R4-D4 Dome work progress 3.3

Progress update, just before I'm off work for the Christmas season.

Work done:
  • 3D printed the location brackets & magnet holder for the lid.
  • silver detailed the grooved panels.
Doesn't sound like much lol.
 Started hand painting the grooves on the dome and lid.

 The magnet holder above, a washer was arldited to the underside of the lid.

The printed location holder, one of two, screwed to the underside of the dome's top ring. The lid has two blocks that slot into these.

Set back with the metal ring fabrication......this is on hold for now, which hold's up me semi-completing the build. I still need to sort the electronics and power cables, so something to do over Xmas lol.

The UK R2D2 Builders Club are holding there annual Xmas get-together on the 28th December. Something else to look forward too.

So from me and R5, Merry Chirstmas 

UK R2 Builders - The Last Jedi @ Odeon IMAX 2017 - Event Report

Location: IMAX Odeon cinema, Milton Keynes
Groups:   UK R2D2 Builders Club & Joker Squad

An early start Saturday morning (R5 was already loaded up the night before). It was a crisp clear morning, stars were still out, no traffic on the motorway, tunes on the radio.... 😊

**This Event Report contains NO SPOILERS!!**

Arrived just after 9am (2 hour drive up), I met the others who were already unloaded & did the same. Then it was time for our viewing of The Last Jedi, in the IMAX screen. WOW!! I thought the film looked good when I saw it Thursday night with the kids, but the IMAX's depth of field, made the space scene's even more amazing!

Once out of the screening, we set up the droids to join the Joker Squad members who were trooping already. Just had time to say hi to fellow club member Stuart Bone, who was only able to attend for a few hours with his R2, but was good to see him out and about.

The rest of the day was then rolling around and having fun & photo's being taken.
 R5 & Matt's R2-D2

Just some of the Joker Squad group

Here more pictures, that were taken by fellow R2 Builder: Chris Williams.

The faces and the reactions speak for how great a time everyone had.

And here's a pics of some of us lol
Matt, Chris, Emma, Mike & Me.
Not in the pic's are Lee T & Adam S.

We all stopped for a sit down meal in TGI's, which was just next door, then back into the cinema for a last hour or so of fun, selfies, group pics and entertaining the visiting film go'ers.

We eventually finished up, loaded up and once Emma had cut the cake for Colin's birthday, we said our goodbyes and headed off home. Mine being the furthest, but as always, well worth it!

Checkout more pics of the event on Instagram using #astromech, #ukr2d2buildersclub #miltonkeynes as examples.

The combined efforts of the clubs,
we raised a grand total of £500!
For our chosen charity


UK R2 Builders - The Last Jedi @ Odeon IMAX 2017


Members of the UK R2D2 Builders Club will be in attendance
at the Milton Keynes

on Saturday December 16th 2017

This is our third outing at the cinema
and again we'll be joining up with Joker Squad.

With 8 builders attending, this should be an extra special day for
visitors to the cinema on the day.

James R5-D4 Instagram link 👍


The Last Jedi - tonight's film


Been waiting to see this and now it's here. I've only seen the first trailer and have avoided speculation etc as to how the film's story line goes. Toys and other pictures aside, I know nothing beyond what has been shown.

With all the recent Premier event's, that friends have attended (with & without R2-D2's), am really looking forward to tonight's 7:15pm (GMT) screening with my two hyped up kids lol.


Then on Saturday, myself & R5 will be joining other members of the Club for a day event at Milton Keynes Cinema, like last year's Rogue One film release. I'll be posting up pictures from there on my Instagram account & Twitter as well no doubt lol

R4-D4 Dome work progress 3.2

Did some 3D designs & printing for location & locking brackets for the Dome's Lid.

First up was a bracket to hold a magnet on with. It screws inside the underside edge of the frame, with a spigot, and the ring magnet is then pressed onto it. Then a washer will be glued to the underside of the lid. The first design didn't leave enough clearance when the bracket was fitted, meaning the magnet was flush level with the top of the frame.

This is so that the Lid won't easily pop off or move, when driving etc.

The second brackets were designed to correctly align the lid with the top edge of the dome.
These allow the Lid's location blocks to sit in, holding the lid and stopping it from moving/rotating etc.
Again, the hole is to secure to the underside of the frame.
Three of these will be printed.


R4-D4 Dome work progress 3.1 - RED

Last week, I stripped down the dome of it's fitted components & started to spray up the dome, white.

Still have the lower ring to sort out etc. Plus colour scheme, which is actually my biggest issue lol.

Weekend, I lightly sanded the dome and then Monday in work, I gave it a second coat of white.

I drew up some colour ideas, but wasn't happy with them. Then I settled on a design that follows a standard'ish style. So, I started the masking off...

One thing I had forgotten was there are grooved panels above the Radar Eye's location. With everything going on, I'd completely forgotten to add these.....

So a quick operational procedure later and......

Two new grooves were in, PVA washed and edges sanded, ready for the morning.
I was working on the grooving and the masking off of the dome for about 3hrs! It was gone 1am when I finished up and went to bed.

