Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cinematic History?

Tonight, December 29th, 2009, my son and I went to see the 10:30pm showing of James Cameron's AVATAR in Real3D at our local cinema. I was cautiously looking forward to it...and we are SO VERY glad we went.

For anyone out there who is contemplating whether or not to see this film, I'll put in my two cents.

First off, you MUST see this film in Real3D. It is probably the ONLY way to see this film. Looking back, only an hour after the film is over, I can honestly say it would have been a good film, but the grand scale of the story truly comes to life in 3D. The Real3D technology used to bring the images to life will NOT give you a headache. At two and a half hours, not once did I need to take my glasses off. For those who aren't used to wearing glasses, like my son, the worst that will happen is the top ridge of your ear will get a little sore, like wearing sunglasses for too long. You will find yourself in the fictional world of Pandora once you put on those glasses.

Second, WETA, Peter Jackson's movie production studio, has done a superb job of making you believe everything you see on screen. The characters are so incredibly rich and detailed, you'll forget you're watching a computer animation.

For those who are worried about age limits, there is some strong language in the film, along with a few suggestive romantic moments.

We may have just witnessed the bar being raised a little bit higher for film making. I can only imagine what Star Wars would have looked like in this Real3D technology. WOW!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Son's Stormtrooper Costume

This post is a bit late, but I realized I hadn't posted this up. Here's a shot of my son's Stormtrooper costume from Halloween 2009. The helmet is a Master Replica's CE. The rifle is the Battle Droid Rifle (toy), and the suit is entirely made out of Craft Foam from Michael's Arts and Crafts. It took me about 3 days and a bunch of glue to get it ready for Halloween, but only cost around $15.00 in the end (minus the helmet and rifle). Inspiration came from Chris' work over at Do-It-Yourself Star Wars Props

Here's the photo:

What's missing in this photo are the Shoulder Bells which were completed after the photo was taken and the white shoes. I'll try and get him to suit up again soon for another photo. (Yeah, like that will be hard to do!)

4th Troop, 3rd Event

Welp, since R2 is coming along really slow due to expense issues, I'm opting to share another set of photos from my latest Vader Troop with the Central California Garrison of the 501st.

On Wednesday, December 16th, 2009, myself and four other members made an appearance for the Salvation Army and the local News10 Crew for "Coats for Kids". We trooped for four total hours and collected well over 1,000 coats.

Here's a few photos:

Friday, October 16, 2009

3rd Troop, 2nd Event with the 501st

Star Wars Death Troopers novel writer Joe Schreiber made an appearance at the Folsom,CA Borders Book Store on 15 October, 2009. Myself and several other 501st members were there to ensure the Empire maintained order and control.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

1st "Troop" with the 501st

Well, I did it! I went out with the 501st on my first official troop as Darth Vader and had a GREAT TIME! Star Wars in Concert came to Arco Arena here in Sacramento. There were two performances, 8pm Friday, 9 Oct 2009 and 3pm Saturday, 10 Oct 2009. I volunteered to suit up and was accepted. Here's a couple of photos from the event.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Acceptance into the 501st

Well, it's been many years in the making, with lots of attention to detail and making sure I was going about the process in the correct way...but I was approved and received my final 501st Membership number today. I'm officially SL-2294 with the Central California Garrison.

What an honor! Thanks Eugene and Scott! I look forward to trooping with everyone!

I've got a few things in the works that I can't discuss right now, but I'll let you know when I can!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Back to Creativity

Hey again! It's been almost 90 days since my last post. A lot has been going on around my residence and it's nice to sit back down and contribute some thoughts to my blog. Life has been keeping me intensely busy, however, I'm beginning to have a touch of free time now and then, mainly on weekends. So, this past Saturday (Sep 26th, 2009) my son and I went to the Sacramento Science Fiction/Horror Convention. It was our first time at a Sci-Fi convention and we had a pretty good time! We realized it was going to be fun when we walked in and spotted Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) sitting at a table and signing autographs.

Over the next couple of hours, we enjoyed walking around, speaking with various actors and vendors and looking through the dealer room.

My son had his picture taken with Ray Park (Darth Maul):

Daniel Logan (The Young Boba Fett):

...and several costumed characters throughout the day. But, the highlight of the day was when he took pictures with Stormtroopers from the Central California Garrison of the 501st...

...and R2-D2

...who probably trumped everyone in popularity. This R2 was built by fellow Sacramento Resident and friend Matt McCormick.

You can check out Matt's blog HERE or from my links to the right of this blog. Matt, he's looking REALLY cool and I'm so glad to see how far you've come!!! Now I gotta start playing catch-up!!

