Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sorry Styrene, but the Dome is Aluminum...

...or is that aluminium?! :-D Okay, I feel a bit like a traitor, but I'm using an aluminum dome -- the R & J dome to be exact. It's a thing of beauty, but it does add quite a bit of weight. So it's not a complete styrene build...more like a Frankendroid!

After I finished applying metallic striping to my inner skin, I set work on the body aside until it's a bit cooler, as my next step involves some painting.

So, out comes the next big part of the droid puzzle: the dome! Luckily for me, excellent R2 Build blogger Victor Franco has the same dome (see his blog on the lower right) so I was able to refer to his posts for this part. At least at first. I could see right away the "gap" issue, so I skipped ahead and started removing panels prior to the big sanding I know is coming. Like Victor, I kept attached any panel that would need tracing onto the inner dome later. Standing on the shoulders of building giants, I am!

Instructions for panel-removal called for sawing off three of the wee connectors on each panel, then twisting off the fourth. I chose to saw off only two (on opposite sides) -- so the twisting would be on two connectors -- eliminating some sawing! Woo! Yeah, I'm lazy that way. But it worked!

I used a hacksaw blade, and wrapped one end in toweling so I'd not saw my sawing hand. Good call there, I'd say.

I started filing off the little nubs but ran out of time before finishing. I'm off to a convention in Baltimore for the weekend, so...see y'all next week!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gimme Some Skin!

So I spent a couple of days fussing with my inner skins -- I'd tape them on, find a gap, pull them off and try again! I must have re-taped them down about six times before I was not completely displeased. They are still not perfect, but I had to commit at some point! I carefully glued each seam and let the droid sit for a full day while the Weld-On did its thing.

Well, it worked! This droid is now solid as a rock...woooo!

Today I fussed some more -- filling in a couple of spots with some scrap styrene. I then taped on the outer skins in preparation for my special "faux aluminum frame" experiment. I ran pencil lines along each spot where the inner skin would peep through (unless it was to be a white area -- those I just marked for paint). Then I affixed metallic tape along each line. This should create the illusion of an aluminum skin...I hope! I plan to paint the outer skins (in curved position) off of the droid so I don't lose this effect.

Unfortunately, I ran out of tape precisely when my local hobby shop closed. Will continue tomorrow!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Wooo-Hoooo! Another Frame Is Born!

Finally we have gone from 2-D to 3-D! Frame contruction took about 5 hours. Do I have any advice or tips? Why, yes I do! Purchase as many small squares as you can reasonably justify. Waiting for each upright part to "set up" takes most of the time. Here is my start:

Have I started a model of the coliseum? Stonehenge for Spinal Tap? No, it's the start of level 2! I used my taller squares to be sure the rings were even.

Here is where it started to get tricky -- tiny errors multiplied later. Be careful!

She's not perfect, but she'll do. Frame done! I used tape to force some parts together. Will add some extra stryrene in places needed tomorrow. The cutting process caused most of the problems: some pieces weren't precisely the same height/width due to imperfect edges from the "breaking/snapping" method of cutting styrene.

A "frame-is-finished" builder tradition: trying on the skins! Some minor filing will need to be done before they are glued on, but HEY we are starting to look really droid-like, eh?

All in all, I'm glad I did this by myself. If I wanted a perfect droid, however, I'd pay to have the patterns laser-cut. There were so many tiny issues -- things that I will see forever, but that hopefully not too many others will notice. But WHEW I've got one major part done!! Huzzah!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Post-CV Inspiration!

I had such a fantastic time at CV, mostly in the droid room -- 75 droids! Droid heaven!!

Renewed and inspired (and finally rested), I've started back on my build. Today, I prepared to construct the frame. I thought prep time would be around...oh, one or two hours, and then I'd be on to the actual building! Bwahahhaaahaha!

Preparation consisted of the following steps: score pattern marks into styrene, remove pattern, wipe adhesive off with faux turpentine, soak in sudsy water, scrub, rinse, air-dry, drill any needed holes, counter-sink as needed. Whew! Pics are below, and frame-building finally begins tomorrow! Really, I promise!

All ready for frame assembly tomorrow: