With a great big thank you to Fascinations for sending me this model to review, I’m happy to present to you the 1925 Ford Model T Runabout! This new line of classic Ford models really shine with the colors, adding contrast and detail. I know some of you like the classic silver, but I don’t think you can really complain about the colors here. It just feels right.
This beautiful classic is quite striking, in my humble opinion. Of the new line, I think it has the most unique form, and was excited to begin with it. Obviously, the part that caught my attention the most was the gorgeous roof/cover. But Metal Earth’s attention to details can be found all throughout (and under) this model, as always. From the spokes in the wheels to the highly detailed undercarriage, I really like how this one turned out. I was a bit intimidated by it, but it was so worth it.
In addition to having beautiful results, I also enjoyed the challenge of this build. This is definitely not a beginner model, and I would put it somewhere between experienced and challenge-seekers. Many of the curves that make this model look good are also what make it a challenge. I ended up forming most of the curves on instinct, and got them mostly right. But the reality is that there’s not really a good way to describe the specifics of the curves in the instructions. However, that’s not the only challenge to this model. So let’s get into the details of my review.
One of the more interesting things about this model is that it includes a sheet of gold parts, but some of them are completely painted black. And these parts are used as if they were just black parts. I guess it just boils down to them wanting to have some gold accents, but not wanting to make a super-tiny gold sheet. Anyways, there are a few places where the instructions will have the text “black side” or “gold side.” Frustratingly, these don’t have call-out lines to indicate which side of the part is that color. However, if you just assume that the intent is for the black side to be the visible side when the model is completed, then you can usually figure out which side is which. So keep that in mind when building this model.
The first big struggle I had was with part 8, which they luckily included an extra of. This tiny little strip is supposed to be curved to a semi-circle, and then attached. Curving it was not a problem. Attaching it was. I tried to twist and fold, and it just kinda mangled the part. So I took it off and tried again with the extra, but without the fold. It’s still not great (it’s hard to twist the tab without distorting the part a little), but at least it wasn’t mangle-flattened.
The next hurdle, for me, was a bit of confusion about part 9. I don’t know if it was a mistake in the instructions, or a mistake in how the parts were cut for me, but it changes how the part is folded up. I’ve tried to capture the difference in the graphic below. It’s hard to explain in words, so I thought it would be easier this way. One nice perk is that I think it was actually easier to form in the way it was cut for me. Just got really confusing when trying to figure out how to fold it like the instructions said.
When it comes to forming the curves on part 15, it helps to use part 16 as a guide for the size and profile of the curve. Or parts 19, those can help, too. Oh, and watch out when folding the tabs while forming parts 16/19. If you fold them flat down (relative to the orientation in the call-out steps), then they will probably stick out a little and get in the way when seating this part under part 15. So either clip off the end of the tabs (after slotting them, but before folding them) or fold them up instead, and curl them back over. It’ll make your life easier when attaching these parts to part 15.
Now here’s a detail for you that I missed when I was building the model, and would have really helped me (cause I felt like I was doing something wrong at this point). Unfortunately, I didn’t notice the fold indicated by the blue lines and orange highlighting on part 23. Not in the panel where it shows forming part 23, but in the panel where it’s being attached to the assembled section of the model. It requires the bend to fit on correctly, but if you didn’t notice that it was indicated to fold/bend, you might think that you did something wrong and were messing up the model while attaching it. Trust me, I know.
After that starts the real artsy side of this build. Forming the body and the roof/cover. I wish I could give you some advice on doing this, but it’s more an art than a science. I will say, though, that I think you might find it easier to attach parts 26 and 27 before forming the curves on part 25. I wish I had, as it’s usually something I can catch by reading ahead in the instructions. But I failed to do that this time. Oops.
Okay, so now for the really tough part. Yeah, it’s harder than that artistry. It was the moment in the build where I said something like, “Wait, you want me to do what?” Followed closely by, “That’s not possible!” And yet, it turns out that it is. Sorta. What am I talking about? Well, it’s forming part 32, the body panel that sits just below the windshield. The part where the instructions tell you to curve the part one way and the opposite way, but along a perpendicular line. I don’t know about you, but curving flat metal along two perpendicular axes is not an easy task. But it gets worse if they are curving away from each other along the third perpendicular axis. Um… did I just get way to math-nerdy? Sorry. Just look at the picture below. At the bottom/front of the part, you curve across the part, with the outer edges lower than the middle. But at the top/back of the part, you are supposed to curve a large lip upwards, such that the back of the part is higher. Flat metal does not want to do that. Oh, and did I forget to mention that you are also folding down flaps on the other two edges, too? Because it wasn’t complicated enough already. Nevertheless, with great care, and small increments of curvature, you can actually get it to do all of that. You end up with a little bit of a peaking/creasing point in the middle, but if you do it slowly and carefully enough, it’s not that bad.
