This is the Replica back Plate. It is made out of heavy duty fiberglass. As you can see it has the additional mounting holes where the dial lights are mounted to give it additional stability. It also has the “Ears” to keep the black out effect in the torso from coming through. This is a high quality part. It is used on the replicas that Mike Joyce sells. This is perhaps the best part I have ever seen for a neon back plate and I have a collection of all of the neon back plates that have been made for the club spanning multiple years from as many members. This is a high quality part but it does require some fitting and there are some limitation.
This back plate is for a 12 row neon. As is, it WILL NOT fit a 16 row neon. There will need to be some serious modifications to the side wings and lower shelf to make it fit a 16 row but it can be done. Also, when you get your 12 row Neon from Craig or whomever, the first thing you should do is scrape off all of the black paint from the neon tubes. If you have a Replica torso, the neon barely fits and if the black paint is left on the tubes you will see it in the mouth area and that will be very distracting. The black paint comes off very easily. You can take a razor blade or small strips of 1000 or higher grit sand paper and gently rub the paint off.
Adhering the neon to the back plate is very easy. Just get the back silicon from Home depot or Lowes Home improvement center and glue it to the back plate. Again, make sure you glue just the loops of the neon to the wings of the back plate. If you put too much in there you will see the silicon through the neon mouth opening and will get a suboptimal result.
Craig’s neon was the prototype for the plate so it should fit Perfectly. Also this backplate will fit the Timk and Fred Barton torsos as well. The TimK torso requires a little stand off of about .50-75″ away from the front of the torso so the neon will “clear” the torso edges. This will be shown at the 2009 build off. As for the transformer wires, I drilled 2 holes through the outer wings of the back plate and passed the wires through the plate so I could keep the wire run as short as possible. I then applied Velcro to the back of the plate to adhere the transformer and the music interface. It makes it easier to make adjustments if necessary or replace components over time than if they are permanently glued. When installed correctly it is an awesome component to the B9. When the neon lights up, it just makes me want to yell out “ITS ALIVE”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Torso vents on the Hero robot were non movable except for the programming bay. Some even postulate that the ribs for the vents were screwed to the outside of the torso with wood screws. The Replica uses a static representation as demonstrated in the left picture below. In order to make my ribs movable but look like the setup on the hero robot I molded the screen vents to the inner radius of the vent. Then I used Velcro to attach the screen to the top of the upper rail. That way the screen doesn’t interfere with the vents. I used weed block material (for ventilation) from home depot as the black out material and attached that with 3M spray adhesive. I used a small amount of adhesive so it wouldn’t leave a residue on the aluminum screen.
When installed, it looks just like the hero robot and just like the replica installation with 1 important difference. The vents are functional and allow full access into the torso. All you have to do is slide back the vent and then push or peel the metal vent off to gain access as necessary. When finished just push your vent back into place, close your vent and you are good to go.
I had tried bending acrylic to create a stand off for the metal screen but it always seemed to interfere with the upper vent rails. This solution was a very simple and quick solution. This is what it looks when it is fully installed. It took 20 minutes to complete all 3 vents.
It was a very sad day for me and many B9’ers and LIS fans across the globe to hear that Bobby May passed away. List servers lighted up that had been dormant for many weeks or in some cases months with the tragic news. I couldn’t believe it myself. I had hoped to have Bobby up here at the B9 build off but now that wont happen but in spirit.
The last time I met Bob was on the second half of my honeymoon. My wife(Kip) and I were in Vegas attending a Star Trek convention. I saw Bob sitting at a table with his LIS banner but didn’t have a robot with him. I asked him what he was doing there at a Star Trek convention to which he replied” “I had to add an air of respectability”. LOL . Now, I ask you……Who could argue with that!!!! So I proceeded to help him crash the party and get a robot to the convention. I called Thomas (A fellow B9’er) up and he drove from California to Vegas and we got it set up for him so he could “bask” (ROFL) in his glory. Talk about club spirit and team work!!! And how about my wife Kip!!! She let me do all of that on our honeymoon too!!!! It was fun. We all had a great time and a lot of laughs. I will always remember him that way. Lost in Space has a lot of special memories for me, especially the Robot!!
The following is an except from Bill Mumy’s web site. I believe it portrays how we all felt about Bob May.
“Bobby May passed away this morning at the age of 69. He was my friend and my coworker and he was one of the hardest working guys in show business that I ever knew. He managed to create a classic TV personality out of a claustrophobic fiberglass prop that he was crammed inside of for over three years. He memorized 40-50 pages of dialogue each week for 84 episodes and delivered it with passion and rhythm while all the time knowing that it would eventually be re-recorded by DickTufeld.
I never heard Bobby say a bad word about anybody. He had a laugh that was loud and infectious. He called people “Buddy.” He knew hard times and he knew easy times. He was a loving husband, father and grandfather. Bobby was a one of a kind who truly brought soul to the Robot on Lost in Space. He loved playing the Robot, and he loved all the fans of Lost in Space. He traveled all over the world meeting fans and attending conventions. When the series was originally on the air, Irwin Allen, the creator and executive producer, wanted people to think the robot was real, so Bobby received no billing or credit for his hard work. It wasn’t until many years after that Bobby started to get recognized for his amazing contributions to the show. I was happy to see him get the credit he deserved.
I enjoyed working with Bobby when I was a boy, and I enjoyed working with him and seeing him and his loving wife Judy as a man. Bob and I spoke several times in the last month, and although I I knew that he was going through some serious health issues as well as having lost his home and all his possessions in a recent fire, Bobby was positive about the future. I wish him well and send him positive energy and love on his new journey. I’m sure Jonathan Harris is insulting him right now! “Silence, you ninny! Cease your prattling you cluttering clump! Oh, the pain! The pain!” — BillMumy