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View Full Version : Why do they keep using chrome on R2-D2 figs?



JediTricks
09-13-2004, 09:32 PM
I can understand using chrome on C-3PO figures, the character is mirror-finish shiny in many of his scenes even when he's dirtied up, but R2's dome has not once in the film had anywhere near a mirror-finish the way a lot of the R2-D2 figures from all the way back to '78 have endured. What is it about putting chrome on this dome? R2's head is brushed aluminum or steel, even at the very end of ANH when R2 is at his absolute cleanest he doesn't have a mirror-finish anywhere. This has bothered me since I got my first R2 figure back in the late '70s, yet nearly every version since then has had the same inaccuracy and the only chrome version that looked acceptable was the Episode I figure with a generous amount of dullcoat applied over it. So what's the deal?

Kidhuman
09-13-2004, 09:43 PM
MAkes it more appealing? Perhaps it catches the eye when scoping the figs or just passing by.

JediTricks
09-13-2004, 09:52 PM
Isn't that a similar reasoning to all the steroid-abusing muscle-man figures of the POTF2 line? Yet we don't endure those anymore, but even the $10 "newly-accurate" VOTC R2 will have a chrome dome.

stillakid
09-13-2004, 11:34 PM
It's for the "tuners" so they have a boss droid to show off at the droid races down on Paradise Road. :cool:

Mr. JabbaJohnL
09-14-2004, 05:51 PM
I don't know, maybe Hasbro thinks it looks better? It's just dumb, they could be saving money and being more accurate at the same time. Which is rarely the case, usually it's the other way around!

Turbowars
09-14-2004, 08:26 PM
Yeah I wondered it myself. Hasbro always says how expensive vac form is but yet they do it often on R2. It would cool if they could do a brush aluminum look to the dome.

TIE Pilot
09-21-2004, 09:36 PM
I'll never forget when I saw the first R2 without the chromed dome, I couldn't believe how accurate it looked!

When I saw that the chrome was back on the new OTC R2, it just looked like such a step back.. no matter how good the sculpt was.

AmanaMatt
09-22-2004, 12:49 PM
The New R2 looks pretty awful - for my money, I am way happier with the $5 OTC version being re-released. For whatever reason, I have never been overly concerned with 'correct movie' proportions for the Hasbro fig. I'll say this much, the shiny look makes it looks like a cheap toy.

Slicker
09-22-2004, 12:57 PM
I never realized until now that his dome isn't chrome. Now that I think of the figures they look pretty stupid with a chrome dome. Hah, that rhymed.

JediTricks
09-22-2004, 04:20 PM
I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who feels this way.

TIE Pilot, I couldn't agree more, when I first saw that Ep 1 R2-D2, rocket jets or not, that figure really felt like a big step in the right direction mainly because of the design of his dome. It's too bad we never got that quality again.

mark2d2
09-24-2004, 03:05 PM
Actually, I think the presence of chrome here is a very deliberate echo of the classic vintage figure. (Like the use of cloth.) And to me, it works on this Artoo as a dash of retro nostolgia. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think we've had a chromed astro droid in a long while.

JediTricks
09-24-2004, 11:43 PM
Well, maybe it would have felt more special if nearly every modern R2 didn't also have chrome. Just because the Kenner vintage Luke had a lightsaber come out of his arm doesn't mean the VOTC version has to (and look how popular that was on the Saga Anakin figure ;)).

The last one before the VOTC version with chrome was before Saga, but there haven't been that many new R2s since then either.

AmanaMatt
09-30-2004, 05:22 PM
Ok, I have to do a 180 degree (where's the little 'o' for that on a keyboard) on the VOTC R2D2 - when I saw the ROTJ wave this week and bought them, I knew I would always buy at least one to open of each of the VOTC (even the somewhat craptastic Leia), but when I saw R2 again today at my local Target, I said, 'what the hell,' and bought one to open -

- I gotta say, aside from the chrome look - which is somewhat forgivable to me due to the fact that this is Vintage-esque (an easy out for Hasbro, I know), but aside from that issue, this may be my fav R2 since the Holo Leia version....while I will not call this the Ultimate R2, he is close, what given the four accessories (two armatures plus a closed and open cover) and this is not including the sensor that pops up when you turn the head.

