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TRAVELLIN-MAN CUSTOM DIORAMA #02 (MARK ZIMERMAN)

Updated: April 28, 2007

Travellin' Man Spacecraft of Astronaut Jimmy Hapgood From the 'Lost in Space' Episode, "Welcome, Stranger"

"Welcome, Stranger," was my favorite episode of the old 'Lost in Space' television series. Upon reflection, I now know why this is so. Although the show was set in the then-far future of 1997, astronaut Jimmy Hapgood and his ship, Travellin' Man, were iconic images of real space travel readily familiar to television audiences of the mid-1960's.

With its' missile-like hull covered in corrugated "Rene-41" style panels, Travellin' Man looked like it could be a spacecraft of the early 1980's. A "next step" from the then-contemporary Mercury and Gemini capsules to the "1990's" Jupiter-2 used by the Robinsons.

As for Jimmy Hapgood himself, well, as portrayed by the late Warren Oates, his competent technical manner combined with his down-home folksy charm just screamed "right stuff." He would have fit right in with the likes of Chuck Yeager and the original Mercury astronauts.

My take on Travellin' Man is constructed to 1/48th scale, the same as Polar Lights' Jupiter-2. An Estes 1/35th scale Mercury capsule served as the basic structure with a lot of Evergreen sheet and tube styrene plastic stock added. The heat shield was made from a hemispherical aircraft display base trimmed to fit.

The interior was made from scrap-box parts. Some details were conjectural, such as the forward view port, implied, but not actually seen in the episode. Also, due to Jimmy Hapgood's early 1980's launch date; I added the NASA "worm-style" logo. Otherwise, every effort was made to copy the television prop as closely as possible.

Jimmy Hapgood was made from a scrap-box figure (a Gundam pilot, I think,) with a new head and an epoxy-putty Stetson hat. (If you look in the cockpit, you will see his 1960's-style space helmet.) He is also holding his decontamination sprayer.

The base is Styrofoam with Durham's Water Putty groundwork. My theory is this is the 90th planet visited by Hapgood. He is just about to take-off, so the two antennas deployed when Travellin' Man is landed are stowed in the flight position.

He has just burned "Hapgood was here!" on a nearby rock with his laser pistol and is taking a last look around before blasting-off in search of planet #91, where he will have his famous encounter with the Robinsons, Major Don West, and of course, Dr. Zachary Smith.

One last detail. The alien plant, (actually, native to world #90,) is from a "Warhammer 40K" set. It is the source of the spore contamination that will cause so much trouble for Hapgood and the Robinsons.

This model helped me win "Modeler of the Year" in the Gateway Chapter of the International Plastic Modeler's Society (IPMS) in St. Louis, Missouri, for 2006.

I found out about your website and collection as I was searching on-line for reference material to build this model.

(*) Many thanks to, "Joshua Zimerman" for the great photos on this diorama!

Sincerely,

Mark Zimerman


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