Lost in Space Derelict and Jupiter

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Company: Moebius Models - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Moebius Models - Website: Visit Site
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Before I begin, one quick confession: I never watched this show much when it first came out. It was in direct competition with the original Star Trek and as a kid, I only go so much time in front of the idiot box.

That being said, what we have here is one fascinating vehicle. Featured in the second episode of Lost in Space, it was part of a real attempt at science fiction story telling before the gradual descent into satire. It’s in 1/350th scale, which makes both it and the Jupiter included in the same scale as the series of large-scale Enterprise kits currently available. For that matter, you could have the Jupiter docked on an aircraft carrier deck.

Anyway, the original model was only shot in black and white and apparently no longer exists, which gives you a bit of leniency in finishing the kit. Features include no less than three miniature Jupiters (only one landing leg per sprue), opening hangar, metal support rod and a quick-build interior made of cardboard. The cardboard interior was easily replicated with sheet styrene, as this model just begs for some interior lighting. Apparently you can now purchase a ready-made lighting kit, but I found that a blinker board and old Christmas LEDs did just fine. To capture the “spacey” interior look, I used steel wool to replicate the “neuron strands” and a little glitter scattered about. Perfect.

There is some necessary prepping if you’re going to have the hangar open. The clamshell doors all feature numerous pin marks which are clearly visible on the completed model, so these have to be filled. In addition, the two halves of each wedge should be filled and sanded to replicate the seamless look of the originals. Fortunately, the balls at the end of each door are a very good fit and require just a little buffing to get the seams out.

Having installed the lighting system, I replace the solid metal support rod with a suitable tube for the wiring, punched some holes through the back of the interior display to permit the twinkling lights to show through, and the main hull was ready for assembly. There are not a whole lot of parts to this, but the fit is quite good, requiring only a little putty to finish off.

Once all the filling and sanding was complete, I knew something had to be done with the surface texture. As made, the exterior of this kit is as smooth as a billiard ball. A quick look at the video showed the original to be dramatically textured. Although I recently read a review which showed how to complete the model using Krylon texturing paint, I was never really enamored with the original look anyway. Still, I wanted to show that the ship really was old and derelict. How to do this? I finally hit on the idea of texturing the surface much as I do tank mufflers – with liquid cement and body putty applied with a stipple brush. Admittedly, the model’s surface is much larger than a muffler, so this took a bit of time, although I’m happy with the end result. Important: DO NOT DO THIS WITHOUT PROPER VENTILATION. I didn’t notice how much the vapors from this process were affecting me until I started having breathing problems. A full 24 hours later I still wasn’t feeling terrific. Only infusions of rum and peppermint tea helped me get back on track. When modeling, always use caution.

Now on to painting. I chose to use a variety of metallic paints randomly applied to create a weathered surface, and am pretty pleased with the results. The elaborate clear units on the front of the vessel (rear?) take some patience to clean up, but you can eliminate the scrapes by simply coating each piece with Testors Crystal Clear.

As you can see from the pictures, the interior is pretty dark without some kind of lighting, but it’s pretty charming with the lights on. As one of my very first light effects, I think it came out well.

All in all, this is an exceptionally fun model to build, sturdy and full of charming alien weirdness. Because of the lack of visual references, you’re free to play with this one and make it as unique as you choose. I strongly recommend experimenting with some lighting effects while you’re at it. My many thanks to Moebius Models for the review model and to IPMS/USA for the chance to make one for myself.


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