Oh wow. I’ve had this model for a while now, sent to me by Fascinations to build and review (thank you!). And while I have built well over 300 models, there are times that I’m still intimidated by some of them. This was one, but I am glad I decided to finally build it. I’ve seen pictures of other’s builds, and the official product photos from Metal Earth, but wow… they don’t do it justice. It’s gorgeous. And detailed. And it looks like a high-end matchbox car.

One of the things that really sells it is the unique brushed metal texture that they chose to use for this model. It’s only applied to one of the sheets, and used almost exclusively for the exterior of the model, but it looks amazing. But that’s not everything… there’s also the attention to detail. Which it’s easy to get used to, with Metal Earth models, but this one seems to take it to the next level. Angles, layers, etchings, it all turns out so crisp and stunning.

You can look at all the photos of the completed models that I and others have posted, and still not see all the details. Like, literally. Cause there’s even one part with a unique etch pattern on a side that ends up facing the inside of the model. Seriously. And annoyingly, I forgot to take a picture to prove it (before enclosing it away forever). The only way this model could be more awesome is if they had managed to get the licensing to Back to the Future… but licensing is complicated. And furthermore, there were actually 4 variations of the Time Machine throughout the 3 movies… which one would they do?

Switching tacks, I’m also glad to tell you that this model is not quite as challenging as it looks. I mean, it’s not easy, by any means. It definitely has some delicate areas and challenging steps. And the general form of the vehicle involves a lot of precise, but not clear, angular planes. And so it is hard to figure out the right angles to fold things to without some trial and error. Just remember not to trial and error too much, cause you don’t want to break anything. It helps to be patient, read ahead, and use other adjacent parts to help determine the final / correct angles to various folds in the build. But, I do have some particulars to call out, as usual.

Starting at the beginning, I would advise that, after having twisted the tabs on both parts 2, you should fold the outside tab of each use inwards, it will make things fit a lit easier later on. And another random-ish note from here is that I had to cut/break some paint that was bridging between the tips of the tabs and the opposing edge for the two thin strips that fold down in the middle. The black paint they use is a bit thick, and sometimes it fills in places it shouldn’t (along that note, watch for slots that might be filled with paint).

Skipping over the fact that I almost missed attaching part 8 to the center console, we move on to part 13, one of the most impressive and delicate pieces I’ve seen in Metal Earth models. There is a lot going on here. First off, make sure you don’t miss the folding all the tabs along the back (some mirror tabs across the front, but one is hiding at the end, too). And be super careful with the narrow section down the middle (or really, the whole thing). That’s 4 separate strips of metal through there, and they are only attached all together at one end. Finally… there’s that crazy triangulated-stepped section at the ends of the outer strips. I have no idea if I did it right, but I was able to get the tab on the end into it’s slot later on. Just remember to fold the tab down after the last “step” here.

Of course, we’re not done with pointers related to this part, it’s too complicated for that. First off, make sure you don’t pass over the small detail of folding down the two squarish flaps on it after attaching parts 13 and 14. And… before you go and attach it to the rest of the undercarriage, fold the section of the rear down a bit. I’ve highlighted it below (in almost-usual red-folded highlighting) in the call out. For some reason the instructions left this part out, and it really confused me, but it does show it folded down later in the instructions (as shown in another call-out). And finally, there’s one last thing… and I’m not sure about this one… but I ended up curling up the outer ends of this rear section (curving up between the framing and the turn in the “tailpipes.” I didn’t do this till much later in the build, and it was so that the tailpipes lined up / showed through the cutouts in the rear bumper… So I think that it’s supposed to be that way, maybe.

When it comes to building the wheels, I was surprised that they didn’t have a little “look here” pointing hand thing calling attention to the alignment of the slots on the two parts that are joined together. More specifically, the alignment of the slots that are not being used in joining the parts. Then I realized, most people are probably not as obsessive as I am. But… if you are, you might want to make sure they are aligned so the exposed tabs all line up the same way when the car is fully assembled. Oh, and one more note… make sure you fold these tabs, and on the one near the triplet of slots – fold it outwards, so it doesn’t cover the middle slot of the triplet of unused slots.

