The concept of HAL didn’t come into effect until a few years ago when my husband expressed the desire to build an R2D2 unit. He joined the R2 builders club and now had the support to start he lifelong dream of having his very own life size R2. Always wanting to stand out from the norm, I begged him to build an Imperial droid instead of the same traditional R2 that EVERYONE else was building. But his mind was set…… R2D2 or nothing.

Being stubborn in my quest to do something different, I used my ancient right of wifely ultimatums and told my loving and unexpecting husband that the only way he was getting his R2, is if I get ‘Mine”!

And so began my first step into a larger world.

My beginning inspiration for HAL was imagining what Emperor Palpitine’s droid would look like…. If he had one. Off course his droid would have to be beautiful, and loaded with exotic detailing. So I planned out a color palette of gloss black, copper, pewter, and burnt gold leafing. I even threw in a head tattoo inspired by a Sith Holocron design. This has in turn become one of HAL's most distinct characteristics.

Having a great love for sci-fi entertainment, I chose to have a little unorthodox fun with my droid and add some hidden tributes to other robots of the sci-fi realm. At first, some fellow R2 builders gave me flack and attempted to pressure me into leaving him in the “traditional R2” shape, but they protested in vain.

The first to come was his name. I chose HAL-1138 because I thought it was a very good mesh of two worlds. HAL 9000 has always been the king of AI baddies in my book. And for any true Star Wars fan, 1138 is rather self explanatory. ;)

I wanted to play with the idea that HAL would sometimes talk in the voice of HAL 9000, in addition to having the well known beeps of a traditional R2 unit. One of our friends, Shawn Crosby, did a great job of impersonating the voice of HAL 9000. He made a recording of some quotes from the 2001 movie along with some custom sayings. During HAL’s first outing, people responded very well to HAL’s “talking”, and I decided to X the R2 beeps and just have him speak.

I have many plans for HAL. And have a feeling it will take me another 5-10 years to finish him completely. Yes, a long journey indeed, but well worth the travel.
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