Other R2-D2 models

Of course, my R2-D2 isn´t alone in the galaxy. There are other people just like me, who have taken on the challenge to build (or, in some cases, buy) their own original-size R2-D2´s. During the last years I was glad to make contact with some of them. One of those people, Dave Everett, is the founder of the R2 builders club. He and other intrepid R2-D2 builders have formed a phantastic web community where you can find amazing details about how to build your little astrodroid.
There are (or were) a lot of models of R2-D2 commercially available. These include plastic model kits, figures of all sizes, even dolls. I have included pictures of some of them...Some other R2-D2 stuff is included in the "Collectibles" part of this page. The division between "Model" and "Toy" is hard to define. I consider everything that is built out of scratch or out of a kit a "Model", while "collectibles" are everything bought complete.

The Artoo Costume

A R2-D2 costume !

What an idea! I had a short talk with this guy after his surprise visit at Jedi-Con `97 in Munich, Germany, but only when he months alter sent me an email, I learned of his name. This great costume was built by Claudio Eckert from Germany. At the Convention, the costume was an instant success among the crowd and among the star guests. He is pictured here with Anthony (C-3PO) Daniels, who readily adopted him, and with Lorne Peterson (sitting) from ILM. If you want to see more of Claudio´s costume, along with a how-to-explanation, check his Homepage .

Stefan Brandes´s full size R2-D2

Stefan BrandesīR2
Stefan sBRandesīR2 Stefan Brandes from Austria did built his own full-size R2-D2. He finished it in the summer of `88, before I completed mine. Stefan´s Artoo stands out from other replicas due to the extremely high quality of the finish. Since he didn´t have the StarWars Blueprints at that time, Stefan had to draw his own blueprints just from photos from the movies. Considering this, his Artoo looks even better indeed. He used mainly styrene sheet for the body and even for the head cupola. Although his R2-D2 doesn´t have motors and is intended for pure display, all moving parts are moveable at the model, too. Stefan´s R2 is able to stand on two or three legs, a locking mechanism in the legs providing a secure stand. Like me, it took him quite a while to get this perfect, though, and during the construction phase his R2 fell onto his "nose" several times. It was Stefan, who showed me that my first try at the middle foot was way too big (I had in the beginning shaped it after the foot in the MPC kit which is totally wrong). Thanks for this again, Stefan, and thanks for the great pictures!

The MPC R2-D2 plastic model kit

This kit has become a bit of a legend, since it is one of the few good old kits from the 70´s that has (yet?) not been re-released. It consisted of 75 parts in white, blue and chromed styrene, so the beginner won´t even need to paint it and yet get a mostly correctly coloured droid. The kit builds into a nice representation of R2 and fits in scale to the then also available C-3PO-kit. It has a number of moveable parts: You can retract the middle leg, swivel the head and tilt R2´s body from two to three legs. One of the computer-arm doors open and the computer arm is moveable and even telescoping. The back body cover is detachable to show the interior. However, when you compare this kit with the available hard data some mistakes become apparent: The relation of diameter and height of the body doesn´t coincide with the StarWars blueprints; the kit´s body is considerably thinner. The second wrong area is the center leg´s foot. It is way too big and of the wrong shape.Some of the decals and the colours given in the paint scheme are incorrect. Better paint R2 with movie pictures as a reference. But these small deficiencies don´t mean I wouldn´t like to see this kit rereleased, because it was one of the best SW kits available and the experienced modeler won´t have a problem correcting at least the foot problem.
The MPC model kit The MPC model

The Estes `Flying R2-D2 model rocket´

The ESTES Flying R2-D2 The "Rocket R2īs" components
For sure one of the stranger R2-D2 merchandise items. The Estes company, well known for their flying model rockets, did bring out a series of StarWars model kits. These included a TIE-Fighter, an X-Wing and a "Flying R2-D2". This kit is approximately 1/5th scale and contains a lot of preshaped plastic parts that make the assembly pretty easy. If you dare to lauch R2 with the propulsion from a small rocket engine from a lauch pad he would fly about 500 ft high, then an ejection charge would pop off the head (don´t worry, it is connected by a rubber umbilical) and eject a parachute. Artoo would then (hopefully) gently cast down to a rather soft landing. The assembled model looks really good apart from hull detail which is (for aerodynamic reasons) just represented by a decal. But the overall appearance is so good I have this R2 in my showcase right beside the 1/4th Screamin´ C-3PO, and nobody notices the two not belonging together.
Although this kit is rather easy to build, I would not recommend it for the beginner, because you have to work quite precisely in model rocketry. The aerodynamic forces on such a model during launch, ascent and landing are considerable, and the possibly wrong alignment of parts could lead to very bad flight characteristics. This is especially true for Artoo with his extremely short body that leads to a very short distance between the center of gravity (CG) and the center of dynamic pressure (CP), which again might lead to a wobbly or even unstable, dangerous flight. So you better know what you are doing, but then model rocketry will be fun! Watch out, besides, for the latest SW rocket kits from Estes like the "Exploding Death Star"!

