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BB-8 Astromech

Bandai 1/12

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These two turned up today, so I thought I'd get a wip underway, although it'll be a while before plastic gets cut, as I need to finish the BTR first.

To get things going, I'll just show a few sprue shots for anyone who may be thinking about ordering one. I'll just be dealing with BB-8 here, as R2 is the same as he was in the previous boxing.

There's only two sprues in the box for BB; one in silver and the other with the white and orange panels

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The white panels are very shiny. It'd be a shame to have to paint them. All the body panels fall along natural panel lines, so shouldn't be a problem. The dome however is split in two, as R2's was. There are panel lines on the dome too, so I'll have to see whether it'll need any filling or not.

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These are two of his arms, including the one for the :thumbsup2: scene (which I guess at a push you could light, if you threaded a fibre optic along the arm)

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The orange panels seem like a pretty good match for the prop colour, but I think I'll paint them anyway

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These two parts make a box section that all the main body panels then attach to. There's space inside to run fibres and LEDs should you wish

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The 'silver' parts aren't bad as they are, but I'll be Alclad-ing them (although I have just ordered some of that new Vallejo metal paint, so I might try that)

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A couple of tinted clear parts for the his sensors

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And the clear parts for the stand. The idea with this is that an arm holds his head in place, and traps the body between the head and the base of the stand, allowing the body to be rotated. I'll be dispensing with this, pinning the dome to the body, and placing him on a terrain base

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And lastly, although I said before that R2 was identical to the earlier release, Bandai have changed the colour of the plastic for the silver parts. BB-8's silver is the same as the first R2/R5 release but here R2 has a much paler, less metallic plastic

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I'm not sure what the change is for, or why they haven't done it with BB-8, but as I'll be repainting it, it doesn't really matter. Just thought I'd point it out.

I'll make a start on him as and when

Andy

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I've had mine for a week, and still haven't had chance to have a proper rummage through the box, so it's nice to see some proper pics. :) I was determined not to like BB-8 (he isn't Artoo afterall), but on seeing him in action, he grew on me very quickly - especially when he did the "gas torch thumbs-up" to Finn ^_^

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I was a bit dubious at first. Thought he'd be too much of a gimmick, but he turned out to be a star of the film. Definitely a proper Star Wars droid. It's a shame R2 had to take a bit of a back seat, but I'm sure he'll be featured more in the subsequent films

Andy

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:popcorn::popcorn:

Don't know if i should jump for this paring or the R2 & R5 set...?

I'd say go with this one first (assuming you'll get the other eventually) as you'll get two distinct droids, whereas R2 and R5 are pretty much the same apart from the colour and the domes

what alclad paint are you planning to use?

as for mark hamill he was a waste of time in new film...They could have used a card board cut out and saved themselves a million dollars imo

I'll probably go with white aluminium, as it's the brightest shade I've got.

I think Hamill's brief appearance was more a set-up for the next film. This was Han's film really. I think if they'd had all the original cast throughout the film it wouldn't have given any space for the new cast

Andy

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  • 2 weeks later...

Now I've finished the BTR, I can finally get a bit of work done on BB. There's not actually that much to the kit. You could easily knock it up in a couple of hours if you don't bother with any paint.

I am painting him, albeit not the white panels. The plastic for the orange panels is just about the right shade but not as glossy as the white plastic, so it's had a coat of gloss gunze orange, which has deepened the colour slightly too. You can't actually see any difference in the photo, but it does look better in person

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I'm also painting the silver parts, as the plastic's only a metallic grey. I masked round the bits that actually show to avoid any paint build up in the covered areas, which might have compromised the fit. These kits do tend to have very tight tolerances.

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Then gave it a coat of Alclad white aluminium. Again, it doesn't show that well in the photo, but looks fine

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The way Bandai design these kits makes life so much easier, as the sprue attachment points are nearly always on hidden areas of the parts, so the just about everything can be sprayed on the sprue, then clipped off and assembled.

I got the head together first and everything fell together fine. I did drill out the holes for the connector pins so I could get the parts tight without having to squeeze them together as hard. I also added a drop of glue here and there, although it's not necessary. The dome comes in two halves, front and back, which obviously leaves a join down each side. Handily, the one on the left is a panel line anyway, so needs no further attention. The one on the right though should really be filled, which is a bit of a problem as I wasn't intending to paint the white. For now I've run some white paint into the join, which has partially hidden it. I'll add a bit more and that, plus some weathering will hopefully deal with it

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I was surprised just how small he is. There's quite a difference in dome size compared to R2

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Andy

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There's a scene in the film where BB-8 gets close to Artoo, and he towers over him. Miniaturisation of technology continues in a Galaxy Far Far Away...

