This week is Comic-Con, or as we call it, Nerd Prom. It’s the place where everyone who likes anything remotely geeky has to go at least once, sort of the Mecca for fans of comics, sci-fi, fantasy, gaming, costuming, toy collecting, Star Wars, and pretty much anything else that would have gotten you stuffed into your locker 25 years ago.
One group that’s particularly popular at the four-day endurance contest that’s rapidly taking over most of downtown San Diego is the 501st Legion; this is a group of devoted fans of Star Wars who have gone to enormous trouble to painstakingly recreate costumes and props from the various movies, including everyone’s favorite droid, R2-D2 (as well as innumerable other models in the R2 production line).
My friend and fellow archery instructor, Russell, is the proud owner of an R2-D2 unit that he hand-crafted over a period of something more than three years. He has a blog about the process. It starts with painting the legs; I don’t know if there were earlier posts elsewhere detailing the earliest steps of construction, but you can pick up a lot of the process along the way as he shows various portions of the construction, reworking, repair and modification of many components.
This project is not for the faint of heart. It will require a lot of cutting, filling, sanding and painting of materials ranging from styrene to aluminum, as well as wiring, soldering and installing of motors, batteries, lights and other components. It’s an impressive project, and one that provides a lot of joy for others as well; the finished unit is a popular visitor at children’s hospitals, schools, and charity events.
There is a thriving online community of R2 builders and Star Wars costume and prop fabricators, but half the fun of getting involved is finding those kindred spirits on your own, so I’m not going to post a lot of links here for you. You know where to find Google and Facebook and Yahoo Groups, so just consider Russell’s blog a little taste to inspire you. If you really want an R2 of your very own, you’ll seek out and find the people who can help you and the sources for the materials you’ll need. Nothing worth doing is ever easy.
May the Force be with you.