Will Sell For Less Than Half the Price of Proposed Version by Executive Replicas
Longtime contributor, field reporter, and expert customizer of 1:6 scale, Wayne Faucher, wrote in recently with the following exciting new product intel—exclusively for readers of The Joe Report!
“Hi Mark! I thought I’d let you in on this first. No one, outside of the 3 people involved in this project, has seen this yet. So…if ya wanna share it, you and your readers will have the exclusive intel first—and I know you all dig that!
You may recall my Lost in Space John Robinson (with the Jet Pack) custom garnered some notice a few years ago within the 1/6 community (see our article on that amazing custom by Faucher HERE, ed.). Afterwards, I had a ton of people inquire about the possibility of mass-producing a 1/6 Bell Rocket Belt. Well, that project didn’t seem feasible at the time. But now, with the advent of 3D printing—it’s become a reality!”
“I’ve been consulting with the amazingly talented Harry Peters, a 3D designer in the UK who makes his work available through the cutting-edge Shapeways website. Make no mistake—this is really Harry’s baby. He poured his heart and SOUL into it after my friend Roland Delaune and I showed him my initial prototype and inquired if it was even possible to produce.”
“Harry seemed pretty confident that such an item could in fact be done, and so we proceeded. I acted as a consultant and provided some reference materials, being careful to point out the (many!) inaccuracies of my prototype. Well, Harry not only rose to the task but he clearly surpassed any expectations that Roland and I had.”
“When it comes to accuracy and detail, Harry’s 1:6 Rocket Belt leaves my scratch-built version in the dust! It’s currently available for sale over on the Shapeways site HERE. No, it’s not cheap. But with word that the Executive Replicas John Robinson figure w/Jetpack may have been indefinitely delayed (see HERE), this really is IT when it comes to a 1/6 scale Rocket Belt. And it’s available NOW for less than HALF the price!”
“Again, I was really just a consultant and cheerleader on this project, Roland was the one who first hooked up with Harry for a few other Lost In Space pieces and Harry was the (very) creative force behind it all. Also, note that these images feature the 1/6 Bell Rocket Belt right out of the box. NO DETAILING or painting has been done, so you can imagine how dynamite this thing would look with a little work! And I want to be clear about one more thing: Roland and I aren’t making a DIME off of this product. We just appreciated Harry’s work so much that we thought it deserved to be shared with a wider audience than just the two of us. Enjoy!” —WEF
“The Bell Rocket Belt has been far and away the most rewarding modeling commission I’ve had the pleasure to work on. Despite source material differing greatly between various versions of the pack that existed, Roland, Wayne and I eventually found enough high-resolution images from the prop used in the James bond film Thunderball and of the ‘Bell No. 2 Rocket Belt’ (one of the last remaining examples in good condition, which currently resides in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum) to piece together an accurate reconstruction.”
“Since we’d managed to gather so much quality reference material, I decided to try and make it as accurate as I possibly could, down the the finest details I could glean from the photographs, (even going as far as to add a pivoting hinge so the rockets could be directed using the handles). I kind of ran away with it, unsure exactly how well these tiny details would resolve when printed at 1:6 scale. What I ended up with was this design with a level of detail more accurately represented a 1:1 scale replica as opposed to 1:6!”
“The risk of course was how well these details would actually come across once 3D printed, and there’s always an element of risk when you’re 3D printing with a company like Shapeways, since all the printing and shipping is handled by their engineers in their own factory. Because of this, I rarely get to see my own designs outside of my computer screen as I’m entrusting the task of making them a reality to a third party. Thankfully, though, Shapeways are incredibly good at what they do and, despite working with them for the past 3 years now, the level of detail that they are able to reproduce always surprises me!I’m currently looking forward to adapting the design of the Bell Rocket Belt to match the famous Lost in Space Jetpack prop (bicycle seat and all!) to list alongside the original recreation.” —Harry Peters, UK
We also wondered about Roland Delaune’s contributions to this outstanding new product. Thankfully, Roland promptly sent in his own exclusive intel revealing the following:
“I actually met Wayne inadvertently through The Joe Report when I read your August 25th, 2012 article on him. I have been a HUGE fan of the Irwin Allen series Lost In Space since I was about six years old, and when I saw the absolutely AWESOME custom figures that Wayne had made (John Robinson with Jet Pack, and John with Space Suit) I knew I had to have them.
Not expecting a reply, I messaged Wayne over on The Trenches Forum and asked him about his custom Lost In Space figures. I was shocked when he not only answered me, but answered question, after question, after question, on ad nauseam! We have since gone on to be good friends.
I stumbled onto Harry Peters in much the same way, but through Shapeways Inc. I was looking through the Shapeways website when I noticed a 1/6 scale Lost In Space helmet for sale. It was very similar, but was different in a lot of ways from the version used in the TV show. I bought that one and tried to adapt it to make it look more like the original, but in the end I ruined it.
I messaged Harry and asked if it would be possible to make some changes to the design, and he said yes! So that started a series of back and forth emails, with myself making suggestions and Harry making the changes. After about 15 emails, Harry had changed his
design to match the on-screen version exactly.
Wayne and I both bought versions of the re-designed helmet, and Harry went on to create the backpack (which Wayne had originally built from scratch), a 3-button control panel that attaches to the red vest on the space suit, and even a 1st season Lost In Space laser pistol. All of these products are now on sale on Shapeways through Harry’s shop, MiniatureMachine.
After seeing what could be done with 3D printing and Harry’s talent, the Bell Rocket Belt was the next logical step. The rest, as they always say, is 1:6 history!” —Roland Delaune
Bottom Line: The advent of 3D printing and the increasing use of it by 1:6 scalers is an exciting development in our beloved hobby. Apparently, if we can dream it, talented people like Wayne, Roland and Harry can make “it” become a reality! Our sincerest thanks to all three gentlemen for their generous contributions to the hobby (and to this article). You guys are the BEST! —Mark 🙂