Jt, I will be curious as to your take on this fig in regard to proportion of the head, eyes and all that...I am no R2 expert, but for my money of $10, I am pretty happy with this guy.

Aside from the VOTC Leia, I am pretty much digging the whole VOTC line (especially Chewie).

adultstarwarsfreak
09-30-2004, 10:24 PM
One question...is the third leg removeable or retractable???????

AmanaMatt
09-30-2004, 11:35 PM
One question...is the third leg removeable or retractable???????

It is removeable.

NewtonDKC
10-12-2004, 09:21 PM
Ah! Finally some good comments on R2! I agree the chrome has got to go. Once I find an extra VOTC R2, I'll start my custom job with a dull silver head, and a Sensorscope that stays up when I want it to (not just when the head is turned to the extreme sides). While I do agree the VOTC is the most accurate sculpt for proportions (his body is shorter and thicker than the usual atromech mold which has often been too long and too thin), and his head dome is very close (it needs to be a little taller - not like a sphere cut in two, but like a..not sure what to call it, but if the sides extended down further at the same angle they already do - a mm or two more and it would be perfect.

Also, the sculpts on his head and body are wayyyy too deep. One reason the EP1 R2 looked so accurate is because his head panels and some details (like the stripe all around the very bottom of his..neck?) were simply painted on. This gave it the correct look as these details even on the life size model in the movies aren't indented in anyway (though some features, like his main eye, his 3 little cameras, various little lights and whatnot) would protrude and thus scultping like it currently is is fine. Also, his body panels - way too deep (and no, I'm not suggesting going back to a sticker like the vintage either - that was really bad!). Very thin lines cut into the body would be far more accurate looking than scultping "out" panels - assuming they made all the right cuts to match the details. Come one Hasbro!!! Please!!! :-)

One other major thing that annoys me in the modern line with R2 - why does his head have to be two pieces??? They always have that ugly seam which totally destroys the look of his head. The original - 20+ years ago was one piece - surely they could do that today (without having to sacrifice detail like the original did). If nothing else, simply make a mold from the current "2 piece head that's already together, then simply smooth out that horrible seam line. I'd much rather have an Artoo without a light up eye (which isn't movie accurate anyway) if that's the reaosn for a 2 piece head. But a sensorscope is mandatory - I think on all Artoo's - he needs his little tools represented someway and even a one piece head could easily have a punch thru hole for the sensoscope. Also, please note his camera on the top of his head is NOT in the middle panel - it's back one more to the back of his head. That should also be easy to fix with a 1 piece head mold (the body can still be two pieces as the legs cover this up). One more thing - has anyone else noticed how the sculptors didn't finish the blue panel under his camera on the very top of his head on the front piece? What gives with that? It looks really odd and is very noticeable as it's not just missing paint - it's just not sculpted. So one half of the panel is - then you have the camera (again, in the wrong place!) and then - nothing! Just chrome head! Odd.

I like the ernest attempt at working in "doors" on his body - obviously this would be difficult to do (not impossible though) at this scale. THey could even have his little blue chest slats open like the Playskool line (now that's cool - and oddly similar to a custom I did a few years back with the same feature made from a blue deodorant stick cap! <grin>).

But boy, would even one opening panel and claw arm with a *one piece head* with longer Sensorscope would really make the kid in all of us just as happy as could be! :-) Which reminds me of my next critique, since there is no actual tools that go back into his body, why did this version have a "removeavble" 3rd leg instead of one that went up in his body? There's certainly plenty of room for it (I haven't taken mine apart yet, but I can't see even the sensorscope being the cause since it isn't spring loaded). Also, the removable leg isn't articulated, so when it's in, he's in one pose and that's it. You can't even swap it backwards due to the irregular shape that will only fit one way, so no posing him like he's putting out a fire or something.