Moving right along, you get to another crazy impressive and “fun to fold” part – 29. This is basically the main body of the DeLorean, and it’s huge. Well, at least for a classic-sized model. Anyways, there’s a weird glitched extra-part laying across the surface of the front edge of this part in the diagram, so… try to ignore that. As far as folding this part up, just do your best. I can almost guarantee it will be wrong. But don’t get over-worried about that. You can fine-tune these folds as you progress in the build, matching up to the various parts you’ll be attaching to it.

The next thing you get to work on is putting the dash components together, and this is the part of the build where the instructions really confused the crap out of me, mostly with the steering column, which I’ll talk about first. Forming the steering column is not actually that hard, but the render of the assembled steering column is not oriented “correctly” for how it will be attached at the time you attach it. It’s even rendered very strangely in the next step (showing the results), and doesn’t make any sense there. This strange alignment really threw me off, combined with the incorrect rendering of the “results.” So I decided to try to mock up the assembly in a 3D editor, attempt to rotate it to the right alignment, and substitute that in below. On both set of renders that were confusing to me. I’ve included the original (top) and “fixed” (bottom) renders in each image below.

In the second graphic above, I also added a note about the instrument panel (part 33). I don’t know why, but the instructions show the two flaps being folded down, but the bottom-most one is only partly folded. However, I believe it’s supposed to be folded back parallel to the top segment. You can see that the bottom flap is not sticking out in the next step, once the sides are folded down. Also, before you attempt to attach the console, you are going to want to fold down, a little bit, the section of the dash that has the steering column attached to it. However, if you fold that “all the way” for the final position of that section, it will make it hard to attach the instrument panel. So fold a little, attach instrument panel, fold the rest of the way, and then laugh at how tiny the steering wheel becomes in the results render.

The next thing you need to be concerned about is the door frames (parts 34/35). These are somewhat delicate parts, especially the thin upper strips, so be careful. And I mean it, cause the doors attach to that thin strip section, and if it breaks off… well, that door is not going to attach very well. So be very careful about bending those folds too many times. I would suggest holding it up next to the car as you fold it, and just go by little bits until you get the right fold angle, rather than trying to get it all at once and possibly over-folding and having to unfold some – that’s where you’ll start causing fatigue in the metal and possibly breaking it.

Keeping in line with one of the themes of this model, the roof (part 37) is large, complicated, and a bit delicate. My big piece of advice for this one, something I wish I had done (in retrospect), is pre-crease the fold that’s farthest back. You don’t need to fully fold this, but it’s really hard to get the fold started only you’ve attached parts 38 and 39. In addition, I would advice adding a slight curve across the lower part of the front window (curving down on the outsides) to help it meet the hood a little more flush (though a full flush there is impossible, I think). And the slats on the back window are a bit of a pain, simply because the thin strips of trim along the sides likes to get twisted / warped as you fold them down. If you can, brace the edges while folding those slats down. And finally, take care to firmly secure the tabs on the center panel when attaching to the car. They provide the support to the door frame that allows it to hold up the doors, so you don’t want that being loose at all.

Oh man… the trim on the wheel wells were so… grrrrr. First off, make sure you keep track of which one is which (parts 43-46); none of them are interchangeable. But the real thing to keep in mind is this: be very, very careful with them. And, I mean, that’s probably pretty obvious, right? But the trick is, once you get them attached, they seem kinda sturdy… but they also don’t want to follow the shape of the car (parts of it stick up). That bothered me. So I tried to force it into place. And crushed one of them against the car. I did all the straightening I could, but it still has some faint ripples to it. I did better on the next one. Then terrible on the third (another crushed wheel well trim, this one didn’t even straighten out as much as the first). And the fourth and final one didn’t go too bad, but I didn’t try to make it conform as much.

And now we come to the final part of the build: the doors. I thought about adding a graphic for these, but there’s so much going on that’s all the same, that I wasn’t sure it would be of any use. Lots and lots of compound curves here – curves in two direction across a single area. Some are clear, some are not. I should interject, that there are plenty of straight-forward bits in the doors, too. In a few of the cases, I couldn’t get the curves right until I assembled the parts together. And then there are the side-view mirrors… those are confusing as all get-out. I suggest you pull up the 360-view on the Metal Earth website for reference when you’re trying to form them.

Once you’ve built the doors, you have to attach them, and I suggest that you do what the instructions say and twist the tabs, that will help with keeping them vertical. But then follow that with folding the tabs over for a better appearance. In the end, it took me a little over four and a half hours to build the DeLorean, which you can watch in the playlist below (3 build sessions). Back to no audio for this one…