During my recent splurge-trip to Universal Studios Orlando, I used the excuse of a souvenir budget to pick up the rest of the available exclusives they had there. And this, the Jaws Hanging Shark, is the first one that I chose to build. Or more specifically, my wife chose, because I asked her to pick. Every once in a while, I guilt her into feigning an interest in my obsession/hobby. She’s sweet like that.
This has to be one of the most unique models in the catalog of Metal Earth models. I keep trying to find the words to explain why I’m saying that, but I’m failing to do so. Putting aside my failure to translate my thoughts into words, I really like the details in this model, and I am honestly impressed at the execution of the form of the shark, which involves a lot of compound / complex curves.
The various forms of ropes and tie-downs are intriguing (especially the ones that are around the fins… they seem like they would be ineffective, but what do I know) and well executed. But, strangely enough, one of my favorite details is the bolt-straps holding the frame together. I’m not sure what it is about them, but I just like ’em. One down side to this model is that it is a fingerprint / smudge magnet. I don’t wear gloves or finger-cots while building, so it was a mess. I tried wiping it down a little, but I could only do so much (what with all the ropes).
This build is both easy and challenging. The frame is a fairly easy and straight-forward build, with just a few cylinders as the most complex part of it. So that obviously leaves the shark as the challenging part of the build, which really shouldn’t be a surprise. But even at that, it didn’t seem as challenging as I was thinking it would be. Hats off, once again, to the designers over at Fascinations. Of course, just because the frame was easy, doesn’t mean I don’t have a few tips and tricks for it.
First off, I’m going to jump all the way ahead to the deck posts (parts 11 and 12) and attaching them to the base. It wasn’t the first thing I did, of course, but I did do it slightly out of order. Mostly because I have big, fat fingers, and I was worried that the posts would not end up very straight if I had to try to attach them after attaching the frame to the base. I felt like the frame would get all up in my way. So, instead, I started with the shorter posts (parts 12) and then the taller posts (parts 11), and finally the frame last. Basically, I made sure that I could securely hold the parts in place without being adjacent to a taller part. But keep reading, because this dovetails into my next segment, which is a suggestion of something you might consider doing between the posts and the frame.
If you like to hide the tabs, then I have a suggestion that I wish I had thought of before I had attached the frame to the base; I still managed to hide the tabs, but it would have been much easier if I had thought ahead. You see, the little cylinders of ropes (parts 13 and 14) that bind the frame to the dock posts at the bottom are not actually attached to anything, they’re just tightly wrapped around everything. Which leaves the instructions suggesting that you fold the tabs on the outside. If you want to make life a little easier, you can pre-form those cylinders and slip them over the vertical parts of the frame, just before attaching the frame to the base. Then you can slide them down over the posts, though it will probably be a tight fit. One thing to note is that you will probably want to delay securing the bottom of the rope and tackle (part 4) to the tab on the frame until after you get the rope cylinders in their final position.
And with that, the duh-DUHN-duh-DUHN-duh-DUHN music needs to start playing in the back of your mind, because we are entering shark territory. And the first thing I want to tell you is that the blue curvature line of the body near the tail is a lie. You can put some curve in there, but not much, because of the tail itself. The tail fin is made from two crescent-moon like parts, one each on at the end of the top and bottom halves of the body. These two parts line up, are secured to each other, and then twisted 90 degrees together. which means their connection-point in the middle has to be at the same location vertically. Thus the back of the shark’s body needs to be flat, effectively. Which kinda looks a bit wonky, but then the ropes are wrapped around that spot and it isn’t so noticeable.
Getting the body curves right at the front end isn’t a clean process, either, but I don’t have a lot of advice to give you here. The gum-line for the upper teeth can guide you a little, but it’s more of a trial and error game. But the true challenge of the shark, for me, was aligning the two little cheek strips from the bottom half of the body between the gum-line and the cheeks on the top half of the body. I had thought it would be a good idea to start by aligning the rear section of the sharks body together, and then close up the jaws. As it turns out, it worked a lot better to start with the jaws, and then close up the body. At least for me.
The final steps of the model are suspending the Shark in the various ropes that attach it to the frame. I like the fact that the shark itself is never secured directly to the frame, but it does make it a bit of a balancing act. Wrapping the strap of the rope and tackle (part 4) around the tail and inserting the tab through the slot in itself is a fun bit of magic to accomplish while holding the shark in place at the same time (not to mention securing the tab). My favorite bit here is the loose rope that you form into some sort of figure 8 / mobius strip thing, dangling over the top beam of the support and down around the tail. When it came to the ropes that hold the dorsal fins down, I decided to “form” them around the post and fin, following the shape, so that it looked like the rope was extra tight (and less useless). My only regret is that the rope and tackle setup that are supposed to look like they are holding the mouth open are looser than I would have hoped, both between the mouth and the tackle, and between the tackle and where it is “tied down” to the vertical support. But it’s still a nice touch.
And once again, I’ve finished my review much faster than I was expecting to. Not sure if that’s a bad sign, but at least it’s less reading for y’all. The build took me a little over 2 hours to complete, which you can watch in the following full-length silent movie:
When I started the Metal Earth adventure I was only aware of the models shown in the Metal Earth website. It was a while before I started perusing eBay when I stumbled across this guy and realized there was a world of models outside their standard list. I had to get it. There are rarer models but I agree this one holds a special place. I haven’t built it yet but now I am thinking it should be sooner than later. Beautiful build.
I remember the first time I realized there were “non-catalog” models, too. Someone posted a build of Luke’s Landspeeder, and I had to find out where it came from. Thus was born my desire to create and maintain a checklist of models. That, and accidentally purchasing a few models more than once. Not that I mind building things a second time, I just prefer to experience new builds over repeats.
Your struggle to name the uniqueness …. is it because most models are objects, and this is a scene? (A scene which captures an entire plot of a movie, which still has repercussions of phobias and educational weeks of television.)
That’s much closer than anything I came up with in my head… all of which ended in a trailing off into an incomplete sentence / concept. I mean, part of it is that, but also… they haven’t really done any smooth-skinned animals. Because complex, compound curves are hard. To build. Designing models for them… I can’t even imagine.