So, since Sigge The Great

[tm] brought back an aluminium panel for the back of the R2 form Celebration VI, signed by Kenny Baker himself, it was time to get rid of the old back panel that was essentially styrene, covered in aluminium tape.

The aluminium tape has a record of when warm, warp a little and also easily scratched.

It has served me well in the past, but it was time to make it proper… and get a little bit of Kenny inside my R2!

First, I totally managed to mess up the door panel surrounds. I got a piece of metal by Sigge meant for this, with holes predrilled and the aluminium scored. It should have been an easy job to saw through, but I made a mess of it. I managed to get it crooked on the “wrong side” of the line at one place, and that would require a lot of filing work in order to fix.

However, that was not the worst issue. When it started to look good, I managed to forget that the inner corners was supposed to be rounded, and had managed to file one of them almost square when I realized my mistake!

As you see, a little bit crooked, and the bottom right corner filed straight… *ouch* !

Fortunately, I had a piece of 0.8 mm aluminium, and I quickly made up a new surround. The 0.2 mm difference in thickness won’t be seen, but it was a major difference when sawing through it, as it was really soft!

This time around, I went into a different approach. I drilled the holes for the corners, scored the aluminium deeply, and then simply sawed in the middle, allowing me to bend and snap out the pieces, leaving the sides totally straight with only minor filing to do!

The lines were scored on the other side, and with the ruled locking the thin surround in place, I managed to gently bend and snap off the scrap pieces.

Almost there.. (stay on target…)

Once the pieces were snapped off, it was a simple task to file the edges smooth.

Next: time to glue the surrounds to the back plate!

I let my small plastic jaws stay on for a couple of minutes to let my fast drying CA glue time to set before moving on to the next side..

Sigge not only got me the autograph, he also engraved the name and the symbol for Industrial Automaton on my back plate!

After it was glued in place, I sanded the entire back plate and surrounds until I was happy with the finish, then applied some floor polish in order to stop it from getting greasemarks from small fingers.

Looks good, don’t you think?

Here’s a comparison shot before I started to remove my old faked metal back panel..

I know, I know… It is probably one of those things that no one would notice but me, but hey! It’s ALL in the details!

After removing the old surrounds and the aluminium tape, I cleaned off the glue remains and cut open the back inner skin. One of the frame rings inside, supporting the constructions went through the top 3 centimeters of the hold I made, and I decided to cut away this portion of the frame, in order to make proper space for the new inside to this “secret” openable panel.

However, as I do not want to make my droid unstable, I made a new portion of frame ring that I glued right where the inner skin begins, and also secured the new piece from above with some extra pieces.

This rather dark look from the inside should be enough to hold the frame together. I may add a second piece later on, just to make sure.

Blurry and unfocused, but hey.. that just matches how I felt when building today!

I added two extra pieces on top of the new piece, just to give the frame supports something extra to hold on to.

This is a show of the new unpainted back panel in place. I still haven’t added anything that holds it in lace yet, but that will most likely be magnets. At the moment, it is just held in place with a little bit of tape from the inside.

A small step for my droid, but a giant… oh heck. Not even gonna try and paraphrase that now!

I didn’t really need to do this, in order to get the droid finished, since the old panel would have worked, but it felt great to change it and add a real piece of aluminium on the droid instead!