don't know much about the R2 builders community other than they are one dedicated, loyal, and intensive bunch. I know they frown on kits like this, but from my point of view I don't have 1) the money (in the thousands), 2) the time (sometimes several years), and 3) the skill, to make this one of those incredible units you see scooting around the conventions. I wish I did, but I don't.

    This kit cost me $500, and I can live with that. No big plans, no motors or turning head, maybe just a few lights. Needs lots of cleanup, but for my first attempt, I think I can make it work.


    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  2. Skaar

    Skaar Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thats awesome!

    This is one prop that I really really want to do someday

    And great price for the kit. Good luck!
  3. gyoung2993

    gyoung2993 Sr Member

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    azheat01 ,congrats....that is awesome for that price, I am very happy for you and your wife ,getting a project such as that .I wish I had one ,those R2 units are bad to the bone.....good luck with it and look forward to seeing this kit developed....Guy
  4. SentMe

    SentMe New Member

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    Don't worry about what everyone else thinks, mate. Do your thing that makes you happy. Sounds like you're ready to get at it! I really can't wait to see your progress!
  5. Pwrsrce

    Pwrsrce Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Wow...That is a blast from the past for sure...

    What you have there my friend is an authentic Droidboy kit. He still pokes around here on the RPF, so you might want to PM him for pointers on putting it together. I used to own one just like it.

    A little history...In the EARLY days of the R2 Builders group, there were only a handful of guys that offered parts to the group...Gregg (Droidboy), Dave Lockwood, etc...When the club was founded in 1999 we didn't even know what the right diameter of R2 was. Many of the early builders built decent looking astromechs from the same parts you now own. While not nearly as accurate as what is now available, with a decent amount of work you can still build a nice representation of R2.

    And considering the fact that you got the whole lot for what some guys pay for a dome...I think you did alright. :)

  6. Guardian Devil

    Guardian Devil Sr Member

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    Very cool. As others have said, that's an amazing price! Looking forward to seeing the progress on it - it will make a very nice little droid!
  7. azheat01

    azheat01 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Sweet! Thanks for the info brother. I need to get in touch with him then. The gentlemen I bought this from no longer had, or may be able to find, some directions for me. But right now, I am just winging it and using my replica 12" R2-D2 phone as a reference. The most daunting thing for me is the dome, trying to figure out how to get that done. I know most people have 2, the outer shell they cut and the inner shell. All I have is the one pictured.

    If anyone has pointers on this kit, please post, email, or PM me. After getting this home last night I was a bit overwhelmed! Looking forward to it though.

    I may peak over to the R2 forums as well. We'll see how it goes.
  8. Verbal21

    Verbal21 Active Member

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    can't wait to see progress on this. I want one of these so bad.
  9. azheat01

    azheat01 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Well, since I'm waiting for supplies, and Hankey's awesome Sarlacc rug, I decided to move on from my son's room and get going on my R2. I've wanted one for years, one of my all time most desirable props, but this thing is going to take a lot of work! Not the best unit, but I am sure glad I had a chance to * up this kit.

    I first needed to shorten the Sono tube, it was about an inch and a half in diameter too big. So I cut it down the back and pulled it together. I glued the strip I cut out to the inside to reenforce it. It's not pretty, but will do.



    My biggest dilemma was how to attach the styrene body sheets to the tube. Someone recommended Liquid Nails, but I didn't want to use something that thick. After working with this for a while I had no idea how difficult this step would be. The styrene wasn't as flexible as I had hoped. I heated it up some and was able to wrap it a little better. I decided to use a combination of glue and rivets. I will cover the rivets with a small strip of extra styrene later.

    I left a small portion exposed on the top of the tube, which worked out excellent. It allows the dome to sit seamlessly without any extra work. It'll just sit it on top and the lip of the styrene body sheets hold it perfectly. No need to attach it, especially since this will be a static display piece, and one day I may want to add a motor to make it move.




