Long asked for, and finally here, I had the joy of building this amazingly detailed and complex Y-Wing. And let me tell you, it was worth the wait! I have not been building these models as long as many of you, so I haven’t been waiting as long as some, but I definitely am glad that this model was built after Metal Earth has had time to grow and improve the model designs. Because I doubt it would have been nearly as detailed, or nearly as fun.
Yes, I am a Star Wars fan, and yes, I was one of the many who have suggested / requested the Y-Wing. But even if you are not a Star Wars fan, even if you weren’t waiting for it, you can still appreciate the amazing execution here. The layering on display is stunning and effective. There’s a real depth to the greeblies, because there actually is depth. There are parts in there that are almost completely obscured, but cover long distances underneath other parts. And the layering is not just stacks of two-dimensional planes. You got parts at one angle overlapping a part that’s at another angle at just the right height. It’s stunning.
So, I realized after my last complex build, the ICONX Star Destroyer, that my build review made it sound rather intimidating and something to be avoided. Sorry about that. It was a challenging, but not impossible, build, and I wanted to thoroughly cover any possible challenges that might be encountered by builders. I think maybe I didn’t make it clear that it was still an enjoyable build and worth it. So I want to be clear before I jump into the review this time… this is an awesome freaking build. It’s got some tough steps, it’s got it’s challenges, but you wouldn’t have as awesomely detailed a result without it.
The first thing I want to say about the build is to explain how (and why) I deviated from the order of the instructions. The main gist of my change-up is that I built all the components of the engine nacelles (I felt bad thinking of them as that until I tried to find out what they were called, and that’s what they were labelled as on Wookieepedia) and put them aside. I then built on and completed the cockpit section. Then I came back and attached / assembled the nacelles onto the fighter. And I did all this for [mostly] one reason: I am not good at handling models gently while trying to work on them, and those nacelles have a lot of empty space to them, meaning a good potential for mangling (though they did make it rather strong, as it turns out). And so I built and put aside the 5 components of each nacelle (top, bottom, thruster cone, rear control fins (?), and front intake), and came back to them when I finished the rest of the model.
Following that, I’d like to point out another general topic on this build. Be careful with the parts. There are some downright minuscule parts to this baby. And many teeny-tiny folded segments. And when I say teeny-tiny and minuscule, I mean it. I feel absolutely silly for having called out the Star Destroyer’s parts and small folds. Those were nothing. So an important factor when building this gal is to be careful to not drop the parts. Well, as much as you can avoid it. I dropped them a bunch because of my giant sausage-fingers. I think most of the video of this build is practically useless because the parts disappear in my meaty fingers. Just an example, the part in the picture below (number 17) is presented resting on the toe of Lego Chewbacca. Also, the little strips on the sides of it are supposed to be folded over and rounded around the ends. Yup. It’s that detailed.
So now that we got the generic review points out of the way, let’s get to the process itself. Which starts off with a super-detailed and layered section of the main body that you might think is the top, but actually turns out to be the bottom. Yup, even the bottom of this ship has a pile of greeblies! I love it! Very small and detailed greeblies, so take your time, and enjoy the complexity of it. I did not encounter anything that I feel I could point out as a thing to avoid doing, or a good way to do something. Just pay attention and make sure you breathe.
I did encounter my first confusion in the next section, which begins the construction of the top half of the ship. It occurred while I was forming part 16, particularly the little pipe-like segments attached to the sides. The instructions are really tiny for the steps here, so I had to pick them up and examine them closely. And I believe I read it correctly: you are supposed to fold-roll pipe-like segments up to form a rectangular box with the side of the main body of the piece (if you generalize the pipe-shaping into a rectangular block). This results in the paint for the pipes being inside the box, and practically impossible to see. Seems like a waste of paint, but it’s the only way I could make sense of the instructions there. Unfortunately, the resolution of the digital instructions make it even harder to interpret. Still, it should be able to help you pinpoint what I’m talking about. I think.
Moving on from there, things get really interesting with the top of the ship. I was excited the first time I saw the pictures of this model from above. So much detail. And yet I was still not prepared. It’s just amazing. Prepare to build layer upon layer upon layer of greeblies. And to handle some delicate “wiring harnesses.” But first, take note of the shape of part 21 and be careful when clipping it out. The attachment point is connected to one of the tiny projections on the side, and I almost clipped off the projection as if it were part of the triangle sprue connection.
After a bit more of the greeblie heaven, I had my first real scare of this build. I almost broke a fold in part 38. Take care when folding the little corner strips on this, and do it first! I made the mistake of folding down the large flap first, then trying to form these. As such, the large flap was getting in the way, and I struggled to get the bends right, and so the whole end bent over a couple of times on one side… and then it got that feeling, where it was bending too easily. You know that feeling. The “you bend this fold one more time and it’s gone” feeling. But I got lucky. And I didn’t break it. I used kids gloves for a few minutes, of course.
