So, I know it’s not a sci-fi blaster or anything, but I just really, really want to start this review by saying “Pew-Pew-Pew! Pew-Pew! Pew!” Of course, I have to limit it to just those six pews, because reloading, and this isn’t a movie. Alright, silliness aside, my latest build here is the Wild West Revolver from Metal Earth. I loved the look of this model since it was originally added to the coming soon page as the Old West Revolver. I’m not a die-hard, Second Amendment defending, NRA card holder or anything like that. I can’t tell you the caliber, muzzle velocity, or much of anything about guns. But I can appreciate the design and elegance of engineering of such things. I’m not trying to make this political or anything, I just don’t to give you the wrong impression. My political views are separate from my appreciation of this model.
I have to say that my favorite thing about this model is probably not that surprising. It’s the filigree etching / pattern on the “metal” parts of the revolver. I mean, the wooden handle looks gorgeous, too, but that filigree just draws the eyes. But even beyond that, there’s more to appreciate. There are a lot of details in the “drum” of the revolver (or whatever you call the revolving part that holds the bullets), much more than I realized originally – the act of building it makes it very apparent, though.
I really enjoyed building this model, though it did provide several challenging segments. As you build it, you get to notice some of the smaller details, such as the screw heads that are separate pieces. It’s clear to me that this model was lovingly designed and developed. Just… plan for some segments to take more time than you would have thought at first. And others will be quicker than you might expect as well. But the most surprising thing to me was where the build began – with the stand. I know that’s not an important detail to review, but I’ve just become so used to stands being one of the last things you do in a build, but in this one, it’s the very first thing. It just stands out.
The first bit of building that you’ll tackle after that is the … stuff under the barrel. I told you, I don’t know much about guns, so I have no idea what it’s called. Most of this is fairly straight forward, though not so simple as to be boring. However, I do have a tip for shaping the curves in part 10. While the blue line is somewhat helpful, the best reference you can get is to look ahead at the edge that it will connect to on part 11 (as highlighted below). Also, pay attention to the helpful advice on the two tabs you want to connect first when attaching part 10 to the rest of the assembled stuff – it’s good advice!
Oh, I guess I forgot about one thing… it’s kinda annoying that part 9 is only attached (initially) with a single tab. I highly recommend going with the twist that they suggest, or folding the tab down into the cavity of part 9, so it holds it in place a little better. In the end, it’s not a big deal because part 9 attached to the barrel with two tabs and it’s held in place securely, but I still wanted to mention it.
Forming up the barrel itself (part 11, mentioned above) was something I was not looking forward to. Long / thin folds are usually intimidating to me, because it’s very easy to get warping along the length of it if you can’t fold it all at once. Thankfully, Fascinations has developed an improved design approach that has relief cuts along long edges so that the fold is less resistant. That being said, this is a particular challenge as it’s a really long fold that shapes into an octagonal tube. 90-degree angles have become pretty intuitive for me, by this point, but 45-degree angles are a little harder. Add in the fact that it needs to close up, and you’ve got something that’s intimidating.
However, it still went better than I expected. I approached it with my usual tactic with long folds: patience and repetition. I don’t try to fold long folds all the way at once. I fold them progressively from one end to the other, but only partially. Just a little bit. Then work my way back across, folding a little more. Rinse and repeat until you’ve reached the desired angle. Of course, this parts throws in the fun of some of it not folding all the way around, but it’s still fairly cooperative.
When it comes to closing up tubes like this (especially square ones), I’ve found that my life is a lot easier if I pick one of the folds near the middle of the part and underfold it significantly (less than half of the target fold angle, usually). I still make sure to “break the fold in,” by bending it a little, but not completely. In this way, I can usually get the two outer folds (nearest the edges that will be joined) to the right angle without the other side of the tube getting in the way. Then I go back and gently squeeze the tub along the length to close up the tube (and slot the tabs). As I do this, I try to use pressure such that the underfolded edge is the one that is receiving most of the bending force.
I hope that made sense. It’s a lot easier to conceptualize with a square tube than an octagonal one, but this is an octagonal one, so that’s what we’re working with. If things start getting all out of whack, you can sometimes use a cylinder forming tool (such as a pen or drill bit) to help fill the interior of the tube so that you can better apply force to the specific edges that you want to correct. Or, if things are really bad (which I’ve had happen, believe you me), it can be used to pry overfolded edges back out.
So, despite spending much more time writing about this than I expected, it is easier than I thought. But I still have more to say! Specifically about those tabs used to close the barrel up. Take extra care when folding the tab nearest the trigger mount – you want to get this one as flat as possible (I rolled mine over the slot rim). If you fold it over and it pokes out farther down from the barrel, it can end up trying to occupy some of the same space as that stuff that goes under the barrel (which is the next thing you will attach, completed with numerical order advice on how to secure the tabs!). The more compact you can make the folded over tab, the less misaligned the “stuff” under the barrel will look. I couldn’t get it perfectly parallel to the barrel, but I got it closer than the 360-degree version on the Metal Earth website.
