Most people just put Stormtrooper or Boba Fett decals on the rear windshield of their vehicle to express their Star Wars fandom. But one fan in Brazil showed his appreciation for the saga, and particularly for a certain astromech droid, by turning his Volkswagen bus into R2-D2.
Cesar Aguzzoli had already planned to revamp the family bus, but it wasn’t until after he and his family had a Star Wars marathon that they, in Aguzzoli’s words, “finally found the droid we were looking for.”
The first part of the process was deciding how to transfer the iconic droid’s design onto the bus. Using a computer, they basically unrolled R2’s cylinder and placed it on the bus; but the results weren’t satisfactory. “It lacked proper interaction with the bus,” Aguzzoli wrote.
One of the first designs to be rejected.
Having rejected the easier, more seductive path of just transferring the original R2 design straight to the VW, Aguzzoli decided to create a design that would be customized to better fit the bus. He and his team created the parts of the R2 unit using blueprints from the internet and a computer program called CorelDraw. They rendered each part of the object in contrasting colors in CorelDraw, then transferred each object to Adobe Photoshop and used layer styles to add R2’s familiar coloring and depth.
Once the various parts of R2 were designed, the various parts of the bus had to be measured and the design once again pasted onto the bus via a computer, so that the vinyl pieces could be printed with as much accuracy as possible to fit the VW.
After the layout was planned and the entire design was printed on one big roll of vinyl, the dimensions of which were around 3 feet by 35 feet (that’s one big R2 unit!). After that, it was time to cut.
Then the bus had to be prepared. This process involved A LOT of cleaning and treating and painting. Here’s what it looked like after it had had its spa day.
Finally, the bus was ready to be transformed into a fully functioning R2-D2 bus. This process involved peeling and sticking, rubbing out wrinkles with squeegees, and using a heat gun (see the first picture of Aguzzoli) to stretch and shape the vinyl.
All of the painstaking smoothing and sticking was worth it, though. See the glorious results below.
Here’s a look at the side.
As you can see, there are no longer two legs on one side, like there were in the initial design.
Unfortunately, as of Aguzzoli’s writing about this project, he and his team had not finished work on the bus. “We got as far as we could, up until our last day in Brazil,” he wrote. “Now we are set to live in the US for some years, so it will take a while until we finish all the details.” They still have plans for it, though, such as adding a Millennium Falcon to the top and installing hubcaps that look like the top of R2’s dome. They have also talked about creating another R2 bus while in the US.
Here’s what it would have looked like, if they had been able to complete it.
Can you imagine roadtripping in this thing? Seriously, it would be awesome to be able to take a road trip to Star Wars Celebration or a Star Wars movie premiere, picking up your Star Wars fan friends along the way! Maybe that’s what Aguzzoli has in mind for his astromech – I mean, Volkswagen bus.
You can find more pictures of this project, as well as instructions rfom Aguzzoli one how to make your own vehicular R2-D2 design at Instructables. Kudos to Cesar Aguzzoli and his team for pushing on and making such a cool piece of Star Wars art!