Star Wars- A New Hope: A pre-production study cast for the dome head of the first R2-D2 robot, circa 1976,

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Lot 82
Star Wars- A New Hope: A pre-production study cast for the dome head of the first R2-D2 robot,
circa 1976,

Sold for £ 16,250 (US$ 20,952) inc. premium
Vintage Film Posters & Film Memorabilia
Star Wars- A New Hope: A pre-production study cast for the dome head of the first R2-D2 robot,
circa 1976,
made for the pre-production of Lucasfilm Star Wars: A New Hope 1977, the detailed hemispherical mould showing the cavity for the radar eye, logic displays, holographic projector and process status indicator, with numerous hand annotated measurements in both pencil and black ink in an unknown hand across the dome, the plaster supported by crossed wood frame to the underneath, used to create the double aluminium skins for the rotating part of the droids head; accompanied by early images of the finished R2-D2 before delivery to Elstree, plaster base diameter 18¼ inches (46.5cm.)

Footnotes

  • This rare and significant plaster head cast provides an insight into how the final R2-D2 was made for Star Wars. The vendor of the head was the owner of a small engineering facility, Peteric Ltd., which was located in Shepperton Film Studios. As such the company worked on a number of film related projects. One such contract was to manufacture the final screen used R2-D2 aluminium robots used in 'Star Wars: A New Hope'. According to the vendor this plaster mould was originally cast in the reflector shade of a spot lamp that he believes defined the size of R2-D2 and also had some minor dents as seen in depressions across the mould. This cast and others of the leg and foot, together with the technical drawings for the robots body, were provided by John Stears the special production and mechanical effects supervisor to Peteric Ltd. for the firm to create the hero screen-used R2-D2's.

    In total seven R2-D2 droids were created, including a smaller half size model for the scene where the droid is lowered into the Star Fighter, which had insufficient room for a full R2-D2 model. It was imperative that each model was identical, yet the complicated nature of the design meant that an automate manufacture was not possible. Therefore the owner of the company and vendor of this mould devised the entire handcrafted manufacture of all seven R2-D2's. As the plaster would not be strong enough to use to form the aluminium R2-D2 in the manufacture process, the hemispherical shape and dimension were transferred into a wood former. Once the robots were completed they were returned to Elstree, for spray-painting and aging under art director Norman Reynolds team.

    The vendor was offered a choice of an hourly fee for the work or a percentage of the films takings. The contract was agreed at a flat hourly rate.

    Bonhams would like to thank Don Bies for his assistance with the research of this catalogue entry.

    Literature:
    COTTA VAZ, Marck & HATA, Shinji, The Star Wars Archives London; Virgin Books, 1995, p.12
Contacts
Star Wars- A New Hope: A pre-production study cast for the dome head of the first R2-D2 robot, circa 1976,
Star Wars- A New Hope: A pre-production study cast for the dome head of the first R2-D2 robot, circa 1976,
Star Wars- A New Hope: A pre-production study cast for the dome head of the first R2-D2 robot, circa 1976,
Star Wars- A New Hope: A pre-production study cast for the dome head of the first R2-D2 robot, circa 1976,
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