A Star Wars fan turned his Volkswagen recreation vehicle into a R2-D2 Road Tripper. He recalled how he did it on his blog.
Artoo-Deetoo is an icon, a fictional character and one of George Lucas’ greatest creations. There are plenty of epic Space Odyssey fans out there that also drive cars. Few, if any, own a Hellcat, but even so, some of them wrap their cars as a tribute for the epic franchise.
A gifted Star Wars fan also is a Volkswagen Transporter driver who decided it was time to leave Tatooine for a change and embark on a rather Earthier experience. He recreated all the objects on R2D2 and adapted them to fit on his VW bus. According to his Instructables log, “all the measurements and computer work took about 50 hours, plus vinyl wrapping till we lost count”.
The vehicle itself is a 1992 Volkswagen Transporter that is powered by 1.6-liter air-cooled engine with 58 hp that was converted to run on CNG too, which gives it better mileage, but even less power.
Yeah, the force it’s not strong with this one.
According to his Indestructables blog, the R2D2 VW Bus was created in 14 steps.
Step 1: Planning the design
R2D2’s body is a cylinder, so the initial idea was to unroll the cylinder and wrap the bus with that pattern. But it ended up not becoming one with the force, that is the bus. It was all planned based on vinyl wrap customization, since they already worked with vinyl stickers.
Step 2: Recreating the objects [vector]
Based on a high resolution blueprint image from the web, they recreated in vectors by manual tracing each and every object on CorelDraw. At first they left the black outline, then realized they did not want a cartoon-looking robot.
Step 3: Recreating the objects [color]
Once the vectors were done, Photoshop work began. Most of this was done by setting layer styles, since it is an easy way to create a sense of depth.
Step 4: Photoshop overview
First, save the vector you created on CorelDraw and export as high-res .jpg to use on Photoshop. Once you have your image, and if you use crazy contrasting colors, you can easily select each section with the Magic Wand tool. Create a new layer and fill the selection with a medium shade of grey. For each new layer, work with layer styles to set “gradient overlay” and “bevel and emboss”.
Step 5: Measure everything
If you cannot find a blueprint of your car on the internet accurately depicting every measure and the position of every light, hinge, handle and what not, you’ll have to measure them all. That may take some time, but it is the only way to make sure the design becomes one with the vehicle.
Step 6: Prepare for printing
Once they had all the objects, they had to decide on where to place them. For that, you can either use a vector of the vehicle or pictures of the front, back and side.
Step 7: Cutting the stickers
A rule of thumb for wrapping is to always work with more material than the surface to be wrapped.
Step 8: Preparing the bus
This proved to be an exhausting part. They spent a lot of time on treating all the scratches and rust, then painting over it and sanding.
Step 9: Wrapping the front
They started applying the stickers by the front, since it would probably be the hardest part.
They used felt squeegees to press the vinyl bit by bit, careful not to leave any bubbles or wrinkles.
Step 10: Real buses have curves
The second target was the back, to rest from the hard time they had on the front. No major issues on the flat surfaces. On the curve, they dreaded the decision of planning it on a single module.
Step 11: Sweet sides
These were quick and easy. The advantage of picking a VW bus for the project. Since it is all flat, there is very little need for the heat gun.
Step 12: A few more details
It took a while to wrap the top grid. Might have been easier to paint it?
Step 13: Are we there yet?
Well, almost! Since they were done with the printed stickers, a silver one was added to the window columns and another stripe of blue to the top.
Step 14: What a cool droid!
They plan to add Millennium Falcon to the top, and maybe write “On a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away” as well.
Good bye, old friend. May the Force be with you.
―Obi-Wan Kenobi, to his former Padawan Anakin Skywalker before traveling to Utapau