I’ve been dying to build this version of Kaytoo for quite some time, but always found something else to build, or delayed because I thought I should build the complete Droid Pack at once, etc, etc. Anyways, I’m glad I built him (even if it caused my drought of build posts to be extended), because he looks awesome in his natural Black coloring. I was a little worried that he would be too dark to capture very well in photos, but I think it turned out all right. He’s the exact same structural design as his silver version, and yet I ended up with a slightly different head pose this time around. I’m not sure what caused it, but I think it goes well with his pessimistic, cranky attitude.
The build clocked in at around 5 hours and 45 minutes (I know this, because I actually recorded the whole build in real time for the first time ever!), and was spread over 6 build sessions. It was a pretty straight-forward build, with possibly more cylindrical/conical parts than you might expect. I would personally categorize it as on the harder side of moderate, when it comes to difficulty, but I’m pretty used to shaping curves now (and have lots of tools to help with that). There were a few points in the build worth noting, however.
The first thing I want to mention is that the instructions are practically copied from the silver version of the model. Which makes sense, because it’s structurally identical. However, this leaves a few points where the instructions actually direct you to put the black painted surface facing the inside of the model (by way of indicating that the engraved surface should face in). Most of the time, it was easy enough to just turn the painted side out, but there are a few points, specifically the elbows and knees, where it helps to mark the parts so you can remember which piece is where. These parts have an engraved number on them, but by turning that part around, you can no longer read it (don’t worry, the engraved number is not readable).
The next point of difficulty on this model are the hips. Forming the hips is no easy task, and I almost guarantee that you won’t get the initial part shaped correctly before attaching the side parts. So just give it your best shot, and then refine it as you attach the side pieces. Speaking of the side pieces, I found that it actually worked best to align/insert one or two tabs, fold them over, and then align/insert the other two.
The shoulder pauldrons (I’m gonna use that term cause I think it’s right, but basically it’s the curved, raised armor looking things on the outside of his shoulders) have some of those tabs that beg the laws of physics to be altered before aligning and seating properly. I’m with AnimateOrange on this issue; Metal Earth needs to adopt the tilted tabs in situations like these. If those tabs had not come straight out of the parts, but instead were angled inwards, it would make it a lot easier (in fact, I used a pair of pliers to do exactly that).
Finally, we come to the biggest hiccup I encountered when building this model, and it was mostly my fault (though I blame the instructions a little). When I assembled the head, I attached the neck piece backwards (not to be confused with upside down). What made this particularly annoying was that I didn’t notice the mistake until I had completed the entire head, which has several steps after attaching the neck. So I got to backtrack quite a bit. And pray that I didn’t break any tabs or scratch him up too bad. Luckily it went well, and I was able to get it all back together without much damage.
Okay, so that wasn’t actually the final comment on the build. Because I forgot to mention the cursed, unforgiving, super-delicate antennas located on his back. Visually, these are great. Practically, they are just infuriatingly easy to bend all out of whack, and if you can build this without bending them, my hat is off to you. Luckily, they aren’t attached until the final pages of the instructions, but that’s still enough time for you to wonder if you are going to break the things off after the umpteenth time you accidentally brush them with the palm of your hand.
Now, for the final little blurb about this build… I mentioned that I captured the whole build on video in real time (not time lapsed). Well, I decided that, since I had the whole thing, I might as well post it all, right? Not because I thought someone would actually want to sit there watching almost 6 hours of me building, but in case someone wanted to use it for reference. To that end, I went through and made little title cards for each “step” (this model doesn’t have numbered steps, so I broke it down by “rows” in the instructions), and put together a video for each page of the instructions. For each video, I will include timestamp links in the description to jump directly to each “step” on that page. That way, if you are confused by a step, you can jump right to it. Anyways, here’s the link to the playlist of all 7 assembly instruction pages (pages 2-8, page 1 has no instructions).
I went ahead and used these videos for the embedding above, just timestamp-linked to the correct section. Of course, you probably realized this if you watched any of them, and the build just kept going after the key area was covered. Anyways, this took a lot more time to put that together and render (and upload) than I had thought (again, delaying this post). I’m probably not going to do this again (maybe one video per build session, without instructions being rendered in, but with timestamps). It’s exhausting. I have no idea how AnimateOrange does it so often, and more intelligently (with sped up sections).
It *would* be super nice if ME adapted the tabs to accommodate weird angles and whatnot. I’ve angled them to fit, snipped off ends (and filed the sharp edges off), and even removed them completely.
There are two main reasons to snip them short:
1) When you have an inner piece with tabs pointing out and have to wrap the piece with the slots around them and it doesn’t quite fit, and
2) When the folded tab doesn’t fit or covers details that should be viewable.
I suppose the bit about cutting them off completely is really an extension of 2) above. Like with K2-SO’s pauldrons (I looked it up to verify, and you’re correct), if you fold over the tab, it covers part of the imperial insignia. I just snipped the tabs off flush and added a dab of 5 second fix or CA. I guess I’m in complete opposition to those builders who think glue shouldn’t be used. 😉
Yeah, I’m with you. Glue is definitely not a sin in the models. Most of the time it’s not NECESSARY, but that doesn’t mean it’s never useful.
I just found an angled tab in a Metal Earth model! Both the Stormtrooper and IG-11 have an E-11 blaster. There’s a section that sticks out of the barrel at an angle and the appropriate tab is angled to fit.
I just thought I’d throw that out there. Also, even though I’ve been a Star Wars nerd since 1977, I only know the name of the blaster because it’s mentioned a few times in “Thrawn Alliances,” which I’m currently reading.
Nice! I’ve seen them put in extra-wide slots in some builds to address the issue in a different way, but not consistently. Nevertheless, I’m glad to see them embracing more options on it. And I’ve been a Star Wars nerd for a long time, too. Just recently started reading the books again (lost interest during the period where they were focused on the prequel era). I rather enjoyed the first of the new Thrawn trilogies, but haven’t started the second one yet.