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"Forbidden Planet"
C-57D Starcruiser

 

 

Polar Lights

 

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number and Description: 5098
Scale: 1/72
Price: USD$44.99
Contents and Media: 98 parts in cream coloured injection styrene; two large clear injection-moulded styrene domes; six clear styrene parts
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: It is big! It is spectacular; plenty of interior detail; upper dome may be left clear or unsecured to view interior; includes a nicely detailed 1/72 scale Robby the Robot; interesting diorama possibilties with 1/72 scale 1950s jets; did I mention it is BIG?!
Disadvantages: Instructions too concise; ejector-pin marks in main interior parts; lots of filler will be required for a perfect join between the gigantic saucer segments; may benefit from a jig for main saucer segment assemblies.
Recommendation: A spectacular model, recommended for experienced science fiction modelers with plenty of storage space.

 

Reviewed by Brett Green

 

Introduction

 

Our washing machine broke down a few weeks ago. When I came home from work to find a huge box waiting in the hallway, I assumed that my wife must have bought a new compact replacement. I was wrong - this box contained Polar Lights' 1/72 scale C-57D Starcruiser from the classic 1956 science fiction movie, "Forbidden Planet".

Many modelers who grew up in the 1960s or earlier will recall Aurora's science fiction monsters and vehicles. Polar Lights has picked up the mantle (and some of the moulds) from Aurora. Not only have they re-released some of the timeless pieces from the original series, but they have continued the spirit of the range with a large number of new releases. The huge C-57D is certainly the most ambitious, and probably most spectacular, release to date.

 

 

FirstLook

 

Packed snugly in a shipping crate with a lifetime supply of foam chips, the kit box itself is big - almost 2' in length. The boxart by Chris White is very attractive and true to the spirit of the subject matter. Unlike many models that contain an unimpressively small model rattling around in a big box, the quantity of plastic and the dimensions of the kit are even more imposing than the packaging suggests.

When completed, the Starcruiser will be 28" in diameter. That is big. But, as we all know, size isn't everything. How does the rest of the model measure up, quality-wise?

After procrastinating for a few weeks I decided to tackle this review with the same approach as any other, despite the daunting size and unorthodox (for me) subject matter.

The model comprises 98 pale yellow parts in high-pressure injection moulded styrene. The bulk of the model is made up of the saucer itself. This is built up from six upper segments and six lower segments. These very large wedges (each with a radius of nearly 10" and over 12" wide at the lip) are well moulded. The surface of these parts has a very subtle brushed metallic texture radiating from the centre of the wedge. It is unlikely that this almost invisible texture will survive the sanding that will be required before painting. There are a few ejector pin pips that should be removed before assembly (three on each upper segment and one on each bottom segment), but they are minor. Considering the size of the parts, it is surprising that they have not suffered from sinkmarks or other imperfections. Very impressive.

The other two main parts are the upper and lower decks. These have been moulded with the walls in place, simplifying assembly and providing a robust core for the model. However, the limitations of the moulding process have required a number of ejector pin circles on some of the visible inner surfaces, most notably on the floors.

The majority of the remaining 84 yellow parts detail the interior. The interior does not include the kitchen sink, but it does furnish almost everything else. In addition to the supports and structural detail, the kit includes sixteen bunks, fifteen chairs, a table and four armchairs, instrument stations and crew stations. This will populate the spaceship with a busy interior.

Two clear domes are supplied for the top and the bottom of the model. These are very clear and free of imperfections. They are thoughtfully packaged in tissue paper to prevent scratching. On the movie spacecraft, both these domes are silver. On the model, the choice is provided to either leave the top dome clear, or to leave it unsecured so that the interior detail may be viewed.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images of kit components:

                        

 

Six additional clear parts are supplied to build the Navigation Gyroscope dome and Robbie the Robot. Robbie is quite easy to identify even in 1/72 scale!

The instructions are a bit of a disappointment. They comprise a single foldout sheet, with a brief painting guide and catalogue on the outside, and three exploded view diagrams inside. I believe that some more detailed illustrations of parts in place would have been helpful, along with more accompanying text.

The engineering of the kit should result in a robust model, but care will be required when aligning the six main saucer segments of the top, and the six of the bottom. These must be assembled separately, as the assembled upper and lower decks are added to the bottom ring before the top is secured. It might be wise to build a simple jig to hold the centre section of each ring at the correct height while the cement is drying.

Also, be prepared to spend considerable time filling and sanding panel lines if a blemish-free surface is required. There were no panel lines visible on the original movie spacecraft, so all those 10" long join seams will have to go!

The instructions suggest that the C-57D should be painted Chrome Silver, but I would probably go for a Flat Aluminium.

 

 

FirstLook

 

Polar Lights' C-57D Starcruiser is certainly a large and spectacular model. The kit contains all the elements to create a detailed replica of the movie spacecraft, and there is plenty of potential for super-detailers to go to town.

For screen shots and background on the movie, check out the Forbidden Planet Unofficial Home Page at http://sfstation.members.easyspace.com/fbhome.htm .

The size of this model and likely complexity in aligning the major components probably makes it more suitable for experienced modellers, but there is no doubt that the assembled spaceship will draw comments from a long distance!

Recommended.

Thanks to Jerrold from Polar Lights for the review sample



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Review Copyright 2001 by Brett Green
Page Created 25 June, 2001
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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