Kinoshita created the two most distinctive robots in history: Robby
from the 1956 film, Forbidden Planet, and B-9 from the '60s TV show,
Lost in Space. These two Masudaya wind- ups measure 4.25 inches (Robby)
and 4.5 inches (B-9) and were originally available for under $20 each.
right: Masudaya wind-up B-9 with Don and young Will Robinson from
the 1988 movie , Lost in Space. Leonard Maltin says this film is "hurt
by crudely episodic story, grim tone and paper- thin characters". We
might add that everyone but Matt LeBlanc is miscast and the plot has
enough holes to drive a space chariot through.
the good news is that New Line Cinema, along with releasing
the movie, licensed Trendmasters to create toys from the original Lost
Space series. Robot B-9 does not appear in the film (although pieces of
him are rebuilt into a sort of hybrid robot, in the same way that the
film is sort of a hybrid of the TV show, with the original cast members
appearing in cameos). Trendmasters' B-9 robots are better than any of
the toys made by Remco and other companies in the '60s when the TV show
originally aired. Trendmasters followed with great Robby robots from
Forbidden Planet (see Robby). Don and Will above are Trendmasters
figures released with the movie. Will came with the hybernaculum shown
at the far right.
views of the Polar Lights Jupiter II model from Lost in Space.
chariot was one of four 1998 Lost in
Space-themed diecasts. Others included the escape pod, Jupiter II, and
robot B-9. They retailed at about $5. The chariot is nearly
scaled to the Polar Lights/ Playing Mantis Jupiter II model kit. The
backdrop is an article on assembling the ship
from Model Toy and Collector.
The completed model with the Polar Lights box. It was also released
with different box art. This model has been customized with a red LED
from Radio Shack mounted in the top dome. The bottom has been drilled
out for a small toggle switch, with two AA batteries mounted inside the
ship. When the switch is thrown the lamp flashes.
left. Benign companions. The B-9
robot toys made by Trendmasters in
1997 are far more accurate than the Lost in Space toys of the ‘60s. In
the "room guard" mode, this model (center) waved its arms, frantically
off, "warning, warning Will Robinson." This highly detailed 10 inch
robot said two phrases. When pulled back, it rolled forward, and
retailed under $30 at Toys R Us. Shown with
Masudaya's YM-3/B-9 wind up (left) and a key chain B-9 which said three
phrases, retailing for $5 (right). Trendmasters also produced other
rare Lost in Space toys, including a two foot tall, radio- controlled
B-9 robot and the Classic Jupiter II, below.
Masudaya’s popular 5” YM-3
wind-up robot. The new,
graphics correctly identify it as the B-9 Lost in Space Robot. Retailed
Below left: Trendmasters'
Classic Jupiter II comes with three figures:
Dr. Smith, Will Robinson, and this highly detailed B-9 robot. The robot
is about 2.3 inches tall. The Space Pod shown is also included, and
fits in a bay in the Jupiter II.
Below right: The Jupiter II with collapsible landing gear extended.
Will and Dr. Smith are visible through the window of the bridge. The
top hatch snaps off to reveal the detailed interior.
left: Hatch removed, showing interior of ship. B-9 robot snaps into
recharging bay. Dr. Smith and Will at the bridge. The sensor dome is
shown lit by a red LED, one of six that constitute "authentic
lights and sounds". Pushing the button next to the dome activates
the blinking sensor dome, the bridge, and four chasing lamps on the
bottom of the ship (bottom right). Power for the sounds and lights
comes from two AA batteries.
right: The dome sits atop an "authentically detailed Astrogator". The
interior comes as seen; there are no stickers to apply. The box says
this is a "Collector's quality replica of the Classic Jupiter II. I'm
inclined to agree. Trendmasters was obviously very proud of this ship,
and had reason to be. There is just one place where I question the box
claims. "Working Cryo Hibernation Tubes". Working?
left: The included Space Pod fits into a bay in the Jupiter II. One
figure can fit in the Pod.
right: One of four LEDs shown lit, the next barely beginning to glow.
These four running lights "chase" around the bottom of the ship.
Below left and right: the front and
back of the box, respectively. The box shows white dome and chaser
lights. The box art may have been completed before the toy was, or the
toy design may have been altered during production. The "blazing light
up bridge controls" have been replaced by a red LED. Trendmasters had
problems with the ship from the movie (which was not the Classic TV
Jupiter II) which lacked some of the features shown on the box.
Ironically, the then- largest toy store chain stocked that ship, and
not this wonderful Classic Jupiter II, which, since no one knew it
existed, soon became a collector's item. One wonders if there were
plans to bring out more Classic Jupiter II items, such as the Space
Chariot and more of the cast and crew. Is it worth it? I'd say yes. It
was not designed to be expensive, but as with their B-9 robot, this
Trendmasters creation is as classic as the Irwin- Allen TV show.
To quote the box: "The
Jupiter II-- the classic spacecraft that
propelled a family lost in space! For three seasons, millions of TV
pioneers were mesmerized by its pulsating lights, far-out sounds and
futuristic gadgets. Now Trendmasters is proud to present an exclusive
replica of the ship as it was meant to be-- packed with so many
authentic features you could get lost inside." The text cleverly
combines the story with the ship's features:
"The Jupiter II rockets
through space hopelessly lost!
*(removable hatch reveals
The Jupiter II touches
down on another bizarre world!
* (space pod fits inside
*working landing gear
*running lights and
Dr. Smith, Will Robinson
and the B-9 Robot prepare to explore the
*(one figure fits inside
Space Family Robinson, an adventurous, science fiction comic from Gold
Key, evolved into the Lost in Space TV show. These comics are from 1968
(left) and 1969 (right).
Robot B-9, or "the Bubble- headed
Booby" as Dr. Smith called him, depicted on the video box of episode
one of the TV show, Lost in Space. Although it began with a serious
premise, like many Irwin- Allen shows the episodes turned increasingly
Right: June Lockhart as Mrs. Robinson graced this DVD cover from
the first season set of Lost in Space.