R2 builders very seldom leave their R2D2s with a "fresh from the factory" look. In most film scenes the R2D2s are mostly shown in a "used" condition. There are several different methods of “ageing” a R2D2 and I did some painting and aging attempts using the parts, such as my first fibre glass dome, that hadn't been used, in order to find out the best methods.


First paint the part in the normal way namely with filler, 3 layers of colour and 2-3 layers of clear lacquer.

Next dilute black acrylic airbrush colour with a lot of water, using a mixing ratio of colour to water of approximately 1:5. This is dabbed on with a brush - not spread!!!

Surplus colour can be removed with a sponge. Now dab with a firm dry brush until the desired optical effect is obtained.

Brightly painted parts reach the correct degree of discolouration very quickly without using much colour. Use 1-2 layers of clear lacquer to seal the final effect.

Although correct discolouration is usually very irregular it sometimes follows strict regularities:

  • At the edges and in joints you will normally find more dirt than on straight surfaces.

  • On horizontal surfaces there are usually more deposits than on verticals surfaces.

  • There will normally be more discolouration the lower down you go.

Another method for “ageing” parts is by using a “drying paint” method. Dip a large brush only a little into the colour and rub it nearly completely dry on a piece of paper. Now use the brush to dab over the part – do not spread the paint!

Here are some further "aged" parts.

"Aged" parts look like more realistic.

"Aged" parts do not look as if they're made of cheap plastic.