08/08/2016

** Celebration Europe 3 - 2016 - The Event Report PT5 **

Saturday 16th July 2016
Today was THE busiest day of the convention, as this was sold out from both the first set of tickets & then the second set released earlier this year.

Early start again, but I'd got the hang of this train business now lol.

First things first: battery power check, system's check and then a quick roll around by the Star Wars Live stage.
R5 meets another droid on the Star Wars Live stage
First Order Tie Fighter & Pilot with OT Pilot
Whilst taking pics of these guys, they asked if they could have R5 in their pictures.
See above. Then as the main crowds started to come in, we were swamped by people taking pictures, videos and selfies lol

Live on stage


 It was gettin busy by the stage area, so decided best to move R5 back over to the Builders area. This was easier said than done, as the crowds were busy flowing through & of course, taking more pictures and video's. These kids dressed as Jawa's were AWESOME!!! With Jawa sound effects too!

Driving back, I bumped into these guys,
Was great to meet these guys, as I 'follow' them on Twitter, it's nice to actually meet them in person. I know my daughter was excited to know that I met a female Stormtrooper :)

The rest of the day was more display work, where the droid que still went all the way around the stand! Lot's of people asking questions about building, which is good. [And since the event, lots of people have signed up to the forums www.astromech.net & also the UK corner www.astromech.info to find out more about how to build an Astromech Droid]

Friends who made it on the day were Karen, in her Boba Fett dress & Colin Barker. Tho didn't get much of a chance to catch up with either.

The place was packed all day! With most people going to the 'Panel' shows, there were quieter periods, tho as we were right next to the room (curtained off) we could here the cheers from the fans.

I didn't go to any of these panels as it would of meant missing out on supporting the R2 Builders, which was my own personal reason for attending the event. And I knew that I would be able to catch up on it all via the You Tube channel.

The builders were meeting up for food and drinks again afterwards, but I had to go and meet up with the family to pick up my Son who was joining me for Sunday's last day.

Train & tube into central London and back again to Barking. Stopped off for tea in KFC, when the walk back to my hotel.
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Sunday 17th July 2016
As today was the last day, I'd decided it would be easier to drive the car and park it up for the day, rather than train in/back/pickup car/drive back in, tho £15 for 24hrs.....wow!

So up at 7 and after breakfast, loaded up suitcase etc and headed off with one VERY excited (tho calm) Son, in his Han Solo costume.


Han 'JJ' Solo
In his escape from the Death Star cosplay
Had to get a pic of us together :)
We met up with the other builders and did introductions for him :). Then it was off across the convention to the South Hall.....
And one (of a few) with R5 :)
The morning I was attending the R2 beginners building talk. We passed the excellent 501st & Rebels displays & had to take a pic of Jay with R5 against the Tantive IV corridor scene.
R5 & Han Solo on the Tantive IV
And after stopping for more photos with people, we eventually made it to the talk, taken by Stuart Bone & Oliver Steeples, with me assisting. These pics were taken by my Son.

Yes, see that one there?? That's mine. lol
Olivers R5, Stuarts R2 & my R5-D4

The talk lasted about 45 mins, with a Q&A at the end. Then people could come up and get a closer look at the Droids & ask more questions. It went really well and the feedback was good from people there. Some didn't even know we had our own stand at the event, which was quickly sorted out with directions.

It was then another trek back through the crowds & photos' to get back to the builders stand lol.

Around mid-day, we had a special visitor to the stand, Mr Anthony Daniels himself. He had a guided tour round the stand, looking at the droids, Astromechs & BB-8's.
Anthony Daniels, BB8
Anthony Daniels assessing the BB-8 stand
Anthony Daniels with Giles R2 & Alan's half scale R2.
Oliver Steeples, Antony Daniels, Lee Towersey
Oliver, Antony & Lee
R5 managed to get in on most of the pictures lol. Anthony was most amused with the drinks on R2's tray. The tea bag in the tea cup, said 'Blue Milk' ;) lol

Then C-3P0 joined the stage and was introduced to his maker lol. Big shout out to Simon Wilkie who does an outstanding performance!

