Getting Ready for R2LA

DSC04072Its that time again. Time to get the droids ready for R2LA. I have a lot to do this year!! This year I have something to bring. R5-D4! And he will be fully clothed (skinned) this time with some new additions as well.  For example, I got these great power couplers from David Shaw. These are outstanding. Easy to paint and easy to adhere to the skins. These are so shiny too. When I installed them they just stood out and “popped”. The cutout of the rear door and the welding of the skins as well as the cutout of the the pie panels in the JAG R5 head was done by Com8 (James VanReenen). The paint job I got on the welded skins was done by Marco’s in Burbank, California. They did an outstanding job!! Automotive paint with clearcoat was used, not powdercoating because of the bondo used to hide the screws on the JAG head. The color used was BASF1054A Dupont White for the skins and dome. They also painted the JAG R5 panels Ferrari Red. Truly an awesome finish!


I was also working with Neil Ylanan for a little while on designing decals for R5 and R4 droids so we could quickly and easily change droid colors and configurations without too much trouble or expense as well as dress up the R4 dome (lamp shade flat pack) with decals to match various droids in the Star Wars universe. I tried the first set out on the JAG head with the decals for the greeblie boxes and headlines as well as on the long and short doors (front and rear) inset color bands. They worked great and looked like they were painted on! People could not tell they were decals. The nice thing is you can peel them off, use a different color and reuse them. So long as your droid has a generic base color that your decal can use you can quickly configure your droid to become any droid you want. If you have different heads to mix and match like I do (R4, R2 and R5 heads) you can work and play well with other droids so you all don’t have the same droids in the same area at the same time  so you can have variety and make a more realistic environment for the kids! Bytheway….did you notice how different R5 looks with the 2 different heads? The first one is the fiberglass version from Mardon. The 2nd one is the JAG head.  


When the pie panels are up on the JAG R5 head it kind of reminds me of a Burger King crown……. 😉

I also had the honor of making this years Builders Award. Each year, the past winner must make the following years award. It must be a certain level of quality and you have to be present to win! It took me a while to come up with an idea that would have the appropriate level of awe but I think I came up with a winner. You will see it when R2LA happens. I hope this years winner appreciates it!

Getting ready for the R2LA building event

DSC03748For those that didnt know it; I moved from Texas to California for a job in the Burbank area. I was able to bring 1 droid with me so I decided to bring my R5 since he needed the most work. So I packed him up in the UHaul and off I we went. Once I was settled in the R2LA build day came up so it gave me a reason to put him back together pretty fast. I had to reassemble my R5 pretty quick since I had dissassembled him to upgrade him and change a great many things. I got the skins TIG welded and started to apply the other accessories that I had packed away (like the front, center and side vents, coin slots, front and rear power couplers, etc etc. Then I installed the internal lighting and cleaned up all of the loose wiring inside of ‘ol Red. Made sure he could move around and also installed the Banebot motor for the dome drive. Got the basics working so he could get out of my apartment from the 3rd floor to get to the car….Now to see if I can get him IN to my car……Did I forget to mention that I have never assessed whether my R5 would even fit in my car?? I sure was lucky to find out that it fit!! It was a tight fit with the center foot barely clearing the ceiling but once that was done (with the help of Guy Vardaman) I was able to not only get that in but the R5 dome with antenna as well as Guy’s R2 dome, a couples boxes of various supplies, tools and bunch of other stuff. Plenty of room!!!!! I thought I was facing leg removal each time I needed to transport him. I am glad I dont have to deal with that hassel. Its amazing what you can pack in a tiny little car!! Anyway, once I got to Senna’ house I thought I would play with the Tiny Fogger F07 by Look Solutions. This is the same type fogger that Jim Shima and JAG used at C4. This baby really puts out a lot of smoke fast!!!. With a 250hr Lithium battery stand by and a less than 1 sec prep to smoke release time it really is a crowd pleaser. Very easy to setup and deploy. The only thing is it is expensive. This was the first time I had set it up in my R5 and I was trying to figure out how to activate it remotely using  a 4 ch RF remote instead of their super expensive remotes.  If you want their remote….forget it. Its almost as much as the fogger. The solution was an easy fix with a jumper wire and a stereo jack that can be wired to a simple 12 or 4 channel RF remote to an intermittant or latched button (your choice) and you can command all the smoke you want.