This is a great model to see the way that Metal Earth, as a brand, has evolved. While they could have simply slapped a coat of paint on the old design, they didn’t. They could have also just slapped a couple new details on, which is what I thought was the case when I first saw this (in particular, those hubcaps). But no, they went a redesigned the way the entire top-half of this vehicle goes together while they were at it.
And I applaud them for the choice. I really think it goes together a lot easier (even if I goofed up on the roof curve on the passenger side – really wanting to fix that, now that I’ve seen the close-ups from taking the photos. But I don’t like to hide my sins from y’all, so I didn’t fix it and re-shoot). I can’t say for sure, because it’s been a long time since I built the classic silver version, but I doubt I’d prefer having to attach the sides to that roof.
Of course, the build itself turns out pretty sharp. A nice deep red, with the beige interior. Oh, and the interior door panels are a nice touch – I didn’t notice that difference when I first looked over this new version. I still think the hubcaps are my favorite new detail, though. That, and the fact that this model is in general availability now, not just an exclusive.
As for difficulty, I’d put this one leaning towards the challenging side of moderate… along with most of the car models. It’s got some tricky parts, but most of it is run-of-the-mill folds and curves. The main points that might trip you up are the folds in the middle of the doors, the hubcaps, the front bumper/grill and the details on the bottom of the car. But I don’t think any of that will ruin your day.
Let’s start where I usually do – the beginning. And, like I often do, I didn’t start at the very beginning. I like to shape curves into large parts (like part 1 here) before folding anything on it. Often, folding things first makes it harder to use cylinders to form the curves around. But, for once, I think I actually regret that choice. Because it made folding the two creases in the middle of the doors rather frustrating, difficult, and messy. If I were to do it again, I think I would actually start with just those two creases (not the one between the door/side-panel and the roof), then establish the curves of the roof / trunk, and then circle back to folding the creases on the sides of the roof.
The main reason is the very thin strip of metal at the base of the triangle window panel at the front of each door. It’s quite hard to get a good angle to grip that firmly while folding, and you have to have a good grip on thin sections like that. The curvature of the roof prevented me from being able to brace the fold against a flat surface for better folding.
Also in this area, the instructions seem to skip over the mirrors, both the side-view and rear-view ones. I curved the side ones over and out, and I folded the rearview inwards, and then folded it down a little. As for the windshield wipers, I tried to fold them back to land on the imaginary surface of the front windshield, which involved trying to establish two 90-degree folds at the base (folding them over the flat of my ever-present dull hobby knife to keep a little space in there).
The new door panels go on fairly well, but I advise you to fold those sides in tight – it’s a close fit, and if you leave them loose, those doors will get stuck (open, in my case, until I managed to fix it). As with the previous iteration, the doors can be positioned open, but be careful if you do this – it takes some force due to the metal not being cut across the little strip of horizontal surface at the front of the door. Oh… and I can’t believe how well those little curved wheel well trim parts turned out for me this time. I think it boils down to the face that I decided that I didn’t have to fold the tabs, even though they were visible if you went looking for them. Mangled trim parts look worse than mostly hidden twisted tabs.
The interior of the car is fairly simple and straight-forward – just make sure that you attach the steering column to the base in the correct orientation! It really should have one of those finger-pointing-hand call-outs. It needs to be attached so that the flat section of part 10 is going crosswise to the body, so that later on you can add the curve that points the steering wheel towards the driver seat.
When attaching the various details to the lower section of the front bumper, I found it a little ambiguous which way to orient part 16 (and really easy to mix up parts 17 and 18, to boot). After careful inspection and referencing the product photos, I decided that the blue section of part 16 is supposed to be on the top-left corner when attached. I don’t know if it was confusing for anyone else, but I just wanted to share what I figured out, in case.
The wheels and axles were a joy to put together. Plenty of room inside the tires for twisted tabs to not collide with each other, and forming the hubcaps into domes, which can be a challenge if you’ve not encountered before, was really rewarding when it came to the results. The axles are very simple and identical, as well, so they went by like a breeze.
One real challenge in this model is attaching part 25 (and the attached greeblies all up under there) to the base of the car. You need to add a bit of a curve to part of it, but not sink it completely down, to go under the rear axle. And it’s a bit of a trial and error thing – which is not helped by the fact that the part feels like it’s too long between when it connects at the front end and the beginning of the wheel well area. It took a bit of convincing, but I managed to get it to “fit” in, and to get the rear axle in over it. However, the end result was that the base wanted to curve a bit along it’s length, which worried me, but it turned out all right once I joined the two halves of the car together.
One thing I found myself quite pleased with was the leaf springs (parts 29 and 30). I remember having a hard time with leaf springs on a previous model, which I’m guessing is the classic silver Mustang, but these went on like a charm! The struggle I had with the previous set was that they didn’t hold their curve well – they got bent out of shape easily and just looked bad. However, I think the added stiffness from the thick black paint on this model make it so much easier to work with them without damaging them.
The rear bumper section is an easy bit to assemble, but can be frustrating to slip into place, due to it having tabs out the outside that need to pass through slots in the side-body. Since the side-body is already held together with tabs secured to the base of the model, you have to pry it open to slip the part in place and then let it close around the bumper. I don’t like having to do that sort of thing because if you pry just a smidge too much, you can create a faint outward bend, or even a crease, in the side-body. So… be careful, or possibly leave the rear two tabs between the base and the body unsecured until after you complete this step.
The most frustrating part of this build, for me, turned out to be the front bumper / grill assembly. I don’t know if it was because I didn’t understand the instructions or the fitments of the parts were just not quite there, but I feel like I butchered this section. The bumper itself tried to angle upwards a lot, and after I attached the the grill / headlight section (parts 35/36), I ended up with some odd gaps between it and the hood. And the cursed bumper still doesn’t want to be parallel to the ground, front-to-back. It wants to climb into the sky, for whatever reason. If you’ve built this model and had better success, please comment and share what helped you succeed with this section!
And that’s it! Build complete! I am definitely glad I added this one to my collection, despite already having the classic silver version. Build time for me was a little under four hours, split across two build sessions. As usual, you can watch the build video for reference below.