Oh. My. Word. The matte finish really, really works on this model. Also, this model is awesome! And solid, thanks to all the cylinders. It’s great to have a giant version of my second favorite droid, and it looks great!
I think the larger size of this model makes it a lot easier to get the shaping right and stable joints. This one is much more solid than my last build of Kaytoo. I did use a little glue in a few spots, but more out of not wanting things to end up jiggly. There are also a lot more details possible at this scale. A lot more.
I think my favorite added detail is in the layering around the shoulder joints. It’s a small thing, but to me, it adds a lot of depth. I could go on, but you can just look at the gallery and see. It’s a great addition to my droid line-up. Have I mentioned that I really like droids. Droids and spaceships. I don’t know why, but it seems like my brain is just not cooperating with reviewing this model today. I do really like it, but my brain is just… cotton. Such is life sometimes, eh?
So… as for difficulty, this is probably what you expect. There are a lot of tapering cylinders in this model. A lot. And they are really long and narrow. At this scale, though, there are not a lot of tiny bits on this, so that’s a plus. However, there are the antennae on his back, which have to be the most difficult conical forms I’ve ever attempted to make. Oh, and forming the torso and pelvis are about as challenging as you might expect. Those are two complicated shaped sections that are hard to representing in 2D. But stick it out, cause this is one amazingly rewarding model when you finish it.
Before we get into the build, though, I want to point out something that bothered me a little. And… this is probably me just being pedantic, and being annoyed by something that shouldn’t annoy me… but it does. Because the photo of the model on the cover of the packaging has either been photo edited, or it’s not a representation of the model in it’s final form. Specifically, there are a lot of tabs that are missing. Tabs that can’t be just “reversed” and hidden on the inside. And that seems dishonest to me. I also think that it sets up an impossible-to-live-up-to expectation for how it could look.
Moving on to the review, my first tip is in Step 1, swap things up a little when putting together Kaytoo’s jaw. Specifically, I would recommend attaching part 8 to part 7 before attaching part 6. I was trying to think of a way to describe these parts, I usually like to describe them in some way as well as provide the part numbers, but… I have no idea what to call these parts here. lol. Just… check out the picture below.
In Step 2, I found that the diagram was a little confusing, as they seemed to use the wrong fill color on the sides of the cone you are forming (part 9). This part gets inserted into the “neck hole” of the torso from the inside. So the painted side of the model should be towards the inside of the cone, however… the inside is shaded like it’s the “back” of part 9. There is an indicator callout, at least, but it still threw me off. Anyways, black painted side on the inside of the cone.
And then we come to Step 3… and possibly the hardest challenge of this entire build: the antennae. Those little buggers are just so freaking narrow. My tiniest drill bit was too big to form the larger end of the tapered cylinder. I ended up being very thankful for the round-tipped pliers that I currently have on loan (more about that in a later post) because they had a tapered end that got a little narrower and helped me start them. It took a lot of work and gentle squeezing and convincing to get them anywhere near what they were supposed to look like. And then I used UV glue to secure them into place. Because they stick out, and I knew that if I didn’t, I would knock them loose in handling the model while continuing the build. So… if you struggle with things like that, consider it a suggestion to glue them.
Step 4 has you forming out Kaytoo’s torso and attaching all the parts you’ve built so far. It’s a nice point of feeling like you’ve gotten something done, but it’s also a bit of a challenge to shape, as it’s a rather ambiguous shape, given the 2D nature of the instructions. I will say, though, that if you want to hide some tabs on the inside, then the order of shaping the curved strips around the arm-holes should be swapped. Bend-in and attach the short ones on the bottom first, then the long ones at the top after. I did it in the order as indicated in the instructions, then had to undo some tabs so that I could have room to fold over the tabs on the smaller strips on the inside, then re-secure the tabs on the longer strips.
In Steps 5 and 6, while building out Kaytoo’s midriff, there are six little fins (three on each side, part 23) that are folded in-half parts attached with slots that are nearly parallel (yay for offset slots!). They are fairly challenging to attach securely and straight, so I added some UV glue on the back of the tabs so I could hold them straight and cure (dry the glue) it that way. Just an idea to consider.
Also in Step 6, I would suggest adding the curve to the front-panel of the central midriff body (part 26) before attaching the side panels or anything else. Much easier to curve it smoothly before attaching anything to it. I also pre-bent along the vertical edges, just to “break in” the edge, before attaching anything. And finally, I chose to invert part 29 so that the black paint is facing down, despite the instructions indicating the paint facing up. There is a chance you might see this part from the bottom looking up, but not from the top looking down.
In Step 7, and Step 12 later on, you form the shoulder socket (at least, that’s what I call it). The details on these assemblies are some of my favorite, even if they are subtle. But I disagree with the directions on forming them. Layered sheets do not like to curve very well, and since there are sections where there are not two layers, it will tend to curve more (bend) at the those spots. So I chose to shape the base layer (parts 30 and 52, respectively) first, including securing the tabs that close it up. Then I curved every part that attached on before attaching them (parts 31-36 and 34, 53-57, respectively). It takes longer this way, but I’m betting the curve turns out better this way, too.
In Step 8, while constructing the elbow joints, I chose to flip the round caps so that the silver-side was facing outwards. I did this because the side facing out ends up inside the arm, and the other side is exposed in a thin rim around the outsides. So I wanted to keep the black facing out. However, this comes with a cost – the engraved number is no longer visible, so I had to keep track of which side is which. Amazingly, I was successful… on the elbows. Not so much on the knee joints later on… except there’s another complication with those that I’ll call out later. One thing that would have made it easier is if I had just written the number in sharpie on the silver side – it ends up hidden anyways, so it doesn’t matter!
In Step 10 (and the mirrored Step 14), there are a couple of suggestions I’d like to throw your way. First of all, When attaching the wrist cylinder, fold fold up the cylinder with the tab-bearing half at a 90 degree angle to the adjacent circular cap, then a 60 degree angle to the next cylinder half and a 60 degree angle to the other cap. Then slip the first cap end over the tab in the forearm, close the second cylinder section to 90 degrees, then close the other cap over the end, slotting the second forearm tab and the wrist cylinder tab at the same time. It actually ends up quite easy in this fashion, and I was expecting this to be a pain to accomplish.
The second suggestion in Step 10/14 is regarding the shaping / attachment of the hand. To begin with, I would suggest waiting to fold the fingertips into place until after you have attached the inside face of the hand. It’s a lot easier to get that part into place and shape the fingers in that order. In addition, I found it much easier to secure the hand to the arm by not folding the first edge (in the rectangular wrist collar like thing) they indicate to fold, but folding the other three, attaching the hand, and then folding the hand over along that edge last.
Thankfully, we now get to skip over several steps and I don’t have to give you suggestions for every single one… partly because they are all just mirrored versions of previous steps. Moving along, the next thing I did was skip over Step 16 entirely. Step 16 is attaching the arms to the torso, which I decided to wait to do until the end, once I’ve finished building out the rest of the model.
Now, for Step 17, I’m going to explain the caveat about the knee joints I mentioned earlier. You see, I saw this step, and thought… why not form both knees at the same time. And, so I proceeded, including mimicking the flipped caps on either side of the joint. Again, so that the black painted side would face “out” once attached to the thigh and calf sections. At least, I did for the first knee (left, Step 17. the right knee is actually Step 22). The other knee, however, you can’t flip those over, because they are not symmetrical. This knee has a bit of a twist to it, so the tab slots are rotated some, and flipping is not an option. Which means that, in the end, I have one knee with the black side showing, and one with the silver side showing. And I’ve decided that I’m okay with that.
And… we are back to suggestions for every step, because I have a note on Step 18. In this step, which is one of the more challenging steps for shaping parts, I struggled with the shaping, and finally got it all fixed up and good to go, and then discovered, later on, that I had put Part 68 on wrong. It’s not the most obvious thing in the instructions, which way to align this part, and I got it backwards. And this goes for Step 23, as well. In both cases, you attach Part 68 with the orange stripe not abutting part 69 (part 83 in Step 23).
EDIT: This paragraph may be completely incorrect. So take it with a grain of salt. This was my take on it, but u/MetalModelAddict found it to be bad advice, so I apologize for anyone who has been bitten by this. Next up is Steps 19/20, which are really one step split across two parts of the page, to be honest. Because you are building out the ankle/heel part, and you are doing it twice. But what I want to call out here is that you are going to want to build the two iterations slightly differently, which the instructions do not indicate. Specifically, in one of them, you want to attach the ankle joint so that it tilts backwards, and on the other, you want it to tilt forward. That is because the left leg (Step 21 – left from Kaytoo’s perspective) is stepping forward, and the right leg is behind (Step 24). For the left leg, the ankle needs to tilt backwards, and for the right leg, it needs to tilt forwards. This will help you immensely when it comes time to attach Kaytoo’s legs to the stand. I actually managed to figure this out ahead of time, but screwed something else up. More on that later.
And now for admission time. I screwed up during Step 18. And I didn’t notice until I was in the middle of Step 23. How, you ask? Well, I put the knee joint in upside down during Step 18. Yeah, I did not keep track of which way was which. I should have sharpied the number on or reversed it so it matched the other knee (with the paint on the outside). But I didn’t. And it bit me in the butt when I tried to attach the calf to the knee joint – it didn’t match up – the caps have different diameters, just ever so slightly. So I had to flip the knee. I was frustrated.
But the pain doesn’t stop there… because I was actually building these legs side-by-side, rather than sequentially. And I should have taken a break, but I didn’t. And when I attached the calf to the right knee… I put it on backwards! I’m not kidding. And then some real hijinks followed, as I tried to deal with this and not break tabs, and got other things backwards, and did this and that, and I honestly can’t remember how I screwed it up so much, but the ankle that I had taken the time to form leaning forwards ended up leaning backwards, which I didn’t notice until trying to attach to the base, so I had to sit there, with one leg already twisted-tab attached to the base, and the other hanging free, take the ankle off, turn it around and put it back on. It was a mess and a nightmare. So… go slow and pay attention while assembling the legs, eh?
Moving along, we get to Step 25, which consists of forming the pelvis / hips. This part sucks. Because the etched relief lines for the curves are misleading, there’s two fold edges indicated in the part diagram that aren’t actually there, and things will not line up at all like it seems they should. Oh, and you are trying to match a shape to another shape, but they are at angle to each other and so it’s flattened out, but not really, and it doesn’t want to work with you and… ugh. Just… yuck. Be patient, shape carefully and slowly, test-fit often (without securing) and just don’t expect perfection. That’s the best advice I can give you. And feel free to be annoyed at the fold that’s not actually there, cause that sure would have helped!
From there, it’s just a matter of building a few minor things and putting all the assemblies together. For me, that involved going back and attaching the arms to the torso, then attaching the legs to the base (personal choice, it seemed a lot easier to wrangle just the legs while attaching to the base, than the whole droid), then joining the torso to the legs. And man, what a sense of accomplishment! And a bit of shame for how I screwed up the handling of that ankle joint so much. But mostly accomplishment. This thing looks sharp and amazing when you finish it. That matte finish… so wonderful a choice!
And before I get to the build video playlist… I thought y’all might want to see a comparison photo between the Piececool Kaytoo and one of the colored Metal Earth ones. Granted, I did NOT do a good job building the ME Kaytoo, he’s all sorts of wobbly and I don’t think I’ve got the positions right. But… at least it gives you a size comparison.
Alright, now, for the build videos… of which I’m missing part of one, because I forgot to un-pause the recording. Which leaves me estimating that this build took around 11 hours, give or take about 15 minutes or so. It’s a hefty build, but it is so worth it. Check out the videos for reference if you need them.
Two quick questions:
Who’s your favorite droid?
Were the hips better designed and easier to put together?
I have trouble deciding between Kaytoo and Elthree. They both have that snarky personality that just tickles me the right way. The Elthree Droid Depot model might be my favorite droid model, though.
As for Kaytoo’s hips… I honestly can’t remember the various builds well enough to compare them. I know that I struggled with orienting the parts correctly on this one, but only because I didn’t pay attention to the indicator that was supposed to help with that. Wish I could give you a better answer to your overall question, but I’ve slept since then (but not enough, lol. never enough).
I really want this model. Where did you find it?
Never mind. I found it on AliExpress. I’d never shopped on it before, so I kinda went ape shit and bought a bunch of models. 😉 Though I think in my excitement I accidentally bought a bunch of knockoffs… I could probably get a refund, but the items are kinda cool. And cheap. I won’t ever buy from the store again, though. They’re probably very low quality, but I’m hoping I can make them work.
So, caveat emptor: Just because they call their store “Innovatoys” doesn’t mean they’re actually a legit Metal Earth/Piececool retailer (I know, duh!). All the signs of a subpar/not legit store were there, I just didn’t think it through in my excitement. At least I’ve learned my lesson. 😉
It took some doing to find an actual Piececool K-2SO, but here’s a link:
It was around $30 with shipping. I dunno if anyone is looking right now or how long it’ll be available, but I thought I’d include the link.
It’s SO nice to be able to babble on about this stuff with other enthusiasts! Some friends and family are interested in hearing about it, but not all the gory details. 😉
Knockoffs are a hazard of AliExpress. My rule of thumb is to look for packaging photos in the listing. For whatever reason, the knockoff one’s don’t seem to put the official box-art in the photos – probably because when it comes in a non-standard box, you can complain and say you didn’t get what was advertised. I dunno. But also, NEVER buy anything that purports to be Metal Earth on AliExpress, because it’s definitely a knockoff.
As for Kaytoo… I’m glad you managed to find it! It’s been a hard to find model. I felt very lucky that I got it early on, before it became scarce. I don’t know why it’s so hard to find, except that I’ve seen AliExpress stores get shut down for a week or two and then reappear later, usually after having briefly sold licensed (Star Wars or Marvel) models, and when they come back, those aren’t in the inventory. I’m pretty sure Piececool’s licensing deal is for China only.
Also, I hear ya about the friends and family. My wife bears with me, because she’s awesome like that, but I can still tell that it wears on her sometimes. Especially when I get into the gory details, lol.
Nice review thanks! I feel the same about the photoshop work. That’s not totally honest, and seems deceptive it me.
Lots of models won’t have more than 2 example photos on the packaging, and I wish they they did more. Especially photos that show all sides. So a lot of times it’s very important to see the final model in photo form. But those photos that they put on the packaging aren’t OK in my book.
It’s fine to do some color correction, edit some poor lighting or reflections (always a huge problem with photographing these models in a studio setting), edit the background, vignette, etc. But to change the final structural outcome with the model seems like a bad decision to me.
But…I still be buying this guy! 🙂
I’m totally there with you. I always adjust lighting, color correction, contrast, etc on my photos. That’s okay, but eliminating “unsightly” tabs? Nope, not okay.
As for the limited product photos, I completely agree. It’s one of the things I love about Metal Earth models: the 360 view on their website.