Doncaster actor builds a second life-like robot inspired by a Star Wars character - and this time it's R2-D2

A part-time Doncaster actor and Star Wars super fan has marked the release of the latest film by building a model of iconic character R2-D2.

Thursday, 9th January 2020, 2:25 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 10:15 am
Ricky Butler, 66, has built a life-size replica of the Star Wars droid R2-D2 in his shed near Doncaster, South Yorks. See SWNS story SWLEdroid. A movie extra and Star Wars mega-fan has celebrated the new blockbuster by unveiling an ultra-realistic working replica of iconic droid character R2-D2. Film buff Ricky Butler, 65, has spent the last 12 months, and hundreds of hours, toiling away in his garden shed to create the remarkable 3.5ft tall imitation. The droid, made from plywood, fibreglass and aluminium and fitted with a whopping 500ft of wiring and blu-tooth speakers, lights up, talks and walks just like the real thing. Semi-retired actor Ricky, who built a 21ft long X-wing starfighter in 2018, has been a fan of the Star Wars franchise ever since watching the first instalment in 1977.

Ricky Butler, aged 65, had spent a year building the working replica of the resourceful astromech droid prior to the release of ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’.

The robot, which he built with the help of his 16-year-old son Prince, is made from plywood, fibreglass and aluminium.

It stands at 3.5 feet tall and is fitted with 500 feet of wiring, along with bluetooth speakers and lights, to help it talk and walk just like character it is inspired by.

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Dad-of-four Ricky, and his son, built the robot in a shed in the back garden of their Askern home.

Ricky, who is a semi-retired actor, first found a love for the Star Wars franchise when he watched the first film in 1977.

He said: “I've been a big fan of the series ever since queuing up to watch A New Hope in the cinema more than 40 years ago

"I've always liked making things and working with electronics so I thought, 'why not combine that with Star Wars?'

"It's a very long and often a very difficult process to build something like this but I love the challenge because it keeps my mind active.

"When I look at the finished thing now I'm absolutely delighted, it's come out brilliantly - sometimes I can't believe that I actually did it.”

Ricky said he does not know how many hours he dedicated to building the droid, but that he would go into his back garden shed ‘at any opportunity’ he had to work on it.

This is not the first time he love for the franchise has seen him build one of its characters; he also built a 21ft long X-wing starfighter in 2016. His creation was fitted with half-a-mile of cables, including flashing lights, joy sticks and the moving wings.

He added: "At my age it's important to keep your mind active and doing this is a really good way to do that for me. I have to think about what I'm doing and work out how to fix things.

"I rely on lots of knowledge I have picked up over the years but every now and then there is something I get stuck with. When that happens I go on YouTube and watch a video to help me do it."

Ricky and Prince, who would like to be a civil engineer when he is older, have also previously worked together to build a full size working replica of the original Dalek from the Doctor Who television show. The robot was completed in 2018.

Ricky has played Sam Neil’s double through his work as an actor and has worked alongside famous actors including David Morrissey and Suranne Jones.