    Tomorrow I want to mount the legs, but I first have a ton of sanding to do.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  10. wannab

    wannab Sr Member

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    Are you a member over at You'll find all kinds of help and info over there.

  11. azheat01

    azheat01 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I am, but this build would make some of them pass out it's so far from "spec"!

  12. Ghost Host

    Ghost Host Sr Member

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  13. Colonel1701

    Colonel1701 New Member

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    Nice kit! I'm really looking foward to the development of your droid - and of course, when you're done, the x-wing bedroom to put it into :)
  14. familyman

    familyman Sr Member

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    Nice, can't wait to see more.
  15. azheat01

    azheat01 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I spent some time sanding the main pieces so I could mock this up and start test fitting. I will tell you it won't look pretty on the inside, but for what I paid, I think it will look decent enough on the outside.

    The legs are being attached with a simple 5/8 hex bolt, fender washer, locking washer, and wing nut.


    I also added a piece of 1 x 3 to the bottom to support the body and center foot. For the center foot, I added two pronged tee nuts which will allow me to attach the foot with two machine screws.


    I'll add washers to these when I do the final build.


    Made sure everything was level and I'm finally starting to see an R2.




    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  16. Xaqted

    Xaqted Well-Known Member

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    Those sonotube's are great starters! I created my first R2 build with a wooden cylinder which worked perfect for his base. But those skins should fit exact around that sonotube. Great buy as well on that entire kit, if you were to search piece by piece for R2 parts you would easily spend over a grand.
  17. azheat01

    azheat01 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I was able to do a little work on the feet. I was actually able to get a set of feet from a guy on Astromech at a real decent price. The ones that came with this kit were just not going to work without some serious skill and time, both of which I am short on right now.

    I did some sanding, mounted the side details to all 3 feet, and added some small styrene pieces to the front. I also put the first coat of primer on the center foot and ankles. I'm itching to start painting.



    I also did a test color for the blue. I think I'll probably stick to this one, the others were either too light or too dark. The horseshoe pieces on top aren't attached yet, I didn't want to do that until I decided on color (I'll hand paint the center sections silver).

    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  18. azheat01

    azheat01 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Ha, just saw this! I don't have the strength to try another themed room right now!
  19. Kevin Gossett

    Kevin Gossett Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    This is looking great!
  20. Chewcy

    Chewcy Well-Known Member

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    Hes coming along great, nice job!
  21. pandatrooper

    pandatrooper Well-Known Member

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    Looking good! One piece of advice: you might want to consider cutting a plywood circle for the top and bottom of the body to fit inside the sonotube. This will keep it nice and round. The single 1x3 you have on the bottom might warp the body over time.
  22. azheat01

    azheat01 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks guys!

    I was able to get the holes cut for some of the detail pieces. This was a real SOB, trying to get clean cuts through that Sonotube was pretty difficult. I have some unwanted gaps, but oh well, I may or may not fill them later. I have a little more work to do on that bottom center piece (needs to come out a bit more) and these should be good to go.



    I also got the legs assembled and added the horseshoe pieces. I have some paint touch up on these and want to get that center strut piece painted silver.


    It's getting there!
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  23. stromo

    stromo Well-Known Member

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    Looking good! :thumbsup
  24. azheat01

    azheat01 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Did some work yesterday and this morning. I was happy to be able to finally primer and paint him white! One of the most nerve racking things for me was painting the blue panels on the front. I only had a few very minor tape slip ups, but for the most part I am real happy with how it turned out.

    I need to do some detail work on the legs and feet today.

    Once I completely finish the body, I'll tackle the head.




    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  25. azheat01

    azheat01 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I was able to mostly finish up the feet and legs, save a few details. Painted the front strip silver on the feet.


    Used silver paint for the center strut on the legs, the grooves by the ankles, the inner ring where they attach to the body, and the horseshoe greeblies.



    Just a little bit of touch up left on the feet and legs, once I mount the battery boxes I'll add the power cables to the feet and call these done.

