Saturday, December 09, 2017

The Last Jedi World Premiere

Let me stipulate up front that this post has nothing to do with my R2 or R2 Building. With that out of the way...

I was lucky enough to be invited to the red (white, actually) carpet event and world premiere of The Last Jedi, which took place at the Shrine Auditorium, in Los Angeles, CA.

I was joined by R2 Builders Michael McMaster, Chris James and Steele Smith, along with dozens of club members of the 501st and Rebel Legions, and other Star Wars fan clubs.

Mike Senna was also nearby, but he had other fish to fry. He did kindly offer to take pictures for fans from the vantage point of the carpet (including the one above).

At 5:00pm sharp, the festivities began, starting with a garrison of First Order Stormtroopers.

They were immediately followed by the droids! Leading off, BB-9E.

Next up, everyone's favorites, R2-D2 and C-3PO.

And by shear coincidence, Mike Senna walked by.

And the last droid, but certainly not least, BB-8.

After that, the actors and crew started to arrive, and most of them autographed our badges and other memorabilia.

Chewbaccas of past and present, Peter Mayhew and Joonas Suotamo.

Yoda himself, Frank Oz.

Director Rian Johnson, whom I met at this years Star Wars Night at Dodger Stadium.

Living legend Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke (and forever memorable as Gollum).

Daisy Ridley as Rey signed lots of badges, and made fellow R2 Builder Keri Bean (in glasses) very happy when she signed Keri's Porg. :)

Warrick Davis and family made their way by.

Next up, Mark Hamill. Mark took plenty of time chatting with people and autographing badges. He also walked away with my Sharpie, but that's ok, I had another. :)

We saw Lupita Nyong'o from a distance, as she was called over for an interview with the Star Wars Show crew.

Adam Driver as Kylo Ren almost made it to where I was, but he too got called over and I just missed him.

Gwendolyn Christie as Captain Phasma also got called over, so we missed her too!

John Williams, another living legend, walked by.

John Boyega (Finn) barely made it due to travel problems from Atlanta, so he was running late and had to turbo-sign everyone's badge. Thanks to Mike Senna for nabbing this picture.

And toward the end, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, to whom we shouted our thanks.

Ok, with that out of the way, it was time to make our way indoors to see a movie!

As I write this, very few people in this galaxy or any other have seen the movie, so I won't say anything about it at all, other than we were provided popcorn and drinks, and before the movie started, Rian Johnson brought the cast out on stage and said a few words.

About 2.5 hours later, we emerged for the after party and dinner! We saw Kelly Marie Tran chatting with some of the cast from the show Speechless.

The theme of the party was somewhat like a casino.

Photo ops! Michael McMaster, Mike Senna and I got to have our picture taken with R2-D2. This all somehow seems very familiar.

Michael McMaster and I ventured over to where the rounder droids were standing by for photos.

We chatted with other guests (the celebs were pretty much off limits), and took in the sights and sounds as the evening went on. Toward the end, we lined up to get a special gift.

Once we collected our gift, it was pretty much time to head on out. I took one last look at the massive AT-M6 walker.

Later at home, I was able to get a look at my badge and open up the gift.

It goes without saying that I am super grateful that I got to go to the premiere. It was a memorable evening and I'll always appreciate it.

The full photoset is here.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Ankle Bracket Backing Strip Replacement

Building activity for droid #1!

At R2's event yesterday, somehow the backing strip of the ankle bracket on the left leg tore out and went missing, so I had to create a new one. This is made from a flat piece of 1/8" PVC, so I measured and marked where to cut for the small replacement part.

I decided to use the saw attachment on my Dremel to do the cut, partly because I can more easily cut a straight line using a poor-man's fence, and partly because I had few other options.

I cut the strip longer than needed, so I could trim it to fit.

I applied white primer, followed by Krylon Chrome Aluminum paint.

At least it doesn't look any worse than it did before. I did manage to mar a bit of the paint job with the model glue I was using to glue the piece into place. If it bugs me too much, I can always repaint.

This is the first time in over 10 years of running R2 that a part has gone missing. Hopefully it'll be at least 10 more years before it happens again.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Mystery Event & Meetup with CFX Team

R2 made an appearance for an event I haven't gotten clearance to talk about yet, but suffice it to say it wasn't super-high profile.

After the event however, I did meet some very high-profile people in my book, the Pinewood Creature Effects (CFX) team. I met up with Michael McMaster at the top of the tallest building west of the Mississippi river, and there we joined Neal Scanlan, Josh Lee, Matt Denton and Henrik Svensson, who among many other things helped bring BB-8 to life.

We were waaay up there!

We grabbed some dinner and chatted some more, and it was a real privilege to spend time with these creative geniuses.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Combat Radio's Breakfast with Santa 2017

Today R2 and I participated in our 7th straight Combat Radio Breakfast with Santa charitable event, along with fellow R2 Builders Paul Thompson and Gene Arena. Gordon Tarpley joined us as C-3PO, and there were dozens of costumers from just about every genre out there. This all event benefits homeless children and families, and gives them an opportunity to have an excellent meal, meet tons of characters, and get a present from Santa himself! Dawn and Kathryn McMaster also joined us, as did Natalie Tarpley.

We all arrived between 6:00am and 6:30am to set up. Both Paul and Gene brought donuts!

Funds are raised by auctioning dozens of autographed posters, artwork, and other memorabilia.

Gene and Paul had their droids outside to greet the guests as they lined up to get in the restaurant.

C-3PO and my R2-D2 were there to greet them once they entered.

The event itself was recorded for future broadcast.

Finally, the kids got to line up to meet Santa, and every one got a gift!

Everyone had a great time, and I'm sure we'll be invited back next year.

The full photoset is here.