Polar Lights C-57D Star Cruiser






None, nada, zip


Scott Van Aken


Here is your new plastic coffee table!!!


Ah yes, the mid 1950's; everything is turning space age.Eisenhower is in office and other than worries about the Red Menace, the countryis optimistic about the future and looking towards it. Designers are using whatthey see as the future in everything from toasters to automobiles. X-planes arebreaking speed and altitude records  and we are dreaming of men in spaceand trips to other planets and stars. These trips are common occurrences in aLos Angeles suburb called Hollywood, where movie producers and directors arecranking out space flicks at a rapid clip. Some of these movies are a bit muchand have the usual collection of monsters and other horrible space aliens. Someof them are really good and the team uses these people called 'writers' to giveus things called 'plots' and they have subjects that make us think. These moviesare those titled 'War of the Worlds', 'When Worlds Collide', and 'ForbiddenPlanet'. These films all have cutting edge special effects that wowed theaudiences of the day and are still very watchable even 40 plus years later.


Without adoubt, some of the neatest parts of these and other films are the spacevehicles. The Martian War Machines, the Ark from When Worlds Collide, andthe first really cool looking flying saucer, the C-57D from Forbidden Planet.None of these have been available in mainstream injected plastic kits untilnow. Polar Lights, which has given us a number of reissued Aurora kits as wellas some new molds, has done a real tour de force with this one. 

Firstof all this beast comes in a box that is only slightly smaller than theTrumpeter 1/32 A-10. Make in the PRC, it has a box that is thick enough to standon, unlike the flimsy things being produced here in the US. When you open thebox, marvel at how well packaged everything is and much effort has gone intomaking sure that pieces are properly protected. Also look at how well all thebits fit into the box as there is no way that you will get them all back in andbe able to fit the top on securely!!

The parts are typical ofrecent releases from Polar Lights. The buff plastic is well formed and withoutany flash. A number of the smaller parts had detached themselves from the thicksprues during shipment, but nothing appeared to be broken. I only opened thebags on the saucer and center sections, not the one with most of the interiorbits and the landing legs. This was more for fear of making the box even moreimpossible to close! 

Asyou can see from the image above, you get a LOT of parts, most of them verylarge. I didn't show the other 10 saucer sections! There are two large clearbowls. One is the upper dome and the other for a dome over the lower section.Yes, you have both decks to build with this one. The clear plastic is protectedby tissue as you see for the larger bowl. Everything you see in the movie issomewhere on the two decks of this ship. There is a stasis chamber, bunk roomcentral navigation station, radio station, galley as well as a few stations andchairs on the upper deck (which we see very little of in the movie). Not a badjob considering the thing was never built and that the designers of this kitwere working from what was on the screen. Probably to reduce costs, all sixlower sections have slots for landing stabilization legs. Only three are neededso there are plugs for the other three. One other thing I noticed is that thereare only stairs for one of the legs. It seems to me that in the movie I sawcrewmen coming down the other legs when they first landed. How this happenedwith only one interior hatch is a bit of a mystery, but that's Hollywood foryou!


One thing you will undoubtedly need is some filler. The largesaucer sections interlock quite well, though there is an inevitable gap as youcan see from the images above. The saucer skin also has a number of faintcircular marks with little pips on them. You will have to smooth these out aswell unless you want to leave them and say it is part of the way the hull wasmade. After all, it is a movie spaceship, so you are really free to do what youwant. The interlocking tabs work quite well as you can see, though I wouldreinforce the long joins with some wide strip styrene if that is possible.

Probablythe weakest part of Polar Lights kits are the instructions. This one has threeexploded views with piece number and painting guide for all the parts. The firststep is the upper deck, the second the lower deck and the third when all thebits are put into the saucer itself. All of this is on the inside of a singlelarge folded sheet. The only image of all the main and upper deck bits in placeis a small drawing that is part of the third construction step. Frankly, I wouldhave liked a bit more comprehensive sheet breaking things down into more stepsand showing previously installed stuff. Perhaps it won't be a big deal onceconstruction gets underway and perhaps it will.

There is a verbalconstruction guide, but it is a joke. It is 'Install all the upper and lowerdeck according to the chart' sort of thing. Not very helpful. One little thingthat you do get is a scale Robby the Robot. It would also have been cool to getthe ion cannon and the tug or a scale Anne Francis!!

It is reallygreat that Polar Lights has gone to the effort to produce a kit that many of ushave wanted for a long time. It is going to be a huge model when built with a 28inch saucer diameter. Having a full interior with clear domes is also a reallynice touch. Wonder if anyone will build it all closed up with the hullcompletely painted? Anyway, if you go by the amount of plastic and the weight ofthe thing, it is well worth the $45 asking price. This is the kind of kit you'llwant to buy at your hobby shop as the shipping charges will probably negate anysavings you'll get from the discount people!



Forbidden Planet, watched probably hundreds of times overthe last 40 years or so!

Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!

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