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Moebius Models 1/6 scale "Lost in Space" Robot B9

RELATED TOPICS: SCI-FI / FANTASY
Kit:939 // Scale:1/6 // Price:$54.99
Manufacturer:
Moebius Models
Pros:
Position options for arms and claws; well-molded vinyl parts; paint directions incorporated in assembly instructions
Cons:
Obvious circumferential seam in head dome; stiff photoetched stainless steel; soil-sampler door stays ajar; decals don’t stick to clear plastic
Comments:
Injection-molded, 107 parts (3 photoetched metal, 8 vinyl), decals
FSM-NP0514_01
FSM-WB0914_Moebius_RobotB9_02
FSM-WB0914_Moebius_RobotB9_03
FSM-WB0914_Moebius_RobotB9_04
FSM-WB0914_Moebius_RobotB9_05
FSM-WB0914_Moebius_RobotB9_06
FSM-WB0914_Moebius_RobotB9_07

Although “Danger!” and “Warning!” are the only lines most people remember spouted by Robot B9 in Irwin Allen’s 1960s TV series “Lost in Space,” it was actually as much a character in the series as any other actor. It often showed human emotion and even fell in love in one episode. Its full name was “B-9, Class M-3 General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot,” but usually it was referred to simply as “Robot.”

Aurora issued a 1/11 scale model of B9 in the 1960s that was reissued by Polar Lights in the ’90s. Now, Moebius Models has produced a 1/6 scale model of B9.

The kit is molded in gray and clear plastic with dark gray vinyl for the arms and legs, which can be built retracted or extended. Three photoetched-metal grates are supplied to go behind the lower torso vents. Sadly, the head dome, while clear and free from distortion, had to be molded in two halves. That leaves an obvious seam around its circumference. But, in fairness to Moebius, it is hard to see how it could have been molded otherwise.

The instructions feature clear assembly diagrams, and all the parts are named. Generic painting instructions are spelled out in the assembly diagrams — no specific paints are listed, just color suggestions. It’s left for you to figure out what “medium metallic gray” or “gloss dark gray” should be. A small decal sheet provides markings for the chest-panel buttons and programming bay.

I started by gluing together the main parts that would need seam work. The torso (parts 28 and 29) and the lower radar-section (Part 49) seams were filled with Gunze Sangyo Mr. Surfacer 500. The worst fits of the kit were the right and left tread sections (parts 37, 38, 39, and 40). The instructions have the part numbers mixed up, but it is easy to figure out as the right tread section has the hatch for the soil-sampling arm.

Not only are there large seams where the parts join, but several mold lines need to be cleaned up. Decide whether you want to show the soil sampler deployed or retracted before sealing up the right tread section: If you stow it retracted inside the tread unit, the door will not stay closed on its own. I just left the sampler arm off the model and glued the door shut.

Most of the time spent on the kit will involve painting. I used Tamiya flat aluminum for most of the model, with dark metallic gray and chrome silver for body details.

The vinyl arms and legs are shiny; that agrees with stills from some of the shows, but in others the arms and legs are flat dark gray. I chose to paint them with Tamiya flat dark gray. The decals did not want to stick very well to the clear button panel, so I coated them with a couple of applications of Pledge FloorCare Multi-Surface to make sure they stayed in place. Also, the decals for the programming bay are a little too large to fit as shown in the decaling diagram. I had to move the “DEC” decal down a bit to clear the tape reel.

After painting, assembly went rapidly. I mounted the “brain” parts in the head, then glued the dome halves together with G-S Hypo Cement; it remains clear, and any squeeze-outs can be cleaned away with denatured alcohol.

The photoetched stainless-steel grates wouldn’t bend to the compound curves of the lower torso vents, even after annealing them, but that’s not very noticeable when you view them through the ribbed vents.

I wanted to use the extended arms, which are supposed to snap into holes in the torso. However, they did not fit very securely; the slightest tap would dislodge them from the torso. I used small nuts and bolts, along with large fender washers, to secure the arms to the torso before gluing the top and bottom parts in place.

The most difficult assembly was attaching the torso/leg units to the tread units. When everything was positioned and glued, I placed a book on top of the torso to make sure it all stayed in place until the glue dried. Then I mounted the head assembly and Robot B9 was finished.

I spent about 23 hours building my robot, mostly in painting. I could only find one (unofficial) source of dimensions; it listed the height of B9 as 6'8". If that’s the case, the finished model is about 3⁄4" too short. But who’s to say which is correct?

The finished model looks great to me, as it would in any science-fiction model collection.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the September 2014 FineScale Modeler.

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