The C57D Star Cruiser Build
Not just another astrogator!


     Forbidden Planet, starring Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis,  a very young, Leslie Nielson and Robbie the Robot was produced in the early beginnings of the Cold War.  This movie predates Lost in Space by over nine years and yet it is still considered a science fiction movie masterpiece almost sixty years later.
       What made this film so significant is that it was the first film to depict human beings traveling outside of the solar system on a space ship traveling faster than the speed of light.  The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Special Effects and featured a robot whose sophisticated design and function vastly exceeded its predecessors as being more than a  "tin can with arms and legs".  The screenplay for this classic has often been compared to William Shakespeare's "The Tempest" with references to Carl Jung's concept of "collective consciousness". 

    The plot unfolds in the 23rd century when a spaceship traveling from Earth sets out to determine what happened to a science expedition investigating the planet Alltaire IV.  Once they land on this remote planet, they are met by Robbie the Robot who transports the officers of the C57D to the home of Dr. Edward Morbius and his daughter Alltaira.  The plot really begins to thicken when Dr. Morbius declares the crew to be in mortal danger while confessing that his space ship and all hands on board was disintegrated by an invisible force mysteriously sparing his daughter and himself.  It does not take long before our intrepid heroes are attacked and chaos ensues.  Gasp!

  The Polar Lights C57D Kit
      The C57D was first released by Polar Lights which eventually went out of business and the model molds were acquired by a new company called "Round2Models".  The original kit was upgraded and released once again in 2009 featuring 105 parts molded in white, chrome and clear plastic parts.  The1/72 scale model also features a removeable dome revealing interior detail and landing gear/ramps which extend and retract utilizing a unique spring mechanism.  But wait...there's more!

    Subsequent to its original release date, Round2 produced a "deluxe" twelve inch version which included an LED light system which provided lighting to the fusion core as well as the landing gear bays.  The box art was also changed which added further appeal to this kit.  The classic saucer design of our kit measures 28 inches in diameter which makes this model an impressive display piece.  Unfortunately, the completed craft will consume a great deal of room unless we hang it from the ceiling for a more dramatic effect.  Did I mention that I have two of these kits?  Oops.


  Unpacking the kit
        After opening the large box, we carefully removed each sprue of parts as well as the hull plates which were individually wrapped in cellophane.  Everything arrived in good shape and we cautiously planned our next move.  The CultTvMan website has an excellent tutorial on how to paint and assemble the upper and lower hull plates so we will begin here.

     The instructions for the lower hull of this beast are actually not very good but the online tutorials really help.  We used plastic cement to "weld" the two plates together and then clamped the two sections until the glue had cured.  Binder clips work very well.  We wanted to minimize the gap in between the two plates as much as possible knowing considerable sanding, filling and sanding was inevitable.  We repeated this process for the upper hull as well.  Finally, we test fit both the upper and lower hull to get a rough idea as to how the two assemblies will go together.
     After we have joined the individual hull plates together, we must reinforce each half in order to reduce or eleminate sagging and distortion in the plastic.  We found a great tutorial by Bob Perovich on the CultTvMan's website which shows a great way to accomplish this task.  Next, we must glue three of the landing bay doors into their respective positions, fill with Evercoat and then sand smooth.  The goal is not to be able to see them.  The other three landing bay doors will be functional.
     We are continuing to focus on the interior by sanding and priming the upper deck windows.  This also serves as the ceiling for the main interior portion of the C57D.  Our Ryobi finishing sander really does a good job in leveling the plate seams.  Once the surface had been roughed up we filled in the gaps and low areas with the Evercoat.  Once we were done with this step, we lightly added primer, used Tamiya gap filling putty and then added several coats of primer.  The picture on the far right shows the lower saucer ready for installation of the landing gear. 
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