Custom R2-BBQ Action Figure From Solo: A Star Wars Story

February 2019

Ever since Ron Howard posted a short video of one of the sets on Solo: A Star Wars Story, people were enamoured with that one astromech droid that had been repurposed as a fire barrel. When I saw it I just wanted to know when the action figure would come out. Well, it’s been almost a year since the movie hit theatres and with no signs of “R2-BBQ” in the toy aisle I went ahead and tried to build the figure myself.

I used the body and legs from a Disney Droid Factory astromech. With the head removed I had to then remove the “under the hood” piece that the dome fits into. It’s a cool little piece of plastic that shows the wiring, gears etc. It also houses the dome peg hole needed to attach a dome to the body.

I held the astromech in place with a vice and after removing the middle leg, tapped up through the body with a screwdriver and hammer. The dome peg popped out easily, although the screwdriver and hammer did break the bracket that holds the legs and dome peg inside the body. Not a big deal since I was repurposing the droid anyway. I took the body apart, added legs and then hot glued the legs into the body. The glue also helped to hold the two halves of the body together.

Next was to try to cut holes into the front “arms” of the droid as seen on screen. It was suggested that a heated blade could probably cut the small, straight indents on the body but I didn’t have anything on hand to do that so I took the smaller drill bit I had and drilled a hole into it. My plan was to slowly work across until it was removed; like a Dremel (I really should get one of those too). Instead of making a small hole, the drill cracked the plastic, leaving a much bigger hole than I wanted. I made one more hole on the front bottom since the screen version has a few different holes. The end result still looks pretty cook, although not as screen accurate.

I painted a black wash over it using cheap acrylic paint to give it a used and beat up appearance. Using a string of battery operated LED lights, I strung two bulbs into the droid and then used the remainder of the string for a diorama I was also working on (R2-BBQ will be a part of it). For flames I found some in my son’s old LEGO box which are just poked into the top of the droid. The lights are small enough but still bright enough to light up the inside of the body and the flames as well.

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Rancor Pit Diorama Experiment

April 2019

The rancor action figure is just…big.  And when you consider that the scene it’s involved in from Return of the Jedi involves only 2-3 characters at the most, it’s not an ideal figure or scene to recreate in a Star Wars room that’s always lacking in free space.  You want to be able to fill a shelf with a lot of figures and with the rancor pit you’re left with the beast itself, Luke Skywalker or Oola and a Gammorean Guard or two.  

However, and I can’t really explain how, I found myself with enough free space in my Star Wars room  to actually do a diorama of Jabba’s favourite pet. And THEN….I even added a second diorama(more on that in my next article).  The material I used for the walls is a paper packaging material that was used to wrap merchandise on a recent trip to Walt Disney World. It’s fairly sturdy and it’s possible to make bumps and ridges with it to simulate rock walls.  The small holes or perforations in the paper give it some texture.  The photos don’t do the colour of the material justice though, it’s a much darker brown than the camera sometimes shot.  

At some point I might add a large door to one of the walls, as seen in Return of the Jedi.

Doorway for Rancor Keeper
LED string lights for some ambient lighting since it’s a very dark space

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