So, the day fired me up again and I started talking with Eugene Shim of the local 501st Garrison. I mentioned I had just finished my ROTS Vader Suit and Eugene was inquiring if I had applied for membership...which I hadn't yet. So, after going home, I suited up and took these photos:

So, the photos have been submitted and I'm waiting on my 501st I.D. number as I type this entry. It should arrive in my email in the next 72 hours or so.

On the R2 front, I've ordered an aluminum dome topper and have been thinking a LOT about my frame again.

Well, this post was pretty long, so I'm going to call it quits for the night. Check back in soon as I hope to have some more progress!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Latest Update

I know it's been a couple of weeks since my last update, but this economy sucks, as many already know, and it's affecting just about everyone, including myself. Everyone, please hang in there. I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason! I know we'll all come out on the other side of this mess.

On my R2 front, since I haven't been able to spend any money, his parts are still sitting in my closet storage. So, for now, he's safe and sound. I still intend on taking out the boxes and photographing MY parts, but it may not happen for a few more days yet.

I'll try not to be so long between updates...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

R2 in the new Star Trek (J.J. Abrams) Film

I know I'm a bit late posting this, for some of you, but it turns out that our favorite little bucket of bolts was hidden somewhere in the new Star Trek film. J.J. Abrams paid homage to the Star Wars franchise by hiding him as an "Easter Egg" in the film. No one has difinitively posted where he was yet, but I'm hoping to see the answer soon.

Of course, there's been a bunch of hoax postings, but nothing genuine.

There was a contest by Paramount to locate him, which closed at the end of May 2009, but results haven't been posted yet.

Things that make ya go...hmmmmmm.

Sherrell Skins have arrived!!!

I still feel like a kid in a candy store! The skins have arrived. They were at my door-step today (Saturday). Haven't opened them yet because I want to get the frame together first. But, that's now a dome, a Rockler and the skins...this is looking good ya'll!!!!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Been a few days...

Not much new to report. Still waiting on my skins. No big hurry though. They'll arrive when they arrive. Might have some good news on the financial front at home...we'll see. Gonna be sending off another e-mail to the resin parts guy to see if I can get a quote, estimate time, etc., for all the detail parts I want to get. Other than that, didn't want anyone to think I vanished. Still alive and kickin!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Still not much going on...

Just waiting on parts...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Visitors from around the world!

Check this out. I'm trying to do some MINOR tracking of who visits this blog. Imagine my surprise when I saw this map depicting where my visitors are located!

Here's a little chart showing a simplified view of who's coming from where.



Woo hoo!!! Just got an update from Mr. Sherrell on my skins. They have been made, the box label created and will be enroute to my home soon!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Still no SKIN RUN update...

I heard from Scott at the 501st for Central California. My membership application was received and I now need to suit up and submit my photos. I should have my SL ID Number any time in the next few weeks after I submit my photos!

As far as the Aluminum Skin Run, there's been no news. I know there's a HOOP of people at the forums who pre-paid, including myself. No updates at all.

Keep ya posted!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

No new news on the R2 Front, but....

Took the family to see X-men: Wolverine today. Wow, great movie. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Marvel has opened the flood gates of concepts for films to come. They can do Origins of their whole catalog. Not that they should, but it will keep Marvel in the movie business for a LONG time to come.

As a side note, when the picture was over, I turned to my wife and asked her who Hugh Jackman reminded her of...she thought but didn't say anything. I then told her that I could see him playing a young "Inspector Calahan" from the Dirty Harry films of the 70's/80's.

Not sure of a plot or anything, but he's got the look. She immediately there, I posted it first! LOL 3 May 2009

Hopefully, Clint Eastwood will see this and buy me a beer to say thanks! LOL

As far as my R2 build goes, still waiting on the skins. Hopefully, I'll hear something soon.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Wooden Frame it is!

So, it's official. I've decided to go with a wooden frame. There are multiple reasons, but, primarily it's cost and ease of use.

Skins haven't arrived yet, but I'm sure they'll be here soon.

Stay Tooned!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Vader Suit-Up

First 100% successful suit-up! Now that the cape has come back, everything was test fit and looks good! I installed a computer fan in the helmet to keep me cool (thank goodness)!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sherrell Skins

On the list! Can't wait!

Here's what one of the four pieces to the skins set looks like. Familiar?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Non-R2 related again

Update on the Vader cape...

My re-fit cape arrived today and test fittings show it fits the armor and helmet PERFECTLY.

