Sunday 16th February the UK Droid Builders descended upon Sandymoor Community Hall, Runcorn once again for the Great Northern England Meet organised by Mark Leigh. This was my first time at this meet and I was very pleased with the turn out!
Being able to meet builders who were not able to come to the R2UK ‘19 which was my last meet was a great experience and also being able to meet some new friends was also great. There weren’t just R2 builders there, we had Mick attend the event with a WIP Wall-E which was fantastic, a lot of work went in to even the couple of smaller parts that he brought with him and I certainly look forward to watching his build come to life.
I brought my T3-M4 head that I have managed to move along since R2UK and I got some great feedback from everyone who chatted to me about it and I think I even managed to convince a few new builders to add another droid to their collection.
Sarah arrived with parts from her TC14 Protocol Droid, they were so good and such high quality I thought Pedge had turned up and was hiding from me! Darren had also brought some of his BB-8 Cary Frames that he has kindly brought back for anybody wanting them.
A couple of 39.1% droids, BT-1 courtesy of Mr Pay, a couple of Chopper droids along with the wonderful creations of Mr Baddeley with his D-0 droids and BD-1. Of course there were plenty of R2 units there as well as Mark’s R4 unit which I believe was it’s first outing.
One of the things I saw at this meet, which I see at every meet but it’s always great to see, is builders helping out other builders. There was plenty of discussion around the mechanics of D-0 and BD-1, I had some interesting chats regarding the Mouse Droid with Craig and I spotted a few builders assisting Mark on the R4 unit to name a few.
There were plenty of laughs filling the hall which was great to hear, the kids were enjoying themselves racing some of the 39.1% droids as well as what I believe were some of the Sphero droids, in fact I’m pretty sure there was a small race between Martin’s R2 and a 39.1% droid!
The venue itself was a wonderful little venue for the event, wasn’t too big but wasn’t too small either and it seemed to fit everyone in with no problems and to top of it all off, Jo made some cake! (Very nice by the way!) Sadly the recent storm had prevented some folks from making it to the event which is a real shame but plenty of people were still able to come thankfully.
There seemed to be quite a few new builders that turned up to the event which was great to see, taking plenty of people, asking a ton of questions and this is probably the best way for any new builder to start building, try your best to get to the meets because it’s one thing seeing a couple of pictures on Facebook of somebodies droid but to physically be there, with the droid and the person who built it is a completely different experience. Being able to look at the droids both internally and externally from different angles, look at the parts you might not fully understand and have a builder go through the parts with you and explain how the work, what issues they had and how they overcame them etc, sometimes reading things online doesn’t quite give you the picture you need.
Mark also had his footshells and drivetrain on display which was exactly what I needed to see myself since the drive system is what I’m looking at for R2 next, being able to see the shells and the drivetrain up close and also in use by a droid was exactly what I needed to see, another benefit of going to the meets!
Overall I would say this was a brilliant event, very well organised by Mark. Great venue, not too difficult to find at all and a great amount of people that turned up. I would certainly be going again to the next one hopefully with a more completed droid!