R2LA VII 2009

DSC04151WOW what a weekend! R2LA has come and gone and all I can say is WOW. 20 droids, almost 50 people in attendance, excellent tutorials and a Easter Egg that will blow your socks off when you get the DVD!!! Jeez what a fabulous time I had. Many thanks to Mike Senna and his lovely wife Amy for hosting the event again this year in their home. I know what a PIA it is to host a build off each year to a bunch of crazy robot enthusiasts and to open your home up. And many thanks to Guy Vardaman for his invaluable assistance.  Without his help, getting my droid ready in time would have been very difficult, if not impossible. I had been so swamped with work, he had graciously been picking up and dropping off stuff for me that I otherwise would not have had the time to complete for this event! 

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For any of you who are wondering if these events are worth attending, despite the distance, it is. What you learn, see and do stay with you for a lifetime. The friendships you make and the old friends you get to see that you may not get to see very often are the best excuse to get caught up. One small example of how great this group is …not only did I get to weather my droid at this event(as a last minute request) but an experienced Master Doug Dixon (who flew out 4000 miles  from Florida just for R2LA) volunteered to do it! When it came time to start, we realized we didn’t have the paints anymore so without any thought at all Nikki and Will went out and got the paint without even giving it a second thought! Sharing experiences with people like them who are as passionate as you are makes it all worth while. My droid looks so real its not funny. The weathering is awesome!!! People don’t believe it is paint!!! Just in case you are wondering the paint used on my droid for weathering was Acrylic paint CeramCoat brand Brown Iron Oxide #02023 as the base coat. Then the accent paint was the CeramCoat brand Storm Grey #02542. The pictures make it look cleaner than it actually looks. The people at the apartment complex who saw R5 leave for R2LA (brand new and clean) had their jaw drop when he came back. They ran to him asking what happened??!! I said he went off roading on Tatooine……. :)

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As mentioned in an earlier post in my blog, I had the honor of making this years R2 Builders award. This year the award went to John  Bush. The award I made was the eye of R2. It started out as a very poor resin copy of a copy of a R2 eye that I essentially had to remake out of Bondo (Evercoat). But I wanted to do something special than just make another R2 part. So I thought about putting characters inside the eye of R2. Small figurines or Lego Star Wars characters. That was OK  but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. Then it came to me. Video or digital images inside the eye. I remember seeing someone had placed a video disc in a R2 dome that would change colors and then Guy reminded me of the smaller video fobs that were now on key chains. That was exactly what I was looking for! It had the ability to upload any picture of any size and auto scale it into the fob without any modifications and the winner could wipe out whatever pictures I would place in their and he could insert his own to enjoy. I inserted all of the past R2LA pictures and several of the ILM droid and other various builds….including my own of course :)

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All in all, a great time with a terrific bunch of people!

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R2LA6 & the Premier of the COM8 Frame

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Well, I went down to R2LA6 and brought down the fruits of our labor (James and I) . The New frame called the COM8. A culmination of all of the requests and complaints I have had and I have heard from everyone about the frames that have beedsc01852n around since I have been a member of the R2 group. I really believe this is an outstanding frame with a lot of great features. Super strong, light weight, a lockable back door in 2 flavors — a full size door and a 3/4 door. Milled out areas for parts that previously didn’t fit well or at all with other versions of machined parts. A drop down electronics panels 90 degree and standard bread pans and and great feature that no other frame had previously offered. Mounting hardware for other vendors parts. It was well received there. Unfortunately some felt threatened and reacted poorly. Sadly that was expected.I flew down to Yorba Linda because I wanted to make sure that James’ frame got a fair chance and a good start. I knew if I went and if I got his frame there it would be put on the R2LA DVD and would be seen by a  lot of builders. I was pleasantly surprised to be awarded the builder award of the year.

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