The next section, forming the drum and hammer, took so much more time than I expected. Most of that time was spent forming three things: the half-dome on one side of the hammer, the half-down with a cut-out on the other side, and the hammer itself. We’ll start with the two half-domes. As with most domes, the shape itself is the challenge. Getting it smooth is a challenge, and finding appropriate forms to use is most helpful. I’ve also found that using a cylinder form to help curve the corners at the ends of the petals to the side a little helps establish the spherical curve.
However, it’s the dome with a cutout that is the real challenge. It’s not easy to form this one because there isn’t a solid “core” at the middle, so it’s a bit fragile. Unfortunately, I seem to have been too careful with it and ended up with a flattened dome shape. I was so focused on making sure that I could attach the concave cut-out (part 23) in well, that I ended up with it having a much different profile than the other semi-dome. I didn’t think they would match, that one side being a little flatter was intentional. Except, not so much, as I discovered while attaching it to the side of the hammer. Also, I’d like to call out the fact that the instructions identify that the insert-part is curved in a concave fashion? I know that sometimes the blue curve lines are hard to interpret in these scenarios (looking at you, Darth Vader Helmet), so it was nice to see it clarified in the instructions in a case where it might have been ambiguous.
Next up is part 27, the strip that runs along the silhouette of the hammer. Just a small, unassuming flat rectangle with a few tabs sticking out of the sides. And a quick little rendering in the instructions, in the middle of a full row of steps. But I spent so much time here. Obviously, you can use parts 24/25 as a reference for the shape you are aiming for, but getting there took a lot of trial and error. This is no simple silhouette to match. Lots of different sized curves on opposite sides, and a very pointy tip in the middle between two curves. I wish there was a perforated fold line, or at least a deeper cut relief at that point so it was easier for fold that tip tightly (and it would help with judging where the curves need to be located all along this part. I don’t have much advice, except to say good luck!
On to the forming actual drum itself (part 28), which has a callout bubble that really confused me. I eventually realized what it meant, but it looked like it was telling you that you need to curve the the cylinder of the drum, but also that you don’t need to do that. In reality, it’s talking about the petals / flaps. You don’t need to curve them at this point, either in the same way as the drum itself, or curving in towards the middle as it later instructs.
Of course, you’re probably not surprised that I ignored it, and went ahead and added some curve in towards the middle first, then rounded the drum. I thought I could get better curving that way. And I did. But it sure made inserting the pre-assembled core in, since the parts were curved in, lol. I did eventually get it. Oh, and the render in the instructions on how much to curve those petals in is a lie. Those petals need to curve in enough to end up even with the cylinder in the middle of the core (so as to attach part 29).
And now we come to the most “subjective” part of the build: the grip. I say this is subjective because the shapes are really hard to define / describe specifically in the instructions. This makes for a bit of a challenge, but also makes the build more interesting, at least to me. My best advice for approaching this is to reference the 360-degree view available on the Metal Earth website, and look at the outline of the butt of the gun on the stand, where these parts will be secured. Also, the strip along the back doesn’t fold over a consistent angle along it’s length. It does, to some degree, fold a little at the bottom (I moreover curved it a bit), despite the blue-line indicator. It definitely folds over at the top a bit, as you have to so that the part can curve and secure to itself.
Securing the metal side panels (parts 32/34) to these grip segments is a bit of a challenge. You can sort of angle one of the tabs to the side (not bend or twist, but rotate it sorta thing) and it makes it a little easier, but it’s one of those “physics disagrees with the idea of this being simple” situations. Oh, and I mentioned these panels being metal, even though the grip parts are also, technically, metal, but you knew what I meant, right?
The last bit of kit, before final assembly, is the trigger assembly. Nothing particularly challenging or of note here, other than to suggest that you take extra care – there’s a lot of thin strips of metal here, which makes folding potentially challenging. It’s very easy to end up with warped surfaces. Being patient and careful is your friend.
Of course, final assembly isn’t exactly simple, and I kinda lied to you about it. Because there’s more parts of the grip to be added in here – I wasn’t actually done with the grip earlier. And these might be some of the most annoying / challenging bits to attach to a model (on top of the subjective curves). I tried to hide the tabs (as I like to do, when possible), but that was a mistake. It made this so much harder. Just accept the fact that these tabs will be visible, and do it the easy way. I had to take it apart and put it back together, and it just looked worse than it could have.
Another thing to call out (which is actually chronologically before finishing the grip) is securing the tab at the back of the hammer to the top of the grip. I don’t know if I formed things wrong or what, but I wasn’t able to get this tab fully seated, as if the strip of metal was just not long enough. So… be warned, it can be tricky.
I did discover one little mistake in the instructions near the end. When attaching part 44 to the front of the drum section, it doesn’t draw a red-line between the tab and slot at the bottom. Minor detail, but don’t skip securing this tab before you attach the barrel section to this part. Get things as secure as possible!
After that, there’s nothing but to secure the gun to the stand, and you’ve finished the build! All told, it took me roughly three and a half hours to complete this build. I rather enjoyed the process, and the results. If you would like to be bored by the process (or more realistically, scrub through it for reference) here are the full length build videos: