Fun With “Metal Earth” – Doctor Who kits 1-4 of 5

(*) Disclaimer – several of the links in this post are affiliate links to Amazon. Purchases made from those links earn me a small percentage of the sale.

What Is "Metal Earth" Anyway?

“Metal Earth” is a range of sheet metal model kits that vary from easy to expert levels. As you go up the difficulty levels, the models get more detailed and complex.

I found my first kits in Seattle, in 2017, and have been making as many as possible (time and money allowing). I picked up “The Black Pearl”, “Space Needle”, “R2-D2” and “C-3P0” kits and finished all of them inside two weeks. – I was hooked immediately.

Since then I’ve also finished “Himeji Castle”, “Neuschwanstein Castle”, “The Parthenon”, and the “Roman Colosseum Ruins”. Each kit had it’s unique challenges, but I never thought to document them until today.

So here’s the breakdown of my thoughts on four kits I recently picked up from the “Doctor Who” line, along with a page-by-page breakdown of the “Cyberman Head” kit.

Four Finished Kits

The Kits - A Breakdown

My wife and I are HUGE Doctor Who fans. So when I saw four out of the five available kits for sale in a local store,  I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

From left to right, the kits (below) are:

I’m going to skip reviewing the first of those kits, until you see the break down of it being built. But, here are my ratings and notes for the other three kits.
Finished (Metal Earth) Cyberman Head, K-9, Rusty K-9, Gold Dalek - Front
Finished (Metal Earth) Cyberman Head, K-9, Rusty K-9, Gold Dalek - Front
Finished (Metal Earth) Cyberman Head, K-9, Rusty K-9, Gold Dalek - Right
Finished (Metal Earth) Cyberman Head, K-9, Rusty K-9, Gold Dalek - Right
Finished (Metal Earth) Cyberman Head, K-9, Rusty K-9, Gold Dalek - Back
Finished (Metal Earth) Cyberman Head, K-9, Rusty K-9, Gold Dalek - Back
Finished (Metal Earth) Cyberman Head, K-9, Rusty K-9, Gold Dalek - Left
Finished (Metal Earth) Cyberman Head, K-9, Rusty K-9, Gold Dalek - Left

"K-9" & "Rusty K-9"

8/10

Number of Sheets: 1

Difficulty Rating: Easy

Overall impression:

  • Two kits with the exact same build instructions and parts. They just have a different finish once completed.
  • Apart from the two points (below), these kits definitely qualify for the EASY rating.

Points to watch:

  • The “laser cone” has a very narrow stem that folds TWICE before you have to make a very tight cone shape. This actually broke off on one of the two models.
  • The tail requires you to roll a very tight circle at the tail base. It’s also a tricky part to exact from the sheet, without cutters.
  • Follow the instructions in the order given when assembling the body section… I didn’t and folded one corner too many times as I fiddled to get a piece in place. It snapped along the fold line. Superglue to the rescue.

"Gold Dalek"

9/10

Number of Sheets: 1

Difficulty Rating: Easy

Overall impression:

  • This was a fun kit to assemble, especially since some of it’s detailing builds up in layers.
  • Definitely a kit that falls on the upper end of the EASY rating, almost requiring a MODERATE rating for some parts.

Points to watch:

  • The armature pieces and the eye stalk defintely require fine tuning of the folds, because they have to insert into other pieces. I recommend using tweezers rather than the pliers.
  • The dome ligths are tricky to keep in place becaus of the way the dome bends. One did end up being superglued into place, because it came loose after assembly of the torso.

Grab Your Tools

Before you even consider starting one of these kits, you’ll want to have the following tools handy (per the instructions).

  • Metal clippers – for cutting the metal parts away from the sheets. You could bend the metals to break the connections, but you risk damaging the smaller, or more intricate pieces.
  • Flat-nosed Pliers – For bending the pieces into shape, and to help bend/twist the tabs into place.
  • Needle-nosed Pliers – As above, but will help reach places the flat-nosed plyers won’t.