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I really do love the way Bandai engineer these kits. The circular panels that make up the main body are each stacked up from the individual coloured sections and the fit is perfect. I glued mine together to make sure panels didn't drop off later, but I don't think they would have done anyway

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Once the panels are together, they clip to the central box, each side of which is keyed with a different shaped lug, so you can't accidentally put a panel in the wrong position. I did shave down the edges of the lugs on the box, as the fit of the panels was quite tight

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He's now increasingly starting to remind me of one of the Zeroids from Terrahawks. Maybe they should have got Windsor Davies to voice him

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Andy

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Thanks Nigel

To continue from where I left off, the white panels that surround the circular ones are next to be attached. Again the fit is perfect, and again each one is keyed so It can't be misplaced

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Before I went any further, I had to sort out how I was going to mount him. I'm going to show him with his arm and torch/thumb extended, and paint the base up to resemble a section of Falcon floor plate. To that end I've drilled a hole in the body at the point where it'll be touching the floor. I'll then set a length of brass rod in the base, onto which BB can be slid

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You get a replacement body panel with a pin that holds the dome in place, but it will only go in one position, which isn't the right one if you're using the arm attachment. In the photo the dome's just balanced in place, but I'll have to create a more permanent fixing. I could drill and pin it, but I think I might try to add a magnet under the body panels, and another in the base of the dome. I've also got to mask off and spray the inside of the compartment for the arm attachment.

Andy

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What primer paint did you use before you coated the parts with alclad?

I didn't use any, just went strait onto the plastic with the Alclad. I avoid primer when I can. If the plastic had been strongly coloured I would probably have had to prime, but since it was metallic grey already, the Alclad coated without any problem.

Since I'm replicating the thumbs up scene on the Falcon, I've added the small torch flame to the tip of his arm from a bit of stretched clear sprue. I'll paint it with clear blue to give it the gas flame look it had in the film

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Andy

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Great build and excellent choice of setting. I too did not really like the design of BB8 before I saw the movie and did not intent to buy the bandai kit. This changed quickly... After leaving the cinema I was already thinking to get the kit and build it with the flame thumbs-up but was wondering how to get this lighted as I suppose the arm will be very small.

Anyway: Will be watching with interest.

Rene

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After leaving the cinema I was already thinking to get the kit and build it with the flame thumbs-up but was wondering how to get this lighted as I suppose the arm will be very small.

In a moment of madness I did consider trying to run a fibre optic through the arm to light the flame, but the arm's too thin to drill through, so you'd probably have to scratch build a new arm.

I wouldn't say it was impossible. I'm sure some one will do it, but I don't think the lit flame would show up enough to warrant all the work involved. The flame itself is about 0.6mm wide.

Andy

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Just had a look at the kit arm, and as you say nay on impossible to drill through the arm, only way I could think would be to score a channel underneath on the flat part to lay the fibre optic in, then drilling through at a angle either end, a lot of work for something so small in the end though, but would look nice with a flashing mode to the light.

Building another arm would be difficult as I would think it would have to be slightly bigger to do it then out of scale

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BB-8's no longer loosing his head, as he's had a magnet stuck in it (along with a corresponding one in the body). These are 4mm x 3mm neodymium's, one of which sat perfectly in the hole in the bottom of the dome. I had to gouge out a hole for the other in the reverse side of one of the circular panels

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I've also stuck some plasticard on the kit base to vaguely resemble the Falcon's floor plating. This will get sprayed dark grey, followed by a bit of weathering

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BB-8's also about ready for weathering, but I'll give him a satin clear coat first, partly to protect the plastic from the enamel washes I'll be using, but also because I think he's just a little bit too shiny and plasticky at the moment

Andy

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Thanks Nigel. The plastic's fine as it is really, but I've just got a thing about bare plastic. Even if it looks OK, I always feel I should paint it, or at least clear coat it.

And he's now had a satin clear coat which I think has given him more of a painted metal sheen. It should also hopefully stop the enamel washes I'm using for the weathering from doing anything nasty to the plastic.

There'll be quite a bit of weathering, as the studio prop was surprisingly filthy

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I'm trying to replicate this look as closely as possible, using washes painted around the orange panels, then blended out. I want to try to get some of that patchy, speckled look, so I'm doing some of the blending by stumping the wash with a sponge. I'll be building it up in layers, the first one being done with AMMO wash for US vehicles (1007), which is a nice warm brown colour. I'll go on to something darker, but just keep it around the edges

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Andy

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