Moon Zero Two : Spacesuits ..
Moon Zero Two Copyright Hammer Film Productions & Warner Bros-Seven Arts

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One of the reasons that I always liked this film is because I thought it had decent spacesuits. Many Sci-Fi films and TV shows often fall flat on their face when they wheel out a feeble looking spacesuit for the actors to wear, and I've lost count of the number of times I've seen a poorly modified motorbike helmet being passed off as a space helmet! Producing seven decent fibreglass and rubber spacesuits must have took up a fair slice of the films overall budget, but I certainly think it was worth it as the characters do spend a lot of screen time wearing them.
Above Left: Ori Levy, Catherine Schell and James Olson in the MZ2 Flight Deck set - the unpainted corner edge can be seen top right, where a section has been removed to facilitate filming. Sections of the set were deliberately damaged to give the craft a worn look. Right Dudley Foster, Bernard Bresslaw and Ori Levy watch as James Olson works on the asteroid. The belt buckles around their waists are from motorcar seatbelts - the English made 'Britax' brand.
Above Left: A stuntman, doubling for Olson, hangs from his support wires. The boots used on the spacesuits are German riding boots by the Romika company, type known as 'Turf'. Part of the top is cut away (to a square them off) and rubber strips glued on to help disguise them.
Above Right: James Olson poses for a set of publicity photographs.

The Spacesuits after Moon Zero Two

'Here Come The Double Deckers' was a popular children's television program (well it was repeated a lot!) in the 1970s and one episode revolves around the heroic children trying to stop an alien invasion - which is actually just a big marketing ploy for selling sweets! The program is a novelty for any Moon Zero Two fan, as the spacesuits are used for most of the episode (Sam Kydd is the one in the yellow suit). The costumes would appear in many TV programs and adverts during the 1970s and it is often reported that Stanley Kubrick ordered the '2001' spacesuits to be destroyed to prevent their use in such productions.

Space: 1999 featured two suits in its first season episode 'Mission Of The Darians'. Here the survivors of an alien race control another group, of more primitive people, by wearing suits and pretending to be God's.

Here the suits were over-painted silver with black trim. There was apparently only one helmet available at the time so a helmet from the television series 'UFO' had to be used.

The helmets on their own would just be used on other spacesuit designs, such as this 1970 Doctor Who story 'The Ambassadors Of Death'

Moon Zero Two Space Helmet - Today

When you are a fan of any film, or TV, production then there are usually numerous items that you can buy; anything from simple books, magazines and DVD's to records and maybe model kits. However the best items for many people are when they can acquire original props or costumes that were featured in the production. Some items from 'Moon Zero Two' have been seen over the years and the most obvious were the spacesuits which did turn up on numerous occasions, most notably 'Here come the Double Deckers', 'Doctor Who' and 'Space 1999' (see below). Over the years I had been aware of the existence of at least one spacesuit helmet, so when it came up for sale on ebay I just had to out-bid everyone and buy it.

The spacesuits on the film came in many different colours and this helmet being a dark orange colour seemed to suggest that it belonged to the supervisor at Farside Five (Joby Blanshard), who gets his head melted by a thruster jet at the end of the film. But it had clearly been painted several times over the years and so it was not really possible to tell which was the original studio filmed colour, orange, red or maybe one of the hero's light grey ones. However the visor frame was clearly yellow under its orange paintwork indicating that it was originally part of a different helmet, the villain Whitsun's - played by Dudley Foster. So this helmet is actually just like my 'Space: 1999' helmet, in that it is made from the remains of two originals!

The helmet had been damaged over the years, but that was hardly surprising when you consider just how old it was and that it had probably not been looked after for most of its life. As a working prop it had been used on other productions and would not have been treated with any sort of loving care! It had also been 'messed with' by being repainted and having cosmetic alteration by the addition of numerous decorative adhesive tapes and detailing - all of which could be fairly easily removed. Unfortunately the inner lining was missing, apart from one piece across the forehead area, and the outside was battered and scratched - but it was still solid, and in one piece, and so restoration was fairly simple and straightforward.

Two internal screws released the visor, the metal collar was removed and the last remains of the rotten cloth lining were ripped out. Then the helmet could be rubbed over with wet & dry paper to get a clean smooth finish. The metal collar was also given the same treatment but with very fine abrasive paper and then rubbed over with metal polish.
Some minor holes were filled and then the helmet was sprayed with acrylic car paints. As I already have a yellow 'Space: 1999' helmet, and I wasn't too sure I liked the orange, I decided to go for 'Hubbard's' red finish (however that may have to change soon as I now have the remains of some spacesuits).The interior was now relined using pieces of black velvet. Then blocks of sponge foam, wrapped in more velvet, were glued around the inside as padding to give a nice snug fit.

Finally the dirty scratched visor was carefully cleaned using soap, water and Brasso metal polish. Unfortunately there is one deep scratch but considering how old this item is I guess it's lucky to still be in one piece.

I must say that I prefer this helmet design to my '1999' one, as it is more like the classic 1960s idea of what a real Spaceman's helmet should look like - although I actually feel more like 'Major Matt Mason' when I put it on!

Moon Zero Two Spacesuits - Today
Thanks to Mark Harris

While I was very excited to acquire the helmet I was completely 'over-the-Moon' to be given the remains of four of the films spacesuits. Sadly most of the rubber parts have disintegrated into a very smelly, sticky, mess over the course of the last 40 years (but luckily there is one good example of each joint) and the fibreglass shells are battered and broken in several areas. The midsections are like a wet-suit material that, whilst worn, are still usable. White edging is just foam strip, which also covers holes where the rubber is sewn to the fibreglass shells. I should be able to restore some of them in the coming years. Unfortunately there is no example of the rubber coller section, which appears to have been a seperate piece that was just tucked under the chest moulding.

Inside the fibreglass pieces are lined with felt for the comfort of the wearer, heavy duty zips seal the back. Holes have been cut into the back on two suits, Green and Yellow, for the wire rigging used for the spacewalks. The Green top section has been lightly oversprayed silver. There are names inside - but these relate to the 'Double Deckers' episode and not the film. (Trying to get into the chest-piece is rather difficult - trying to get out is even worse!)

Below: The remains of Catherine Schells spacesuit.

All Film photographs Copyright Hammer Film Productions Ltd
Moon Zero Two Copyright Hammer Film Productions & Warner Bros-Seven Arts
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