R2-D2 Making and Selling ..... whats the deal

Discussion in 'Star Wars Costumes and Props' started by Supa troop, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. Supa troop

    Supa troop Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    i was always led to believe that the guys over on the R2 builders club had some sort of licence or agreement from LFL to build their R2 units ?? is this correct

    i notice with great interest that a UK prop company is now making and selling these .............. :confused
     
  2. MattMunson

    MattMunson Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    To my knowledge, there is no written agreement between LFL and the builders club. I'm pretty certain of that.

    However, there is an unwritten understanding: if you want to build one for yourself, you totally can. If you start building them for profit, LFL will come after you. There are license holders for fully build R2s, so selling a completed unit is bad in a number of ways.

    This is debated ad nauseum over on the builders mailing group and astromech.net, and I'm sure there's a wealth of information over there you could find.

    Part of the unwritten rule about selling completed units hinges on the fact that the club makes detailed plans for the entire droid available for free. It's sort of a slap in the face to take those plans and then use them for personal profit.

    Anyhow, that's my cliff notes version of the whole saga.
     
  3. Edwardowan

    Edwardowan Sr Member

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    There is no license to the R2 builders. Its an honor and respect type of agreement that we build these only for personal use and not as a factory for profit. This UK prop co. is engaging in a risky venture which is not tolerated by the R2 builder's club members and they don't associate with those that are recasters, junkcasters, profiteering and blatant manufacturing for resale. Its a great club if you want to build your own one of a kind!
    Here is mine. I just finished it a few weeks ago after about 18 months of casual weekend work using club resources. (Wood frame and legs, styrene skins, dome, feet with resin and aluminum details)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2012
  4. Knightjar

    Knightjar Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Love the SW card photos! Great looking Artoo too.

    Assuming it's the prop company I think it is, they're no strangers to issues with LFL licencing...
     
  5. omassix

    omassix New Member

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    So vintage, so awesome. Great work!

     
  6. Edwardowan

    Edwardowan Sr Member

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    many thanks omassix and Knightjar! The builders club members are great support and a wealth of knowledge and assistance... without them it wouldn't look near as nice nor be finished already!
    I still have all my Star Wars bubble gum cards since I was a kid (10 in 1977) so now I can say I have my own personalized SW Card! :D
     
  7. eegah

    eegah Well-Known Member

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    I would love to have an artoo, but don't have the ability to make one. I wish one could commission one to be made for you to your needs.
     
  8. Edwardowan

    Edwardowan Sr Member

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    I didn't think I had the ability either but building vs. assembling is a common topic for debate at the club. The benefit is resin and aluminum parts runs happen for every detail on the droid so in theory all you need is to purchase details, frame, dome etc and just put him together. I scratch built only a few details on my droid. I benefited from the other members having made master parts and making resin copies available to the group and other members having access to cnc machining companies to produce a number of a specific aluminum part detail. We pool our money in together to pay for the run to happen and we screw it or glue it! doesn't take much effort but some parts might need a little custom attention to your particular build. The biggest thing is patience because some parts aren't run very often. you might wait a year or more for a specific part to be made available but then, there is so much other work to be done.... collecting parts is part of the fun of it! And its been said there are around 1400 or more parts on a droid!
     
  9. Hedjii72

    Hedjii72 Sr Member

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    Edward, that is stunning. Can you say how much your cash total came to in spending?
     
  10. Edwardowan

    Edwardowan Sr Member

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    it was too scary to keep track of! :lol I guestimate I spent around $1800. (UPDATE: well, now that I've gone back in my head and started adding it up a little more accurately probably more like $2000 to $2500 but that's still not too bad :D )
    I started with a low budget in mind but blew the budget when certain aluminum parts runs came up that I knew I wanted. For me any detail that isn't painted and looks like metal probably would look best in metal so I spent extra for aluminum detailings. The electronics adds up. the more you want him to do the more money you will spend. I have around $700 in electronics for the lights, sounds, Remote Control parts like motor controllers, wheel motors, dome motor, battery, charger, fuses etc. After a while I just didn't bother to keep track of what I was spending! :eek Some spend upwards and over ten grand for all aluminum droids with all the bells and whistles like periscope and lifeform scanners coming out of the dome, computer interface arms, zappers, grabber arms and the really difficult engineering feet of 2-3-2 which is taking him from 2 legged postition to having him extend his third leg and run around then retract the third leg and go back to 2 legged mode. Only a handful of builders have done this as it takes a lot of engineering and electronics know how. Highly advanced stuff. Mine is basic... just lights, sound, dome rotation and driving him around in permanent 3 legged mode. I had a hard enough time soldering the LED's and installing the Arduino Uno to run the lights as it was! :lol
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
  11. asemblyrequired

    asemblyrequired Well-Known Member

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    Buying a fully built one to me would take the fun out of it , but that is just me. I'm working on a R5 for myself and looking to build more. Lucas knows the fan base well and clamping down would kill his money flow on other items.


    -James
     
  12. Edwardowan

    Edwardowan Sr Member

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    I guess I kind of hijacked this thread... sorry to the original poster.
    Here is two more shots of my droid...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2012
  13. Supa troop

    Supa troop Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Oh its fine im a big admirer of the R2 builders club, thats why im so mad at the news ive heard today that a certain Prop maker who has had issues with LFL is now selling complete units as part of his catalouge of builds, and i might add Ralp Mcquarrie Concept Stormtrooper helmets and passing them off as his own.

