2015 R5-D4's year round up

Another event filled year draws to an end. R5 attended events local to us, Corsham & Chippenham (see post Blog posts for details and pics) & traveled far too, to Milton Keynes & then Birmingham's Comic con at the NEC. R5 really has been transported to places far far away lol, meeting up with costume groups up and down the country!

Being a member of the UK R2 Builders group is a great feeling! Talking to like minded people whos aim is to build, replicate and encourage each other and new members with new ideas on building an Astromech Droid.

Getting to share our builds with the public has to be the highlight for me! Kids big (adults) and small, love to see the droids and for them it makes the film characters 'real'. We get asked lots of questions about the droids from all ages and understandings, some even get to see inside to get a better understanding of how to build one. For me as an engineer, this is a great way to encourage mechanical & electrical enthusiasm in youngsters who may feel a project of this size is beyond them. True, cost of materials, tools etc maybe out of their reach, but the seed of simple circuits, programing etc and even simple wood & metalworking I hope, would of been planted & nurtured in them to give it a go.

The UK Builders range of droids is varied! From the very hi-tech, 3-2-3 versions, stealth controller versions, to include, all the available build material combinations possible! All take pride in reproducing their chosen build design.

The Force Awakens has awoken the Star Wars journey again and with it new films, builders and events. 2016 will also see Star Wars Celebration Europe in London (don't miss out on tickets!) there will be a very large UK & Europen R2 Builders Club presents, so come say hi. Then at the end of the year, the next Star Wars film 'Rogue One' will be released. Plus all the usual events throughout the year.

So from myself & R5-D4, we would like to wish all our followers a very Happy New Year!


Celebration Europe 2016 - MORE TICKETS!!

If your weren't able to get tickets before, there will be a chance ot grab yourself
single one day tickets, from January 14th 2016


UK R2 Builders - The Force Awakens @ Odeon IMAX


Members of the UK R2 Builders Club will be in attendance at Milton Keynes
new Odeon IMAX cinema on December 17th.

This should be an extra special day for visitors, not just attending
for the new #Star Wars film but for other movie goer's.

There will be at least seven Astromech Droids, rolling around for the day,
so if your out and about, why not go along and say hi!

Only one more day [of work] to go - The Force Awakens


Only one more day of work for me till film night tonight!!

Have been carefully catching up via friends photos of pre-film events attended and those that were at the premier last night. Some awesome pictures, some VERY lucky people indeed!!

It's been a long time coming :) ......................


The Force Awakens....almost upon us!

This last 12 months seemed to drag lol. But these last few weeks have flown by!!

From the early hours I have been viewing fellow builders photo's of the red carpet event over in the US.

After watching the first 'teaser' last year, I've tried my best NOT to be seduced into looking too closely at pictures of the upcoming film.

I then watched the second 'trailer' officially released and knew that the path I'm following is the right one :D lol. I've not even watched the other international trailers, or You Tube analysts etc for fear of spoilers & info I don't want to see or hear. I've even managed to persuade my two youngest 's not to watch or at least not tell me anything, much to their enjoyment, chasing me round the house shouting plot lines and who just did what in the TV advert lol.

My reason is simple, its a new story, if JJ wanted people to know the storyline it would be out there already.

So myself, my two children, my brother & his Son (& father-in-law) will be attending a local'ish cinema (the closest one to me had sold out before I had chance to book, but that's another story lol), to watch the 8pm (UK GMT) showing on Thursday 17th.

I will avoid all news, radio, people if necessary lol, Facebook & Twitter, until AFTER I've watched the film. I've already seen some people go off the grid already in anticipation of spoilers from people who have (after Thursday) watched the film.

Out of courtesy for others I won't be posting anything about the film, other than the words AWESOME or (worse case scenario) something less than awesome.


R5 damage repair update PART 2

I didn't post up pictures of the rest of the damaged area's on R5. Thankfully most of it was only on his shoulder Horseshoe.

I removed the loose wood filler then I sealed the hardboard with watered down PVA glue.
This helps the wood absorb the glue and makes it hard. Then once dried, I applied more wood filler again to the damaged areas.

After sanding and more filler, repeated until happy [and filler dried]. I gave the area a light spray with white and later, with clear coat.

After a few days, and once the shoulder hub was finished, I re-installed the hub & horseshoe and got to weathering it all again.

Here are the before and after pics:

Damaged horseshoe on left repaired & weathering [WIP] again on right.

The outer foot shell's have already been fixed.

MCM Comic Con - You Tube video's

Here are links to MCM's Comic Con You Tube page.

This first video features a quick glimps right at the start of it,
of the UK R2 Builders Club's Droids.

This video, by Joe, we can be seen at 5:49mins into the video

R5 damage repair update

I needed a new Shoulder Hub to replace the one that partially broke [edged lip]. So got online to DJ Design and order a new set. These arrived in a few days looking great!

