Two for the price of one, with a dash of Power Functions...
About this creation
Matt Armstrong, monsterbrick on Flickr, built a series of astromechs to display for Star Wars Days at LEGOLAND, CA, inspiring me to finally make one myself, an idea I've had since the unveiling of the UCS R2-D2 at BBTB 2012.
The overall design is the same as LEGO's, with a color change and some minor modifications.
His trusty saw.
This one is currently on display at Rebel Bricks, a new buy/sell/trade LEGO shop in Grants Pass, OR.
Last year, when I attended BBTB 2012, there was an unveiling of the then unreleased UCS R2-D2 and I had a chance to chat with Kevin Hinkle, the LEGO Community Relations representative. While chatting with him, we discussed the idea of adding Power Functions to the existing design and it never left my mind. After building R2-D5, I decided it was time to give it a try.
My main goal was to accomplish this without sacrificing any of the original playabiliy and function, requiring hours of trial and error placing the sensor, battery pack and wheels. The retractable leg still works, though it has to be secured internally when out to maintain traction, which is nothing more than a brick attached to the upper shaft(shut it, Phipson!). I also had to redesign the locking mechanism for the leg as the battery pack occupies that space. The head has to be removed to access it, but it is easy and quite functional.
There were also stability issues with the legs that required a couple of sway bars to be added, connecting the feet and keeping the legs from wanting to go in opposite directions. Though it blocks the retractable leg from dropping straight down, I just have to lean it back and the leg drops fine.
I also added two more doors to the front, though I have yet to add any tools...
The original tools, however, are there and functional! I'd like to eventually get a second sensor that would operate the head and possible a tool or two.
The battery pack removes easily and stays in place without any clutch issues. Placement of the sensor pretty much requires that you stay behind it at all times, but it might just be that I need new batteries.
I originally wanted to hide the motors inside the feet, but the stability issues were too much to overcome without increasing the size of the feet to comical proportions. As it is, the feet are a brick taller (plus a couple mm of wheel)and a stud longer. It was still a hassle to stabilize the motors and took some tricky solutions to lock them in place, but the end result is something I am quite proud of (not to pat myself on the back...).
Cool droids. It's similar to how I made my Starfighters. The designs are very similar to the LEGO sets but the colors and designs are original. The black astromech just looks so cool; I want that as a set.
Nicely built and packed full of extras galore. Also, I'm glad you're still around. I was starting to think my unique aroma chased you away screaming in writhng agony! Whatever the reason, glad you're back.