I really don't like painting. It seems every project I do has a painting stage. It's the most frustrating part for me. Lots of fiddly prep work and inevitably some bug lands in your freshly sprayed paint. I considered having R2 professionally painted, but this is MY project so... I built a Thing.
This is the first time I've built a spray booth. I figured I could use it for future projects as well. I used a box fan to keep the air moving in a single direction to control overspray. It worked out really well.
Although the styrene parts I built came out pretty smooth, there was still some body work that needed doing. A little filler and some sanding time took care of those spots.
R2's aluminum body was a different matter. The skins required a lot of finishing work, grinding them down with a file, and successive applications of a sanding block to remove high spots and to make the body appear rounder.
Here's an example of a single spot on the body. This photo is just after the initial file work.
And here's the same spot after 220, 400, and 600 wet block sanding. This had to be done all over the body.
The body was masked off with heavy paper and tape.
I used a special etching primer for aluminum. Despite this, the paint has a tendency to chip. I'm afraid I'll have to repaint him again in a few years.
White and clear coat were sprayed at the same time.
The plastic parts were done the same way, minus the etching primer. A standard primer was used instead.
I shot the paint just before leaving for six weeks on a job so the paint had plenty of time to cure. Then it all needed to be color sanded and buffed to a shine. Here's an example from one of the feet. On the right you can see the orange peel in the paint and on the left, it's been knocked down a bit by color sanding.
Here's the same part after polishing. Nice and shiny!!
R2's blue parts were a totally different job. They were all aluminum and I wanted the shine of the metal to show through the paint. I followed the painting recommendations of some club members and used translucent purple followed by blue.
In direct sunlight they purple cast of the color shows though JUST enough to emulate the Dykem blue dye that the prop builders used for the original film. Unlike the Dykem, this paint will be UV resistant and won't fade.
Reassembling the dome with the colored panels was an amazing experience. He'd looked kinda like R2 before, but now he WAS R2D2!
And by the time the rest of the Droid was reassembled, R2 had actually arrived!