I've not ordered any of his 'new' revised components before as these were produced after I already had bought mine a few years before. They use less resin material on the un-seen areas, but still retaining strength. The finish of them is also better than the set I had before, not that there was anything wrong, but it is stated that with moulds you can get air holes, which my last set did have. Not that this bothered me as it just added to the worn, pitted, used Droid look. But this set has minimal to non what-so-ever!!

Link to DJ's shoulder hubs DJ Designs

So after a warm soapy water wash and fully dried, I got on with primer spray. I only sprayed up the face as, well, this is the only part you'll see.

Here's after primer, silver and clear coat.

Two slightly different angles in these pictures. My spraying is the cause of the 'crinkle' effect you can see in the upper area's of the hubs. I like doing this as it gives it the worn, corroded look and feel. Also helps when it comes to weathering the parts.


R5 damage repair!!

The high's and lows of droid building.....

You know when you think your in control but gravity reminds you your not!

Well that's what happens when a three wheeled unit rolls down a slope.....turns and falls over....in slow motion.

List of things that broke/broke off:

  • Shoulder horse shoe [it is a removable item]
  • One half moon crescent - popped off.
  • Shoulder hub - smashed edges.
  • Dome bearing [lazy suzan type]
  • Split Outer Feet shells [both]
I was in shock, fearing the worst, but once righted, and given the once over, R5 was back in action. Luckily he had turned and his fall was broken [no pun intended] by bush's. The foot shells damage was caused by the weight/force on them as he tipped over. Obviously they're not designed to take ANY weight on them as such.

I had to disconnect the dome motor as thankfully R5's dome locking nuts kept his head on, but the force of the fall, twisted and pulled apart the domes bearing race, there were bearings everywhere lol. I managed to press the two pieces a bit closer together, but they had separated and short of some proper tools, this wasn't going to happen.

So if you notice R5's dome doesn't look like it's on right in the MCM Birmingham photos, now you know.

So this week has been spent repairing the shells, with glass fibre and wood filler.
The black tape was very strong in holding the panels together.

The legs showed paint had cracked so sanded and fixed these. The horseshoe took most of the damage, but again, this was fixable with wood filler, sanding and painting. A new bearing race was ordered and refitted as well as a new set of shoulder hubs from DJDesign.

These just need spraying and for refitting back into R5.


MCM Comic Con - Birmingham Nov 2015 - [PART 2]

......The Builders club has a great bunch of guys [girls inc] and is great to actually meet up again to chat, joke and enjoy the day!

Personally I get a real buzz out of giving something to the public by sharing R5. I built him for me as a build challenge, for my kids too, but when you go to event's with him & join the others it really brings Star Wars off the cinema or TV screen, and brings it to life, not just for the grown up kids but for the little kids too.

Ian's R2D2 had his first event out with his full 'weathered' paints on, WOW!!!
He [R2 not Ian] looked fantastic!!!
......not that there's anything wrong looking with Ian mind..... lol



Sandtrooper, UK Garrison

I didn't get much chance to take many pics of the UK Garrison, but managed to grab this one whilst I was manning our table, well it be rude not too!
The UK Garrison


MCM Comic Con - Birmingham Nov 2015 - [PART 1]

The UK R2 Builders turned up in Force and were a great hit with the public.

After a very long walk from car park E, which turned out to be VERY eventful, we (myself, Colin & Simon) arrived with trip one of our Droids. Colin then went back for his second droid.....yes, he brought two of his now three completed Astromech's, R2-Q2 & R4-M9 [both from the Tantive IV scene in ANH.

We lined up the Droids, whilst we get things sorted.
The backdrops were courtesy of The UK Garrison. 
R5-D4, R2-Q2, R4-M9

Honestly, you turn your back for to minutes and people start getting delusions of.....oh....wait, lol. Early attendees started coming through the doors and the photo's started being taken.

Then R2 roll's up and it's like ooooh, look at me :D lol
R2D2, Astromech Droids, UK Builders Club

R2D2, Astromech Droids, UK Builders Club
The day just got busier as the day went on! I've not seen so many people & Cosplayers!
Our little group entertained the crowds.
R2D2, Astromech Droids, UK Builders Club

R2D2, Astromech Droids, UK Builders Club

R2D2, Astromech Droids, UK Builders Club
Ready for My close-up

R2D2, Astromech Droids, UK Builders Club

R2D2, Astromech Droids, UK Builders Club

Oh and did anyone spot the HP film star?? ;)

More pictures to post up in PART 2.......


*** Comic Con - Birmingham ***

R5D4 will be joining a full range of UK R2 Builders Club's Astromech Droids
at this months MCM Comic Con in Birmingham.
We'll be joining members of the UK Garrison & Real Icon's.
We will only be there on Saturday 21st November, due to prior commitments, so make sure you come check out the 'Droids your looking for' lol.

Click on the link for details from the Comic Con website.

R5D4's twitter account, so don't forget to @ him lol and also R5's Facebook page.