And now that I think about it, that was probably not really my first scare. I had chatted with AnimateOrange about this build (I promise, we are not coordinating our builds, we just happened to start this on the same night), and he had informed me about losing a part while working on the top of the ship. Gone to the ethereal realms that exist behind and below desks. And so each and every time I fumbled a part with my big fat fingers, I practically gasped with fear. Yet I was luckier than poor AnimateOrange, for they never fell off the desk.
Moving on from there, I found my next stop-and-go-huh moment when assembling the rear of the main body, with part 44. And I might have come to the conclusion that the instructions had a mistake, had I not recalled the interesting thing I had noticed while knolling all the parts out before starting this build. I had noticed that one part (as it turns out, part 44) seemed to have the majority of it’s engraved patterns on the “underside” of the sheet, rather than on the top. On the side that faces what we normally think of as the front of the parts sheet were just 4 tiny little engraved fold lines.
Why’s that matter? Well, the instructions for this section identify one of the surfaces as being the engraved surface. And having knolled this out beforehand, I interpreted that as the side with the etched patterns. And then thought it was telling me to fold it all up with the engravings on the inside. Luckily I read far enough ahead to get confused before I started forming the part. Anyways, this left me very confused, and questioning my sanity, until I realized that, in this case, the E engraved marker was referring strictly to which side was facing “up” when in the parts sheet. That the side with 4 tiny fold-lines was considered the engraved side, and the side with all the etched patterns was not. So keep that in mind, lest you get confused.
Moving along, you work on building out the “neck” of the Y-Wing. I personally had some trouble with attaching part 50 – I kinda crushed it while trying to get it in place, but that’s mostly due to the sausages I call fingers. Just be gentle with that part, and you should probably be good. A little after that you’ll get to part 54, which is one of the more amusingly shaped parts you’ll encounter in Metal Earth models in general. It kinda looks like the part has the fringe from a pair of fancy cowboy’s chaps. The instructions indicate folding those all at a 90 degree angle before attaching it to part 52. Unfortunately, the result is almost completely obscured in the “after” view of that join, so it’s hard to tell how to align it. So here’s my take: as far as I can tell, I believe that folded over fringe is supposed to overlap and sit flushly on the “outside” of part 53, which is already attached to part 52 at this point. A good check of the 360 view on Metal Earth’s website gives the barest glimpse of this area, and I think it confirms my conclusion. I think.
And with that, you are done with the “body” of the ship, and you get to move on to building those crazy nacelles. And since the nacelles are identical (except mirrored) I’ll just go over the formation process once, because… well, obvious reasons. And just so I don’t have to say this throughout this section: I broke my policy on not twisting tabs that might be visible. Many of these tabs are “inside” the cylinder of the nacelle, but not completely hidden, since the cylinder body has voids in it. Normally, I would consider folding any tabs that might be visible, even if it’s not on the “outside.” However I chose to do this one differently, and I strongly suggest that you do to. The voids make it important for all of the connections to be strong, and so I stuck with twists for all but a few tabs.
I really like the strangely open voids to this ship design, it really makes it rather distinct. However, it does make things interesting for forming. In particular, it’s a little challenging to get the upper and lower sections of the nacelles (parts 55,67,68, and 69) to be cylindrical. With the long voids in the part, it’s hard to get the thin strips that connect the front and back solid parts to actually curve. I ended up using a drill bit that was a bit smaller than the final shape, and then working my way down it using my fingernails to force tiny sections to actually curve over it. It was quite time consuming, but I think worth it for the final look. Unfortunately, I came to this strategy after trying a few others, and ended up with some funny looking edges to those strips. Such is life.
I do want to point out, though that the top and bottom of each nacelle are not split exactly in half. The top section is much more of the complete cylinder than the bottom (which I didn’t realize at first). And the little cones at the back are almost opposite of that, with the bottom section seeming to have just a smidge more than the top section. You can use parts 63 or 64 to get a good idea of the diameter of the cylinder.
By writing about both cylinder sections at once, though, I skipped right over writing about my experience with the engine-thrust-cone-thingies. And boy howdy are they a good challenge. That you get to do twice. It’s curves, it’s cones, and it’s twists. And I like the resulting look of these assemblies, with the exception of one thing… how the larger “fins” are attached. And this is kinda one of my little nit-picks, but only because sometimes they actually account for this issue. And they didn’t here. The big fins are formed by folding a symmetric (other than tabs) part in half (part 62). Those two asymmetric tabs are then used to secure the part through pairs of slots in part 61. My nitpick / frustration comes from the fact that the slots are perfectly aligned with each other on part 61, rather than being slightly offset (to account for the fact that the tabs on part 62 are offset by the nature of the fold). This causes the fins to not want to be aligned straight with the cone when secured, but angled to the side a little. And there are times where Fascinations has taken this into account and made the slots offset by the barest amount in other models. I wish they had done it here. Instead, I secured it, and then brute forced it to a “straightishness”. Which unfortunately resulted in loosening of the parts, and now they flop about a little bit. It gives me a sad. Of course, it’s easy for me to provide this critique because I’ve never tried to design one of these things before, and I wouldn’t have a chance if I did. So take my complaint with a chunk of salt.
