This year marks the 10 year since I started building my very first R2. I have always keep him looking like he just rolled off the factory line, white and very clean. As I mentioned in an earlier post I just gave him a whole new paint job/makeover. After doing the Finland event I felt it was time to give him the “real”, been there and back look. The term is called weathering. I’ve put it off for the longest time because it felt wrong in some way. But now I’ve changed my mine. He now looks as if he’s telling a story. I stuck with episode 4 look “A New Hope”. He’s been across Tatooine with the sand, dirt, mud and oil look that follows. Weathering is a very hard thing to master but because I’ve weathered my Wall-e and BB-8 in the past I felt I was up for this challenge. Here’s the result!
It was an intensive weekend but so exciting! First the trip to get there took 18 hour on a ferry (Viking Line) which was fine. Then directly to the event. It never ceases to amaze me the affect R2 has on so many people. I was “just” the driver but they treated R2 like royalty. I should also add that my R2 is the first and only R2 to ever visit Finland as well as the first and only one to sail the Baltic Sea. The Museum curators are already in talks about my next visit.
My R2 has been thru a lot of events over the years. And as with anything over time it gets damaged in all kinds of ways. Parts break off, cracked, dented and so forth. So earlier this month I gave him a complete new paint job. R2 and I were invited to attend a Toy and art Museum weekend in Finland and as they went thru the effort of arranging all the logistics I felt a slight facelift was in order. I even printed out some newer details for R2 that are lighter and better detailed. The average person won’t see a difference but at a closer look it’s perfect.
Its been a long time coming but here’s the only video I’ve managed to make of my BB-8 before I had him and all my other droids shipped off for an event later this week. Its a video of him while sitting in his charging stand. I’m glad with the results so far. I will adjust the controls slightly and will do a proper video of him rolling around when I return from that event. I’m sure I’ll find thousands of bugs to fix but that’s why its called a hobby.
I’m just going to put up a few before and after pictures so you can get an idea of the process. Its not a “just” to do process. Its equally important to all the preparation work to make it look as perfect as possible before even attempting the weathered look. I took me 2 days full days to weather the dome and about the same to do the body. It as all a building up process. I just acrylic paints as it takes a few passes to make it look naturally weathered than just painting it on in just one go. I have to admit I’m finally relieved seeing the results that I’m been working towards after almost a year of figuring it all out. Anyway, here are the results. The weathering is about 90% done but I will go back and touch up a few minor areas before I cover it in layers upon layers of 2K clear flat paint:
Once the covering is all done. I can put back the internal workings and do some test driving and tweaking. I’ll also do a short video to show that it actually does work…stay tuned 😉
Its been a few weeks since my last post. As usual with this kind of challenging project its 2 steps forward and 1 step back. In my case it was 3 steps forward and 2 steps backwards. Long story short, the cheapo motor to drive the forward and reverse couldn’t handle the sheer weight of my BB-8 and the (plastic) gears, well you can guess. My BB-8 weights a whopping 32kg!! Which is great for stability but hell for cheapo motors. I’d didn’t know they were plastic. So I invested in a proper robust motor with solid metal gears. It runs at 100 rpms on 12 volts. I can post more specs if wished. After changing out that I noticed my original designed control box fitted but gave limited room for anything/everything else. I redesigned it from the ground up making it 2/3s smaller than the original. Its now using three Pololu Simple Motor Controllers. One for each of the main motors. I’m using two 24v12s and one 18v7. I got three because its cheaper and easier to change out one instead of a more expensive all-in-one solution. Also this new solution is much quieter as well as being programmable.
After all the changes and minor tweaks I could finally do a test run and it works. I forgot to record a video but trust me it works. I’ve finally now have been able/comfortable with closing up the entire BB-8 body while leaving 2 detachable access panels for future “thumbs-up” animatronics and so forth. Also these access panels are just big enough to remove every internal component if need be. This past week I’ve been covering, sanding, covering and sanding to get a nice smooth finish before I started the layers and layers of white glossy. BB-8 isn’t suppose to be glossy but I’ll flatten the gloss after all the detailing is done. So enough said and here are the pictures.