The LA Suit, Cape, Gloves, Robe, and Codpiece are an incredible value and made to the highest quality. I'm VERY pleased and would recommend the pieces to anyone trying to put together a Vader costume representing any of the films.

Dome arrival!!!!

Well, of course it would happen while I'm out of town!!! I came back from visiting family, about 6 hours away, and there was a box sitting in front of my door. It was my dome! Can't wait to open it up!

Pictures to follow!!!!!

Box appears to be in EXCELLENT condition! I'm just glad no one swiped it. It sat in front of my house for at least 4 days with no disturbance. WOW!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Domes are being shipped!

'NUFF Said!!!!!!

The ULTIMATE accessory

Well, it was only a matter of time. I took the plunge and underwent LASIK surgery on my eyes. Best money I've EVER spent on anything. My vision has been restricting my employment opportunities (in Law Enforcement) for years now. So, this has re-opened a whole new world of possibilities. Stay Tuned!

In addition, I can now suit up as Vader or a Stormtrooper without having to worry about squeezing my eyeglasses into the bucket, or fogging them up, or even worse...breaking them!

The healing process was incredibly short and simple. I was driving and back to work the very next morning. No pain at all, from the moment I left the operating room. Overall, it took about 2 minutes per eye. I'd recommend it to everyone who is considering it!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Not exactly R2 related

Since I'm still waiting on my dome, I figured I might as well update you on my other character...Darth Vader. The full "soft parts" for my suit were ordered back in October of 2008. In early January, 2009, the Cape, Robe and Suit arrived. Everything seemed perfect until I tried to get the cape around the shoulders of my armor and helmet neck. NO WAY! It wouldn't fit. So, I emailed the manufacturer and had it returned for adjustment in late January, 2009.

I just received an e-mail from them stating the modifications were complete and the cape is on its way back to me. Finally!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Skins Run!!!

Woo hoo!!!! The Sherrill Aluminum Skins run has begun!!!! I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

Friday, March 20, 2009

REALLY quiet

I hate the idea that it's so quiet here, but not much is happening. Still waiting on my dome. Keep checking!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Special Shout-out of Thanks!

Thanks goes out to Ed for allowing me to take the photos of his R2 which is what I used to make my banner at the top of the blog. THANKS ED!

Quick Update

Not much going on right now. Watching the forum parts runs, waiting on my dome, saving cash for purchases, etc.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Resin parts

I'm waiting to hear back from my resin parts supplier to send a payment and begin work on the dome.

Oh, and I haven't received me dome yet, but it's coming. I'll probably receive it sometime in early April '09.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Resin Parts Discussion

I finally decided to go with mostly resin parts, due to the cost. So, I contacted one of the well known suppliers through the club and here's what I'll be getting in the coming weeks:

1) Dome Bumps
2) Front Logic Displays

3) Utility Arms

4) Two non-moveable Holo-Eyes

5) One Large Data Port

6) One moveable Holo-eye

7) Rear Logic Display

8) The "ever recognizeable" Radar Eye

9) P.S.I. Light Housings

So, for now, once these parts are cast and the dome arrives, this should be enough to keep me busy for quite some time. I'll be looking at painting the dome, assembly, lighting, etc. I CAN'T WAIT!!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dome Update

Just got an e-mail from my dome should be shipped in March! Once it arrives, the resin and aluminum dome parts will be next.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Back to a "Research" phase...

Well, since R2 is on hold, I'm going back into full research mode. I do have the dome purchase completed, so I'll begin lining up my resources for the dome parts. Recently, I was able to obtain an 18" Sonotube that I can play around with for the body. Not too sure where to go with it, but I'll have a better idea once the dome arrives. It didn't cost me anything for the Sonotube, so, even though I want to build the frame, the tube will give me some trial and error, etc. Plus, if I remember the set-up on Ed's R2 correctly, it would be nothing to start working on the Sono and still have the dome removable for when I move to a wooden or aluminum frame. It just gives me something to focus my mind on as I try to relieve some stress at home. I need to find some references from builders who have already used the Sono for a body. Google here I come!!!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Dome purchase completed

Thanks to some ebay sales, my dome is paid off!!! Whoo-hoo!!!

Friday, January 30, 2009

R2 gets put on the backburner...

Due to a family challenge, my R2 project is temporarily on hold. I can't say for sure how long, but I'm hoping not more than a month or two. Stay tuned!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

So..."What's with this crazy obsession?"

