I didn’t really plan this, but it’s completely appropriate that I follow up the build of K-2SO with my other favorite droid from Star Wars: Elthree. I know a lot of people like to bash on Solo, but I rather enjoyed the movie, and L3-37 was definitely a contributing factor. Her personality is just hilarious and fun. And, of course, the movie does have a lot of Chewbacca. But I digress, this post is about building this awesome model, which you can only pick up at the new Galaxy’s Edge expansions at Disney’s Parks (or on eBay, like I did).
Metal Earth’s L3-37 might be their most complicated droid model to date, because I think it’s also the most detailed. There are “loose” wires everywhere, and almost the entirety of the model is asymmetric. And there are also a lot of parts in this model that include what I like to call “segmented coils.” These coils look amazing, but are quite challenging to form, especially if you are a perfectionist.
There are also a few points where the instructions are a little flawed, unfortunately. Fascinations does a great job with their instructions, far and above the competition… but they still make mistakes, like we all do. The first mistake is, ironically, in the very first row of the instructions. In particular, the issue is the indication that you should fold the tabs out flat. Do not do that. On the very next row, it shows, and describes, that you should actually fold the slots down flat on the cylinder below, and then insert the tabs straight down through those folded slots.
The second mistake is not so much a mistake, as an omission. Twice, on page 3, it shows attaching part #19, followed by the small assembly made in the last row of page 1. What it doesn’t tell you is that you’ll have a really hard time getting that small assembly on straight unless you align the wires at the bottom of part #19 inside the little circlet of metal on top of the assembly before attaching it. I didn’t do that on my first upper-arm segment, and it was a pain. Did it on the second, and it was a breeze.
Oh, and those yellow wires that look so cool on Elthree’s left arm? Those are a pain in the patooty to attach. When you pull the slot end of them up to the upper arm, they end up at a completely different angle than the tabs they are supposed to slide over! Be prepared to curse them a bunch, and to go back and straighten out the lower attachment point after you finally get them attached. Side-note here: I tried to give each of the wire strips I encountered throughout this build their own little twists and curves, wires never really hang straight and flat!
The next point of difficult is in forming part #34, specifically the row at the bottom of page 4. Part #34 is part of the hips, and has a section where you fold a straight strip (that’s been curved) down and insert the tabs into slots along the edge of the surface you are folding towards. Normally this type of step is easy, but in this case, there is a slot on the inside of the edge, but the tab is right next to a protrusion that has to go on the outside of that edge. And it doesn’t really have the clearance it needs. So you have to manhandle it, rather roughly, into place. I scratched my model here, trying to get it together (and I don’t have a white sharpie!). This is followed by attaching a couple of cylinders to the back, where that protrusion is at, and it doesn’t really want to go on straight… which led to another scratch. Oh well. Battle Damage!
A little bit later, at the bottom of page 5, you’ll run into possibly the most frustrating part of the build. Surprisingly, it’s not the part where you are attaching the upper torso to the lower torso, and you realize that all those dangly wires and cables under the arm are right where the tabs come through, and you’ve now got to figure out a way to secure those tabs without damaging the arms. Nope, it’s not that. It’s the cursed little plate of metal that you insert in the front of the chest. The way this part is attached, you push the tabs through the slots to the outside from within. Both at the top of the part, and the sides. Which, under normal circumstances would be easy. But you just attached the lower section of the torso, and now those side panels cannot be spread apart so you can easily place this front section inside and fold them back in over the tabs.
No, you just have to find a way to have those tabs fold out, through the slots, while also slotting a tab through the top slot. It’s a pain. A serious pain. I ended up folding the sides of that part in, then sticking the top tab through it’s slot, and twisting it slightly to hold it in place. Then I finagled, contorted, cajoled and convinced one of the side tabs to line up with it’s slot, and “unfolded” the side flap into place, where I could then fold the tab over. Then came the real creatively non-colorful curse words as I tried to do the same on the other side, despite the current two tabs putting pressure in place to make it even more difficult to align. Finally, when that miracle occurred, I returned to the top tab, untwisted and folded it flat.
After all that, the legs were a breeze! There were a lot of tiny detailed pieces, but they all cooperated. I even chose to flex my creativity and attach / arrange some of the wires differently than specified in the instructions. The only slightly challenging parts were aligning the two halves of each leg to each other at the end. Even aligning the feet to the base was super easy (though I wish there were a few more tabs/slots on the left leg).
I finished up by tweaking all the wires and segmented cables so they appeared to be going somewhere, rather than just ending in open air. That was a personal choice, but I kinda like it, even if it makes some of the segments a little tightly bound. My greatest disappointment with this build was that I failed to attach Elthree firmly to the base, and she ended up with a bit of a lean at times during the photo shoot. I’ve since applied some superglue to the tabs under the base and hope that it will be enough to keep her standing up straight.
And finally, I did record the entirety of this build, which spanned 3 build sessions for a total of a little over 4.5 hours. I’ve uploaded these videos to YouTube again, this time just one continuous video for each build session. I haven’t yet built out the time stamps for each “row” of the instructions, but if I do, I’ll update the video descriptions with timestamp links for each row. For now, just know that the first video covers all of page 2, and the first three rows of page 3. The second video covers the rest of page 3, and all of pages 4 and 5. The final video covers pages 6-8. You can find the videos in this playlist:
Wow….I don’t think I could ever build that model. So much detail. You did A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!
Thanks Lindsey! It was a good challenge, and very rewarding! I’m sure you could do it!