Blessedly the next few steps are not that brutal. Not super easy, mind you, but they feel easy by comparison. And they come with the perk of getting to see all the artistic curving coming together to form the main body of the vehicle. And it looks sexy! I do advise bending over the slots as indicated in the instructions, so that you can insert the tabs from the outside in, as it gives a much cleaner look. My technique for bending over tabs is to stick the blunted tip of a hobby knife through the slot and using that to lever the slot over to an angle. The advantage of this approach is that it prevents the slot from closing up (which could cause problems in seating the tab).
Oh, and forming the hood ornament on part 40 is an exercise in delicate and not-enough-room folding. Those little flaps are teeny tiny, no matter how big they might appear in the instructions. I believe i actually used the back of a hobby knife’s blade to get some of the smaller flaps started folding over, just so I wouldn’t mess up the folds on the adjacent flaps.
But, alas, we must head back into the breach, starting with parts 45 and 46. These were the most frustrating parts to form, for me. There’s some guidance in the instructions, but being 2-dimensional, there’s only so much you can glean from them. I suggest you check out the 360 view on the Metal Earth website to get some reference on how to form these, but even then, it’s still a tough cookie. I did find that pulling parts 53 in advance can help you get the form closer, but I was never able to form these parts to my satisfaction. In fact, I fiddled with them so much, I began to worry I was making it worse than it originally was at my first attempt. Which is how I’ve ended up with the front fenders flaring out to the sides in what seems entirely too much abandon. I feel like they should remain parallel with the runners and the rear wheel covers, and line up over the front wheels, but I could not make it happen. I had to give up in the end, lest I ruin the model in the effort. I will say that, despite what it appears in the instructions, the triangularish sections of these parts are not just folded over and flat, there’s definitely some curvature to them. I just don’t know what it is, precisely. And seeing as I got parts 53 out in advance, I went ahead and attached them here. I also attached parts 54 to the rear wheel covers while I was at it (FYI, the rear wheel wells/covers are a lot easier to form).
Next we come to a little hiccup I found in my copy of the instructions. And really, the hiccup just serves to highlight one of the many things that make Metal Earth instructions the best. Anyways, it’s not a big deal, but the color of the twice used part 46 in the instructions is one color, but it’s not the same color on the parts diagram on the first page. I noticed it when knolling out the set, but I figured I’d call it out in order. And again, it’s not really a problem. I just realized, from the mistake, how much I appreciate the colors matching, and how it makes it easier to find the parts.
Forming the wheels is nice and easy, and I really like how the spokes end up inset into the wheels. A real nice touch by Metal Earth here. Bending in all the tiny little tabs on the inside of the exterior faces of the tires is a bit monotonous, but it really gives it a nice and dimensional look. It’s so worth it. Attaching the wheels is a breeze, so long as you don’t mount any of them backwards. Well, it’s still a breeze, but it’s a pain to fix when you notice that just one of the wheels is backwards (color of the spokes part facing inward), and you have to remove the axle cap, then untwist the tabs, flip it around, resecure the tabs and reattach that axle cap. Even if you did said repairs off camera, well after finishing the model, but before taking photos. Not that I would know, specifically. Also, I never use sarcasm.
The final part of the build is building/attaching the spare tire, which turns out to be fairly easy. There are a few awkward moments when trying to access tabs to fold over, but by this point, you probably wouldn’t be complaining about such a thing. You’ll be smiling, seeing this gorgeous build coming together, and taking pride in how you conquered this challenging build.
I built this beasty over 4 build sessions that totally a bit over 5 hours (not including knolling time). I enjoyed every minute of it, and would totally recommend this model to anyone who is up for a good challenge. You can see my build videos in the YouTube playlist below, complete with mistakes and all (just no audio or editing).
I love the Ford series. That 32 Ford Coupe is so sexy. But for right now I have a backlog of models to build before I can buy anymore. I will definitely be revisiting this post before I start the build.
Oh yeah, the Coupe is definitely full of sizzle! And yet, for some reason, this model was the one I wanted the most. It’s just such a unique / quirky silhouette. And I totally understand about the backlog… so many models I want, so little time to build them. And then I go and start a blog that slows my progress through my backlog, lol. But I’m really enjoying being able to help out other builders, so it’s totally worth it.
Beautiful build! I’m almost finished the 1937 Ford Pickup. This is a really great new series. I think I’m going to have to build them all. 🙂
It’s a great series. I can tell you that from just the first build. And from a little inside view into the process – they went to great effort to get them as accurate as they could.