Thursday, December 31, 2009

Holiday work update

I was able to get some work done while on vacation during the holidays. The first outer leg is completed as far as I'm going to take it at this time. This is fully painted and awaiting the final details. I am waiting to test it under stress prior to adding the shoulder horse shoe layers and resin booster cover. All parts test fit perfectly.

I started work on the other outer ankle as well as skinning the 2nd outer leg. I also ordered my motor controller from This is the Dimension Engineering Sabertooth 2x25 controller that will operate the motors in the two feet. (the picture is from

Last night, I strung another series of LEDs together for the front logics. Three more to go and that will be complete.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas 2009

Merry Christmas and God's richest blessings to friends and family for the new year to come!! All the time, He is good!!!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

First leg ready for primer.

The construction of the first ankle is complete. I made the ankle and bracelet to be one piece and as you can see, in the picture, I had to fill in the area where the two pieces came together. I had a small gap in there that I didn't like and the filler worked out very well, not only filling the space, but also to make the bond stronger. I will have to mask off the bracelet as it will be metallic, while the rest of the ankle is white. I plan on having this primed tonight and ready for paint tomorrow.

The booster again, is just set in place for the picture. I have been looking at other builders blogs to see how they have attached the booster on their droids. I still haven't decided which way I would like to do this and may hold off until I fully test the legs on the droid when it eventually gets moving. I'm on vacation between Christmas and New Years Eve, so I plan on spending some time working on finishing up this leg, and starting the other outer ankle. I'm hoping to have Artoo standing before too long.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Leg and Ankle update

This month marks my second year as a member of the R2 Builders Club. Two years into this project and I've come this far. Can't wait to see what next year brings!!

Not too much of an update as I have been busy with family and work, but a little work here and there over the last few weeks gave me enough to add to the blog.

I finally got around to finishing off the construction of the first of two outer ankles. I've had this part sitting about 2/3's complete since August. This like the legs are based on Dave's styrene plans, with a very slight modification to add more bracing.

I ran into a small issue with the booster and ankles. I created the curved section for the ankle and didn't take into consideration that I needed to recess the booster into this part, as I had cut the ankle to allow for the booster to fit properly. You can see that the cut notch on the legs and the booster did not match up in the first two pictures unless the curved part was slid down the ankle by 1/4". After a little thinking, I recreated that curved section and pre-cut an access into the top face and the center brace (not shown). After letting it sit and dry, the booster fits perfectly, and the notches line up on the leg and booster parts. I'm still cutting the ankle bracelet piece and will pre-paint that part aluminum. I will have to smooth out the edges of the ankle and then skin them with a layer of .040 styrene to give them the same finished appearance as the legs.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Logics Installed - Test

I installed the front logics tonight just to see how they looked. I have the pic cranked at 45v and if the logics are directly facing, it's blinding. I may need to cut the voltage back. This again is only half of the leds, however, I faced a problem as one of my wires broke. It was on the outside row of the leds, and when I connected it again, it worked. This really bothers me and I may only add another string or two and then glue some blanks in. The light from the surrounding leds may illuminate enough to make it look full. At 40 leds, it already looks pretty good. It's a compromise, but it may be necessary to do, just to avoid possible (further...) breakage.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

First Logics Test

Big Update!!! I have been working on the front logics for a while, running into issues with the pic flasher a while back and point to point wiring more leds than I'd like to count. It's been trial and error with led strings breaking and having to be re-welded and/or replaced. I am half way through, which means for me, 40 out of 80 total leds for my front logics. Keith's resin logic surrounds only allows space for 5 rows of 8 leds, instead of 5 rows of 9 leds that my bezels are configured for. From my point of view, it doesn't really matter, it's still going to look good.

I have spent time here and there, working on no more than 2 or 3 leds at any time, to glue the lights to the bezel. It's been a slow process and has taken more than 2 weeks for me to complete due to the cure time for the glue, but I have 4 complete strands. Today, I spent some time wiring the strands to the pic flasher and it tested great!!! I can't wait to complete this as it's been a long time in the works for me. I'm going to have to power it with 9v batteries for the time being, but I will eventually move the power over to a distribution board, connected with a slip ring to allow connection to the dome without the wires getting twisted. This will eventually allow me to run the light operation remotely, and give Artoo a little more realism.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Legs attached

Well I think I figured out how to attach the legs to body. This set up isn't completely set, but it was stable enough to make a display appearance for Halloween at work and then at church for our youth event. Artoo was a big hit!!! I can't wait to get him rolling around for next year!!

Attached are some pics. I attached the legs using the parts included with the A&A frame. There are 4 hubs, two per leg. I have them attached, one to the leg, and then one inside the JAG stop on the shoulder of the frame. This give me about 1/2" from the leg to the body, less the .080" thickness of the skins. I have yet to reinforce the bolts, from both the inside of the leg hub as well as between the inside of the leg and the shoulder hub. I plan on using an additional piece of styrene inside, laminated to beef up the area of the bolts. I plan on doing the same on the opposite side of the leg skin, using metal for added strength.