The rear insert for the cylinder is super-simple, which is nice after the challenge (and a bit of frustration) that is the thrust-cone thingy insert. Again, I set these components aside, ready for me to assemble at the end, and proceeded to skip to the formation of what I consider to be the “air intakes” for the engines, even though that makes no sense on a spaceship. Maybe it’s for in-atmosphere flight? I dunno. These are fairly straightforward, though I hesitate to call them easy. They have a dome shaped part, and a semi-dome shaped cover. And domes are never really “easy.” I will say that the cover presents it’s own challenge, with the voids in the metal making it something you have be to careful with when curving the flaps down. But if you are taking on this model, I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume you are fairly comfortable with domes in general.
And at this point, I was done building the components of the nacelles. Yay! On to the “neck” and the cockpit, which I figured didn’t really look all that hard (relatively). And, in a way, it wasn’t. But then again, it had some challenge to it as well.
Across the build of the Cockpit, I only really encountered three things that stood out as challenging (in this build). First, the slots cut into part 82 make it hard to form it into a cylinder, as it just wants to fold at the weak points. To address this, I formed the curve first with a drill bit, then pinched over the folds with my pliers and rolled the parts between the slots by hand. Lather, rinse, repeat until it looked good. The next challenge was in getting the top and bottom halves of the cockpit connected. The fit is really hard to get tightly secured, and it ended up leaving a little gap. And finally, there’s the little trim part that goes on the nose. I hate that little part. It’s fragile, hard to align (and keep aligned while securing), and because I couldn’t close up the two halves of the cockpit as tight as I wanted, it was a little too small. But after some brute-force convincing, and colorful language, I got it attached.
And with that, I was finally able to return to the fragments of the nacelles and attach/assemble them. If you follow my pattern, make sure you keep track of which part is which and attach them all on the correct sides (except for the duplicated assemblies, of course). The fact that some circular parts are inside the overall cylinder of the nacelles actually helps get the shape of the nacelles right. But be careful with the long thin sections, they are impressively sturdy, considering how little structure there is to them, but they can still get bent. I found that joining the “halves” of the cylinders was a little challenging, at least to get it tight. I ended up using a method I use from time to time where I pinch the tip of a tab sideways with my fine-tip pliers, and then roll the pliers sideways, using them to lever the tab through the rest of the way. I then finish the tab by pressing it flat with the outside of a pair of tweezers or a fingernail.
I really appreciate the way Fascinations designed the parts that are set inside the cylinders, such that there was only one tab sticking through the second, lower-half of the cylinder that you attach. it’s tough shaping a cylinder over multiple tabs, and this was a great solution. I also like the mixture of tabs and slots used to attach the “intakes” on the nacelles, it made it super easy to keep the part aligned while securing each tab.
And, like the ICONX Star Destroyer, this vessel comes with a non-attached holding stand, rather than a stand that is attached. See AnimateOrange’s review of the Star Destroyer if you are curious why that’s an important feature. And it will actually balance on the stand, though it is somewhat ambiguous where exactly the model is supposed to align with the stand. Of course, I added magnets to this one again, just to make sure that the starfighter had even less of a chance of falling off.
So, despite making a few mistakes, I’m still loving the results. I know that, no matter how many pictures of this model I take, I can’t convey how detailed and layered this model is. Because there’s a lot of stuff that is just not fully visible, so the contribution to the detail is not obvious. And yet the impact it still strong. I kinda liken it to some of the bizarre details that special effects artists include that you would never be able to identify, yet would feel that something was “wrong” if they didn’t do it. It’s that level of depth.
Oh, and if you don’t know the back story of why this starfighter has so much more exposed mechanics, it’s because, according to canon, the standard “body” of the fighter was such a pain to take off for maintenance that crews started just leaving it off entirely. I love the depth of the story building in the Star Wars universe.
And, as usual, I’ll finish my review with the videos of my build. Again, just for reference. I still haven’t worked out a good way to get the lighting balanced better, so I’m sorry if it’s actually useless because you can’t tell what I’m doing. I have no idea how AnimateOrange makes it look so easy! Also, in case you are wondering, this build took me roughly 8 hours over 4 build sessions. And that’s not including the pre-build knolling time.