Overall, the VOTC effort is appreciated and I can't wait to see what other customizers do with the great start Hasbro has provided with this figure. DOn't even get me started on the VOTC 3PO - who looks just awful (unlike the early protoype pics which looked great - until they ruined it by cuting his crotch up for thighs and what not - compare the prototype pics to the finished product and you'll see what I mean). And vac-metallizing moving knees would not have been a show stopper - he doesnt even have removeable limbs or a add on bag (now that would have been truly Vintage - who doesn't mention the take apart 3PO?? But sorry, I'm getting off topic - this is about R2...)

R2 is obviously my favorite and I have always longed for the "perfect" Artoo figure. ANd tho the VOTC is one of the best, it's not perfect either. COme on Hasbro, I voluneer my services as a harsh (but realistic) critic for your next Artoo sculpt. I'll sign an NDA you want, and will be very easy to work with and will do it totally for free! :-) Contact me at NewtonDKC@@msn.com (<--remove the extra "@" symbol - put there to avoid automatic spam scanners)

Okay, sorry guys. I got way carried away. I;m really not too off balance - I just have never found a board to express my gripes about R2 before (well, maybe once, but...). Anyway, here's hoping Hasbro really delivers the ultimate R2 before the line shuts down - and in the 3 3/4" form factor too!!! :-)

JediTricks
10-15-2004, 05:13 AM
Once I find an extra VOTC R2, I'll start my custom job with a dull silver head, and a Sensorscope that stays up when I want it to (not just when the head is turned to the extreme sides).If you could get pictures of this, post 'em here, I'd love to see this customization.


Also, the sculpts on his head and body are wayyyy too deep. One reason the EP1 R2 looked so accurate is because his head panels and some details (like the stripe all around the very bottom of his..neck?) were simply painted on. This gave it the correct look as these details even on the life size model in the movies aren't indented in anyway (though some features, like his main eye, his 3 little cameras, various little lights and whatnot) would protrude and thus scultping like it currently is is fine. Also, his body panels - way too deep (and no, I'm not suggesting going back to a sticker like the vintage either - that was really bad!). Very thin lines cut into the body would be far more accurate looking than scultping "out" panels - assuming they made all the right cuts to match the details. Come one Hasbro!!! Please!!! :-) Yes! that is so true, the stickers weren't good but these big cut lines to represent various doors is no prize pig either. The impressions are too big to do good paint weatherings here IMO. And on the sculpted doors in the dome, the paint is often screwed up.


One other major thing that annoys me in the modern line with R2 - why does his head have to be two pieces??? They always have that ugly seam which totally destroys the look of his head. The original - 20+ years ago was one piece - surely they could do that today (without having to sacrifice detail like the original did). This is another one that's bugged me for a long time, I suspect they do this to use the radar eye light-piping even though it's not movie-accurate since R2's radar eye never lit up (as you mentioned) and wasn't even blue which the light-piping always is. The look is pretty weak and often has the secondary issue of screwing up how the top eye is done, both of which take the reality out of the figure.


One more thing - has anyone else noticed how the sculptors didn't finish the blue panel under his camera on the very top of his head on the front piece? What gives with that? It looks really odd and is very noticeable as it's not just missing paint - it's just not sculpted. So one half of the panel is - then you have the camera (again, in the wrong place!) and then - nothing! Just chrome head! Odd. I still haven't found the VOTC figure, but that just stinks, what a total cop-out. Is the eye a solid piece or does it continue the seam line running through the dome? If it's solid, I suspect the discontinuation of the door in question was done to accomodate the single-piece eye sliding over this half of the mold.


THey could even have his little blue chest slats open like the Playskool line . You mean those 2 little blue horizontal grasper arms just below the dome that go in opposing ways? And you mean the Jedi Force Playskool line, not the Galactic Heroes, right? I'd like to see them try to do these little arms for sure.


since there is no actual tools that go back into his body, why did this version have a "removeavble" 3rd leg instead of one that went up in his body? There's certainly plenty of room for it (I haven't taken mine apart yet, but I can't see even the sensorscope being the cause since it isn't spring loaded). I've also been wondering why they did this removable, my guess is the indentation from the tool/door piece would have gotten in the way somehow, but it seems like it wouldn't. I don't mind it not being retractable though, they've NEVER gotten the retractable leg totally right, it always stops too far out and never fully retracts.