The builder logo that you see is the cut out from the C&D dome base ring. I think Cole Horton mentioned something about not knowing what to do with this area, but he added the logo there for fun. I'm not sure if anyone had done anything with this yet, but I plan on eventually finishing a frame to fit it and adding a clock movement. The weathering was made to look like scrap metal. I'm pretty happy with the results.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


It's been a while since I've posted anything Artoo related. I've been doing works here and there on items. Although it's been too cold outside to paint, I have been painting parts indoors. The booster covers and one shoulder horse shoe are recently completed.
I have also started working on my front logics. My circuit tested fine, but I had a couple wires that had broken on my chain while transporting back and forth from my home to my in laws where I was working. I replaced the wire connections and glued the first pigtail in place. The bezels are from Calvin Thomas (Thanks Calvin!!!). They are a little big for Keith's resin logic surrounds, so I'm eliminating one column of lights and shifting the bezel over slightly to center the installed leds. I'm not drastically off center and eliminating 10 lights leaves me a little more room for error and less draw on the pic flasher.
The picture doesn't do justice for the blue booster cover. The cobalt blue is very deep, but in natural daylight, brightens up considerably. The leg and the shoulder are Satin White. I haven't mounted anything yet and probably will not until after I have the legs attached to the body and tested. I still have to paint the silver edge on the recessed layer of the horse shoe shoulder. The shoulder hubs are in process of being painted, as are the leg struts that fit in the booster.
The leds are extremely bright, but will tone down when all of them are installed on the pic flasher.
Things will probably be slow over the next couple of months with the holidays, and work around the house.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

OT build complete!!!

Well, almost.... but close enough that I probably won't update another pic. I have just a few very minor details to put on and paint for the folding stock mount (the tube that's behind the grip...) and it will be as done as it's getting for now. I plan on attempting the M38 style sight, but that will be a project for another time.

So, here's my version of a Blastech E-11 Stormtrooper blaster.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled droid build...

Friday, August 28, 2009

OT Build - Stormtrooper blaster

Almost finished. Just a few details and the folding stock and I'm going to call this one done...
...for now.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

OT Build - Stormtrooper Blaster

More pics. I evened out the paint on the barrel. With weathering and overcoat, it will blend evenly.

Monday, August 17, 2009

OT Build - Stormtrooper Blaster Progress

Made some progress this weekend on the blaster. I got a scrap piece of trex board from my brother in law. It worked perfectly, no grain on the surface and cut pretty easily. I added two layers of styrene material to create the grips and then smoothed the seams with glazing putty to make it less "clunky" feeling. I had to epoxy the handle to the barrel as the back screw wasn't going in very well and I did not wish to damage the barrel or handle trying to force the issue. I left the screw in the forward area of the handle.
The top of the site rail is painted black, but I did not paint the bottom. I like the look of it "as is", so I'm leaving it that way.
I also started work on the folding stock. I have decided to lock the stock in a closed position. I don't recall ever seeing the stock opened in any of the movies and to me, it looks better closed, not to mention the savings in added cost of material to make is strong enough to open and close without damaging components.
The paint appears "two toned" as I had to tape off the areas of the heat baffling (the holes in the barrel) to protect the metallic inner barrel. I plan on weathering and clear coating the gun when it's done, so it's going to get evened out eventually.
Just a few more components and details to add, maybe another one or two weeks work. I haven't added the hengstler counter. That update may come later on. This will end up becoming a cross between the ANH and ROTJ versions. As with any art piece, it will never really be "finished" as I'm sure to find something to tweak and improve it down the road. Of course, R2 builders know nothing of this... ;-D

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

OT build - Stormtrooper blaster

I was on vacation last week and even with spending time with the family, I found some time to work a little on my Stormtrooper blaster. It won't be 100% accurate as there are so many reference pics and variations listed online. I chose to base my build from the ANH style and modify here and there, such as a red dot scope in place of the m38 style tank spotting scope. So far, aside from the scope (an Ebay find for $4.99...), the parts used have been either scrap pieces or found items that were laying around. Very little has been purchased and I'm hoping to keep my total build cost as low as possible - a challenge to myself to scratch build this and make it look convincing. Here's the latest pics of my progress.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

OT Build

So, I needed a break from building R2 as I sit back and think of how I am going to mount the legs to the body. I have painting to do for the resin parts that I received, some of which I have already done. Lots of "busy work" that won't be posted. In the meantime, I found a very inexpensive way to create a BlasTech E11 blaster rifle, or Stormtrooper blaster. This will be pretty much scratch built from parts on hand. The expected cost was around $50, however, I have most of the stuff I need lying around with the exception of paint, so I'm hoping to keep the total run between $20 and $30, and still keep the appearance as convincing as possible. Ahh - the art of scratch building!!!!

So far, I have the outer barrel prepped and painted, the inner barrel painted and test fitted. The end cap is also painted with the exception of the leading edge. The barrel end needs to be sanded and details cut and applied. I'm on the fence about getting a red dot scope as opposed to scratch building a non functional one. That will put my cost around the $30 mark total if I go that route - still not bad!! Stay tuned - I'm looking to have some fun with this one!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

More parts arrived...

I received the balance of my outstanding parts orders last week. Monday after posting an update I received Artoo's styrene skirt from Azman - anyone looking for a skirt for a budget build, this is the one to get!!! Well worth the wait!! This one, Az trimmed and sanded for me. The first image is the outside of the skirt, the second shows the bracing from the inside. I'm planning on mounting the skirt by drilling and bolting the braces to the bottom ring of my frame. From the outside, you won't be able to tell what' holding it in place.

I also received parts from Marco in the Netherlands. Again, a long wait period while Keith was out of commission, but very well worth it. I have a little clean up on the parts as is common when working with resin, but very minimal. The parts shown are the coin slots for the front body, the front vent surrounds, the resin booster covers w/piston, and the shoulder hubs. Here's how the leg will look once I have everything mounted.

Oh yeah.... what's this???? Guess you'll have to wait and see...