Time for another couple of Metal Earth Legends models! Decided to dip into the Transformers line for the first time and let my older kiddos each pick out on model for me to build this time. My daughter picked out Bumblebee and my son picked out Megatron (though he was having a tough time deciding between Megatron and Optimus Prime). I enjoy finding ways for them to participate in my hobby with me, even when they aren’t building their own models.
This Transformers line makes me even more sad that the Legends line was discontinued. They were able to really have fun with these guys, with a lot of unique little additions and much more interesting approaches to the arms. They tend to take a little more time, while not adding too much complexity, though they do add some. And they look great, too.
Somehow, the goofy-big boxheads don’t look as abnormal with robots, and the more chunky arms actually make it look more interesting than the standard Legends models. Which I think might have been one of the Legends line’s weaknesses – the body forms were too simple from a visual standpoint. These are definitely not as simple, but are quite fun, really. The addition of the door “wings” on Bumblebee are great, as well as the horns and angled panels. Also, the inclusion of the wheels adds a little extra dimension. Megatron takes it in a little different direction, with a giant gun, tank treads, and just some all-purpose military-style greeblies on the legs. It’s also nice to see some more variation on the legs, rather than just the arms or head.
When it comes to building these models, most of the process is fairly straight forward, with but a few potential hiccups. Bumblebee went smoother for me than Megatron, but that’s entirely my fault. I kinda skipped over a whole section of instructions and had to do a little disassembly to get back to that point. Always double-check yourself and read the instructions closely. And listen to your own advice.
While the arms are pretty clear and simple to build, there are a few points of ambiguity in the instructions around them. In particular, the parts that would normally equate to the forearms (parts 6/14) can be hard to determine the right orientation without referencing the picture of the completed model. I’ve included a rough illustration of which etch/color pattern should appear on the front side below (forgive the roughness). Also, the shading of parts 8 and 15 seem to indicate that the engraved/painted side would be “up” or inside the model, I think it should probably have an NE indicator and be shaded. And finally, take care to align the hands (part 7) correctly when attaching them to those parts, you don’t want to end up having to disassemble that and reattach it like I did. Check the etch/print pattern and make sure it is right, along with the alignment of the 3 outer tabs (on Part 8/15) for attaching to the arms.
The most frustrating part of building Bumblebee was attaching the car-door wings (parts 17/18). It was really hard to figure out the right angle to bend across the middle of the doors, and then to bend the tabs over to line up properly to the slots on his back. Adding to the challenge is trying to hold this onto the back when you do get it, when there is little room to do so because the arms are in the way, as well as their tabs and closed sides making it tight to get to the tabs on the inside. If I were to do it again, I would probably leave the upper torso section flat (with some ever so slight pre-folding) and attach the door-wings before attaching the arms.
And the final note for Bumblebee is for the wheels on the legs. I always like to form the curves in stuff at the earliest opportunities. Mostly so I can use my drill-bit set to get a good and even curve. That does present a challenge in this build, as it indicates folding down a part of the leg that would be in the way only after already attaching the wheels, then curving the tread section of the wheels and folding over after that. I went ahead and pre-shaped both wheels completed, and folded over the flaps that would be in the way first, and then securing the wheels in place – it’s a little trickier to access those tabs at that point, but it makes for smoother wheel treads, right?
Bumblebee took an hour and fifteen minutes to build, roughly. You can watch it, complete with my mistakes, and in glorious silence, below:
In a twist of irony, Megatron was my longer build, but I have much less feedback for you on him. The biggest challenge to him is the arm cannon, which is not really super-hard. It’s just more involved than your average Legends model. Well, more accurately, more curvature. If you are comfortable with cylinders, than you’ll not have much trouble. The thorniest part of it, for me, was attaching part 19, cause it’s a tight fit, and I hate wrapping over tabs that are facing out. Luckily you don’t have to close part 19 with a tab, so that makes it a little easier.
And now I have to tell you the details of the embarrassing stupid-moment for me with this build. Somehow, having completed the arms and flipping the page of instructions to the next step, I skipped over a large section of stuff to do… and proceeded to build out/form the legs. Completely. And then noticed I had a lot more parts (23-29) knolled out that had nothing to do with the head (which is the next step after completing the legs). Oh the stupids. I tried to form and attach some of this without undoing anything, and it didn’t work at all, so I had to disassemble the legs a little. So don’t be me… pay attention and don’t skip large sections of the build.
Megatron’s build lasted a whopping hour and 45 minutes-ish, largely due to the amount of curving and my idiocy in skipping over part of the instructions. If you wish to see any part, including the big mistake, feel free to watch the embedded video below: