Updated: May 13, 2021
JUPITER-2 PHOTO GALLERY #03
One of the most eye-catching elements of the 1965 CBS series Lost In
Space was the space family Robinson's dazzling spaceship, the
Jupiter-2. Art director William Creber designed this atomic-powered
flying saucer for the pilot episode. Robert Kinoshita (a Forbidden
Planet veteran who created Robby the Robot, as well as his Lost In
Space counterpart) refined and detailed the model for the series.
The Jupiter-2 served as both the main standing set and the show's
most-used model. Given the popularity of Lost In Space, it is
amazing that no model kit of the popular spacecraft was produced in
America during the show's three-year run. The Japanese company
Maruson produced two kits in the 1960's, but they were not widely
distributed in the United States. (Maruson's highly detailed kits
now fetch thousands on the collector's market.)
As a former "child" of Lost In Space, I was delighted to discover
Lunar Models' Jupiter-2 kits. Here, at last, was an affordable
version of my favorite TV spaceship (sorry, Enterprise).
Lunar Models, a San Mateo-based mail-order firm, produces several
versions of the Jupiter-2, in sizes up to twenty-four inches. So
many different kits are available because, like its Star Trek cousin
the Enterprise, the Jupiter-2 under went many subtle alterations
throughout the run of the show: dimensions changed, windows appeared
and disappeared depending on whether miniatures or full-size
mock-ups were used. Lost In Space was never known for it's
Lost in Space Jupiter-2 Model Kit Lunar Models "popular version" (#SF050)
of the Jupiter-2 is a 5-1/2" replica of the ship in flight with landing
This configuration of the Jupiter-2 is seen in the third season's
"Visit to a Hostile Planet" and other episodes. This solid resin kit
with vacu-form and brass details weighs a hefty ten ounces when
assembled. If you are a novice model builder, be aware that resin
kits are generally more difficult to build than styrene kits. A few
general rules apply. First, all parts must be washed in mild
detergent to remove mold-release oils; these oils can interfere with
paint adhesion. Second, light sanding of all surfaces produces a
more uniform finish for painting. And, finally, Superglue
(cyanoacrylates) must be used for assembly; styrene cement will not
Assembly of this kit is quite simple; the two halves of the saucer
are glued together and painted as a unit. Spray-painting or
airbrushing with Testor's chrome silver gives the most uniform
results for the Jupiter-2's metallic silver exterior. Paint the
recessed panel lights in the power core white by applying a droplet
of paint with a toothpick. I was unsatisfied with the instructions'
recommendation to simply "paint in" the main windows; instead, I cut
window "glass" from sheet acetate, backpainted them gloss white, and
cemented them in place. This produced a nice illusion of lighted
windows with glass-like reflective surfaces.
The dome for atop the ship is provided in clear plastic. To simulate
the blinking lights of the sensor array beneath the dome, I used
clear rhinestones. After painting the dome base a flat black, I
glued the rhinestones in the dome at angles. With the translucent
dome cemented into place, the slightly-obscured rhinestones look
The most difficult to assemble structures in this kit are the
landing legs. Each is composed of a stairway and footpiece of resin
and a two-piece strut of brass. The use of metal was probably
dictated by the weight of the model. Brass is supplied in pieces
that must be carefully cut to match a template. There is no room for
error, so proceed with great care. The paint on the ship body should
be scraped away from the area where the legs will be cemented. After
the cement dries, the legs should be hand-painted chrome silver. The
finished model is a very satisfying representation of the Jupiter
"coming in for a landing."
Lost in Space Crash Site Kit:
Quite a bit more complicated is Lunar Models Lost In Space
Crash-Site kit. This fifteen-inch diorama features the Jupiter-2
half-buried in the ground and the Chariot (the Robinson's metal and
plexiglass land-rover) amid rocky scenery. The Jupiter-2 and base
are vacu-formed plastic; the rocks and most of the Chariot pieces
are resin-cast. The ship's top dome, as well as the Chariot's glass
topper, are clear plastic.
The shocker with this kit is that many pieces necessary for
construction are not included. The modeler must purchase sheet
styrene and use the kit's templates to cut the rest of the parts.
Though a hassle, the results are worth the effort. The Jupiter-2 in
the kit must have floor panels, walls, and windows added. Great care
must be taken to fit your hand-cut parts. A sharp hobby knife and
plenty of sandpaper are a must. The tiny two-inch Chariot has more
than thirty-five tiny parts that must be carved down to fit.
Fortunately, the kit's instructions are very clear and the painting
recommendations are precise. With patience you can prxoduce a
beautiful model scene from this kit. My only modifications were to
paint the Jupiter-2's windows gloss white on the inside. This
worked well also for the top dome, which was rarely visible in this
configuration on the show.
One tiny complaint: the kit is devoid of human figures, so the
finished diorama has a static quality. (I say it's a night scene,
and the crew is in bed!) A tiny resin-cast Robot on patrol would
have been the perfect finishing touch.
For modelers inexperienced with resin and vacu-form plastic kits,
these provide a not-too-difficult introduction, if you are willing
to do much more finish work than the average styrene kit demands.
For Lost In Space fans, these fill a void that has nagged us since
1965. l search eBay for Lost in Space model kits Lunar Models is a
San Mateo (Calif)-based mail-order company. Their models can
be purchased direct through their own catalog as well as through
StarLog and several large mail-order houses.