R2-D2 at the Planet Hollywood Paris

R2 at Planet Hollywood Paris R2 at PH Paris
In the front window of the Planet Hollywood Restaurant at the boulevard Champs-Elysses in Paris, France, you will find a full size replica of R2-D2, together with C-3PO and a half-finished Death Star. Although the restaurant tries to convey the impression that they only exhibit originals this is definitely not one of them. As I was told by a source from inside Lucasfilm this R2 was pulled out of the original mold at ILM on order and sold for a rather high sum of money. One of the details that show that this is not an original from the movies are the three little moveable "eyes" on R2´s head. They lack the tube-like extension that protudes from the ball-shaped part.You can usually distinguish originals at a `Planet´ from recasts or replicas by carefully reading the description. If it says "R2 from the movie StarWars", then most of the time you can be sure it is an original. If it is "R2 as used in the movie StarWars" then it is probably a replica.

Several other R2-D2´s from model kits:

Three smaller R2-modelsJust as a sidenote I wanted to include these models here. The first one on the left is of course the Kenner R2-D2 in its original form i.e. without sensorscope or lightsaber. Seen from the modeler´s point of view it is not one of Kenner´s highlights in terms of accuracy. The very small droid in the middle is out of the MPC Luke´s X-Wing kit. It, too, doesn´t have much details, you have to paint him very carefully to make him look like his movie counterpart. The larger Artoo on the right is included in MPC´s "Encounter with Yoda on Dagobah". Mine wasn´t painted ready when I took this picture, please forgive me. This model is quite well detailed, but the body seems to slim in my view.

R2-D2 Collectibles and Merchandise

There are hundreds of R2-D2-related toys, collectibles, etc. out there. I can (due to the limited harddisk space and my limited time) only show you some things I consider rather outstanding or so important that they had to be in here. For a really complete listing of Droid memorabilia see the specialized toy collector´s books like Tomart´s Price Guide to Worldwide StarWars Collectibles by Stephen J.Sansweet and T.N.Tumbusch.

The full-size Don-Post-Studios´ R2-D2

For some reason, genuine pictures of these are rather hard to come by. I only found ones from adverts so far, but there must be some out there... The price was supposed to be $ 7.500, so if you bought one, you can count yourself a hardcore fan. .

The ad for the two droid replicas

The R2-D2-Telephone:

R2-D2 Telephone

A StarWars item I had to get my hands on! Absolutely cool. Brought out by Telemania and for example available through Collector´s Empire, it costs you around $70. It is quite large, by far the largest R2-D2 replica you will get commercially (apart from the 1:1 Don Post Studios R2-D2, of course). As you can see in the picture, a part of the left leg detaches as the handset which also includes the keypad. But the best thing is, this phone doesn´t ring, it beeps like R2 does, its lights flash and the head turns, too! Great! The people who created this even were so thoughtfull to provide a "demo" button, so you will not permanenty have to call yourself to show this cool "ringing" to your visiting friends. This is still an analog phone, so it won´t work on the newer, digital ISDN lines very common in Europe.

The R2-D2 Stuffed Toy

R2 stuffed toy

One of the most loveable R2-D2 collectibles is this soft, cuddly stuffed Artoo. He even had a sound device built in. You just had to press a button at the front and R2 would beep! Luckily they are available again ! Would be a great gift for your favourite StarWars girlfriend when you have once again spend too many hours tinkering with model kits or with SW internet sites!

The Pepsi-Taco Bell R2-D2 Soft Drink Cup:

The Pepsi-Taco Bell R2-D2 cup

This phantastic collectible was sold as far as I know only in Northern America. The whole thing stands about 8 inches tall, so it is about 1/5.5th scale. It consists of a rather usual 1/2 liter (half a quart) soft drink cup made of plastic, but with a very complex top shaped like R2-D2, but cut off below the leg attachment points. The cup has a picture of Artoo at the front and a short description of R2 at the back. The legs are moveable, yet the head isn´t. Out of the head protudes a soda straw. Artoo is quite well reproduced, most details are correct. I was thinking indeed about converting another one of these into a buddy for my Screamin´ C-3PO, because the Pepsi R2 would fit C3PO´s size better than his current Estes counterpart.

The Kenner (cable) remote controlled R2-D2

This is as close as you will get at the moment for a remotely controlled Artoo (unless you want to build your own one). It has a hand controller with two switches. One lets R2 drive straight forward, the other one makes R2 turn on the spot and make a cute beeping sound. About the only thing I didn´t like was the matt light grey colour of the head dome instead of the original aluminum colour.