Hopefully, Hasbro gets the message that while they're on the right track, they haven't finished the job. If the line ended tomorrow, I would feel that R2-D2 was never really a figure they did "right" and that's a problem.

JediTricks
10-20-2004, 09:55 PM
Another thing I noticed recently about Ep 1 R2-D2 is that his dome is not simply a half-sphere like the others, the cylindrical aspect goes up much higher which is more accurate.

NewtonDKC
10-21-2004, 09:55 AM
JediTricks - god to see I'm not the only one who puts this much thought (i.e. way too much of it! <grin>) into R2's designs. But yeah, hopefully Hasbro is reading this and will give the next R2 figure to someone as concerned with detail as we are. :-)

As for some of your questions:

The camera on top of his head (the one in the wrong place with the half panel that didn't get carved on the front half of his head) is placed so the head seam splits it in half, however, I have to give them credit because they did it in such a way that the inner part of the camera (i.e. the circular middle) is a complete piece on one side - so the seam doesn't split it in half (not sure if I'm explaining that very well, but it looks as good as it could, given the current design, and obviously they did put a little extra effort into the design so the seam wouldn't be so apparent). The pics online show this pretty clearly if you check them out (as I'm sure you have). :-) The half panel is also pretty evident as well in these pics. That will be hard, but not impossible, to correct even with a custom job.

And yes, I know what you mean about the paint jobs sometimes missing the carved panel. On my VOTC R2 his front panel to the right of his main eye misses hitting the panel rim by a fraction of a mm or so, but it's there. But even on non-carved models, the paint is a problem. I bought several Holo Leia R2's, and I have to say that they *all* had the worst paint job on his head I've ever seen! Almost all the panels were too small and fairly crooked that went around his head. I think originally the figure had a head that was too large which was susequently "cut" down - perhaps this is why the paint scheme was so bad (i.e. the machine was never modified to reflect the new head dimensions, and thus is was terribly off (just a theory, of course).

A good paint job makes all the different. It can ruin or save a sculpt, though obviously a great sculpt and excellent paint are necessary for a "perfect" figure. FOr example, I never liked the Electronic FX Artoo (I'm not a fan of painting sand or snow on figures - it just looks too fake. I do think Dagobah R2's mud scheme was well done - but mud is much different than "snad" or "snow", and thus easier to represent by paint). Anyway, once the Fx R2 was recycled for the Coruscant Sentry - I actually thought he was one of the best looking Artoo units, despite the panels being carved, etc.

Anyway, as soon as I find another VOTC R2 then I'll get started on my custom unit. Hopefully I won't have long too wait - though our local Wal Mart is way overstocked with the first 4 VOTC figures - and so far nothing else! If they're waiting to clear those out before putting anything else out, then it could be a long wait. :-( Hopefully online vendors will start selling them soon (I went the eBay route for my first VOTC R2 - I just couldn't wait for him!). :-)

NewtonDKC
10-22-2004, 08:29 AM
Okay, even though I have yet to find a 2nd VOTC Artoo, I went ahead and started on my custom tweaking of Artoo.


First off, he was fairly easy to pop apart, though getting him totally apart was difficult due to the way he is constructed. I'll post the highlights here for other would-be customizers, and will folow up with pics later on.

First off, the reason he doesn't have a pull up 3rd leg is because he has a barrel that his head is attached to that goes all the way down his body. The Sensoscope is actually attached to the side of the barrel which is slotted. There are 2 round rings with a wave design in the middle of them which causes the Sensorscope's lower/raising action (this is also what is visible behind the hole in his mid section to hold the snap on panels). If anyone has any questions about any parts of it let me know and I'll try to describe it an take pictures of whatever part you may wish to know about.

