Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Time to re-think R2-D2 Blue!

Back in 2012, many of us R2 Builders thought we had found the perfect blue!  We stumbled onto Dykem, a metal dye that was used on the original R2-D2s in STAR WARS A New Hope.  It appears the crew were doing a fair amount of touch ups during filming since the Dykem blue goes to all purple after a while, so to stay blue, frequent touch ups and re-do's are needed.

We thought we had it nailed down to a decent formula.  Polish the aluminum pieces (plastic pieces need a shiny silver base coat), apply the Dykem, apply a coat of DupliColor Metalcast Blue Anodized and a few coats of a UV clear coat.  However getting Dykem to go on well was a challenge with my airbrush.  Then, there was how those purplish-blue pieces look a year later.  Based on pictures other builders posted, it was an eventual failure.  

I painted several of the pieces in my 2012 post.  Any some of the pieces came out really good, despite a very laborious process.  However, close to two years later, the color has changed.  Now that I have a new 300 mm dome ready to be un-boxed, prepped and painted, its very important all the "blue paint" matches!

Currently I am testing some formulas/recipes that other builders have used and are pleased with.  Some are rattle-can formulas, as I used on the first R2.  The blue I have on the first R2-D2 is what we call "Krider Blue", but the Rustoleum Metallic Purple has been discontinued.  I'll post pictures of the tests later on!

That said, today was all about removing the paint.  I figured out a low tech way to do this...used two paint roller trays and an old paint brush.  I filled one with water and the other I filled with enough acetone to work the part around in.  (SAFETY REMINDER - I did this outdoors with plenty of ventilation, eye protection and gloves!)

In went the utility arms and using the paint brush, I just kept slowly applying acetone to the part.  The paint and dye quickly started to peel off the part.  So much so that it was clogging the brush bristles and the acetone was full of chunks of paint.  After the part was pretty much free of paint, into the water it went.

Now my method is hardly the best, in hindsight.  I wound up using a cloth with acetone on it it to wipe off those stubborn specks.  The resin eye is going to take some more work since the silver base-coat will require some light sanding to completely remove all the paint and primer.

The aluminum arms have cut outs to make them lighter, which also means you can still see paint in side those holes.  Those will require a bit more labor to be completely free of paint and dye!

Many more parts to remove paint from!

Next up will be modifying the aluminum utility arms so they can travel in and out of the body skins.  More soon....