The Kenner 12´´ R2-D2 Figure:

Available now in at least three separate packages (single figure; the droid two-pack; and the two-pack with Slave Leia), R2-D2 looks very good. Besides, he is fully poseable, meaning you can extend the third leg and put R2 from two leg- to three-leg-position.. BUT, and there sadly seems to be a "but", the accompanying picture together with a 12´´ Han Solo figure shows that this Artoo is much too small. He should be about as high as Han´s belt.

The R2-D2 from the Italian Tombola "Surprise Chocolate Eggs"

There was a small line of StarWars figures included in the "Tombola" series of surprise chocolate eggs available only in Italy. Of course the figures are very rare and sought after. I received mine from my friend Daniel from the German Toy collector´s magazine "Toy Hunter´s Journal". I only managed to get my hands on the figure itself, so I had to "stage" the pictures below with the German edition of those chocolate eggs.

The R2-D2 figure in front of an opened egg Artoo in front of an unopened egg

R2-D2 as a randomizer in the StarWars Trivial Pursuit Game

Star Wars Trivial Pursuit Randomizer

One of the many reasons to buy the "Star Wars Trivial Pursuit" game is that there is a R2-D2-shaped "randomizer" included in this game, which serves as a space-age replacement of dice. It displays the number you rolled on a single digit display on R2´s front. Besides it does some nice beeping sound when you press the dome. It´s totally non-understandably, but the German version WON´T contain this gadget. Great idea, guys, keeps the end price about 50 cents lower, but will disappoint almost every German fan and keep him from buying the game ! And then you wonder why every German fan tries to get the US version.

The Artoo-Deetoo Watch by Hope Industries Inc.

This thing looked so unbelievably ugly, I had to buy it ! R2 propped onto a plastic strap which features some R2-typical dressings. To read the time, you have to press a button, then Artoo´s head pops up and reveals a digital display. The set contains also a Millenium-Falcon-shaped watchcase.

The R2-D2 Carryall

Well, maybe as a simple inhabitant of that outer rim zone called Europe I´m quite too underinformed, but I have no idea what a "Carryall" is supposed to be ! It´s the front half of R2-D2 made from a rather hard rubber. The backside has a slot in it where you could put things into this thing. But if you should try to retrieve them , you would probably rip your fingers open, because the rubber´s so stiff ! There is also a keyring at the top, but this thing is far too big to be used as a keychain. Whatever, no R2 collection would be complete without anything totally useless......

The R2-D2 carryall

The R2-D2 Tankard

Well, at least here you can recognize what this item is supposed to be used for, or seems to be supposed to... You would have to be rather masochistic to really drink out of this, because the handle is an ergonomic nightmare, and besides, drinking from it devalues the mug ! Together with the R2 straw pictured here you can at least pretend for your friends that a real R2 fan ALWAYS drinks from such a cup. The R2 tankard

The R2-D2 Popup

Again this name sounds like something very strange and probably totally useless, read: "cool", but this IS cool, and quite useful besides. It´s an R2 designed to hold all those belongings that you never find a decent spot for. Put them into your R2 popup and they´re out of the way. Just click the picture to see all the advantages of this useful gadget.

Click the popup to pop it up

The Lego Droid Developer Kit

This is only the start of a series of robotics kits from Lego. This one contains a motor that propels R2 and a simple electronics unit that you can use to R2 steer R2 with. For every further programming or remote control you will need another expansion kit. If you are into robotics, this is a very good way to start because you are spared all the mechanical problems and can concentrate on the programming. My only complaint from a modeler´s viewpoint is that you need quite an amount of imagination to recognize R2-D2; only the head dome is clearly recognizable.

The Droid Developer KIt

The R2-D2 3-D Puzzle

This contains a three-dimensional puzzle of R2-D2 made of 708 foam parts. It´s not easy to build, since there are sooo many white areas. The final assembly over the interior structure is a nightmare, especially at the head, where you have to bend all the FLAT foam parts into a semisphere. So it´s not really 3-D, more 2-D distorted into the 3rd dimension. BUT the reason I´m really glad I bought this is the included sound generator. It´s a little box that runs on three AAA batteries and every time you press the button, it randomly creates one of four or five R2 beeps. Of course I had to put this thing into my R2.

The R2 puzzle

The Applause R2-D2 with Periscope

This is a nice little model of Artoo. What makes it unique is the "double" head that can be turned around to show R2 either with or without periscope extended.

The Applause R2 with periscope

The R2-D2 Tiger Toys Giga Pets Tamagochi

Well, this had to come ! After the Tamagochi wave hit us all, a R2 version of this had to come. It´s not officialy named "R2-Tamagochi" of course, because Tamagochi is a trademark, but it serves the same function. You have to play with R2, solve puzzles, rescue princesses, and so on. I never unpacked mine. so I can´t give you a report on how worthwhile this is. If you have spare time to waste, this is the right toy for you.....

The R2 Tamagochi

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