Saturday, October 20, 2012

Working on a new R2-D2 Blue

Over the past few weeks, I've been working on a new "blue" for the second R2-D2.  Some of the R2 Builders have discovered that the original R2 from the 1977 movie used a blue metallic dye.  Archival photos showed the crew re-applying additional coats of the Dykem Steel blue metal dye as it fades fairly quickly.

What's phenomenal about the Dykem is how purple in hue the color is, despite being blue.  You can really see it in R2's Radar Eye...

My first R2 uses what is called the "Krider" formula, for the gent who came up with a really close match to the blue-purple hue that is R2-D2 Blue.  It uses a base coat of a Rustoleum metallic purple, then a coat of Duplicolor Anodized Blue, followed by several coats of clear coat.   The problem is that Rustoleum metallic purple is no longer available and efforts to duplicate or mimic it have been problematic.  The subsequent R2 units in the movies used House of Kolor paints which, although pricey, is available.

Seeing the results from the samples other builders shared looked really good.  The Dykem product is available locally for under $10, requiring an airbrush for best results.  As the builders tested it out more, we found that adding a UV Clearcoat helps preserve the color.  However, it was a little too purple in most lighting, so thru some trial and error, we found that adding a coat of Duplicolor Anodized Blue gave the best result.

Since the Dykem metal dye is very opaque, the metal it is applied to should be sanded, cleaned and brought to a high polish.

To polish the metal, I'm using this Mother's polishing ball

The stack of sandpaper. 320, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1500 and 2000

The various stages of shine, the best being the one that utilized the Mother's Aluminum polish on the far right

Prior to the first coat, I used the Dykem cleaning spray, which has acetone and other cleaners.  Here's after the first light coat of Dykem

Second coat

Dykem piece with several coats of UV clear and regular clear coat. 
 Its a really amazing color.  In hand, its purple.  On camera, blue.  It really depends on the angle.  

Now, with the Anodized Blue added to the mix...

Duplicolor Anodized Blue coat, just before the clear coats go on

Sample piece dry

Sample piece under flash

As you can see, its a really great mix of the blue with some purple hint to it.  And, significantly cheaper to use.

So, I began work on the parts that will get painted blue.  And, some that were already painted blue and need to have it removed.

The Large Data Port, already painted blue, needs to be stripped so it matches the rest of the pieces in the new R2 Blue

Zip Strip made very quick work of this.  Apply, wait for 10 minutes, wipe off...repeat as required.  Be sure you have lot's of ventilation!

And the Large Data Port with all the paint removed.  I rinsed it some cold water and gave it a thorough wipe down then let dry.
 Next up will be applying the blue to this and other parts, ready to be painted.

Utility Arms and the resin booster rockets, coated in a silver basecoat, ready for R2 Blue!