Bandai 1/12 R2D2 Droid
KIT #: 196163
PRICE: $varies
DECALS: One option
NOTES: R5D4 is also part of the kit.

R2-D2 (called "R2" for short is a robot character in the Star Wars universe created by George Lucas. An astromech droid (referred to in the novel as a 'thermocapsulary dehousing assister'), R2-D2 is a major character in all Star Wars films. Along with his protocol droid companion C-3PO, he joins or supports Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Obi-Wan Kenobi in various points in the saga. R2-D2 has been played by English actor Kenny Baker in all six original Star Wars films and is due to reprise the role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first installment of the upcoming sequel trilogy, making him one of just two characters/actors along with C-3PO (portrayed by Anthony Daniels) to appear in all seven films.

George Lucas's creation of R2-D2 was influenced by Akira Kurosawa's 1958 feature film The Hidden Fortress (USA release 1962), particularly Tahei and Matashichi, the two comic relief characters that serve as sidekicks to General Makabe. Lucas also drew inspiration from the robots Huey, Dewey, and Louie from Douglas Trumbull's 1972 film Silent Running.

The name is said to derive from when Lucas was making one of his earlier films, American Graffiti. Sound editor Walter Murch states that he is responsible for the utterance which sparked the name for the droid. Murch asked for Reel 2, Dialog Track 2, in the abbreviated form "R-2-D-2". Lucas, who was in the room and had dozed off while working on the script for Star Wars, momentarily woke when he heard the request and, after asking for clarification, stated that it was a "great name" before falling immediately back to sleep.

R2-D2 stands for Second Generation Robotic Droid Series-2, according to a Star Wars encyclopedia published after the release of the film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.


Consists of 197 parts covering six sprues: two white sprues, one Bandai trademark multicolor sprue, two silver grey sprues and one black sprue. The parts have almost no flash with minimal mold marks. The multicolor sprue contains a section of gold, a section of blue and a section of orange representing the colored sections of the two droids. It is designed so that you just need to assemble it without any painting. For those of us who prefer to make the colors pop, dealing with seams and weather a model can still paint it (I think the silver pieces do require painting.)

The detail of the parts is incredible with various bumps and lumps protruding while the panel lines are done with fine engraved lines. R2D2 comes with all the tiny attachments that were used in the various films minus Luke Skywalker’s Lightsabre which he stored in Return of the Jedi. It also contains the complete markings for both droids as waterslide decals or stickers. The color instruction booklet provides extensive diagrams and decal placement. It is easy to follow despite being written in Japanese.


The first component I assembled was the head/dome since it is supposed to be NMF. Any insert that could not be inserted after the dome halves were glued together were added into the dome with the knowledge that I would have to paint and mask them afterwards. It was thrown into the box for several months (to eliminate phantom seams and deal with personal problems.) After time had passed, I carefully filled/sanded away the gaps, but I made the mistake of using Tamiya Surface Primer first instead of gap filling CA glue. The problem with Surface primer is that it left noticeable seams after polishing so I eventually figured out my mistake and used gap filling CA glue. After a couple of polishing sessions, I finally got R2's dome smooth and ready for priming.

I decided to change what I had originally done with the R5D4 kit. With the power of 20/20 hindsight I decided to paint the remaining parts on the sprues or after they were removed off the sprue and cleaned up.

After the paint dried, I followed the instructions for each subassembly. Legs were done first, then the torso and then the remaining dome bits. I still had some gaps on the torso that I needed to fill and sand. I filled them in with small dabs of CA glue applied with a toothpick and when the glue hardened a bit I sanded them smooth using 600 grit sandpaper. Before other details were added, I masked off and sprayed them flat white.

I was thinking about adding all those special gadgets that made R2D2 the Swiss Army Knife of Droids, but opted not too as the original design was clean enough without turning it into a plastic porcupine.


The dome was sprayed with two coats of primer and then polished with various grades of sanding cloths (3200-12000 grit) in preparation for the NMF. As mentioned in the construction section many of the parts were painted on the sprue. I used the following colors:

Blue plastic - Model Master Acrylic Arctic Metallic Blue

Silver plastic - TS-30 Polished Silver

White plastic - Tamiya Flat White

Once the silver dome was dry, it was polished cleaned then masked off the various areas where the dome is supposed to be blue using Tamiya tape. I then sprayed those areas blue. I was lucky that none of the paint leaked through the tape.

As with R5D4, I painted most of the areas that had the option of decals. It made things easier for my sanity as I don't really like using decals for small detail parts or in tight places. There were some fine details that I painted with a brush and did some dry brushing for certain details such as the silver trim around R2D2's various orifices. After that, I sprayed on two thin coats of Future/Pledge Floor Polish in preparation for the decals.

Bandai provides both decals and stickers. I opted for using the small detail decals that I would have a hard time painting. The decals went on without much trouble and snuggled onto the details with a small amount of MicroSet.

I used a thin brown watercolor to give R2 a slightly used look as I did not go all Tatooine on R2D2 or the Star Wars equivalent of South Pacific weathering. The excess was removed with damp Q-Tips and then sealed with my last remaining bit of Xtracrylix Semi-Gloss and Flat coats.

The legs and dome were added to the torso and that was it.


The Bandai Astromech droid models are a very fun build. More fun if you don't paint, sand or fill them because everything except assembling and adding stickers to them is done for you. That is the wonderful thing about these kits is that you can do as much or as little as you want and still have a decent looking model.

If you want to weather it and remove seams or use the decals then it will take some careful work and preparation when it comes to painting, but that does not diminish the fun one will have with these kits. These are wonderful kits and worth a build if you are a Star Wars fan. A kit for modellers of all skill levels.

Highly recommended if you can find one.

Dan Lee

4 October 2016

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