Model Kit Review: AMT/Ertl’s Lost In Space Jupiter 2 (from the Movie)

(Page One)

 

 

 

 

 (Introduction)

DANGER, DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!!”

 

Most of us older folk remember this warning (either fondly or with a bit of grimace) from the campy 1960’s TV Show LOST IN SPACE. With the appearance of a revamped & high-tech. version of LOST IN SPACE in Movie form early last year, AMT/Ertl released a model of the all new, all different, oval shaped Jupiter 2.

 

(Look at a Glance – First Impressions)

I began working on this kit several days after purchasing it, way back in April or May of last year. (Due to numerous factors I didn’t finally complete it until recently).

 

The kit is composed of 27 plastic parts molded in medium gray. Twenty-four parts make up the spaceship, along with a three-piece display stand. There are also four clear parts. All parts contain very little flash, very little sink-marks and the pin-ejection marks are located inside where they can’t be viewed once the model is complete. Overall, the parts are surprisingly well detailed.

 

The model is made up of upper and lower hull sections; two “bowl” shaped parts fitting into the upper hull and a very austere internal command center. Two main side “hyper-drive” parts, 12 additional hyper-drive pieces, a rear engine part, an antenna and a wind shield cover are also included.

 

The parts that are clear are the windscreen, a nice circular lower “engine” and two small pin shaped front “lights.” A rather cool looking three piece stand containing the words “LOST IN SPACE JUPITER 2” and the movie’s stylized “LS” logo completes the part list. Finally, there is a sparse but adequate decal sheet.

 

In terms of positive first impressions, the size of the kit is pretty good, coming in at around 12 inches in length. Next, there are a relatively small number of pieces that make up the model.  (With this kit, this is a definite good thing). The kit is engineered with internally connecting pins and holes, so that when the J 2 is assembled, they cannot be seen - (also very nice)!

 

In addition, as previously mentioned, the detail found on the parts is very good. The panel lines on the Jupiter 2’s hull are even recessed - (“Oh my!”). Finally, the kit was created so that most of the parts can be painted ahead of time before being assembled together. This is especially helpful with the additional amount of masking that would be otherwise necessary for painting the many different colors composing the spacecraft.

 

On the down side, there is very little interior detail. The biggest disappointment with this kit though is with it’s fit, which ranges from average to poor. This becomes apparent with the very noticeable gap existing at the back of the command center. With the kit’s small scale along with the option of attaching the solid gray windshield cover, this point is negligible - that is, unless you want to show off the interior of the spaceship. The fitting problem also exists with just about all other parts.

 

(Dry-fitting Stage)

After opening the box I quickly proceeded to remove the parts from the sprue and dry-fit them together. (As previously mentioned), just about every piece when attached left a noticeable gap. This was most apparent with the two side hyper-drive parts and the rear engine piece. There were gaps existing between these three adjoining pieces, along with gaps between them and the sandwiching top and bottom hull sections.

 

After analyzing this fit problem, I decided to try something. I snipped off a portion of all connecting pins. When these parts were dry-fitted together again, the fit became much better. (Evidently, all connecting pins were too long). The fit still was not “perfect,” though, with smaller gaps still detectable. I decided to deal with the remaining fit problems during the final construction phase.

 

(Initial Painting)

An additional problem existing with this kit was the painting guide. In some cases, the recommended colors contradicted the colors shown on the built up J 2 on the box top. Adding to the difficulty in determining accurate colors was the fact that initially, when the kit was first released, there was very little reference material available to be used as a cross reference.  (This is one of my “excuses” for my rather long building period). J

 

After waiting a while I was finally able to locate two magazines depicting the Jupiter 2 in action. I purchased Issue #29 of The Sci-Fi & Fantasy Models Magazine, which showed some color shots of the Jupiter 2. I also obtained a copy of the Lost in Space Official Movie Magazine.

 

For the main color of the top hull and the outer perimeter of the bottom hull, I went with the kits recommended color of light gray. Model Master Enamel Paints were used on this kit. Light gray was airbrushed onto the entire top and bottom hull pieces, in addition to the two bowl shaped parts.

 

When dry, the outer perimeter of the bottom hull was painstakingly masked off  (using individual pieces of masking tape cut to shape). Then, the center section was painted Euro I Gray. The instructions called for this bottom section to be painted blue gray. However, since I was never able to locate this elusive, most mysterious colored paint, I decided to go with the Euro I gray.

 

 

I next moved back to the upper hull section. There exist 18 small tube-like structures protruding up from the center of this upper hull part. The instructions called for these to be base coated flat black and dry-brushed gun metal on the bottom and silver on the top. This color “suggestion” also ended up being incorrect. According to the other sources, the bottom of these should be copper with their tops painted silver or gunmetal.

 

I very carefully hand painted flat black on, followed by dry-brushing copper and silver when the flat black was dry. Even with my careful painting, excessive paint still ended up flowing down onto sections of the main upper hull. I opted to save this paint touch-up for later.





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