    Id hate to think the plans you guys spent many years putting together for your R2 units and now being used to mass produce a stunning item
     
  14. asemblyrequired

    asemblyrequired Well-Known Member

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    I really like that you weathered your unit. I hate seeing the droids that are not dirty/no wear. great piece.

    -James
     
  15. Edwardowan

    Edwardowan Sr Member

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    so I did a little research and finally figured out what this was about and I have to say what is shown seems a bit off. the dome isn't quite the right shape/height, some of the smaller details appear to not be of screen accurate scale. Perhaps its my discerning eye and having had built one and having looked at and researched images of the real droid and screen shots my eyes can see this build he will be offering isn't very accurate... and that weathering is a bit weird and sloppy. But that's just me! :D
     
  16. Edwardowan

    Edwardowan Sr Member

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    Thanks James! Ya, for me Star Wars is as much about the used weathered and beaten look. The weathering brings out the details. Droids are mechanics and always have a bit of dirt and oil under the fingernails so to speak! :lol

    Some keep their droids clean because they do hospital visits and the hospitals are very strict on cleanliness and it being sanitary before entering children's rooms. even fake dirt would bring the prop into question so bests to keep those droids sparkling showroom/throneroom clean!

    To me there should be no such thing as a clean droid! that's blasphemy! :lol
     
  17. jedimaster

    jedimaster Sr Member

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    Now ainsworth is doing them does that answer your question simon. He he....

    [​IMG]
     
  18. jedimaster

    jedimaster Sr Member

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    Actually as I said in another thread, I'm 90% certain this came from the same molds as the one I just sold. They are from a guy in Huddersfield in the uk. So I don't think ainsworth sculpted this. Just bought the molds.
     
  19. JediCarl

    JediCarl Well-Known Member

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    Ainsworth is such a human slimeball.

    R2s now? Really??
     
  20. jedimaster

    jedimaster Sr Member

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    Yup. Was on the facebook page today. I'd pay money to see Lucas's face when he finds out.
     
  21. MattMunson

    MattMunson Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    wow. that's really ridiculous. Though it would not surprise me at all to see UK courts support Ainsworth on this one too.
     
  22. Supa troop

    Supa troop Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks Simon you nailed it :)
     
  23. DOORMANMATT

    DOORMANMATT Active Member

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    Ok, out of interest what is the going rate for a completed R2D2? My Star Wars themed wedding would not be complete without R2!

    Going to research this as a possible next build...
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
  24. clancampbell

    clancampbell Sr Member

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    Good grief, AA's at it again.......

    The guy has no conscience.

    Rich
     
  25. Supa troop

    Supa troop Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    You know what Matt, id like to think that if this went to court again the Judges would think to themselves that AA got away with it once through a loop hole in British law but now he's actually taking the proverbial p*** out of LFL, and actually see AA for what he is.

    What really incensed me reading the AA fb wall is how he dimisses Liz Moore's involment with such a blase attitude, and in full view of Liz Moore's son too

    shocking !!!
     
  26. Edwardowan

    Edwardowan Sr Member

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    His argument and case on the stormtrooper bucket might have worked in his favor but the rest of the stuff especially the character R2 just goes to show he is an opportunist. We know for sure he had nothing to do with the design, build and production of it for the films so this sort of thing is evidence that he is just stealing Lucasfilm art and intellectual property to make a profit without a license agreement contract for proper residuals compensation to Lucasfilm. I've read all the posts on the guy to make my eyes bleed but this latest news takes the cake!
     
  27. Objetivotuning

    Objetivotuning Member

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  28. defstartrooper

    defstartrooper Sr Member

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    ........
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012
  29. Edwardowan

    Edwardowan Sr Member

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    actually the word Droid is indeed a registered trademark and lucasfilm has licensed it to verizon for their phone. :facepalm

     
  30. defstartrooper

    defstartrooper Sr Member

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    ........
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012
  31. darthwhitey

    darthwhitey Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I wish Lucas would offer a nice 1:1 R2D2 to collectors. This would solve a lot of the mystery and confusion surrounding getting one of the most iconic characters in film history.

    Maybe even two versions?...a budget droid and maybe a high-end droid?

    As big as Lucas Film is, why not have a little division that panders to collectors that want one?

    My 2 cents

    brad
     
  32. Darth Mawr

    Darth Mawr Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Well the design of R2D2 was patented by the two men who originally built the first one for Star Wars. What's been done with the patent and whether the patent is still in force I don't know. I also don't recall in what country the patent was acquired but I saw a photo of the patent posted on Astromech.net a while back.
     
  33. lonepigeon

    lonepigeon Sr Member

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    Interesting. I went and looked it up on Astromech.net...
    The US patent lists the inventors as Ralph McQuarrie and John Stears.
    It was filed on September 12th, 1977 and the term was only 14 years.

    Unfortunately, I think R2 would also be classified as industrial design under UK law. I'm sure the LFL lawyers are looking into it already, but they may not have a case to pursue. "Droid" is trademarked, so if AA continues to use it they could go after him for that (the "R2" in front doesn't matter).

    It's a shame that many (if not most) of AA's customers know he's a liar, but they just don't care. They ignore his immorality as long as he's selling the props they want.
     

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