For my own mod, I removed the wave rings and snipped part of the Sensorscope that prevents it from raising up further. So now it raises much higher (it's surprisingly long - much muncg longer than what actually sticks out of his head in the out fo the package figure). The only problem right now is that I have no way to easily lift it, so I'll investigate adding a lip or some mechanism to "pop it ip" slightly so I can then grasp it with my fingers ti lift it manually. One idea which I worked on for a coupel seconds was the add a "hump" to the inner rail that used to hold the plastic ring with the wave. I put a piece of tape, rolled up but with enough extra on each side allowing a smooth gradient to allow the sensorscope to slightly pop out when his head it rotated and makes contact with this hump. Obviously that's not going to be my final design but gives me an idea of some options.

The seam on his head seams (heh he) to be much better in this version than some of the past ones. The bump that was obvious before both visually and tacitly (is that a word?) was actually due to glue which has seeped out and hardened when the head pieces were pressed together (I thought I had read figures are "sonically welded" together and not glued, but this was definitely some type of former liquid adhesive that had hardened and thus made a rough little rim on the seams, the left side being worse. I scraped that off, and now have an artoo with 2 white stripes down the sides of his otherwise chrome head (which I could stop at this point and simply call it some other astromech, R2-C2 or something lame like that). :-) Anyway, I'll sand his chrome off and paint it dull silver to look like the brushed aluminum in the films. Has anyone else that customizes found a good combo for this? If I simply use a silver pen or paint, it rubs off anytime you touch his head even weeks (and months) after it should be "dry". I'm assuming there's some type of finisher or coating I can put over it, but dunno what to use (and don't want a shiny coated look as that would ruin it).

My further plans are to (get it, are to? Nevermind, I didn't get enough sleep and am high on the dork scale this am).
Anyway:
1. Finish head - sand off chrome and repaint dull silver
2. Cut out "doors" and use included panels to create at least one or two opening doors. Create a method for them to close and open that is sturdy and looks good too (which will be a challenge in this tiny scale!)
3. Figure out a way to attach the arms so they can flip out when the little doors are opened).
4. Attach a small lip or other method to allow easy manual raising of Sensorscope.
5. Using electronics from the Dagobah Artoo (the absolute best R2 sounds anywhere!) and perhaps a droid charging station fromt he queen's ship or a container from the X-Wing fighter from Dagobah, make a "recharging" unit that Artoo plugs into and "beeps and chirps". :-)
6. Go crazy with accessories. Make a better Jabba's sail barge drink tray (hmmm...forgot about that little arm - may have to drill a tiny hole in his plastic light pipe), the charging container (from Dagohbah or the Queen's ship, or both maybe), a lightsaber hilt (maybe the whole light pipe can go to make room for this or see 7 below), and any other accessories I can remember that Artoo used during the films.
7. This should actually be earlier - but move his top camera to the correct panel and finish the uncarved panel that Hasbro forgot. During this, I ma drill a hole that can hold a lightsaber hilt. Or, as with a previous custom attempt, I could carve it in such a way that the bottom mm or so of the lightsaber hilt actually IS the camera - thus it solves the problem of how to make it easily accessible for removeable. Looks cool and is functional too! The sensorscope is obviously in the wrong location too, but considering the difficulty in removing it and carving the correct one, I'll leave it where it is. And we don't know for sure that Artoo doesn't have another scope in that location, so I'll pretend he does. Also, the little thing they call a sensorscope looks somewhat more like the periscope that he used on Dagobah and in the sand in Return of the Jedi (which took me forever to realize what it was supposed to be when I was a kid). I don't know what panel either of these popped out of (if anyone has any pics or info on where they come from please post - that's be great to know!!!), so again, I'll leave it where it is. :-)

Wish me luck and pics will be posted or linked to as soon as I have time (probably this weekend).
Newton

vulcantouch
11-01-2004, 11:50 PM
well i happen to be able to offer an xtra (http://forums.sirstevesguide.com/showpost.php?p=353387&postcount=7) in case you can use it for your customizins :)
vt