Star Wars Celebration 2016 - Latest ticket news

Latest on tickets for Star Wars Celebration in London next year,
is that there are only Sunday adult tickets & only Saturday child's tickets now left!


*** Sci-Fi Bromley ***

Another event that UK R2 club members will be attending is.....

Click this link to check out the website for details of guest' and what's on.


Centre Foot - wheel upgrade......2.2

I fitted the wheel caster base back onto the internal foot platform, minus, the previously fitted wood MDF spacer pad, it's not needed now with the larger wheel; as I want it to sit at roughly the same height as before.

On test turning the wheel caster base, there were three points of contact with the foot shell's base ring frame. So out came the dremel and sanding drum to remove the extra wood to give clearance.

Then it was re-assembling the internal wheel frame to the centre leg (x2 bolts) one being the main ankle bolt, the other the locking ankle bolt. Next were the two side shell panels with half moons.
R5D4 astromech droidR5D4 astromech droid

Lastly, re-fitting the centre leg back up into R5's base.

R5 is sooooo much easier to move around now! He is so much more free moving. Not had a chance to test drive yet, but driving and slow motion turning control should be a lot easier due to less 'friction' & the better wheel scooter bearings.
R5D4 astromech droid


Centre Foot - wheel upgrade.....2.1

Whilst the centre leg was off and dismantled, I got my work friend [when he had two mins spare] to turn me a bush for the ankle lock bolt. I then drilled out the hole to size and clamping it and the centre leg in a vice, forced the bush into the hole.
Locking bolt bush to be fitted, next to said bolt

Got home to find post man had delivered bolts & locking washers the aluminium strip, so measured up and cut to length. I filed a rad to one edge to look good lol, but also so I would remember which outside faces I needed to drill.

02.11.15 - 04.11.15
In work first thing and got to measuring up and drilling holes. In order to fit the new brackets, the hole position needed is just a fraction off where the original hole was, hence new brackets. So had to cut off the wheel location hole to give clearance for the new bolt hole/bracket. Drilled and tapped M6 threads into the aluminium brackets and clearance holes in the wheel caster sides.
New centre wheel

Now to re-assemble it and centre leg.


***WynterCon 2015***

Members of the UK R2 Builders Club will be in attendance at this years.....
click pic for link

WynterCon 2015 event in Eastbourne, at The Winter Gardens.
Starts Saturday 31st Oct - Sunday 1st November.

So check em out along with all the other great stuff.
Checkout the FaceBook page of the UK R2 Builders Club 


Centre Foot - wheel upgrade......again...... 2.0

A few months ago I swapped over the old centre foot wheel for a newer version, as the old one had worn down. I like the wide rubber wheel, but not the fact that it grips to well when trying to turn R5. It also has started to wear down, in part to the fact that I think this wheels diameter was slightly larger than the original one (???) and is rubbing/jamming on the inner foot shell's lower edge. This was made more clear to me at the recent Chippenham event.
Rubber wheel, rubbing on foot shell skirt

So my plan was swap over the rubber wheel for a spare 100mm dia scooter wheel, (was off my Son's old scooter). But the hole is just a fraction to low and the wheel won't spin. So plan was to re-re-use the brackets I original had lol. But these are no good for hole position, plus the wheel NEED's to be off-centre, to help pivot nicely.

A quick eBay search and some aluminium plate was found and ordered. This, I'll cut up and make into spacer brackets.....


Event - Chippenham Sci-Fi Day 2015 - report

As with all my recent events R5 was loaded up the night before into the back of the car.

Chippenham is only about a 40 min drive away, but I had to fill up with petrol & pick up a friend who was helping out at the event as well. The weather was wet on arriving, but I had my 'car cover' to protect R5 lol.
[yes, car cover lol, it doesn't fit the larger cars, but knew it would come in handy]

The town council had made ALL pay parking free for the day, this helped with parking for everyone, nice touch!

Neeld Hall, has had an over haul since last year, more space has been opened up, with was great for the crowds to move around.
The stage was dominated by an Alien Queen prop as well as other Alien film props. In front was Terminator items.
  • Mark was there with his Podpad studios props, Astromech's, steampunk Dalek & lots more.
  • Joker Squad, Charity Sci-Fi, Southern Troopers & The Milton Keynes Garrison were just some of the groups there in a full range of costumes.
There were lots of stall's, collections for charities & of course Guests.

Paul F brought along his almost completed R2-D2 dome, with pop-up periscope that he has been working on. Great work in what he's done!

The Doors opened at 10am.
R5D4, Twitter, @JamesR5D4

Here's some of the pictures from the start of the day lol,
was to busy with R5 to take pics when it was packed lol

Alien Queen & Terminator props

R5D4 & R2D2
 R5 having 5mins break

Princess and droid
 A Princess and the droid [ok, so it's not R2 lol]

Podpad Studio's
 Podpad Studio's - selection of props

Terminator props

Another great, fun packed day for all who attended.....oh and the Sun did come out eventually.