Gary Collinson gets hands on with Fanhome’s Star Wars Build Your Own R2-D2…
Fanhome is an exciting new face on the collectibles scene, aiming to provide fans with a broader access and deeper understanding of our favourite characters and stories through a range of inspirational, high-quality pop culture products from iconic entertainment brands such as Star Wars, Marvel, Fast & Furious, Street Fighter and Naruto.
Last month I was lucky enough to get my hands on the first four issues of the Star Wars Bust Collection, a line of intricately-designed, hand-painted resin busts featuring characters from across the entire breadth of the galaxy far, far away. You can read more of my thoughts on the Star Wars Bust Collection here, but for today we’re narrowing the focus down to just one character… a truly courageous hero of both the Republic and the Rebellion whose brave deeds would leave the galaxy indebted… I am of course talking about everyone’s favourite astromech droid, R2-D2.
It’s not just display collections on offer from Fanhome, as fans also have the chance to get a little more involved with two exclusive, officially licensed build up models. And while petrolheads can get their hands dirty with Dominic Toretto’s Dodge Charger R/T from Fast & Furious, Star Wars fans have the mouth-wateringly enticing Star Wars: Build Your Own R2-D2. Yes, it’s time to get yourself to Tosche Station to pick up some power converters*, as you’re going to be building your very own R2-D2 from scratch!
The Build Your Own R2-D2 is no simple snap-together quick build model kit, but rather a 100% movie accurate, half-scale replica of the feisty little astromech which – when complete – promises to deliver a highly-authentic advanced, autonomous robot complete with interactive intelligence, powerful motors, sophisticated logic boards and sensors, and a wealth of modes and functions. That doesn’t mean you’re going to need the technical skills of a young Anakin Skywalker however, as clear and detailed instructions are provided every step of the way.
Droid builders will be able to engage with the finished Artoo through two modes of operation: user-directed through an exclusive app for Android and iOS, and through an ‘AI’ mode featuring independent movement and responses. With speakers and microphones enabling communication through a variety of chirps and whistles, a built in camera capable of capturing and storing photos and video, a projector emitting messages from Princess Leia, rotating dome, extending arms and even a hidden spring-activated lightsaber compartment, this R2-D2 should have you feeling like Luke Skywalker in no time!
Build Your Own R2-D2 works on a subscription basis, with packages regularly delivered direct to your door consisting of 2-4 assembly stages along with the corresponding magazines. The first four assembly stages focus on Artoo’s right leg, primary photoreceptor and processor state indicator, giving a nice variation of structural and decorative building along with a taste of electronics as we construct the first LED display of the kit. It’s a nice way of easing us into the build and there’s nothing too taxing or tricky here, so younger fans should be fine with some supervision and a little assistance here and there.
I can only imagine how I would have felt as a child building a “real” working Star Wars droid; I’m building this with my six-year-old daughter, and while I’ll be doing most of the work, she was definitely fascinated by seeing how things come together. By the end of the first four stages, Artoo is starting to take shape thanks to his distinctive design and colouring, and we’ve also got our first working light for when we start putting together his metallic dome. Roll on the next package!
Accompany the parts for each assembly stage is a glossy magazine which includes photograph instructions for the build, although this is only the tip of the iceberg as each issue is packed with fascinating insight not only into R2-D2 but the entire Star Wars universe as a whole. There is of course a wealth of info on our loveable astromech – both his role in the narrative, and the many gadgets, tools and features encased in body – and this also extends to his pal C-3PO, with other droids and droid types presumably explored in future issues.
Going beyond that, the magazines also take a deep dive into both the filmmaking process, and the electronics, robotics and computing technology not just of the Star Wars galaxy, but the real world too. There’s some insightful, informative and educational stuff here, with articles and imagery detailing the entire process of bringing Artoo to life from the initial Ralph McQuarrie concepts through construction and production, as well as features on special visual effects, motion control filming and real world robotics.
I’m looking forward to continuing the Make Your Own R2-D2 build as much as I am getting my hands on the finished droid himself, and this is something that’s sure to appeal to Star Wars fans of all ages – especially younger fans with an emerging interest in engineering/electrics/robotics. I mean, you are literally building your own little R2-D2. How cool is that?! As a bonus, you’ll also pick up some nice exclusive subscriber gifts along the way, including an R2-D2 baseball cap, mug, notebook and prints – and you can get started for just 99p! So what are you waiting for, be sure to head on over to the Fanhome website with the code ‘STARWARS’ to sign up now, or browse the website for more info on Make Your Own R2-D2 and Fanhome’s other exclusive collections.
* Power converters not required (or real).
The Star Wars: Make Your Own R2-D2 was provided by Fanhome for review purposes.