Doncaster Star Wars fan builds working model of R2-D2 in his shed
A Doncaster 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.
The granddad-of-seven from Askern began building Star Wars replicas as a hobby a couple of years ago when he took a step back from work.
"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," Ricky said.
"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."
Dad-of-four Ricky says he doesn't know how many hours he has dedicated to the droid but that he would go into his back garden shed "at any opportunity" to work on it.
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."
Over the years Ricky has worked as a disc jockey and an actor, including a stint as the body double for Sam Neil, famous for his role as as Dr Alan Grant in Jurassic Park.
In 2018 he built a 'battlescorched' X-wing starfighter fitted with half-a-mile of cables, including flashing lights, joy sticks and the moving wings.
Immediately after unveiling that creation he began work on R2-D2, with the help of his 16-year-old son Prince, who wants to be a civil engineer.
The 65-year-old said his next work, a lifelike Dalek replica from Doctor Who, will get underway in the new year and should be ready by Christmas 2020.