Book preview of Cultman's Ultimate Guide to the Jupiter II .

Starship Modeler - The complete information source for modelers who build sci-fi, fantasy and real space subjects

Cultman's Ultimate Guide to the Jupiter II

By John Lester - images & text © 2000

62 pages, softcover trade, color & b/w
MSRP: $15.95 US ($4.00 US shipping) available from
Overall Rating: 9 - full of helpful info that can be used on other models as well.

Fans of the classic sci-fi TV series Lost in Space had longed for a kit of the Robinson family's ride for almost 30 years when Polar Lights released their Jupiter 2 kit. Prior to this, there had only been expensive resin kits available, so there was a great deal of excitement when the PL model was announced - finally, an affordable kit in a medium familiar to most modelers! Upon iopening PL's massive box, most modelers were happy - there was plenty of detail, fit was decent - but closer inspection revealed simplifications and a few small errors that many would want to correct.

[Cover by Anthony Taylor]

[From the color section - click to enlarge]

^ The book is well illustrated throughout. 8 pages of color in the center really add to its appeal.

[Helpful step-by-step]

^ Each article takes you through, step-by-step, how one modeler build the kit - focusing on a different aspect in each review.

The internet is full of information on the J2, and this kit - but nowhere is it really centralized (though is a great place to start). So, the arrival of a book such as this should be the answer to a lot of prayers, right?

What You Get

The book consists of 62 pages, including 8 pages in color. Edited by Steve Iverson and Anthony Taylor, it features the work of five modelers familiar to many of us on the internet:

  • Ron Gross, who researched the subject exhaustively, drew the plans, and made the prototype from which the kit was derived - and who lists all the minor differences between the "real" J2 and the kit;
  • Jim Piszar, who focuses on overall construction and simple detailing
  • Marc King, who discusses scratchbuilding and superdetailing
  • Jim James, who covers detailing the lower deck and bringing the interior to life with decals
  • Joel Travera, who recounts how he made a unique diorama display.

    In addition to chapters by the modelers listed above, there is a short section on basic modeling techniques, a comprehensive list of aftermarket supplies and resources, a section on who the authors are, and a forward by Tom Lowe, President of Polar Light's parent company.

    Each chapter is extensively illustrated with black and white photos and many diagrams. Subjects covered range from repositioning features, lighting effects, accurizing and superdetailing the upper and lower decks, and landing gear - basically, anything one could think of doing to this model to make it more closely resemble the filming miniature is in this book.

    If there is anything that can be faulted, it's the somewhat amateur presentation. The diagrams are all hand-drawn, for instance - and at this point, I'm searching so hard to find something about the book that doesn't sound like I've been paid to praise it to the skies that I'm reaching for the tiniest of nits.

  • Conclusions

    When I see something describing itself as "the Ultimate" anything, I'm immediately suspicious it's marketing hype. Heaven knows I have enough modeling tomes on my shelves that claim to be a complete resource for a particular type of model or modeling genre - which fall short by far of being anything but an ultimate drain on my wallet.

    CultTVMan's Ultimate Guide to The Jupiter 2 is just that - the last word on building this kit, whether one does it straight from the box or goes crazy with detailing. There are a several things I particularly like in its pages:

  • Ron Gross' detailed listing of everything that had to be simplified, repositioned or deleted in order to make the kit economical to produce and buildable by those who may not be master modelers. It's all in there - what's different, and how to fix it. Yes, most of that is available on the web - but I like having hardcopy reference in my paws when I build.

  • A picture is worth a thousand words - and this book has loads of pictures and diagrams. Many times in reviews and how-to's I read, the author will say something about "I then scratchbuilt the whatsiframitz from 30 thou plasticard", without going any further. Not terribly helpful if one is not sure how big the whatsiframitz should be, or its exact shape. The color detail photos are really valuable to check one's progress against as well.

  • The detailed descriptions of how each modeler met certain challenges has already given me several ideas to try on other models - not all of which are sci-fi.

    All this for $16 bucks? A very good deal, in my opinion. Highly recommended!

    Many thanks to CultTVMan for providing the review sample. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 2000+ readers a day? Contact us!

  • Read other reader's reviews of this kit      Submit your own review of this kit

    Go back up | Starship Modeler Home | Site Map | Feedback

    This page copyright © 2000 Starship Modeler™. Last updated on 9 November 2000.