Sunday, January 10, 2010

R2D2 in Sacramento

Chris James and I spent the afternoon at the California Museum here in Sacramento.

It turns out that there’s been a Lucasfilm R2D2 sitting here in Sacramento for a couple of months on display, and I didn’t know about it. The California Museum has had a set of science fiction movie costumes on display calle—out of this world. Most of them come from the collection of a private collector. Several pieces were authentic, some weren’t. The stormtrooper helmet and blaster were great to see up close. The helmet, cape, robe, and lightsaber on the Darth Vader are from the films. The placard said that the Gorn mask from the original series Star Trek episode was the real thing, but I can’t believe it. That episode was filmed 44 years ago—the mask is in perfect shape with no wear or fading. And some of the details on the neck weren’t right. By contrast, look at how trashed the Stormtrooper helmet is from the late 1970s.

The R2D2 and C3PO were actually part of another exhibit honoring George Lucas in the California Hall of Fame. So I think they will be there for a while. The R2 has a number of odd things on it. The shoulder mounts that attach the legs to the body are much too narrow so the legs are rubbing on the barrel. The legs look short, and the insides of the horseshoes are smooth. Chris James and I debated it at great length—longer that you would have thought possible—and concluded that it must be an amalgam of parts from Lucasfilm put together to make this static, 2 legged display model. It didn’t appear that the dome could turn, and there were no foot motors, and the lights probably didn’t work. Nevertheless, it was very cool to get to see it up close like this.

I suspect that they were making these horseshoes and couldn't be bothered to machine the grooves into the insides.  And Chris says there's something different about the layout on this shoulder hub on the outer ring.  But I haven't checked that yet.

Here you can see how close the legs are mounted to the body.  I don't know what's going on with that.  I don't recall seeing that variation on any of the screen used R2s, but my memory is bad for all of these little details.  I don't know if any of this droid was every screen used.  I really doubt it.

This was a great item to see in person.  I think this was an Empire Strikes Back stunt stormtrooper helmet.  It looks to be the same one reviewed on here:  I know because it had that big glued on patch that said Star Wars on the back.  Someone stuck that on there at some point and it's never been removed.

And here's the suspicious Gorn.  You can see the perfect condition and paint job.  If the original was made of latex, there's no way it would look like this 44 years later.  In fact, I can't imagine any material that would last that long.  But it's a cool item anyway.  I hope the collector who loaned all of these to the museum didn't pay a fortune for it.

I've got lots more pictures from every angle of the R2 and the Stormtrooper helmet on flickr here:

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