And here’s a personal recommendation, based on experience:

  • A Strong Pair of Tweezers – I personally find they get a better grip on the tabs, and aid in bending them flat against other pieces.

Building The "Doctor Who Cyberman Head"

Cyberman Head - Sheet Metals

Stage 1
Unpacking

If you’ve never unpacked one of these kits before, you’re going to be a little surprised by the size of the packet they come in. Except for the ICONIX range of models (which are much bigger models), they come in 7×5 inch packs.

Each packet contains:

  • 1 (or more) sheets of pre-cut metal pieces.
  • 1 (or more) sheets of instructions.
  • (possibly) tools required to successfull complete the enclosed model.

You might also be surprised at how similar they are to aircraft model kits. All the parts come on pre-cut sheets of metal and need to be cut free as needed.

Metal Earth - Cyberman Head Instructions 1
Metal Earth - Cyberman Head Instructions 3
Metal Earth - Cyberman Head Instructions 2
Metal Earth - Cyberman Head Instructions 4

Stage 2
Check The Instructions Before Starting

I highly recommend checking out the instruction sheet(s) before removing even a single piece from the metal sheets.

Reading the instructions will show you where each piece can be found on the metal sheets. It will also show you which pieces need to pay particular attention to – some have engraved sides, or require additional attention.

Look for joins and folds that might give you particular problems or parts that might need extra care when shaping.

Metal Earth - Cyberman Head - Stage 1
Metal Earth - Cyberman Head - Stage 1
Metal Earth - Cyberman Head - Stage 3
Metal Earth - Cyberman Head - Stage 3
Finished (Metal Earth) Cyberman Head Right
Finished (Metal Earth) Cyberman Head Right
Finished (Metal Earth) Cyberman Head Left
Finished (Metal Earth) Cyberman Head Left
Metal Earth - Cyberman Head - Stage 2
Metal Earth - Cyberman Head - Stage 2
Finished (Metal Earth) Cyberman Head Front
Finished (Metal Earth) Cyberman Head Front
Finished (Metal Earth) Cyberman Head Back
Finished (Metal Earth) Cyberman Head Back

Stage 3
Breaking Out Pieces

As a rule of thumb, don’t break out more pieces than you can easily keep track of. Break out enough to give you a few minutes worth of work, but not so many that you might lose one, or more.

Stage 4
Shaping The Pieces

Pay careful attention to the instructions during this step.

The instructions will show which side of an engraved piece needs to be visible as you bend and fold the pieces.

Also look ahead for joins, folds, or bends that might give you some trouble.

  • Stage 1 – Be careful to make sure you bend the pieces to line up with the pins. Also watch for the pins that it recommends pre-bending for later attachments to other parts. The curves are very important to get right in this stage.
  • Stage 2 – Be careful when breaking the oval pieces out of the sheet. The fold points are VERY delicate, and can easily break off. The individual pieces are easy to assemble, but you’ll need to do a little extra work attach the ‘antenna’ to the head piece. Be prepared to really work at getting the left side attached, I had to lever the central piece up to make it work.
  • Stage 3 – This was the easiest stage because they’re all big pieces. As a note, I did have to bend the ‘shoulder pads’ a little to make everything line up. Also be prepared to fiddle at joining them to the neckline… Once that’s done, attaching the head to the shoulders was laughably easy.

"The Cyberman Head" - In Conclusion...

9/10

Number of Sheets: 2

Difficulty Rating: Moderate

Overall impression:

  • This was a fun kit, and I loved how some of the parts layered to create the facial features
  • There were a couple places where I wasn’t sure pieces were going to fit, or I needed to do a little extra work to make reshape parts I’d already assembled to make them fit.

Points to watch:

  • See my break-down above.
Metal Earth - Tardis

So What's Kit #5?

"Tardis"

Number of Sheets: 2

Difficulty Rating: Moderate

I’ve seen this kit on display at the local store, and it looks amazing. While I don’t have this kit yet, it is very definitely on my wish list.

I can’t wait to pick this one up, and do another break-down on the construction of this kit.

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