Would you believe it, today is my one year build anniversary? I’d really hoped that he’d be back on three legs with all his skins on and looking like the real deal by now, but alas it wasn’t to be. I’ve learned that it’s not always good to rush, and all good things come to those who wait.
I’d joined the Builders Group back in January 2001 and been a member since. I’d had one failed attempt with a resin kit I’d purchased back in 2002 and shelves the project. I really didn’t follow much of what was going on with the group apart from remembering how blown away I was with Gary Weavers all aluminum droid sometime during 2004. I thought to myself I’d never be able to build or afford one of those.
But in late 2006 I rediscovered Artoo and the Builders Group. I couldn’t believe how far things had come and I ordered some parts. Then on December 31st, 2006 I picked up my Dremel and started to cutting my newly delivered R&J dome.
During the year I’ve learned so much, met a bunch of fantastic warm welcoming people that I hope to call friends for a very long time. The big highlight of course was Celebration 4 – which was a big motivator. About a month before I realized that I had most of the parts in hand or could make what was missing to get a droid on three legs and maybe running around. With a lot of late nights and 30 days later I was at C4 with a droid in the races and delighting kids young and old throughout the convention center. He was skinless but who’s counting.
Then over the summer, like a lot of the builders who went crazy before C4, I took a break – 5 months in fact. I tinkered on and off, but for the most part he was basically the same droid.
Sometime in late October/early November I got the bug again and went full force into building. I had it in the back of my head that I wanted to get him “done” by the one year anniversary – or at least looking like a real Artoo-Detoo. And I came close.
For the record my shortlist of “to-do’s” which I have no chance of cramming into the last few hours of 2007 are –
- Re-attach newly painted skins
- Re-install electronics
- Screw in body details like the oct port, power coupler etc.
- Glue loose panels onto skin
- Magnets on back door
- Hinges on various panels
Again so close that I’m kicking myself.
If I look back I’ve probably worked a totally of 5 months out of the year on the project, so I have nobody but myself to blame for not getting him done.
But like every true droid wrangler knows – your droid is never done, and for me going into phase 3 I’ll be expanding on my new sound system, finish up the dome tricks I’d already made a start on like the fog/fire-extinguisher and adding a periscope. I also want to get the utility arms opening, and servos on the dome panels, maybe the cpu arm working too.
Two big lessons for me this year – have patients and do your research. We’re called “Builders”, but I think we all have to be thinkers first and open to new ideas. I know I’ve spent more time reading, thinking and seeking advice than building.
It’s been a real fun year and the next big event coming up is San Francisco WonderCon in February. I think this will be the first year for droids at the event.
Thanks again to everyone for helping me along in this journey – especially Victor Franco, Mike Senna, Gerard Fajardo, Chris Simonds, Allen Mahurin, Ed Wamser, Calvin Thomas, Tiny, Richard Jacobsen, George Luck, Jerry Greene and all the parts suppliers and people who helped me find parts.
I also have to thank my wife for putting up with all the mess, the noise, the paint fumes and me wanting to constantly talk and share the latest thing I’ve worked on.