The afternoon half of the day flew past in no time at all. Whilst sorting things out in our rest area, Jay had his picture taken with Lee.
Jay & Lee Towersey
We had some smaller remote control R2's on the stand, from Bladez Toys, these were great for the kids to play with & the actual stand selling them, sold out of all their stock on the Saturday!! Jay & myself were helping Giles out on the Sunday. These great pics were taken by Felix of the European Builders.
These are the droids....the kids.....were looking for lol
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Guess who walked past me.....stupid focusing on ipad, wasn't quick enough :(
Katherine Kennedy!
Katherine Kennedy
Also re-met Jack E. Curentonthe winner of the fan made film: Star Wars Generations.
Video is here. Congrats on the win!
Star Wars Generations
Jack E. Curenton
Jack had popped over to see the builders as he was helped out by Mike Senna, with his R2D2.

As the day drew to a close, we gathered up all the Droids for the now customary end of event group photo. Lots were taken, including ones by my Son. But this one is by far the best and now a standard.
celebration europe 2016

C-3P0 is holding a love Emma sign for Micke, a club members little girl,
who was recently diagnosed with cancer.
Details can be found here.

Well, the day came to a close and the crowds drifted away as the Halls were closed to the public. Then the process of dismantling the display and saying goodbye to group friends began. After a few hours, we were all done, packed up and cars loaded for our journeys home.

I had the most fantastic time & an experience I will never forget! This group of people are a family and I am proud to know them all! I know my Son had a blast for the day as well.

Some were already looking forward to Celebration 2017. Something I won't be able to attend, but still, look forward to it. There's a few more things that I will no-doubt remember later and will post up later lol. But for now, thanks for reading.

05/08/2016

R5-D4's - Sledge 1 - UPDATE pt2

On returning from #SWCE I knew that the sledge needed some work doing to it.
  1. It needed a paint job - check.
  2. It needed to have a dome mount stand so only requiring one trip once unloaded from car - to do.
  3. Locations for batteries (the real ones) - to do.
  4. Location holders for R5's feet battery boxes - to do.
So I dug out the paint can's & found a tin of gloss white. I removed the foam protection & starting with the underside wheel base, applied the paint. This stuff stinks worse than spray cans!! Within five mins my head was telling me, "OK, that's enough for today!" It also doesn't dry very quickly (which is why I didn't use it in the house) & this was with the sledge out in the Sun.

After a few days of painting, second coats etc, I've got to this stage. The last bit I had to leave so I had something to hold onto to move it lol (it has to stand up in my garage).

Then I reapplied the foam protection.
Also added these to rubber pads.

Next is to look at some location brackets to hold the actual batteries in place. R5's battery boxes will hopefully fit inside the sledge (remember that R5 will already be loaded on it, so its a case of where/how to fit things in/on once he's on.

Possible locations (either side) for the batteries.
Need to make up or buy some corner brackets.

More in "R5-D4's - Sledge 1 - UPDATE Part 3".....

03/08/2016

** Celebration Europe 3 - 2016 - The Event Report PT4 **

Friday 15th July 2016 continued.....

More photo's with the attending public. It doesn't ever get boring watching peoples faces as when they see the droids! Not just mine, but all of them. For those that instantly recognise the specific Lar's Homestead scene with R2, 3P0 & R5, big grins appear as the set piece dawn's on them :)

The smiles is why we share what we've built with others :)
kids love R5 :D
Some great costumes & poses too!
During a rest break, standing up all day & walking around is tiring lol. I got a request from Giles, that I was needed to operate R5 out front. A non-R2 droid was needed for some more filming :D
This time he was needed for not one, but three different presenters (Spanish & South American, I believe) but all doing the same short scene!

........the presenter would approach R5, gently tap his dome, he would turn his head to face them as they asked him if ........"did he knew where to find the...... "[this info is classified]
This was run through and filmed a few times for each, with different actions etc. I asked the Producer when & where this would likely be aired as my kids would love to be able to see it, "near the end of the year" :)

I had to take a selfie (couldn't take a photo at the time as was operating R5 lol)
Selfie with two of the presenters & Director (I think)
Was great meeting you guys & was great to help out
Picture of the third, female, presenter
(found picture, not my own)
The day was flying by and whilst chatting with some of the other builders, Lee & Oliver came over to ask Matt if his R2 Droid was up for a bit of TV!?!?! Next thing I know we're walking up the side entrance ramp to the 'Star Wars Live Show' stage!

