Forbidden Planet C-57D Space Cruiser


Well-Known Member
Jan 6, 2012
Got this kit about 5 years ago. It's the small 1/144 scale kit of the C-57D space cruiser which Polar Lights produced in 2013.
Measuring 12 inches in diameter, it's a decent size while still being small enough to fit on most shelves or bookcases...

Box art. Beautiful work by the artist:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Box Top by Steve J, on Flickr

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Box Bottom by Steve J, on Flickr

I guess if they think a 10 year old could build this, I can too. The key to this build, IMO, is getting a perfectly even and smooooooooth finish.
Expect plenty of wet sanding/polishing between layers of metallic silver.

Not many parts to play with which is fine with me after the marathon I went thru with the Enterprise E.
This is the smaller of the two C-57D model kits issued by Polar Lights:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Not Many Parts by Steve J, on Flickr

Fairly simple instructions. Not sure how long these plastic leaf springs are going to last that allow you to open and close the three ramps underneath:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Instructions by Steve J, on Flickr

Krylon Metallic Silver primer and paint all in one:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Krylon Metallic Silver and Dome by Steve J, on Flickr

I had already primed the upper dome with Krylon gloss black before I got this so will continue priming with gloss black so the overall hull color is uniform. Multiple light coats it says. I was able to get a blemish free coat after sanding with 2400 grit sanding film before the final coat.
I try to spray early enough in the morning before it gets breezy. It helps keep anything the wind might carry along from landing on my just sprayed model.

Lower saucer half sprayd with Black Krylon craft lacquer. Gives a beautiful high gloss surface for the finish coat of silver.
Wet sanded with 2400 grit (I think) polishing film before spraying the final coat:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Lower Saucer Primed by Steve J, on Flickr

Ramp hallways:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Hallway Painted Silver and Unmasked by Steve J, on Flickr

I taped the edges before painting to keep the Krylon Metallic Silver paint off as these are gluing surfaces. They have since gotten another coat.

LED's for ramp hallway lighting as I will be building the landed version of the model:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP - Lighting by Steve J, on Flickr

Sprayed the ramps with two coats of Krylon Metallic Silver. Will need a few more coats before they are done:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Ramp Housings and Ramps by Steve J, on Flickr

The lower saucer got her first few coats of silver followed by a wet sand with fine sanding films.
I got out a few bits of detritus that must have floated in on the light breeze. She's ready for more coats now:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Wet Sanding Silver Coat by Steve J, on Flickr
Three ramps:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Three Landing Ramps by Steve J, on Flickr

I'm happy with the external silver face or underside of the ramps. For the conveyor belt I masked off the black primer coat before spraying the rest with silver. The conveyor belt was later sprayed with Krylon dark grey primer which is a medium grey.

This is after about 6 coats of metallic silver with sanding and buffing in between:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Saucer Parts Silver by Steve J, on Flickr

I'll give everything a light wet sanding with the 8,000 and 12,000 polishing sheets as the surface is a just a tiny bit rough to the touch. I could probably leave it as is but the light going over will give the saucer a smoother feel.

After laying down sections of Tamiya masking tape and laying some brown paper over the rest of the saucer top I sliced along the recessed line of the inside edge of the outer, darker ring using a sharp exacto knife. Then I peeled the tape away from the edge. Looks good. Ready for spraying:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Painting the Ring by Steve J, on Flickr

Hallway glued in:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Hallway Glued In by Steve J, on Flickr

The leaf springs were inserted into slots in the sides of the ramp hallways (no glue as they need to flex and move) and the housings were glued into the lower saucer half with the struts in the closed position. The instructions said to make sure the inside end of the housings were glued strongly before trying to operate the struts.

You can see how the leaf springs will flex when the struts are pulled down allowing the pointed peg to travel forward and lock into place on the other side of the spring's bulge:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Strut Opening Mechanism by Steve J, on Flickr

All three ramps operate perfectly. It helps to pull the ramps open if you have at least one longer fingernail to slide under the lips at the end of the ramps and pry. They really snap into position on their own at a certain point as they open. They also snap shuT:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Ramps Installed and Open by Steve J, on Flickr

This is after about 4 coats of Krylon Metallic Dark Metal over the metallic silver. I'll leave the masking in place for now. After she dries I'll remove the masking and drill some holes for installing cool white LEDs to light the hallways:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Metallic Dark Metal Ring by Steve J, on Flickr

Epoxy putty was used to strengthen the ramp hallway to hull joints against the strains imposed by the leaf spring mechanisms during lowering and raising of the ramps:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Epoxy Putty by Steve J, on Flickr

As I am not using the circular lower core engine cage, the center mounting tube was unnecessary. Removing it with my Dremel tool gives me room to place a 9 volt battery in the lower dome:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Tube Removal by Steve J, on Flickr

Since I am building the landed version of this ship the lower dome was painted metallic silver over a coat of black. I glued the landing pedestal to the center of the dome with 5 minute epoxy:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Lower Dome and Pedestal by Steve J, on Flickr

More to come...
Very cool. I had the big version of this but other than the interior did a subpar job of it. I wish I had space for the big one again. Can't wait to see this finished!
I missed out on the 1/72 one while it was still a reasonable price. Looking forward to you build
Battery test fit…

There’s just enough room to accommodate the battery:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Battery Test Fit by Steve J, on Flickr

Plenty of room in the lower dome for the battery:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Lower Dome Test Fit with Battery by Steve J, on Flickr

A slot was carved out between where the sidewalls of one of the ramp hallways will butt up against the curved walls of the central core section centered beneath one of the holes I drilled out for the three hallway LED’s:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Power Switch Slot by Steve J, on Flickr

A box to hold the 9 volt battery was built using styrene sheet:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Battery Box Construction by Steve J, on Flickr

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Completed Battery Box by Steve J, on Flickr

Two short strips of Velcro were epoxied to each side of battery box hook side out. A longer strap stretches across the box hook side down to hold the battery in place:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Velcro Strap by Steve J, on Flickr

The battery box sits down inside the lower dome and fits inside the lower saucer with ease:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Battery Box Test Fit by Steve J, on Flickr

The slide switch is accessed by opening a landing ramp. The back wall of the hallway was painted with light tam enamel which I later repainted using neutral grey:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Switch Access by Steve J, on Flickr

Prior to permanent installation the battery switch was tested to make sure the slot was the correct width and length:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Slide Switch Test Fit by Steve J, on Flickr

The battery clip wires were trimmed and soldered to a quick disconnect clip:

Forbidden Planet C-57D - WIP- Battery Harness Soldering by Steve J, on Flickr

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