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Updated: March 23, 2009



I was recently contacted by a client to create a crash site diorama from Beneath The Planet Of The Apes. I was supplied with a 10" wood spaceship model and a photograph from the film to use as a guide.


The first part of the project was to extend the rear portion of the spaceship with sheet plastic. After this was applied, it was torn, holed and shredded with a fiberglass cutting wheel and router bit on a dremel moto tool. When I was satisfied with the "damaged" look of the rear section, more sheets of plastic were shredded with the dremel to simulate more interior sections of the ship which were torn away and damaged in the wreck.

The next item to be built was the large cone shaped section behind the main fuselage. The piece was scratch built using a plastic showerhead extended with a piece of PVC tubing and a couple plumbing fittings. After a couple coats of black primer, the part was "dressed" with some corrugated plastic sheet to achieve the proper texture. The landing legs were taken from a Polar Lights Lost in Space Jupiter-2 model. The sides were covered with sheet plastic to cover the irregularly shaped openings. The pieces which resemble construction cranes were scratch built using lengths of thin brass wire soldered together. These were connected to the top landing leg by a piece of aluminum tubing. A smaller exhaust cone made from another plumbing fitting was attached to the larger rear cone.

The spaceship model was heavily weathered using paint and pastel chalks. The added sections were painted flat black and weathered with a combination of pastel chalks and paints applied with a dry brush and a variety of sponges.


The base started as a piece 12" X 24" piece of plywood. Layers of carved styrofoam were added on top of the wood and a space was cut to accommodate the spaceship. Once the opening was checked for a proper fit, a mix of white glue and water was applied to the styrofoam and several different colors of sand were sifted onto the base. After several applications, the base was set aside to dry for a few days. When the sand had dried and completely set, the spaceship was attached to metal rods with a hot glue gun. Sections of wood molding were attached to sides of the plywood and a nameplate was added.


After the model was placed on the base, I decided it needed some extra items to complete the overall look. After viewing the movie on DVD, I decided to add a debris field and some figures. I modified the remaining 2 landing legs from the Jupiter-2 (as used in the constructions of the full sized mock up in Beneath the Planet Of The Apes) and placed them in position with a hot glue gun. Additional "crane" pieces were constructed and broken up with a wire cutter. The landing gear struts were bent and painted and added to the base. Additional pieces of torn "metal" were painted and added to the base. 2 miniature fire extinguishers were built using plastic and brass rod. Small pieces of bare metal foil were placed around the middle of the parts after they were painted and these were glued in place outside the spaceship.


While looking through my many boxes of spare parts, I found some extra Lunar Models Lost in Space figures. I decided to add figures of Astronaut Brent and his mortally wounded "Skipper". The John Robinson figure was painted to represent "Skipper". After the uniform was painted white, a small "ANSA" insignia, name tag and American Flag were hand painted. "Skipper" was then placed in a lying position on a silver/grey blanket made from epoxy putty. Don West was transformed into Astronaut Brent. The figure was cut off at the knees and modified into a kneeling position with superglue and small bits of epoxy putty. After his beard was added, the same treatment was given to Brent's uniform.


As a life long Planet of the Apes enthusiast, I was eager to take on this unusual and challenging project.


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