    I also painted 5 of the body panels silver metallic. I have some blue inlay to do on these and they should be good.


    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  26. azheat01

    azheat01 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Did some more work today. First I painted the blue details on the center bottom piece.


    Then I worked on the vents where the audio pucks will go. I took an old black sock, cut it into two small pieces, and hot glued it to the back of the two center vent ports. After trimming the socks I glued the audio pucks in place. I wired these to two separate switches on the left side top, towards the rear of the unit. The third switch will activate the LEDs in the eye when I start working on the head. I still need to paint the buttons.




    Then I installed a few of the other body detail pieces.


    Here's the video of the audio.

    R2-D2 with Sound.MPG - YouTube

    I still have several other detail pieces to finish, like the coin slots for the front of the body, the battery boxes, a few other leg greeblies, and then it's time to start on the head.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  27. azheat01

    azheat01 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Slow progress this week.......I debated even posting updates, considering I am not really "making" anything. I guess this thread is kind of useless because all I am doing is assembling / painting pieces I didn't create. But a few people, myself included, enjoy seeing build threads so I guess I'll keep with it.

    I worked on the ankle cylinders, I used some schedule 40 pipe and cut it to length. I was also able to start on some of the detail pieces. The flash makes the texture look a little screwy, but the silver flake paint I am using it not too bad.



    I also painted some of the blue into the vents. I decided not to cover the rivets either, I cut a piece of styrene but didn't like how bulky it looked. I guess this gives R2 a bit of an industrial look.


    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  28. azheat01

    azheat01 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Got some more work done yesterday and today, I'll start on the head in a few days. I am so close to finishing!

    I worked on the power cables for the feet, and keeping with my desire to save money regardless of accuracy, I bought these little plastic plugs. They were about .60 each. I primed and painted them silver.


    I also bought some refrigerator water line and cut it into 4 lengths of 12" each. I glued the ends into the plugs.



    To keep them from popping off, I epoxied some machine screws into each end, drilled a hole in the feet, and fastened them with a nut.


    Needs some minor paint touch-up, but here are the finished feet.


    Did a quick test fit of everything.



    Then disassembled and moved him to his final place. I am slowly running out of room!

    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  29. BoboFatt

    BoboFatt Member

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    I can almost see Kenny popping out. Nice work.
  30. Kevin Gossett

    Kevin Gossett Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Awesome finish work on this guy! Just because you didn't actually create any of the pieces doesn't mean anything... You're still putting in some serious work here! :thumbsup
  31. Cbstudios

    Cbstudios Active Member

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    This is looking Freaking sweet, especially as a somewhat Budget R2 Kit, Phenominal to see the build as you go :D
  32. vaderdarth

    vaderdarth Master Member

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    spray those hoses in metallic copper and they'll be perfect. :)
  33. azheat01

    azheat01 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Yesterday and today were a real pain, I was about to take this head and toss it down the street. It was one of the things I was dreading the most. I got so irritated with it I had to detach for several hours.

    I went back and forth with how to do this. One thing I did know was that I was not going to do an inner and outer dome like most builders. This project is going to cost me under $700, so buying an inner dome was not an option.

    I tossed around the idea of using styrene to cut out the blue head parts, then attaching them to the dome. The problem was the styrene just couldn't conform to the curvature of the head. I tried to heat them up, but it just wasn't working for me. I think it would have looked great, giving it a 3D effect, but I just couldn't get it to go.

    Then I thought about using decals, the easy way out. I actually decided on that but said I would consider paint one more time. I just wasn't comfortable masking the head. Anyway, I thought I would give it a shot.



    I took a few liberties with the blue, but overall I am very satisfied with how this came out. It actually looks better than I expected! There were a few mistakes, mostly notable at the top of the head, I didn't pay attention in a few areas and some of the top panels are bigger than others. I temporarily taped some of the head parts just to get an idea of how it looked. I have a few other pieces I need to clean up, along with these, paint, add some LEDs, and then it's done!






