Sunday, 9 April 2017

Star Wars R2-D2 [WIP - Domed Astromech Head]

Despite almost constantly waxing lyrical about the Bandai Star Wars plastic model kits, I must admit there have been instances when they've fallen short of expectations - Darth Vader being the prime example. Sadly, R2-D2 is another kit with a major flaw albeit one inherent straight-out-of-the-box sans any further modelling fix-ups. As you can see below, R2 has two unsightly seams where the two halves of the dome head attaches. And it's driving the perfectionist in me completely nuts.  

Bandai R2-D2 work-in-progress, domed astromech head
"The seam, the seam," yelled Tattoo in a (sadly non-existent) Star Wars-themed Fantasy Island remake

It's an eyesore, no two ways about it. The more I look at those seams the more I feel like stabbing an Ewok on the foot. Okay so I jest. I would gladly stab an Ewok anyway. To be fair, this so-called issue has a solution. Modellers better than I, have successfully smoothed out those seams through skillful work with putty and abrasives. That route requires a lot more work not only in itself but also by the need to assemble the dome together first before painting. This in turn requires the non-silver metallic parts to be masked off during the spray painting process. In the end I took a chance that the seams wouldn't be as bad as predicted. It certainly looks like my gamble didn't quite pay off.    

Yet another view of that unsightly seam on R2's domed head
Blues on R2 came out a tad darker than I intended but still much preferable to a brighter version

Blues and silvers on the domed astromech head were repainted using Tamiya spray paints namely TS-19 Metallic Blue, TS-71 Smoke and TS-30 Silver Leaf. While the requisite parts were already moulded in colour, they gave out a plasticky vibe that would've made the R2 figurine too toylike.   

 Repainting the domed head with metallic silver was necessary to recreate a realistic look
Pixelated red/white decal brilliantly imitated the display light on R2's head

Decal-wise R2 had some cool pieces which increased realism sans any detailed painting. This was especially true for the long rectangle piece at the back of R2's head which had a pixelated red/white design to simulate electronic instrumentation as well as the two short rectangle pieces at the front with a pixelated blue/white design for similar reasons. And by adding to that, the brilliant tinted part for R2's primary photo receptor, then we have a combination of small details which increase realism. 

Did I mention the seam?
One thing that Bandai did get perfectly right was the reflective, translucent lens 

Despite that one straight-out-of-the-box flaw, I still have high hopes for how R2-D2 will eventually turn out. Seam or no seam, Bandai did create a highly detailed and fairly movie-accurate model kit of R2-D2. It won't be perfect due to my gamble on the seams but hopefully close enough. Work is progressing nicely on R2's main body and it should be completed by next week. Before the new week arrives though, do have yourself a great weekend ... what's left of it anyway.

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18 comments:

  1. Seam aside, you are doing such a good job on this.

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  2. Replies
    1. Much appreciated Michal, many thanks!

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  3. ♫ ♪ Bip - BIPI - Utipi - ♫ ♪
    In common langage : "excellent job"

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  4. Despite the seam your R2 does look quite impressive already! Looking forward to the finished piece.

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    1. Thank you very much Moiterei, much appreciated!

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  5. Lovely painting, smooth, crisp and precise. Superb. :)

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    1. You're too kind ... thank you so much :)

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  6. Call the seams battle damage XD

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    Replies
    1. LoL ... I wish I could. It just looks too artificial heh heh XD

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  7. Very nice paintwork you've got some lovely smooth paintwork coming along.

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    1. Thank you Simon ... spray cans are the smoothest I can achieve for now as I don't have an air brush. :)

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  8. I can see how the seam can be unnerving but you're doing more than fine on your part !

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    Replies
    1. Thank you man ... very much appreciated!

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