Why a GONK?
I kind of feel like a mad scientist or a strange genetic-robotist? If that is even a term. Really I am just a fan of the Gonk droid, and felt that it really could benefit from better mobility. It also was just a fun project to expand on what we have all seen in the Star Wars movies. When you are working on a replica accuracy and authenticity becomes king, but when you take on a project like this, you get to explore all the possibilities without restrictions. In all honesty, that is where I tend to have the most fun.
You have to have a plan.
The plan for this build wasn't complicated. I had to decide what elements of the Gonk I wanted to keep, and what elements of an Astromech I wanted to add to it.
In addition I went looking for the correct frame for the Gonk. Many prop builders before me have made their Gonk droids out of Rubbermaid Bins, so this was the direction I went in. In hindsight, and when I undoubtably re-do this project (I just can't help myself), I will build the frame from scratch.
The Rubbermaid bins are not the best medium. They are not structurally sound once you start cutting into them. They can also tend to be flimsy and not hold their shape very well. Finally, they are nearly impossible to glue anything to due to the nature of the material. All that being said, if you are persistent and plan it out a bit you can make due.
What I did to increase the stability and provide structure to mount elements (the "face", top detail, legs, etc.) was cut out the plastic of the Rubbermaid and add in 1/4" mdf. I bolted these cuts to the Rubbermaid.
A face for the Gonk
When it comes to the "face" of the Gonk droid the look is rather simple. It resembles a small baking dish with a few bits of junk arranged on it. Now I don't mean to insinuate that the original builders made it that simple, but more or less . . .
Anyway, for my build the "Greebly" process was pretty entertaining. I didn't have a detailed plan for this, the process was rather organic. But I did have one major element that I wanted and that was an old Projector TV lens. I work in the AV industry, and access to old vintage parts like this are common, and it seemed to fit perfectly. This along with a vast growing amount of other junk, the assembly of the face turned out like this . . .
construction and assembly
So lets get to the fun stuff, the construction of our new little friend. Below I will take you through the documentation of the build and try to point out as many steps I can.
The body was next cut, and the legs put into place for a test fit.
Under the droid I wanted to use the Astromech skirt, but I also needed a place for the speaker. After all, what good would a droid be without sound effect?
Below here are several images of the build. I focused here on all the greeblies and details. Some at this stage were a little rough, but once the primer is added a lot of the little blemishes start to vanish. Anything that needs dressed after primer will be, and then another round of primer.
Painting & Weathering
The painting of the project is several steps. First the flat grey primer. I did several layers of primer after sanding down the Rubbermaid with 320 grit sandpaper. The hope is to give a surface that the paint will adhere to. The Rubbermaid again is challenging for glue as well as paint. But after several layers it appeared to hold up fairly well.
Next I hit the entire surface with a metallic silver spray paint. Once this dried I applied small amounts of Elmer's Rubber Cement in strategic areas. Mostly surfaces that would have naturally been damaged or scuffed while this little guy powered through the galaxy.
Once the rubber cement is applied, a top layer of the finished paint was sprayed.
And then its on to painting, weather, and installing everything else . . .
Is it finished yet?
Well, as with many of my projects I guess you could say the GNK-D2 is as finished as it is going to get for now. There are many plans I have for finishing the sound, getting the lighting working, and hopefully getting this thing some mobility. Now don't worry my loyal Gonk followers, I will get back to finishing it soon, but for now here are shots of the Droid as he sits today.