    Now that he is coming together and actually looks like an R2, I am very pleased with it.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  34. azheat01

    azheat01 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    For some reason the one reference photo I was using when I did the feet showed them silver, I wish I had paid attention before I attached them! Maybe next time I disassemble the feet I'll blast 'em with some copper.
  35. azheat01

    azheat01 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Just a real quick update. I wired and tested up some LEDs today. I really like how it's turning out. I have a few adjustments to make to the large center blue eye and to the two small sets of blinking LEDs, I just wanted to get everything in place. I also have a small lens I am making for the little blinking red / blue eye up front.

    If there is something I learned today, it's that I suck at working with metal!

    Here's a video, more pictures to follow:

    Test of R2-D2 Lights
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  36. azheat01

    azheat01 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Here's a couple shots of the head with all the projector details and the main eye surround finally in place.



    Because I didn't want to do any cutting at all on this metal head, I cheated a little and cut about the last 1/4" off these side details and mounted them directly to the dome with resin. Then I drilled holes for the LEDs, I put six in each one. They aren't straight (drilling into metal is not my strong suit), but you won't see them when I finish the insert I am making for these. These blinking blue / red LEDs were something I had left over from another project, so I figured I would use them.


    I then bought a couple of those capsules from the coin operated toy dispensers you see at the front of the grocery store. I used three small ones for each projector. They fit perfectly, didn't even need to cut them.


    For the other large eye on the bottom, I wasn't sure what to do. So I took the largest toy capsule and cut about 3/4" off the bottom. Then I bought this really cheap tire gauge from the dollar store:



    I pulled off the plastic front piece, turned it upside down, mounted the remaining 1/4" of the toy capsule on to it, and sanded the whole thing to make it look a bit frosted. I then took a small top portion of one of the capsules, filled it with hot glue, and mounted it inside this eye. That will help diffuse the light a little. I then mounted the eye over the LED.


    Here's how it looks lit up. I have a solid white LED in the front projector, 5 solid blue LEDs in the main eye, one blinking red / blue in the lower eye, and 12 blinking red / blue in the left side pieces.


    I have an idea for the 12 red / blue LEDs and just need to finish the main eye and I think it's done!
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  37. NakedMoleRat

    NakedMoleRat Sr Member

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    That is one beautiful droid.
  38. azheat01

    azheat01 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Today I finished up the details on the two lower left light boxes on the dome. I created a simple pattern, printed it out on a piece of transparency, backed it with a piece of frosted velum paper, and used some self laminating sheets to cover everything. I cut and mounted them into the boxes.



    With that, I think I can finally call this done! (Well, 99%, I am waiting on a piece of tint for the main eye.) This took me a little over 5 weeks, and came in just under $700.00.

    I wish this thread were more realistic about how to build an R2-D2, but it's not. I cheated and was lucky enough to find all the parts from one source, just needed lots of work! I wish I were talented enough to do something like this completely from scratch, but I'm not. But no worries, I am very happy with how this turned out.

    I plan on selling this one down the road and using the funds to make another one, but with better, more accurate parts. I still won't be dropping $5000 plus into one of these, but I wouldn't mind increasing the budget some to get it looking more accurate and a bit cleaner.

    Here's a quick video:

    Final R2-D2

    And some final photos





    Thanks for all the kind words!
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  39. stromo

    stromo Well-Known Member

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    That looks killer.
  40. Kevin Gossett

    Kevin Gossett Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    You did a great job on this!
  41. Fuzzual

    Fuzzual Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Very nice job.
  42. Susao69

    Susao69 New Member

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    Where you have bought the kit that you have used
  43. howlingwind13

    howlingwind13 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Nice! Always wanted to build an artoo, just to expensive for me. Feeling inspired.
  44. Evil Bob

    Evil Bob New Member

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    Yes VERY nice!
  45. 92Ecto

    92Ecto New Member

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    Very nice...a bit jealous. I am just beginning the journey to fathering a New R2.

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