California Museum : R2D2

A couple of weeks ago Matt Mccormick and I headed up to The California Museum in Sacramento to check out a Lucasfilm R2-D2 on display.

At first we thought that it was part of the “Out of this World” / Paul Allen touring collection, but it turned out that it’s part of a separate exhibit to commemorating George Lucas’ entry into The California Hall of Fame at the end of last year.

Until Matt brought it to my attention I had no clue that there was currently an Artoo on display so close to home, so a trip was definitely on the cards. At first, while discussing it with Matt we had thought it maybe a replica because some had reported that it had some strange “features” and was part of the Paul Allen collection, but a quick search of some pictures on the RPF showed that it was almost certainly from the Lucasfilm archive and had some LFL lineage to it.

Matt and I were all over the droid taking as many photos as we could – alas no flashes were allowed making the job hard, and the glass didn’t help 🙁

After seeing it in person, I can confirm that it’s the same Artoo from the Magic of Myth (MoM) exhibit which was first shown in San Francisco back in the 90’s, and before that at the Lucasfilm/ILM Model Shop Exhibits at the Marin County Fair which started back in 1988. After seeing some photos of the same droid in the Madrid SW Exhibit last summer, I’d confirmed with Don Bies that this droid has an original aluminum Kenny Baker body with a fiberglass dome, and was assembled originally for the Marin County Fair Exhibit and has been on tour ever since.

In addition to the Artoo, there’s a 3PO on display as well as some Indiana Jones props, original Lucas scripts and some token Clone Wars concept art.

I must have looked at the photos from the MoM a thousand times but never noticed some of it’s oddities until I saw it in person.

  • He’s shorter in stature than normal due to shortened legs that have been pushed into the ankles.
  • Because of the shortened legs, the body is sitting on the battery boxes (which helps with stability on display.)
  • Dome appears to be aluminum, but is painted fiberglass.
  • Paint is very good, especially the white, so parts were probably repainted at some point.
  • Leg to body hubs thinner than normal, which pulls the legs tight to the body.
  • Shoulder Horseshoes seem a bit too thin as well.
  • Shoulder Buttons stick out a lot more than I remember, but this maybe due to the thin horseshoes.
  • Round inside edge of the horseshoes have no detail/ridges.
  • There’s a silver plate on top of the lower half circle where the hoses enter the battery boxes.
  • Dome doesn’t look like it will rotate as it’s flat on the body.
  • Utility Arms are thin sheet metal.

Here’s samples of my photos, the rest can be found in the gallery here, and Matt’s write up can be found here and his photos are here.

I also shot some video and will try and post it in the next couple of days.

Posted by Chris on January 20th, 2010 in Events, General | 3 Comments

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3 Responses

  1. Steve remarks on

    Awesome post! Thanks for pointing out all of the detail issues.

    Was it ever on screen and were there reasons for the shortening?


  2. DarthMoose74 remarks on

    WOW Chris! Great Photos and info! Thank you for sharing.
    It is amazing how different each real R2 actually is 🙂

  3. Chris remarks on

    As I said in my post, this is not a “real” screen used R2. It has parts from a real one, but was made for the 1988 Marin County Fair Lucasfilm Exhibit, and has been touring ever since. It has a Kenny body, but the skirt, feet and battery boxes are not as they’re solid and no way for Kenny to get his legs thru 🙂

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