So, recently, I asked on Instagram what I should build next. And there was a clear and definitive winner. And then I built these three butterfly models (which weren’t an option) next. Why? Because my daughter wanted to do something together a day or two later, and suggested that we build our butterflies (she had her own match to two of these three). And I couldn’t say no, because she’s just too adorable. Also, I couldn’t leave that last butterfly out, that would just be mean. And so I spent part of an evening finishing the complete set, working side by side with my daughter as she finished her two butterflies.
Sadly, these three butterfly models have been discontinued, along with the rest of the butterflies that are not the Monarch. I can understand that Fascinations made the hard decision to retired these models, as they may not have been selling very well. And I’m glad they kept at least one of them. They are great introductory models, though, and are super easy to complete. Which might have been their Achilles heel – regular builders probably thought they were not worth the time.
But they are absolutely gorgeous and vibrant. The high-gloss finish on the color does make it somewhat challenging to photograph, so it might have been better with the matte finish they developed in later models, but I really like them, to be honest. And I know that AnimateOrange has used them in the “Intro to Metal Earth” classes he has hosted at his local library. Yes, they are quick builds. But my daughter has really seemed to enjoy them more than the complicated builds I’ve done with her. Of course, she’s just a turned 11 this week, and she has super-duper short attention span due to ADHD (no, for real ADHD, not the “oh, my kid is hyper, so they must have ADHD”).
If you doubt me on how easy and quick these builds are, let me give you the biggest clue… they don’t come with an instruction sheet. The instructions are on the back of the packaging. Seriously. However, that doesn’t mean that they don’t have potential pitfalls, and there’s a couple in particular that can be frustrating, so I’ll actually write about them here. I don’t know how many people will actually be building these butterflies in the future, but these pitfalls / challenges apply equally to any of the butterfly models. They all follow the same build process, even if their wing forms and patterns differ a little.
I think the most common trouble people will have with this model is when it comes time to attach the wings to the body. And the problem here is mostly just the challenge of having to fold those tabs just right. What do I mean by that? Well, those tabs need to be folded straight up and right at the edge of the part. Which is a lot harder than it sounds. Folding tabs on edges like this is a frustrating task, even for people who have built a whole bunch (just ask AnimateOrange, I recall him speaking to the frustration in at least a couple of his videos). And the alignment of the slots in the body is such that you need to get them folded up really tight to the edge, with no part of the tab protruding from the edge before folding up. If, however, you can get it really close, but not completely up to the edge, you can overbend the tab just a little, so the tip of the tab is directly above the edge.
And all this fuss is just so you can align those three tabs up with the slots. And secure them tightly. I’ve found that, when I’m struggling with the alignment, it’s easiest for me to align and slightly insert the two tabs that are on one side together, and then work to insert the single tab on the opposite side, possibly using the side of the tweezers or a hobby knife to nudge the tip of the tab into alignment and slip through the slot.
The other pitfall is one I fell headfirst into and committed to completely on my first butterfly build. And this one I have to chalk up to the instructions leaving off a key detail that I think should have been included. I had the darndest time trying to get the cursed Monarch Butterfly to balance on it’s feet. It was constantly tipping over backwards, and I couldn’t figure out what I’d done wrong. After much fiddling and bending and curving and wrenching, I managed to get it to stand up. Yay!
So I felt like a real fool (even though I probably shouldn’t) when I realized while building the next butterfly, a few months later, that you aren’t supposed to fold the legs down – you are supposed to twist them 90 degrees. And then, once you have done that, you can adjust the angle up/down/left/right until it stands properly.
One thing I do really enjoy about these models is the little artistic touches you get to decide on for yourself. How spread or closed up do you want the wings to be? Close them up like they are landed on a tree branch, or spread wide like they are flying? Do you want the antennae to have a little curl, a lot of curl, or to be straight? Are they curling up or down? With that simple set of choices, everyone’s build gets to turn out different.
I have a plan to make another post later, showcasing all the butterflies together, so forgive me for not including any family-photos this time around. Having already built 5 of the butterflies before these 3, the builds went very quickly, taking roughly 15-20 minutes each. You can see the three builds in their entirety in the YouTube playlist embedded below.