Tuesday 12th.
This morning I set up in the works spray booth and got to spraying up the dome.
They only sell the metallic red in small tins.....good job I bought two!
Started spraying up.

Dome and lid sprayed, just waiting for it to dry,

I also sprayed up the two electronics panels in silver. I got them wet with spray which has helped with the blending of the 3D printed ridges.
Once dried these will get dirtied up with black etc.

So lunchtime I peeled off all the masking. Two spots I'd missed with covering, and one slight mist bleed. But am not to bothered at the moment as I can re-do this bit later.
 Radar Eye fitted back on.

'Electronics panel' fitted back on. View also of the lid.
I left one panel be red & included some random split pin strips, for R5 reference :)

Next up is silver groove details.

Metal for the neck ring arrived today from 'Metals4U', here in the UK. You can order strips cut to length, width & thickness etc.


R4-D4 Dome work progress 3.0

Finished off the last grooving to the curved panel.
Lightly sanded it and applied a PVA wash over it.

Next up was some silver detailing on the radar eye. I sprayed some into an empty can cap and then using a file paint brush, hand painted the slots on the eye.

Then I used the brush to 'dry brush' over some of the edges.
This helps create the chipped paint effect.
Still a work in progress as need to add darker colour's to add 'dirt' effect.

Next up was to position and glue into place the Radar lens. I used fiber glass resin, marked the position and fixed it in place. I then screwed it back onto the dome so that any resin would be shaped by the dome, before it dried and that would of meant more work.

As I'm not sure about the final colour scheme for the dome, I did decide that regardless, the dome will need a white coat of paint. So I started on the lid.
A few coats and wow, what a finish!
The waves in the reflection near the middle, is the extractor filter, not the surface finish lol


R4-D4 Dome work progress 2.9

Friday, I fitted everything onto the Dome. Used temporary screws to hold the circuit panels in place & wired up the LED's to mini 12v battery. Ready for Saturday at Leamington Spa Wars event, see event report coming soon.
The radar eye still needs work on it, to get the edge fitting nice and tight. And still one last half panel to groove.

See Event Report Blog for Spa Wars at Leamington Spa.

Sunday afternoon, I test fitted the lower location ring onto the domes spacer blocks.

After aligning it up centrally, I measured the height, and yep, in my infinite wisdom, I'd not taken into account the thickness of the location ring....in my defense I have had a lot going on lol.

So next up was to trim the blocks down.

Once this was done, it was a case of screwing the location ring on.

Next up is the bearing location pin blocks.

Marked there rough position on the location ring. Then marked and drilled a slightly over size 5mm hole in them. Once this was done, I then used PVA wood glue to secure them in position & left to dry overnight.
You can see them circled in red in picture above.

Once dried I then drilled holes and countersunk them for clearance, and screwed the blocks in place.


Been also working on smoothing out the Radar Eye more.
Primer sprayed it (and the lid) the other day.

And sprayed it up metallic Red.
Wasn't impressed with the usual mat black finish.
I still need to work out a paint scheme for the dome tho....


Event Report - Leamington Spa Wars 2017

Friday night was loading up the car night. Got this down to about 15-20mins now lol. All ready for the off Saturday morning.

Saturday morning, early start. Met up with Paul Felski (& his R2-D2) and he followed me up in his transporter.

Just over an hour and a half drive up, we arrived at All Saints' Parish Church, Leamington Spa. And knew we were at the right place as Lee's van is unmissable lol. Glynn arrived at the same time, so we all unloaded and set up the droids.

We were all set ready for early birds opening at 10am, when we were asked if we could move our transports to a more convenient parking area......? 20mins round trip later, we had found free parking and had walked back to the Church. Thankfully Emma was able to keep an eye on the droids etc. Tho we did then miss the local paper interview.

Link to the papers website.

The guest list was impressive, Actors to prop makers from the original films, including film makers from 'Elstree 1976'. The new release from Helix stationary were on display as well as loads of vendors.

Lee got asked to attend the 'Force Awakens' Q&A panel, when someone mentioned he was there & had worked on it.

Banners set up.
One of the two tables, this one had my R4 dome with a few other items on.

Paul & Lee answering questions.

R5, R2-D2 & R2-PHT

 Lee's R2, Glynn's R2-PHT & Lee's other R2

Paul, chatted with Natalie Cuzner, who amongst over acting rolls,
played PZ-4CO in 'The Force Awakens'

We had a good day, chatting with visitors, explaining about the droids & how they were built. Talking about the Club & how to join. www.astromech.info for the UK, www.astromech.net for the world wide group. There are some great pictures up on Instagram #spawars, #spawars17 (just two examples) so check these out as well.

The event finshed around 5pm, and we packed up the droids and display. There was a film showing afterwards, so the hall had to be cleared away and seating re-arranged for the screen.

Emma dropped us back to our cars and then we headed back to the Church to load everything up. We said our goodbyes and headed off our separate ways.

For there next event in 2018,
check out their website, via link at top of Blog Post.