This next part was awesome!!
So myself & Emma have helped Matt with his R2 & then take a back seat position, where we can still see (& take pictures) of the following. Matt positioning his R2 to be centre stage infront of Lee & Oliver as they are interviewed live on the Star Wars Live Show.
#SWCE
Blue shirts = Lee (L), R2-D2, Oliver (M), Matt, on the right of picture
#SWCE
Myself & Emma on the Star Wars Live Stage
Looks technical
And this was the guys being interviewed & what the crowd saw who were stood behind them.
#SWCE
Oliver & Lee interviewed on Star Wars Live Stage
#SWCE
Oliver & Lee interviewed on screen
#SWCE
Matts R2D2 with Oliver & Lee
Big thanks to the crew on stage for making it a great experience,
taking pictures, chatting & the freebies too :)

After this, I took R5 off for a roll around the convention centre. I met up with Stuart Bone & his R2-D2 and that was it.....photos from all over the place lol. We rolled down to meet up with Brad & his R2-X2 droid, but got asked to 'move along' lol as we were causing people to block up the walk way lol. (I've seen some photos online, but obviously wasn't able to take any, which is a shame).

The day ended at 7pm, tho not till almost 7:30pm did we all manage to get out, as we were all going for food at the hotel next door. Was nice to sit down and talk properly with members who we hadn't had the chance too & the food was great too!

I said my goodbyes about 10:30pm as I had to catch the trains back to my hotel & was starting to feel tired.

Day 1 of 3 done, and the smile on my face is going to be hard to shift! :)

Event report Part 4 coming soon.......

02/08/2016

** Celebration Europe 3 - 2016 - The Event Report PT3 **

End of our first day, Thursday for us. The droids that where there ready for Friday morning, were all set up and ready. Food was ordered and we all made our way outside to await its delivery. Pizza all round lol.
Group pizza
After dropping off our droids, we had to park up. This was something that was an extra cost i didn't need :(. £15 for 24hrs was ok, but I didn't need this as would be staying at a hotel which had parking. One of our members, also concerned about cost savings, found a website called Justpark. This is an online website where parking spaces are advertised, fantastic! Me and Andre T, used the same church car park for the few hours needed, total cost was £3.10. (available from 8am - 9pm) Bargin!
(Recent large financial outgoings meant that I was/am on even more of a tight budget unfortunately).

Once pizzas were done, others were heading for drinks. But i had to find my hotel, check in etc, as wanted to be fresh for the day ahead. So i said my goodbyes and headed the 5 min walk back to my car. I also needed to check my route to Barking train station from the hotel, which was about 10-15 mins walk.

I arrived at my hotel without to much traffic hassle......i joke. But the Ibis hotel was a great relief. I unpacked and got what i needed for the day ahead, ready.

Friday 15th July 2016:
I woke up at seven and after breakfast, made the walk to the station. Its been a few years since i last travelled on the London transport system & first time using contactless travel. It was so simple tho and after my three short train journeys, i arrived, along with a few others at The Excel centre.

My R5-D4 trading cards I picked up Thursday
Mine & JJ's passes
As I walked in, I thought, oh....not such a big que forming in the main hall way. Then I remembered the actual que hall, lol. As an exhibitor, tho because I had bought passes, I wasn't technically issued with one of these, you were allowed through the bag check point via a separate que line.I had to then wait for Oliver to pop down to 'clear me' through into the North side of the Centre, where our stand was in section N9.

I/we all were checking over our droids, batteries charged etc and generally all hyped/nerves for the opening day ahead. Because it was a Friday, the initial crowds were slightly less than expected, but that was probably a good thing lol.

I was asked if I could move R5 to be infront of our iconic Sandcrawler display, made by Paul Wiz, to be next to Giles' R2 & the Jawa's. Around 10am as I walked back round I saw a mini film crew, not an unusual sight, but his time I recognised the presenter lol. I was more surprised that he moved into position right behind my R5!!
Sandcrawler scene
Alex Zane & crew
Short filming complete
So keep your eyes out for something Star Wars related on the TV featuring this man lol

More builders arrived during the morning and the crowds started to gather around the builders stand. So long in fact that it went almost all the way around it!! And stayed this long for most of the day!

Friday's R2 Builders Club stand - ques




Lots of questions were asked about how to build a droid, how much it costs, materials used etc. And lots of happy faces, both old and young :)

More to come of the day in Part 4.......