The Dome

Probably one of the most iconic or recognizable parts of R2-D2 is his dome. We’ve made quite a lot of progress on it, but for the sake of this being a build blog, I’ll turn on the Way Back Machine and post these of the day we got the dome and the work we had to do once we got it out of the box (that, and I’ve been too lazy, I mean busy, to post pics and progress). Hold on Sherman!

There it is in all it's styrene glory...

We decided to go with a laser cut styrene dome, both due to budget (aluminum ones cost a small mint), and ease of working on.

The base ring

The dome comes pre-laser cut to a point, with this nifty base that eventually becomes the silver ring at the ┬ábase of the dome.. thus the name of being the base ring..And you thought I made that al up, didn’t you?

Connor working on the dome

Yeah, it was pretty dirty when we got it. Lots of slag from the lasers that cut out all the lines.

Sanding the inner dome

The dome for R2 is actually made of 2 domes- an inner and an outer. The outside dome has all the panels that get painted, while the inner dome acts as a base for those to get glued back onto, and in some cases, be support for any panels that open and close.

Panels numbered ad ready to be removed

Before removing the outer panels, I went with advice from the other builders on astromech.net (yep, there’s a website for building these) and numbering each panel so I’d know where it should go when it was time to put this all back together.

Panels are out

Now that the panels were out, it was time to clean up the laser cuts. I had to be very careful now that the structure was weakened without the big panels in.

Together again

By now the dome was starting to take on the R2 look. Next, painting the domes.

Primering all the panels

1st step- primer the panels and dome with a gray automotive primer, then wet sand each piece.

Primed and sanded

Yeah, each piece…

Almost there

1st coat of silver on the dome. Since it’s not metal, the trick is to try and get it close.

Everything ready for the next step.

So now that everything has been silvered, it was time to start painting all the panels R2-D2 blue. That will be covered in my next post.

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