That seems to be a question a lot of people have asked me lately. First off, let me just say it's not an obsession, it's a hobby. Just like collecting stamps, coins, drawing cartoons, painting, playing cards, video games, reading books, or anything else people do for enjoyment. Think of it this way:
1) I get to work with my hands
2) I'm building something
3) I've got a goal in mind
4) I'm teaching myself some new skills working with unfamiliar materials

In the end, what am I going to do with the thing? Well, to be honest, I plan on making a LOT of people smile!!!!! You should see the faces of people who get around an R2-D2 at an event or gathering. Everyone knows who he is and everyone loves him! Especially the children. And...that brings me to why I wanted to post this entry.

Here's a link to a very special independent film that talks about this very unique hobby of Star Wars Costuming and showing up as characters from a movie. Watch the previews...

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot...what got me started in this whole thing to begin with. I just completely finished my Darth Vader suit (an exact movie replica as seen in the latest installment of the Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith). It took almost 2 1/2 years to complete and includes:
-a custom made leather suit
-custom black robe
-huge flowing capes
-over 22 pounds of fiberglass armor and helmet
-leather gloves
-electronic lights
-a custom electronic voice system, which alters my voice and produces LIVE breathing sounds
-an intensely bright lightsaber replica made of polished stainless steel and modern electronics

So, that's just a summary of my "crazy obsession". What's after R2? We'll see...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

First part has arrived!

Well, the parts box begins! Just got my Rockler Bearing at my front door this morning! Wrapped up all safe and sound. Man this is gonna be fun!!!! (I HOPE!!!) LOL

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Aluminum or Resin

Welp, after talking it over with the gang, and looking at the cost differences, I think I'll be detailing R2 with a lot of resin parts. They are club approved and will cut expense and weight. Toughest part will be getting resin to look as close to brushed aluminum as possible.

I'll keep ya posted!!!

My Favorite Movie Quote of All Time

I know this doesn't have anything to do with my R2 build, but, I was just laughing with one of my co-workers regarding my favorite movie quote of all time. Contrary to popular belief, it's not from Star Wars! It's actually from National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.

Chevy Chase's character Clark Griswold:

Hey! If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one! I'd like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight! I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane, with all the other rich people, and I want him brought right here! With a big ribbon on his head...and I want to look him straight in the eye... and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, fore-fleshing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, d!@kless, hopeless, heartless, fat-@ss, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey s@!t he is!! Hallelujah! Holy @$*$!! Where's the Tylenol!?”

Of course, substitute Frank Shirley with your preferred favorite person, make some modifications and you can use this year round! Now don't forget to memorize it!!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

My first promotion!!!!

Ed just sent me an e-mail! I've been promoted from JAFO to Parts Collector! Whoo hoo!!!!! I'm now on the hunt for a good Radar Eye. Wish me luck!

The 1st BIG decision

So, how am I going to go about doing this? Well, I've thought about it for quite some time. Probably the best way is to just jump in and get started. On the 1st of January, 2009, I had the honor of meeting up with four other builders here in my area (Greater Sacramento Region) who were all in various stages of completing their droids. (As I'm already learning, your droid is NEVER finished)

Ed, Ryan, Gerard and Matt, thanks so much! You guys were kind, helpful and patient! I'm really looking forward to learning from all of you.

At first, before meeting everyone, I was thinking of tackling the wooden frame. But, after some thought and conversation with the guys, I've come to the understanding it may be better to start with the dome. Instead of trying to find a dome to fit the exact dimensions of a wooden frame I build, I'll now be able to build the frame to fit the dimensions of the dome. Plus, the dome is WAAAY cool sitting on a workbench!

Right now, there is a parts run with the R2 Builder's Club on the Aluminum Laser Cut Dome. So, I've managed to get my name on the next run and should have a dome in the next couple of months. I also ordered my Rockler Bearings for the dome. For those who don't know, the bearing is what turns the dome. (Here's a shot of both the raw aluminum dome and the Rockler bearing)

Besides the aluminum dome, which seems expensive, what other alternatives did I have? Well, plastic. And honestly, with a bit of work, the plastic can look pretty, scratch that...damn good! Ed's droid had a plastic dome on it when I saw it for the first time on 1 January, and I forgot it was plastic until he said something. The picture at the top of this blog entry is a shot of his R2, seconds after I first saw him...

...see, not too bad at all, eh?! Well, then I saw Ryan's work on his aluminum dome (below), along with discussing it with Ed (Ed is in the process of upgrading his plastic to aluminum as well). I decided to go with aluminum. So, that's where I am as of 5 January,2009. Stay tuned! This should be an interesting ride!